You might be sick of this question, but it bears asking: Did you find any challenges in getting ahead as a woman in the male-dominated electronic dance music industry? What advice, if any, do you have for other budding female artists aspiring for your level of success?
Well, let’s start with mentorship, a thing that men have the privilege of being able to take for granted. Male producers have built-in mentoring in the form of peers that look like them. Only recently, did I even have other female friends that produced. I sure didn’t have a bunch of homegirls I could work with when I didn’t know how to turn on my computer. That may not seem like it’s a big deal, but it is. A lack of mentorship is one of the reasons we have less women in technical fields generally. And then when I found a male mentor, that tutelage has been read over and over again as me “needing” the help of a man, instead of me learning from a more experienced producer like 90-percent of the male producers do with another male.
We have a whole culture that tells women they aren’t logical or technical, and when women try to gain those skills from teachers, we tell them that their need for mentorship is somehow different because they’re women. It’s crap. And the lack of role models seemingly offers proof that this massive damaging lie is true.
And then on the other hand, there’s this whole idea that beauty and youth are somehow a professional qualification of being a woman in the entertainment industry. But if you’re too young or pretty, that’s bad too. It’s completely crazy, and it stops women from even asking the question: do I want to make music? In Resident Advisor’s list of the top tracks of 2012, you know how many women made the cut? None. Not one. And it’s because women very rarely produce in the first place. It’s not that RA was conspiring to keep women off the list. There’s a whole insane system that stops women before they even start.
The worst part is that we’re missing out on women’s stories. All of those songs. We don’t get to hear them. Imagine pop music, or film, or dance with hardly any women. Terrible. My advice is be exceptional, develop a thick skin, and lift up other women.
— From an interview with The Black Madonna