Women in Music
I have wanted to speak on this topic for a while now. It is going to be a very honest conversation and one that I hope inspires other women and also gives people an insight into the music industry from my perspective. I have been a full-time musician for 2 years this December, it has been the best time of my life but it hasn't been without its struggles. I am going to share my struggles with you today, aswell as some of my best moments for those who need encouragement today.
One of my most vivid memories of being at school is something that a group of boys said to me when I was walking to class with my guitar on my back. They said 'girls can't play guitar.' At first I laughed because I thought they were just kidding, given the guitar on my back! Then as they laughed they continued to state how girls had no place in music and as I went to my guitar lesson, I felt deflated and very upset. This vicious cycle even continued as I got to college, it wasn't all people, but the few who did have this opinion certainly voiced it to girls trying to improve their skill in music. Growing up my parents told me I could do anything that I set my heart on, when I was younger I knew I wanted to be a singer but as I grew older it seemed almost impossible. I studied hard, got my grades and then went on to train to be a teacher but something felt so wrong. Whilst at University I decided to busk to get some extra money and it was this that gave me the most life. When I was busking I had the best time performing songs and practicing playing live infront of people. It was from this point that I realised music was my passion and despite what some boys and men had told me all of my life, I knew I had to go for it and ignore their digs and put downs.
As I went into full-time music, I began to notice the gap in how women were treated compared to men. Don't get me wrong, there are many people who don't treat women as lesser musicians and those people have my upmost respect. Sadly, there are those who expect women to accept less money on the music scene, who allow women to be harrassed and even establishments that out right refuse to hire women for live music events. I remember getting in touch with venues, sharing my videos, telling them about my recommendations and reviews and still from their social media they would only hire men and not women. It was very discouraging to see and even now it annoys me to no end but I know that there are plenty of places who don't have this awful opinion and give gigs to those who are good at what they do. I have had to work extremely hard to prove myself to venues and to people and because of my determination I have proven myself to be a very capable musician. There have been some men who have undermined me, told me 'I should have my face on my business cards so people hire me', but the sexism hasn't halted me. If anything, it has made me more determined to prove that women DO belong in music and they are equal. That we are not in the music scene just to be looked at, but we are skilled at what we do and amazing musicians. People will always make comments, people will always try to undermine you but keep going and keep achieveing your goals, trust me they will soon be silent.
Another issue I have faced being a female musician is the attitude at gigs by some men. I am there to perform and they wouldn't take any notice of me if I was sat at a table, but because I am singing they feel the need to make gross remarks and even put down my partner who comes with me. If you see anyone behaving like this, please tell them to stop and teach them that it isn't okay. I am there to bring joy and music to people, not to be hit on or stalked all evening. Luckily there have been some incredible people who do call out this behaviour and so it is not something that I have dealt with often but it does happen. It is a culture that I don't understand, especially as someone who is engaged and does nothing to suggest that I want to be hit on. If a guy was playing, I doubt there would be women shouting out derogatory comments, or trying to hug them when they are performing... so why it is okay for men to behave this way with no consequences? Perhaps it is time we called out people who act this way so that women can turn up and do their jobs without feeling uncomfortable. As someone who loves their job but hates these situations, I would certainly appreciate people being told their behaviour is wrong and to just enjoy my music, which is what I am there to provide. Musicians are NOT there to be hit on, they are there to do their job!!
My final topic for this blog today is women in music supporting other women. I have spoken about this openly and quite often on my Instagram but on the topic of women in music I felt it was needed. When I was younger I believed that other women were a threat to me in music, if they were talented I was instantly feeling jealous and I always told myself I cannot support her now. This was a very twisted way of looking at my fellow women in music, they NEED support, we all do. The problems I have listed above are exactly why women need to support women in the field of music, we need to have each other's backs! I know many men in my life who love my music and support my music career, I have a few women who do but not nearly enough as there should be. Infact there are a few women in my life that ignore my music posts, don't support me if they are in music and they only come to my page to copy my content or get advice and then leave. It is a very dog eat dog world but sadly having this attitude won't get you anywhere because supporting other people doesn't tamper with your success. A win for a woman in the music industry is a win for all women in the industry! I have seen many of my friends wanting to learn to produce, become musicians and release music! It is wonderful to see and I cheer them on from the sidelines! I am also learning to produce and it is hard work, it is also mainly men who do this job and so to have women training in this area is incredible to see! Women can produce and it was actually Nina Nesbitt who inspired me to learn to produce my own songs. Seeing her achieve her goals and produce her music made me want to do the same! This is what we need to do for each other as women, cheer each other on and encourage one another as best we can. Women in music are not your competition, they are you fellow musicians, they know the struggles, the difficulties and we can all help each other.
As I close today's post I do want to make one thing very clear. Women in music is something that I am very passionate about but this does not mean I don't support men in music. The men that I have referred to today is not 'all men' just a few that act and speak very badly towards women in the music industry. Some men that don't take us seriously or even consider us real musicians. To the men who do support me and cheer me on, thank you so much and I will always champion those men who fight for women in music. The topics I have dicussed today have been on my heart for a long time. As I have witnessed places being sexist, as I have seen women being catty to eachother and as I have had run ins with people at gigs who make awful comments about me, objectifying me when I am there to perform music. After being told through my teens that women can't play guitar, I went away and I practiced day and night, until my fingers bled. I will follow my passion always, even when others tell me its pointless or that I'll never achieve my goals. It doesn't matter what people say or think, what matters is what I think and what I feel. I set my mind to music and that is what I will put my time and energy into. If you have felt this way or reading this blog has ticked many boxes for you, keep going and keep proving people wrong. Music is something to be celebrated, it is something pure and brings joy to so many. I grew up listening to Linkin Park, their songs saved me on many occassions and I knew after listening to their music, how powerful music really is.