Atwood Magazine Celebrates Women’s History Month 2021, Pt. VIII

Atwood Magazine Celebrates Women's History Month VIII
Atwood Magazine Celebrates Women's History Month VIII
Just as the pandemic began in 2020, a wave of protest and calls for equity were the anthems of the year, leading to important conversations surrounding inclusivity and equitable treatment for LGBTQ+ communities, BIPOC communities, and women. Intersectionality must be front and center in these conversations, and those conversations must continue into 2021. Today, and throughout the month of March, Atwood Magazine will be continuing those conversations in celebration of Women’s History Month — including artists and publicists alike discussing the state of the music industry and its role in gender equity.
In Part VIII of our series, Atwood spoke with and highlighted 16 women in the industry, asking them to reflect on the ways misogyny can be combatted, how they perceive their place in the industry, and how we can choose to challenge the music industry for better representation.
Adrian Vargas, Managing Editor
Mariel Fechik, Junior Editor 
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Shanell Sharpe, Grace Aimi, Megan Freedman, Madison Hetterly (Indie Witches/Weird Sister Records), Jacklen Ro, VALÉ, Cat Clyde, Jetty Bones, NUUXS, FYA FOX, Michelle King (Noisy Ghost PR), Vákoum, MICHELLE, TAHNE, Olivia Rubini, and Mackenzie Shivers.
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:: Atwood Magazine Celebrates Women ::

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:: TAHNE ::

TAHNE © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

I don’t want to divide us in any way by race, gender, or belief. We shouldn’t limit each other or ourselves, so I want to give people a space to grow with me. We are all people. I believe in human empowerment and we need to up the people… all the people.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

Being a woman in any industry is a challenge. I’ve seen it in the music industry, my husband’s work, and all around me. It’s difficult because women are so powerful, but the music industry can be such a challenge because it can be about how you look, what you’re willing to do to stand out and you have to do more to be seen when others can do less. The best way to combat these challenges is by being true to who you are and what you believe in no matter the industry. The real change occurs within ourselves and when we work together we can overcome the issues of women’s equality in the industry. There are still going to be bad people in this world, but there are really good ones too, so I choose to surround myself with the good ones.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

If we strive to surround ourselves with great women, that’s a great place to start. I surround myself with empowering women who are brilliant thinkers, leaders, compassionate and kind. My whole team is made up of women. Few women lead the music industry and there are so many talented female songwriters who haven’t gotten their shot. By having more women behind music we would be increasing female support and representation, that is my challenge for the music industry.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

“Clarity” is my favorite song so far and will be available Friday, March 26. It showcases who I am, my journey, my voice, and what I’m capable of as well as what I have overcome. This is only the beginning and I am so excited to release this record.



:: MICHELLE :: 

MICHELLE © Sophia Wilson

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

Emma: We are still figuring out how we fit as a group in the larger scheme of things. But my hope is that where there are spaces we don’t seem to fit or places we aren’t allowed to fit – aren’t respected enough to fit – aren’t taken seriously enough to fit – we can shift the tides ourselves.

I hope the space we create is one of care and sensitivity, one of power and grace and pure badass-dom. I hope we can make a space where other women feel heard and seen and respected, one where we see ourselves in the choices we make. One where we are paid and unapologetic and completely ourselves. Sounds like a big ask today, but my hope is that we can carve a space that becomes a larger one – a norm and a standard that includes all women in the industry. This is not a new thought, and it’s gonna take everyone, so I’m grateful to follow and to continue this carving with the members of MICHELLE.

