Colette OverdijkViolin, MU steward

“Why I support Stephen Brown for General Secretary (GS):

As the Union Steward of the CBSO I have worked closely with Stephen as the Midlands Organiser for the past four years. What has particularly impressed me is his dedication to every single musician, his tenacity and his strong conviction in democratic values.

As a General Secretary he will have the passion to put members at the centre of the MU and fight for their interests to the bone. As a steward I have witnessed Stephen fighting hard, and achieving results, to assist female and disabled members in the workplace to ensure their rights are protected. I have faith in his character, his knowledge and his experience as both a musician and an MU official to be the right person for the job.”
Colette Overdijk

Graham Sibley – Tuba

“Stephen Brown is an experienced, dedicated union official, gigging musician and songwriter who has worked tirelessly for years, vigorously defending musicians at grassroots level, in the toughest of circumstances.

At first hand, he knows, understands and has experienced what the challenges facing us all are as we emerge from the Covid pandemic and it’s devastating effects for the music industry. 

We need someone who knows and understands us, our needs and our issues, to lead our union; to defend our industry and to ensure that as the music world returns to something like normal, it does so built upon secure foundations for its musicians, whatever their field.

Stephen is the candidate who can and will do this, and that’s why he has my support.”
Graham Sibley

Geri Minelli – Songwriter, MU member

“Like the next person Stephen Brown likes a laugh and has a sense of humour, however don’t mistake this man for not being serious about his stuff. Since coming to work for the MU, Stephen has been a welcoming and empathetic force out of the Midlands Regional office. He has shown, and is always likely to, an aptitude for any job, he accumulates knowledge and makes himself available to members. 

Stephen’s passion shines through with his drive to correct unfair situations and always with an understanding of the issues. He once even considered an MP position, and that takes some gumption.

Knowledge is Power – so when I learned that Stephen was running for GS, I could not be any happier for him. He is always willing to take the bull by the horns and head straight into the lion’s den and fight with the wild beasts that emerge at times from the music industry. So, I’d advise them to put their armour on when he does.

I know with the commitment that he has, and armed with years of experience as both a musician and MU official, everyone will benefit as he looks to implement changes for the better for our union so the next generation will carry the MU baton forward. 

So, I’m wishing Stephen all the best and hope he gets to tick this off the Bucket List… for not everyone can undertake the task; however, I believe he will relish it. “

John Patrick – Pianist/Keyboards, Music Director, Composer, MU Midlands Regional Chair, Former MU Executive Committee Chair (30 years)

“I’m supporting Stephen for MU General Secretary because he has exactly the right qualities the MU needs for the position. 

I can’t stress enough how vital it is that the MU has a General Secretary who is a musician. Only a musician gets what musicians are about and as both a musician and trade unionist Stephen certainly gets it.

I’ve known him for a few years now in his role as MU Midlands Regional Organiser and he is a diligent and determined advocate for musicians’ interests. He’s also an active performing musician, a solid trade unionist who understands musicians issues, and has the best experience in both areas to represent the interests of the union and protect the welfare and rights of MU members. Therefore, I strongly urge members to vote for Stephen to be our next General Secretary.”
John Patrick

Grahame King – Timpanist, MU Steward

“As an MU orchestral steward I have worked closely with Stephen over the last 8 years.

The combination of Stephen being a musician and having served in different Trade Unions has been a real positive in understanding our needs and helping reach sustainable and fair results in negotiations over that time.

As a musician, allied with having served in other Trade Unions, he has an awareness of the difficulties faced by musicians in differing sectors of our profession, and the knowledge to help based on personal experience.

He is a passionate advocate for diversity and grassroots music education and I wholeheartedly endorse his candidacy for General Secretary.”
Grahame King

Louise Braithwaite – Oboe, Cor Anglais, Oboe d’amore

Music for Health & Wellbeing, Arts Project Management www.louise-braithwaite.co.uk

“Stephen means what he says and does what he says he will. When I experienced bullying and harassment from a senior manager in one of my workplaces, his professionalism in supporting me to raise a formal complaint and reach a good resolution was brilliant. The perpetrator left the organisation soon afterwards. I can’t thank him enough for his insight and help at an extremely difficult time. 

Stephen is exactly the person you need to guide you when things are tough. That time is now.

