“I’ve Dedicated My Life to Fighting the Patriarchy”: An Essay by Nicole Moudaber for Women’s History Month

Nicole Moudaber © 2023
Nicole Moudaber © 2023
In honor of Women’s History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of essays reflecting on identity, music, culture, inclusion, and more.
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Today, Nigerian-born, British Lebanese artist Nicole Moudaber shares her essay, “I’ve Dedicated My Life to Fighting the Patriarchy,” as a part of Atwood Magazine’s Women’s History Month series. A singular presence in the music world, Moudaber has been smashing perceptions in dance music since the beginning of her career in nightlife by throwing parties in Beirut. Coming into 2023, she has lots in store – including the debut of her InTheMood stage takeover at Ultra Music Festival in Miami this March, InTheMood presents headlining show at Knockdown Center in NYC April 1, and an ongoing international tour. Look for her latest single “Intentionally” alongside “Intentionally (Carl Cox Remix),” out now.
Says Moudaber, “If there’s one thing I hope to achieve in my career, it’s to encourage women to forget about the limitations imposed upon us, and get out there and make your mark on music.”
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Stream: “Intentionally” – Nicole Moudaber

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Intentionally - Nicole Moudaber

by Nicole Moudaber

Ever since I can remember, men have told me what I can and can’t do. Music is my way of rejecting that.

“I was born into a world where men rule.

My parents are Lebanese and I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, where my father had a thriving construction business. Ever since I was young I wanted to be part of it but I was always told, “No. This business isn’t for women.”

When I was 14, we moved from Lagos to Beirut. It was in the midst of war and it was all because of men. With every bomb that dropped, a male ego exploded. You’d think my freedom would be limited because of this war, but my friends and I partied anyway refusing to let the violence get in the way of our lives.

When I was 20 I went to London to study. That’s where I got a taste for real freedom. There I could wear what I want, say what I want, do what I want. Some friends introduced me to London’s underground and I spent my weekends neck-deep in the clubs of Vauxhall, warehouses of Hackney and parties of Shoreditch.

When I returned to Beirut, I told my father I do not want to be a banker or a lawyer. I want to be a promoter. He smiled dismissively.  A few months later I threw my first party Trashy Renaissance and everything changed. Jews, Druze, Christians and Muslims all came to dance under the stars. It sold out and it was all anyone could talk about. After that, a tobacco brand sponsored us to throw a party in their name and I made more money that I’d ever seen before in my life.

So I put it all in a trash bag and dumped it in front of my parents. When my father saw it, he must’ve thought – “perhaps business is for women.”

Nicole Moudaber
Nicole Moudaber © 2023

Everything I’ve achieved in my life since then has the same purpose: to show the patriarchy that I can do anything a man can do and better. In 2002, I started my own night at Turnmills called Soundworx. In 2003, I built a house in Ibiza. In 2007, I started producing and in 2009, I started DJing. I was able to bring my International Dance Music Award home to my father in 2012, just before he passed away. I told him I was making the Moudaber name international and he told me he was proud.

In many ways, my experience in the music industry has been reflective of my own personal story. I can’t count the number of occasions I’ve received emails asking me to play a festival because they need to “balance the line up.” Just as my father gatekept his business, men in dance music gatekeep the industry. That’s why it was so important to me to launch my MOOD label and event series in 2016, so I could be the one calling the shots.

I’ve dedicated my life to fighting the patriarchy in everything that I do. I am always looking for new female DJs and producers to promote and I support several women’s charities. But we still have such a long way to go. Yes, we’re seeing more women on line-ups, but are we creating spaces where women feel welcome, comfortable and safe? Every year I make my International Women’s Day mix, and every year I am shocked by the lack of female producers. It’s a systemic issue that comes from years of being told “this business isn’t for women.”

So if there’s one thing I hope to achieve in my career, it’s to encourage women to forget about the limitations imposed upon us, and get out there and make your mark on music. – Nicole Moudaber

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:: connect with Nicole Moudaber here ::
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Stream: “Intentionally” – Nicole Moudaber

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Intentionally - Nicole Moudaber

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