Layla: I want the space we make to be one free of expectation. I feel like women who fully embrace their fortitude or sentimentality or neutrality or sex appeal are believed to be inherently making some sort of statement. Yes, it’s radical to reject the patriarchal structures around us. But sometimes we just happen to be doing so whilst living our everyday lives. I want to see the myth dispelled that women – particularly the marginalized subsets of us – must constantly be making a political statement by the manner in which they are simply existing. We are so hyper-politicized as is, I just want to see younger girls doing whatever the fuck they want without having to protect or defend their joy. We should never ever feel as though we need to rationalize our being. I want men to stay the fuck out of our business

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

Jamee: In the past few years, we (the singers of MICHELLE) have dealt with our fair share of sexism in the music world. Men who try to patronize us, men who underestimate us, men who don’t believe us. Once at a concert, a man in the audience tried to complement Charlie and Julian’s songwriting, completely ignoring the fact that the women in MICHELLE are also songwriters. Even after we corrected him on his sexist assumption, he refused to believe that the singers of MICHELLE are also writers who actively contribute to the songwriting process. So, my advice to other artists who are women is that you can’t wait for others to believe in you. You have to know your worth, and you shouldn’t let other people’s opinions about your capabilities (musical or otherwise) phase you.

Emma: It’s painful that the conversation is still, “how do you avoid this, tips for survival” as opposed to full dismantlement or asking men, “why do you do this, what will you do to stop this.”

Advice to self and others is to trust your instinct and your power, stay true to your evolving self. Don’t wait, like Jamee said, show up believing in what you have to bring to the world every single day. Let’s stop apologizing and catering to a distorted version of comfort or of normalcy. Dress and speak and sing and create in the way that is true to what you want and believe in. It’s not for them, it’s for you

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

Sofia: I think there’s a lot of hesitation in actually recognizing how toxic the spaces are. There is a “bro” culture in music, especially in production and engineering. This then bleeds into the trends we hear, and the expectations for how music should sound. This is why Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters was impactful for me, because she completely changed the game in typical music production with that record, and I believe the reason it was not up for Album of the Year is because of standards set in place by white male producers who determined what “good production” is.

Layla: There’s a very simple way to increase representation and support for women in the industry – hire more women. If we platformed more women – cis women, trans women, queer women, black and brown women, women of all walks of life – we’d be spending more time doing the thing we’re all here to do and less time worrying about supporting ourselves. More women at the helm = men stepping back and making room at the forefront.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

Jamee: We recently collaborated with a Japanese artist for an “FYO” remix! We’re very excited to share this new version of FYO with the world, along with the lyric video for the remix.

Sofia: This album is full of my favorite MICHELLE songs to date. Very excited to share these.




:: FYA FOX ::

FYA FOX © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

I see myself as an artist in the industry not just a woman in the industry. My space is about speaking openly, I feel that’s when creativity has no boundaries.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

It can be so self-consuming getting caught up navigating around the industry’s obstacles, I like to let my music speak and for any women coming into the industry I would say, know who you are, what you and the music you make is about, and be confident with it. Also, be kind and you will find kindness among the madness!

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

Knowledge is power, if knowledge of the industry is not filtered down for others, especially women to see & understand, how can women step into a typically male role (like a producer for example) if they don’t know where to start. I feel the industry can be a closed circuit & opening up can help to support a more meaningful balance of representation.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

I’m excited to say I’ve been working on my next release, which will be out very soon! So keep watch for that! Also, depending on how the rest of the year looks, I would love to perform live and meet some fans.



:: NUUXS ::

NUUXS © Cara Kealy

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

The kind of space anyone needs to have in order to be creative is free space. To not be defined by one thing. I want to go beyond the boundaries of genre and continue to explore what I am capable of.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

The best way to combat this is to talk about it. Look to your close ones and people you trust to speak freely about what is distressing you. To speak out is combatting misogyny which can only flourish on your fear of feeling singled out. More people are on your side than you think but it takes someone brave to start the conversation. Choose to be the brave one.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

I feel women are the biggest supporters of women. It’s high time that women take the lead so we can see more representation at festivals and gigs. I’d like to see more female leaders in the music industry who will know what to look for and listen to what we need.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

Yes! I am releasing my debut album Heirloom September 3, 2021. I just released a single called “Our Love” as one of the singles from the album in February.



