On June 1, 2015, Titan Music Group, LLC published the Austin Music Census, a thorough and data-driven assessment on the music industry in Austin, Texas. The data revealed that 68% of musicians were making under $10,000 while about 20 percent were living below the poverty line. The census also revealed that of 2,627 completed responses, 80% were male and 20% were female.
While we all cannot live in a 50/50 world in certain professions (wait, we can), this struck my interest as a musician and as a person having faith in the general female population. Well, what were the actual figures? How was this conducted? Are the numbers true? Does it matter? While it is up for further debate, it seems that the notion of more women marching into male-dominated professions is still new to people and also a cause for “longer talks.” Even if the numbers are true, it motivated me to showcase a number of female musicians in a wide variety of genres.
Let’s take a look at the numbers, first. The three categories used to measure the quantitative data in Austin were: musicians, music industry entrepreneurs and employees, and live music venues. Therefore, this survey also included artist managers, nonprofit organizations, music production workers, venue owners, and ancillary music business personnel.
- 3,968 total survey respondents in all three categories
- 2,627 actually completed it
- 1584 of the completed respondents are musicians
- 20% of the completed responses for musicians are female (316) while 80% of the completed responses for working musicians are male (1267)
- In addition, a write-in section was included, for a total of 1,501 respondents
- Appendix IV on page 109 shows the numbers were adjusted to females at 380 (still 20.3%) and males at 1493 (79.7%)
- With all three categories combined and numbers adjusted on page 91, females were at 29.5% (928) and males at 70.5% (2213)
- In the music industry stats, females were polled at 44.8% and males at 55.2%
Ph.D. candidate for Ethnomusicology at UCLA and Mood Media Music Designer, Amy Frishkey, commented on these figures:
“It is telling that the 70.5% male-to-29.5% female ratio of the 2,627 completed responses to the Census is fairly close to the 79.7% male-to-20.3% female ratio of the portion of respondents who identified as “Musicians,” Frishkey said. “Musicians comprise the majority of respondents at approximately 60%. Assuming that the Titan Music Group canvassed their Census as far and wide as they claim, it would seem that the wide gap within these ratios is a fair gender representation of Austin’s income-earning musician base, unfortunate as it is.”
Frishkey also highlights the last bullet listed above – that in the music industry section, women make between $25,000 and $75,000 a year and poll at 44.8%, almost in equal percentage to males. This was referenced in a Texas Monthly article by Dan Solomon, published immediately following the Census release.
“In other words, the sector of the Austin music scene with ostensibly the highest number of female participants is as lucrative as most other job sectors in Austin, ” Frishkey said. “Thus, the earning power of a large number of women in the scene is encouraging.”
I reached out to several women to get their opinion on not only the Census and promotion, but also on their own personal experiences as a musician in Austin, Texas. Also, I asked about their perspectives resolving gender disparity, if in agreement that it exists or if that generates any thoughts at all. I used these three categories to not only celebrate the many talented women in the capital city, but also to continue spreading awareness.
A Survey of Creatives
Artist and Entrepreneur at Dirty Bizness Entertainment
As a hip-hop artist, there aren’t many of us being promoted. Hip-hop is definitely male dominated. If you go harder than them, they don’t want you on their show. It’s very rare that male hip-hop artists embrace females that are there to just spit lyrics.
When I first got to Austin, it was tricky. Most didn’t know exactly how to receive me because I don’t look like your average female. Some guys are very open and accepting and treat me like a little sister. Others, not so much. It’s the same with the female artists as well. I’ve honestly only found one female hip hop artist here that doesn’t have a feeling about getting on the mic with me.
[We need] more females throwing our own shows and not depending on males to put us on. If we had more control, we could provide more exposure for more female artists.
Singer and Guitarist for Dawn & Hawkes
Indie Folk, Americana
There have been and continue to be quite a lot of influential female musicians in Austin. I think Austin’s radio, journalism, and listeners tend to be supportive of both men and women with their promotion and recognition. Some phenomenally talented musicians go unrecognized still, and could use more community support and listeners, but I don’t think it is gender based.
I grew up here in Austin surrounded by its musical culture. My musical style has formed out of the influences of great musician both male and female, who I’ve been able to watch up close and personal at Austin’s legendary venues. I’m inspired by the women who’ve graced these stages before me, as I am by my contemporaries out there continuing to make new music and thrive in this city’s changing atmosphere.
These days, folks are coming to Austin for more than good music, good vibe, and good tacos. They are coming to be a part of Austin’s booming tech field and real estate investment opportunities as well as the chance to be a part of building a boom town which several creative entrepreneurs are jumping on. Music is part of Austin’s long held culture, but culture changes and it takes a village of supporters to preserve and model traditions and values so that they do not fall by the wayside.
I think musicians male and female are finding ways to survive and adapt to Austin’s changing culture. Non-profits such as HAAM, SIMS, and Black Fret are key to maintaining, supporting, and continuing to grow the city’s artistic community.