Stephen is already working on detailed plans to drive the industry forward through and beyond the pandemic. As an active performing musician he understands from the inside what’s going on with touring, streaming and performance. He knows we need to make a viable living. He’s concerned about transparency between the MU and the organisations it’s associated with, and how best to ensure we’re fairly remunerated for our work across genres and formats.”

Stephen is a fantastic MU Regional Organiser with an eye to the big picture and an understanding of the differing characters of music making in different regions.”

Stephen has his eye on the ball for access and inclusion across the protected characteristics. He works for effective representation for all members.”
Louise Braithwaite

Dan Whitehouse – Reveal Records, award-winning Black Country singer-songwriter


“Vote Stephen Brown for GS! I fully support Stephen and feel he would excel in this role. I’ve been a fan, friend and colleague of Stephen Brown for 25 years. I have long admired his passion for music making, and musicians’ rights

He knows first hand the challenges we face as musicians, having toured and recorded relentlessly internationally with his fabulous band Bleeding Hearts.

He treats everyone as equals. He understands trade unions, having worked at MU regional level and indeed for other unions, so has a broad skillset.

The MU has moved in a more corporate direction for a while and I believe Stephen is the candidate who will bring back our important trade union credentials, and return power to the members to improve our collective voice.

He listens, understands musicians, and knows how hard it is, especially post pandemic which be crucial as we go forward.

Vote for Stephen.”
Dan Whitehouse

Olly Armstrong – MU member, Birmingham Councillor, Northfield arts forum coordinator/co-founder of Breathe (organisation tackling racial and environmental injustice)

“Stephen understands that all unions need to have a climate justice strategy at their heart, and that creativity, the arts, music, must be at the heart of our climate response.

He will make an incredible General Secretary for the MU. I hope you vote for him.”
Olly Armstrong

Sam Draisey – MU member, singer-songwriter, freelance musician http://www.samdraisey.com/

“Like many MU members I first joined as a young musician to take advantage of the insurance and legal advice schemes. It wasn’t until I met Stephen backstage at a music festival I was running that I took any extra interest in my membership. Within one conversation he had convinced me to run for the Midlands Regional Committee (MRC) and I have been proud to represent musicians on that committee ever since.

Stephen is a dedicated advocate for musicians’ rights, an experienced trade unionist and a real-life gigging musician who understands the plight of working musicians right across the wide spectrum of work in our industry. His leadership and example inspired me to explore the extent of my MU membership further and commit to advocating for musicians whenever and wherever I can. I am sure that as General Secretary of the union he would continue to inspire more people to do the same.

It is for all these reasons and more that I strongly urge all members to vote for Stephen Brown as the next General Secretary of the MU.”
Sam Draisey

Mark Knight – MU member, video game composer and sound designer, electric violinist http://www.sonicfuel.co.uk

“I’ve known Stephen Brown for approx. 13 years now, having been a member of his folk punk band for a number of years. We regularly toured in Germany, and I was often sitting next to him during the overnight drive, discussing various musical and musician related issues. To say I learnt a lot, would be an understatement. He has a great understanding of, and is passionate about, the issues faced by musicians in this country.

A number of years later, I was in need of some MU help with an employment issue and I asked Stephen for help which he thankfully gave. His knowledge with regards to employment issues, ACAS Guidelines etc was second to none, and I really felt that I had someone looking out for me during this process. It was an extremely difficult situation and had it not been for Stephen’s help, guidance, support, and friendship I don’t think I’d have been able to get through the process in such a positive way.

I’ve been rather disappointed with what appears to be a rather lacklustre approach from the MU recently regarding extremely important issues such as Brexit and the pandemic. I really believe that having Stephen as our General Secretary will be excellent and give the MU the additional momentum it now needs, and deserves, to really start supporting its members better on these big issues.
Mark Knight

Veronika  KlírováMU member, flute player

“I first met Stephen in 2016 when dealing with a work issue. His involvement as well as incredible knowledge in this area made me feel wholly supported throughout the negotiating process and showed me just how important a union was for musicians. 

Since then I’ve been lucky to experience Stephen’s dedication in helping musicians first hand as an MU Learning Rep as well as a member of the MU Midlands Regional Committee. His leadership and results for the Midlands region have been a joy to witness.

I believe Stephen’s lived experience as a working musician, vast experience in the trade union movement, not to mention integrity and deep care for musicians, make him an ideal candidate for the MU General Secretary position. I’d be delighted to see the transformation that would surely ensue in the organisation as a result of his successful election.”


Veronika  Klírová

Get in Touch

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