:: Jetty Bones ::

Jetty Bones © Lindsey Byrnes

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

I will always be quick to say that it has been easier for me to find a spot in my music scene than many other women, especially those in marginalized minority groups. Whatever platform I have, I just want to use it to build up and encourage inclusion for all of them, for all of us. It’s never been about making my own space, but always about creating one where everyone feels like they have a community in which they are absolutely crucial.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

Don’t be afraid to say what you’re feeling and what you’re thinking, especially if it comes from a place of fear. Your struggles are valid and relatable to more people than you’ll ever know. Every time we share our own encounters with the blatant sexism that exists in the music industry, you’re showing the next generation that they aren’t alone. When your position or authority is questioned, stay strong and OWN IT. Don’t let someone at the merch table ask you who you’re dating in the band. Don’t let the sound guy touch your rig or act like he knows your gear better than you. Wear whatever makes you feel awesome or hot or comfortable on stage. Oh, and feel free to put anyone who says “you’re really good… for a girl” in their place.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

There are a lot of amazing people in the music industry that support the feminist movement and want to use art as a means to empower women that have otherwise felt displaced in the culture that has been created around it. Likewise, there are people who still believe that “rock star life” is no place for a woman – which sounds too insanely outdated and awful to be true, right? Oh, they exist. There’s a consistent struggle for a lot of us, it’s a balance between wanting to be acknowledged as a woman to empower the younger generation and wanting to be recognized, booked, and appreciated solely for the art we create. Don’t bring a minority act on tour because you “have to have a woman” on the package – bring them out because you respect their art and hard work. There’s a fine line between being tokenized and being valued for what you’ve created. It’s not the responsibility of women to teach the suits this; if they want to keep up with the moves we are making, they need to take the time to actively pursue these conversations.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

I recently released my first full-length album on Rise Records in February. I’m always writing, but I’m taking this time to create an intentional community and dive into the subtle concepts of that record on my Patreon account. It’s really comforting to have a core group of people with whom I can openly discuss some of these deeply personal themes as we all process them together. Other than that, I’m just working a day job and trying to stay active on social media until touring comes back so that nobody thinks I’m dead.

:: Cat Clyde ::

Cat Clyde © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

A space where I can be myself and not have to feel as though I have to prove anything because I am a woman.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

I feel trying not to take anything personally is helpful especially when you’re dealing with men who treat you as a ‘canary’, or assume that you don’t have any skills or understanding of the industry/studio/music. Remember that you are enough, and you are here for a reason.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

Normalize more spacious seasons. By that I mean, as an artist we need time to write, produce, and record a record, time for rest and replenishment while on tour, time for rest after a tour. We could all give much more of our best if we weren’t constantly being pushed to overwork ourselves and pressured to be constantly creating with no time to let anything settle or rest.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

I am currently working on my third album, which I am taking my time with and enjoying immensely. I also recorded a duet cover record with my good friend Jeremie Albino, in my home studio which is set to be released in May.



:: Michelle King, Owner, Director of Publicity, Noisy Ghost PR ::

Michelle King © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

I have been successful and happy in my career for a decade yet still feel “less than” and am treated as such. I hope for all women in the music industry that they are able to thrive without gender holding them back.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

Be fierce. Don’t let imposter syndrome get the best of you. Be vocal about what you believe in and care about things that matter, not what’s charting. Make the music you love, champion the artists that inspire you, share your art.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

It isn’t only the music industry that needs to change, so this is a big question.



:: VALÉ ::

VALÉ © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?
I want, as most women probably want, a loud and powerful voice in the world, that I can use in order to spread positivity, love, and kindness. I believe that in a society as cruel as the one we are living in today there is a desperate need of kind voices and thoughts, and that is who I want to be. I also want to become a respected artist, someone who is not judged by their gender, but by their art.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

I haven’t faced direct issues that have to do with misogyny yet, but when I do face them, I will most likely find the high road in the situation. If a man tried to belittle my work, tries to ridicule me, or any situation of that sort, I will simply feel sorry for him, and not waste any good energy on the situation, it’s not worth it. I guess that my advice for women who are just coming into the industry would be that you will find people that will try to go over you and try to silence you because of your gender, and this is not something you should tolerate. I think the easiest way to ‘fight’ a situation like that would be, as I said, just taking the high road.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

