Enough with the la­bels! Letme just get on with mak­ing mu­sic

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

First and fore­most, I think of my­self as a mu­si­cian, but I’m not of­fended by the ti­tle “fe­male mu­si­cian”. I’m both, af­ter all. Mu­sic can be gen­dered, but in re­al­ity there are cer­tain roles that you don’t of­ten see filled by women in mu­sic, so it can lend it­self to judg­ment.

I can’t say women in mu­sic have more to prove be­cause, per­son­ally, I wouldn’t know. Ask me again in a year or two. So far all the peo­ple I’ve worked with have never shown any gen­der-based judge­ment of me or my mu­sic.

Once in the stu­dio af­ter strug­gling with a vo­cal take and bat­tling with los­ing my voice, I cried. Jimmy Eadie, who was work­ing with me on the al­bum, said “Oh, I for­got you were a girl”.

I think that, ini­tially, we are all judged on ap­pear­ance and of Gear­ailt, from the band Half­set, played harp with me for a while be­cause she’s a great harper.

I think gen­der will al­ways be rel­e­vant, but po­lar­is­ing it in terms of mu­si­cian­ship would be se­vere. As in, “women make bet­ter key­board play­ers” and “men bet­ter gui­tarists”. I feel re­laxed about be­ing fe­male and a mu­si­cian.

I worked as a live sound en­gi­neer and I didn’t come across many women in that pro­fes­sion. I’ve worked in a lot of venues where tour­ing bands bring their own en­gi­neer. It would sur­prise me when they were fe­male, but it never sur­prised me when they were great at their job.

I’ve had neg­a­tive/sex­ist ex­pe­ri­ences as a sound en­gi­neer. Once, while work­ing in a smaller venue, a tour­ing en­gi­neer ar­rived with a band and asked where the was al­most au­di­ble, but over the years I’ve learned to ig­nore that stuff and also not to won­der where it’s com­ing from. I think it would be wrong of me to pre­sume that some­one is wor­ried about my abil­i­ties be­cause I’m fe­male.

Any­way, by the end of this gig the guy in ques­tion pat­ted me on the bum with a “good job!” Now if that’s not sex­ist I don’t know what is!

Much has been made of the fact that there are a lot of high-pro­file women in mu­sic at the mo­ment, but I feel women have al­ways been well rep­re­sented in mu­sic. Grow­ing up, a lot of the most in­flu­en­tial artists for me were fe­male, such as Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Mary Mar­garet O’Hara and Stina Nor­den­stam. Also bands such as Fleet­wood Mac, Talk­ing Heads The Vel­vet Un­der­ground to me New­som writer f gen­der 14). She nk it oup her nder ne. I’d rather ut r artists I an, Owen ver. True mu­sic. ting which I on. I also et-up.

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