Back in 1969, when June Millington began her career as lead guitarist for Fanny -- a mainstream all-female band -- she recognized that mainstream music was largely inaccessible to women. During the five years in the 1970s when Fanny were active, few women had made significant mainstream rock recordings. Through four successful albums with Warner Bros. (Fanny, Charity Ball, Fanny Hill, and Mother's Pride), June Millington and Fanny served notice to the rock world that women could do more than simply sing: that women could also write and play rock & roll passionately. Yet there were nearly no women technicians supporting either the studio recording process or live tours, and women booking agents, managers, and promoters were few and far between.
Then, in 1975, Millington was asked to play on Cris Williamson's seminal album The Changer and the Changed. It had been a leap from fooling around on the ukulele as a child in Millington's native Manila to rock fluency in California; it was a greater leap between mainstream fame and "women's music." Resonating with the politics of women making music, Millington established her own label, Fabulous Records, and released several albums: Heartsong (1981), Running (1983), and One World, One Heart (1988). Then, Millington began to conceive of mentorship for women pursuing music and allied professions. The Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) was Millington's idea for how to empower women, especially women of color, in their pursuit of careers in the field of music, bridging the gap between women in the mainstream and in "women's music," and promoting social justice and equality within the music industry and in other social and cultural spheres.
Millington's idea immediately drew some of the most experienced women in the music industry to IMA's advisory boards: Bonnie Raitt, Linda Tillery, Teresa Trull, and Cris Williamson. Today, following a move from Northern California to Goshen, Massachusetts in the early 2000s, IMA remains active as a multicultural nonprofit national teaching and performing arts organization, with Millington serving as Artistic Director. Through classes, apprenticeships, and experiences in live performance and studio recording, IMA students gain knowledge and expertise in such areas as artist management, concert lighting/sound, entertainment law, instrument/voice development, marketing, music composition, promotion, sound technology, stage management, video, and recording/engineering, the latter of which has resulted in several new albums by up-and-coming artists on the Fabulous label.