I think the music industry is being challenged every single day by women. Every day a woman breaks a new record, gets a song on the charts, and completely kills their work. I think the biggest challenge I could put up against the industry would be to keep working no matter the obstacles that get in my way. I think it’s sadly expected to see a woman give up or shy away from her work when she is being oppressed, my goal is to challenge that and overcome that in healthy ways.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

I am so very excited for what’s coming next in my career. I will be dropping a new song and music video featuring Kat Dahlia, a badass artist. Working with her was so very empowering, she’s been in the industry for way longer than I have, so she was constantly encouraging me and making me feel very comfortable on set, and she killed her verse on the song too! I can’t wait for everyone to hear this sick track!!




:: Jackie Giroux (Jacklen Ro) ::

Jacklen Ro © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

Safe and empowering.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

Well, personally, I grew up with three brothers, so I was lucky enough to see myself as an equal to men at a young age. I feel like I hold myself with confidence and in turn that is combat in itself to any attacks on my gender. And my only advice would be to empower other women because when you see yourself as a supporter of other women you put yourself in a place of already having your needs met.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

I would just continue striving to achieve my goals and supporting other women to achieve theirs.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

Jacklen Ro is putting out our first EP with Lolipop Records I think on March 27 and we’re also headed back to the studio to record our new single “forget it all.”



 :: Megan Freedman ::

Megan Freedman © Selina Photography

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

I want to create a space for myself and other women that gives women the same room for creativity as it does men. Women in the industry are often expected to look, perform, and act a certain way to sell music. We are held to different and sometimes impossible standards compared to our male colleagues and our own creativity isn’t often as celebrated as it should be.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

Misogyny is something that every woman has come across in their careers. About a year or so ago I was told that two music venues in my own community would not hire me because I was a woman. The first one specifically said that they don’t usually book a lot of women for their shows and the second venue that I had previously performed in three times said he didn’t want to book me again because I’m too girly. When another venue in my community wanted to start a women’s only jam, the guys in town said that there wouldn’t be anyone actually playing instruments, that it would be a karaoke night, or that they would come to just make fun of the women performing. Because of these very expected instances of sexism, I started the Ladies of the Okanagan Singer/Songwriter Showcase designed to shift the focus on women in my community and honour their own work. It is a safe space and of the two LOTO events that I have organized and hosted, we have had a large variety of genres and performances. A third event was unfortunately cancelled by COVID but I intend to keep promoting women in my community and organizing these events once the restrictions are lifted.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

I think what is important, yet maybe not what makes you popular, is being your authentic self. Representation is definitely getting better but there is so much room for improvement still. We see artists like Billie Eilish, who refused to dress or act in a certain way to avoid being overly sexualized, but she is heavily scrutinized for her alternative style. Lizzo is challenging beauty standards by being unapologetically herself as well. We should be able to make and perform music without being body-shamed or forced into a specific musical mode. My music may not be as commercial or conventional as most of what is heard on Top 40 but I am being real and authentic to myself as an artist. I don’t make music to be popular but to be myself. I think by staying true to ourselves and not conforming, we are fighting the patriarchy every day.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

April 8, 2021, I will be releasing a new single called “King of Hearts.” This song is a breakup song, but it is not necessarily a “broken hearts” song. “King of Hearts” channels all of the incredible and strong women in music who paved the way for me, such as Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, and Taylor Swift. Without all of the incredible women who took on the music industry, I wouldn’t be able to make my own music.

