“If you want to be somewhere, you have to take it.”


“If you want to be somewhere, you have to take it.”

It’s not news that female engineers and music producers lack music. Historically, studios have rarely seen women outside the reception area, or at the box office, at the venue. As “the art of making records magazine” in 2012, a report suggests such dialogue about the gender imbalance in music production for decades in – almost didn’t make any progress. According to the report, although the conversation going, but about why “popular music of music industry production in most of its history, has become a reality” of men, and women in the actual experience of how the industry.

“When I started working in 1986, it took me at least four or five years to see another woman doing the same job,” says Karrie Keyes, who has been monitoring engineers at Pearl Jam for more than 25 years. “And then after four or five years, I saw another one, and I had no role model, and I didn’t have any comment on the people who were in the audience.”

Keyes is the executive director of SoundGirls, a nonprofit she co-founded in 2013 to “empower the next generation of voice women.” The goal of SoundGirls is to set up an audio network of professional women and provide examples for workshops, seminars and training courses related to global audio.

“I always have this attitude, and at some point, women do it,” case said. “The first step is: this is a viable career choice. Is it a woman’s face? It’s important to see a face, or you’ll never think you can do it, and you need to see more than just one.

That is changing, however. Producers and engineers, such as Linda perry (pink, Christina aguilera), Sylvia (tools, red pepper) and Catherine Marcy mark (killer, Wolf Alice), mastering engineer mandy parnell (bjork, XX) and Emily lazar Fighters, Sia) has been more than 20 years in the game. Then there is the new competition school, where women in their 20s and early 30s help develop a new paradigm. For example, producers Jennifer Day, Beth Ditto, and engineer Suzy Shinn. At discos) and Dani Spragg (Noel Gallagher). This year the music producers association awards in the UK were nominated for 25 per cent of women.

Dani spragg-21 was a comprehensive engineer at Hoxa HQ in London – agreed. Ms. Sprague says that many young women today may not necessarily default to male role models, but the female role models in audio are not always easy. “In terms of audio, not many women aspire to be,” sprague said. “In every project I do, I have always been the most young people, is also the only woman, this two things gives you the opportunity, but this is a very hard work, can be a very difficult work environment. “.

For young women who may not have a clear role model, music education can be an exploratory starting point and finding place. The New Orleans Electric Girl is a technology-driven program for young women that provides an example of education — and the challenges of sustainable development. In the first few years of the group, it often brought summer camp participants to the studio at loyola university in New Orleans. This provides a window for a world that has not experienced these teenagers before. “They like it,” says Maya Ramos, the co-founder and chief coach of Electric Girl, who is also a music student at Loyola and a piano player in several bands in the region.

“We recorded them in the studio, and it was exciting and hands-on, so it attracted them,” she continued. “They didn’t know it was a profession and a possibility for them, and as the girls grew up, we didn’t have the resources to continue taking them to the studio, so we had to turn it off. Work and see what it means to be a musician in the studio, and the interest immediately disappears. “

The “electric girl” experience of the peak and crash of young women shows that the lack of a studio environment may be the main reason for the low number of women in the field. As ramos and her colleagues can see, once the girls to interact with the studio, and their enthusiasm is the moment – but if there is no actual participation, the enthusiasm will not be able to continue.

In 2012, the BBC news reported that the number of female students in the field of production and engineering was low, on the grounds that the proportion of girls was 10 boys. When Beth McGowan earned her degree in the 1990s, she was the only woman to study the sound of the scene. McGowan is now a 10-year veteran of music production and event management at the shrewsbury college in England, who has worked in the acoustic industry for many years. Since the beginning of teaching, she has seen her influence on female students in the classroom.

“It was purely as a female teacher, and because I was actually there and did it, our course attracted more women,” she said. “I have a lot of female students who want to be sound engineers, and before they take my course, they’re not sure what they want to do in this industry.”

Sally gross, chief lecturer at the music mba programme at Westminster university in London, has also seen the ability of young female students to have female teachers. In May 2016, she conducted a long weekend of women-only lock studios, which she called “let’s change the record.” In a report on the initiative, Mr Gross said her intention was to address the problem of underrepresentation in the music industry, with a focus on producing the least representative sector.

