Just the word alone makes me smile. Making music is such joy. Being able to turn a musical idea into reality and see it become alive is indescribable. It simply does not compare. Making music is like taking a photograph. Capturing a moment in your life, creating a keepsake which you are able to revisit, showing family, old friends and new friends. Each time reminiscing and feeling the exact same emotions you felt when you started the track. I’ve never been a loud person, often away in my own thoughts, letting others dominate conversation, but in the moment of creation, I am vulnerable. This is my time, my chance, to express myself with no limits. Releasing everything I have inside at that point. Every track I make is a piece of me.
I am a Music Producer and yes, I am female.
My interest in music started from a young age. Coming home from primary school to sit in a corner in my bedroom, away from the rush of the world, listening to my sister’s CDs was one of life’s little pleasures. The sounds would just captivated me. I would read the credits in the sleeve as the songs would play, educating myself on what and who it took to create a hit record. Geeky, right?
“I’m going to have my name on one of these one day.” I thought.
However, whilst reading the credits I didn’t realise how little mention there were of female names.
I knew. I just knew. I wanted to make people feel the same way I felt when I was listening to music. I wanted to be a part of the Music Industry. Confused at first as to which part that would be but I knew I just had to make music someway, somehow. Singing? Can’t sing. Song writing? Maybe, but it doesn’t quite feel right. Producing? Ahh – perfect fit.
I never really noticed there wasn’t many females doing what I did. Didn’t really find anyone who was interested in or did the same thing. So I often made music and kept it to myself. I loved listening to music, I loved making music and that’s all there was to it. It wasn’t until I decided to pursue this further that I found myself being the only woman in the room. Intimidating? Just a bit.
Being the only female on the Music Technology course, College really opened my eyes as to how much of a gender imbalance there was in this area of the industry. I remember scanning the room on my first day thinking:
“You’re going to have to fight for this one, girl. Time to introduce yourself.” and I did.
I stood up, cleared my throat, introduced myself and found myself saying the words “as you can see I am the only girl in the group and I’m going to prove that women can do it just as much as you guys.”
I felt the need to prove myself worthy of a spot and a chance to show what I can do. Surprisingly, I was met with the sound of applause. I pressed play and there it was, the sound of my track playing through the speakers. Here was this shy, quiet girl playing a heavy Hip Hop beat that she created, all by herself. It was at that moment they knew I meant business and I felt powerful. Silently powerful.
Turns out it wasn’t all that bad. All my fears about not being understood and being ignored soon reduced. The guys, they respected me. I guess my fighting spirit and willingness to learn made me worthy without having to change my personality in order to be noticed. I ended up making some great friends who are still my close friends to this day.
Although this experience definitely helped boost my confidence with producing, I still do find myself feeling wary and spotting the difference. Though your music may speak volumes, you are constantly reminded that you are an anomaly in this field. Producers meet ups? Room full of males. Technology classes? Class full of males. Award shows? Male recipients. So where are all the women?
There is no denying we are here. 2016 saw the domination of women in the charts, but what about behind the desk?Are we not getting credit for our production work? What can we do to break down this barrier?
Advice and Encouragement
Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers. I wish I did.
But what I can do is give you my words of encouragement.
Women. Girls. Sisters. You can do this. Just because you are female doesn’t mean you don’t have a place. Do you, girl. Show the world who you are. You, the Musician, You, the Singer. You, the Songwriter. You, the DJ. You, the Music Producer. Play every show like it’s your last. Make every track as though it’s going to be number one tomorrow. Smile. Collaborate not compete. Be passionate. Be inspired. Be inspiring.
Music has no gender.
Written by Alexis Michelle
For Aspire4U CIC,
The Mindset Lead Organisation
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