:: Grace Aimi ::

Grace Aimi © Capitol Records

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

When I got these questions, I happened to be sitting with my mother and grandmother and I asked them what their opinions are about each question. My grandmother’s answer was so simple, yet it really resonated with me. She said “Just sing your heart out and make people happy and be happy.” I’ve honestly never deeply thought about what it means to be a woman in the music industry, and as corny as it sounds I just want to create a space where I can stay genuine to myself while spreading some love and happiness in the world.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

I’ve been trying my best to remain true to myself by refusing to let people put me in boxes or categories. From the start, I’ve made it very clear that I am myself and not what someone wants me to be. Being raised with Japanese culture was very beautiful but it could be very restrictive and misogynistic at times. Building a circle of strong-willed, progressive, open-minded, supportive, and passionate people around you is the best way to keep the negativity out and let your positivity flourish.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

As I grow as a person, a woman, and in success, I would hope that I can use my influence to help expand the platform that further empowers women, their thoughts and ideas. I love seeing that we are already moving in the right direction. A lot of my personal heroes are and have been women in the industry and I’m just happy to be able to join them and inspire others as well. The industry has become more open to women and we are here to stay.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

I’m going to be dropping a song every month and I have my first EP coming out in April. With every project, I’m working with some of my closest friends so I’m excited for my supporters to see and feel the viiiiiibes. Coming from Okinawa, which is a 70-mile island in southern Japan, I’m just geeked that I can share a bit of myself with you.



:: Shanell Sharpe ::

Shanell Sharpe © Oscar Ouk

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

An untouchable one. Powerful one. Inspiring one. One that opens doors for all to come. There’s been a glass ceiling for a lot of women for a long time. I believe I’m a part of the movement that is breaking through that.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

I’ve always remained myself no matter who I’m around. I stay confident even in the midst of uncertainty. I don’t compromise my standards. Advice I have for women just coming in is….be unapologetically yourself. Never stop…regardless of the circumstances. Trust the process. The journey is the destination.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

Stop only selling sex.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

Most definitely. I just recently released my first tape entitled Shanell’s Diaries. It’s on all platforms now and I’m extremely proud of it. It’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever gotten in my career thus far. I’ve also developed an App called Sharpe-Mindset that teaches Social-Emotional Learning to secondary school students through music, poetry, and other forms of creative expression.



:: Vákoum ::

Vákoum © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

A space where gender is not a question or an obstacle and the music is the highlight. To be respected as individuals that bring quality work, period. Women have been conditioned to believe they aren’t capable enough. We want to continue changing the pattern and break these old belief systems in order to achieve a true and healthy gender balance.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

Don’t ever feel intimidated. ask questions, ask and solve when you know the answer. Do not stay quiet in the back, matter. Learn to fail and take compliments humbly. Be human, loving, strong and keep an eye out for the vulnerable ones, guide and share your knowledge. Do not sell yourself short. Say yes when it feels right and follow your instinct and say no when you know it isn’t right.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

Continue building communities that are designed to inspire and educate women about the nature of the industry and its flaws. It’s imperative that we maintain a consistent inclusive discussion around equality where all voices are heard. If there is only 5% of female producers in the industry now, we can drastically move towards equality by inspiring more women into the studio. To instill more curiosity rather than fear or lack of trust. By being more exposed to these male-dominated environments, women can finally start realizing that they belong and mostly, that they are needed just as much as men are.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

We just released our debut albumrecently. Currently, we’re working on our live set. We will be making some live videos in a few weeks and continue writing new music.



:: Madison Hetterly, Founder, Editor-In-Chief, Music Manager, Indie Witches/Weird Sister Records ::

Madison Hetterly © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

My hope and dream is that other women can enter into a space, whether it is a recording studio, music venue, record label, management company, etc., and see themselves reflected in those positions of power. We as an industry need to keep challenging and speaking up for inclusive and safe spaces in music where women, trans, non-binary and BIPOC people are respected and not taken advantage of. The reason I started Indie Witches was to carve out a space where the women and non-binary artists I believe in are given the platform they deserve. I think we are a long way from where we need to be, but I think things are starting to move in the right direction which makes me excited to see what the future brings for women in music!

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

There are a lot of creeps out there and men who will use their positions of power for the wrong reasons. I think my advice for other women who are entering the industry is to know your worth and your power!! Even if you are a smaller artist who is just breaking into the industry, you are a human being who deserves respect ALWAYS. People will try to dismiss you and make you feel small but you are not. Reach out to other women in the industry, work with people who uplift you, and create a community around you who you trust – it makes the world of a difference!