“The majority of women entering the studio experience are not in a female environment,” gross said. “Writing songs and recording the starting point is a very important space, we can very clearly see the female’s absence, the idea is to subvert the idea, by ensuring that each person and each participant was involved in the teaching, change the environment in the studio studio are women, if you want to be somewhere, you have to take it. ”

That’s what Suzy Shinn did during the summer vacation from music college in Berkeley. Shinn a studio in Los Angeles during the internship, not only invested a lot of time in absorbing information, but also engaged in all kinds of dirty work, in the recording and learning music software program between coffee and clean toilets. Soon, Shinn won a permanent position as the in-house engineer of producer and songwriter Jake Sinclair, who provided control for Fall Out Boy, Train, Lea Michele and Dua Lipa.

Getting a position like Shinn is an impressive feat; It was the result of years of hard work and part of her pioneering female heritage. However, as Shinn admits, walking into the house does not necessarily solve all the problems women face in production and engineering.

“You have to keep going, you have to pay your dues,” she said. “All my role models are men, but I see more women, my twentysomething contemporaries, getting into engineering. I know I have a lot of work because I am a female, producer or song writer or artist, meeting the creatives are usually male, they want a girl in the room – even if it is usually a boy’s club. ”

“I don’t think I’ve worked for my gender,” she clarified. “Have more opportunity to appear, because one of the girls in the room is very unusual, I think I will be in the meeting, because I am good at what I do, and I’m sure a few hour over, not just a girl. ”

Many of these women also believe that personality plays a role in the success of the studio. They often feel the need to downplay the more stereotypical female characters in their personalities and be taken seriously by the studio artists and other men. They also point out that they often believe that women have to work harder to be as talented as male producers and engineers.

“Women start out better than men,” McGowan said. “I think I have to prepare for [female students]… You must be a mile better than the boy.

“Women have to work ten times harder to get recognition,” Keyes agrees. But, she says, the fact that studio technology is becoming more widespread is good for women who are interested in the work. “Like a lot of people who work in the audio, I have some want to be the desire of the musicians, technological change is one of the most important, because anyone who are interested can have records and mixing tools.”

Jennifer Decilveo, who started as a songwriter, works in a similar way in the studio. She spent about 10,000 hours painstakingly teaching herself the rudiments of playing so that she could eventually write and record her songs, which led to her entry into production and engineering. “Most of the artists I want to work with are not working with songwriters, just producers,” she said. “I mainly from YouTube learned all things, all of these learning tools can be used, cheap or free, all of these learning accessibility, music will change the role of these (gender).”

When she was in the industry, McGowan said, she saw improvements in women – but there were still problems. In 1990, when she decided to show her degree in a live recording, she was told it was not a real job for girls. “It’s still a problem for me,” she said. “Not as much as it was 25 years ago, but it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Shinn, agreed. In 2009, when sinn applied to Berkeley music as music production and engineering major, she encountered a similar attitude. She was told she couldn’t do it because it was the most difficult major in the school. She applied in anyway, only met: “who do you contact?” Whether it’s time there, or working in the studio.

“Sometimes I think, ‘I’ve been dealing with this for 20 years,'” McGowan said. “Other times, I think, ‘it’s better to be very good at what you do, so no one can criticize’.”

However, many of McGowan’s colleagues are really helping to support more network-soundgirls or Bay Area female audio mission-creating a scaffold in the studio to support future women. When women see other women in this environment, it is likely to encourage them to enter and explore their possibilities. And have the opportunity to come into contact with other women working in the field of network, they can ask questions and provide Suggestions to them, which changes the paradigm, that women are more likely to enter the industry.

“When I first started, I was young and naive, and I didn’t want to have more,” sinn admitted. “Now everyone is more respectful, perhaps because I have a resume and a catalogue, or because The Times are changing.”

“In an environment like this, teenage girls feel comfortable, and more men are used to having a girl there and adjusting to their behavior,” McGowan points out. “People are now more aware of, when I first started, I have to ignore all comments about women, you have to give it up, or you will be seen as do great things, but today you have to stand up. “


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