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

I would challenge the music industry to not be afraid of change! There is power and beauty in diversity and it is something that should be embraced rather than feared. I am so thrilled to announce that this Spring Deanna DiLandro and I are launching a women-run record label and collective, Weird Sister, which will consistently strive to create a safer space for women, trans and non-binary artists in the music industry. One of my favorite quotes by Warren Adams states, “If you want to understand the illusion of inclusion you simply have to look at the numbers, they don’t lie.” Keep listening to people who are different than you, use your voice to speak up against injustice, and never stop learning!



:: Olivia Rubini ::

Olivia Rubini © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

For myself as an artist, I would ideally like to carve out a space where I can create anything I envision without any restrictions, whether it be records, performances, or visuals. As an ambitious, independent woman, I flourish when I’m given the freedom to express myself candidly, as I have with my album Silhouettes; I hope to maintain this sort of creative freedom for myself well into the future. I want to leave all options, opportunities, genres, & directions open without limiting myself in any way. For my audience, I would love my space to be a place of security, where they can listen to my music to process any emotion or situation they may be going through. I want to be naturally relatable in a way that makes people gravitate to the authenticity of my music as an escape; this space is made for everyone.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

I think the key to combating misogyny is unapologetic confidence; the confidence to stand up for yourself (& your vision) & to maintain strength in your own pursuits on your own terms is priceless. Don’t be afraid to be particular, strong-willed, and ambitious, just like your male counterparts. I also think having the courage to unapologetically stand by your ideas is a huge aspect of combatting misogyny in the music industry; knowing that your creative intuition is valuable is essential. Also, if you can help it, prioritize keeping well-intentioned people around you, both men & women. Having a support system within the musical sphere & outside that sphere is significant when discovering that confidence & self-certainty in yourself as a woman & in your creative ideas.

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

I would love to see more women in engineering/producing positions, especially when working with female artists. Although I’ve been fortunate to not experience misogyny in the studio, I think a majority of female artists encounter some form of direct or indirect misogyny when working with men who may trounce their ideas or opinions due to unequal power dynamics. I think placing women in positions of power and authority, whether in the studio or on the corporate level, is a significant necessity for challenging such a male-dominated industry. There are so many talented female engineers/producers in the world of music & I would love for their talent to be brought to the forefront of the industry in a way that challenges the traditional norms of creative power & value.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

I just released my debut album, Silhouettes at the end of January so I’m currently doing a lot of livestreaming and social media performances (since there are no in-person shows for the foreseeable future). I’ve been so excited to share this album for quite a while so finally being able to share the songs and visuals with my audience has been so overwhelming and positive; I’m very grateful for the lovely responses to the album thus far. While I’m working on promoting this album, I’m actively writing new music & planning the release of some visuals/music video(s), so stay on the lookout! I’m very active on social media as well so any updates on new releases, shows, or additional content will be featured there!



:: Mackenzie Shivers ::

Mackenzie Shivers © 2021

What kind of space do you want to carve out for yourself as a woman in this industry?

An inclusive, supportive space.

Misogyny can be so insidious in the music world. What are some ways you've been able to combat it and what kind of advice would you offer to women who are just coming into the industry?

Work hard, know your worth, know you belong, take up space!

How would you challenge the music industry in order to increase meaningful representation and provide better support for women?

We need to diversify the music industry from those who work as producers to engineers to record execs to studio heads to session musicians. But for this to happen, it’s important to recognize that feminism must focus on basic needs for all people. For example, basic living wages. I just read Mikki Kendall’s book Hood Feminism where she discusses this, and it was very eye-opening! So for starters, hire women! Hire women from diverse backgrounds! Pay us fairly! Being paid a living wage means access to education, food, health care, which are all feminist issues. We cannot achieve equality in the music industry or anywhere else without recognizing this.

Lastly, what are you working on currently? Anything coming down the pipeline you’re excited to share with fans?

My forthcoming album Rejection Letter comes out April 2! I’m really excited to share it with everyone.



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