Singer and Guitarist for The Harms
Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock
I would be shocked if everyone didn’t say “are you joking?” [Women] are not receiving a focus, period. It’s not just Austin. You know, if you’re not a model, people will see that you can’t do anything, and one of my goals has always been to not fit that mold. I started playing cello at 3rd grade. Music is my life, it’s not a hobby or something I do because I need attention. So it’s a state of mind, and yeah, I definitely think that when a woman has a guitar or something, they are assuming that she is going to be playing folk music. There are so many stereotypes.
I make enemies by speaking the truth sometimes. It’s not ideal, but yeah, I think in Texas, you’re going to lean even more toward the men. And the women – “oh this ruckus woman” – if you’re like a rock person or someone who’s not doing something soft, there’s that assumption that you’re on that other end of the spectrum.
[On women in folk], of course they are doing well, because they fit in. They have a band and they are all male, and the pearl, the woman up front, is not making any waves, you’re fine, you’re going to do great. The formula is written. I mean, think about it, from Bonnie Raitt on the blues spectrum all the way to Patti Smith…anyone that is doing anything even slightly off the script, it’s like “how fat is she, how big is she, how smart is she, does she look like a model, is her hair straight”, and if she’s black, forget it.
I started The Harms in 2012 as kind of like a super group, and my idea came from my former producer, Ikey Owens, who sadly has passed away, and was a great friend and mentor. So, I listened to him when he told me to start a band, and he was right because what came out was stuff I really wanted to do. The Harms was doing well because of that.
So my experience with that recently is to stick to your vision and not really look at things. Do what you want. When we get reviews, they say, “wow this is a sound that’s not normally out of Texas,” and that makes us stand out. We also aren’t well into “stripped down”. The people in rock are getting attention by wearing fucking panties. I’m not going to do that! Not only am I a rock ‘n’ roll prude, I feel like my center of gravity is always going to be the art. So I don’t fucking need to feel it like that. So that’s where I come from in general as a musician and a performer.
So holding myself to the same standard as guys, you know…it starts from here. Because I feel like women give themselves a path sometimes, not to play that well. “You know well I’m a girl, I’m just being in their band, they are lucky to have me in the band.” That’s bullshit. If you act equal, you might be treated equal. Come in and destroy everyone that played that night! Come in and cut with confidence that you want to have, even if you have to project that confidence, and then all of a sudden it’s there. A lot of the women I have worked with say that’s almost why they want to be there. They write the music, but then they feel like they can be themselves.
Music Designer at Mood Media
Ph.D. Candidate, Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles
The male dominance of sound design (live and recorded) in Austin that I’ve noticed in the course of attending shows and working regularly with audio engineers obviously reflects the global trend, and this has caught my attention more than a disparity in the gender of performers. I am also struck by the ease with which my male industry peers converse about their areas of musical expertise, whereas many women decline to assert themselves in that manner even though the job success they reliably demonstrate depends on such expertise.
Even fewer assert themselves as supporters of women in music. Thankfully, I know a few glaring exceptions, like Deidre Gott, who currently books and produces live music acts at acclaimed local station KUTX (98.9 FM). During her stint as host of 101X’s Homegrown Live concert series, she co-presented an International Women’s Day concert on May 7, 2015 at Spider House Café and Ballroom, a female-run Austin music venue (Eva Mueller is the general manager and talent buyer). In her current position at KUTX, she has just booked station acts for SXSW with an even gender split. Deidre also spoke out on Facebook about Doug Guller’s sexist behavior as owner of Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill, as revealed on a December 2014 episode of Undercover Boss; in her post, she questioned whether she could continue frequenting the popular music venues he owns—the Historic Scoot Inn and the Parish—in good feminist conscience. Courageous, persistent women like her can lead the way to leveling the playing field in the Austin music community.
I work near downtown Austin at Mood Media—the company that merged commercial music providers Trusonic, Muzak, and Austin’s DMX—as a full-time Music Designer, meaning that I design the music portion of a consumer’s brick-and-mortar experience of a brand. So we are rapt audiences of Austin’s live acts, and many of my peers within the Austin Mood office also work as musicians. On the side, I write press releases and bios for local promoter Press Junkie PR as a freelancer.
Act as if the equality already exists, and take matters into your own hands. Envision the voicing of your perspective being welcomed with open arms. Create the coalitions, organizations, and businesses you would like to see. Create with both artistic and moral integrity. And, last but not least, “build steam with a grain of salt” (to quote a DJ Shadow song title!) by utilizing social media to speak out promptly and widely against discriminatory acts: the day after Amber Coffman of the band Dirty Projectors took to Twitter about her sexual harassment by Life or Death PR and Management founder Heathcliff Berru, emboldening a number of other victims to come forward, he stepped down as CEO.
Composer for Tequila Mockingbird
Commercial Music in Film, Theater, and Dance
As a woman in Austin or in Europe, where I come from, I feel that the promotion is difficult for me. As a composer, as a woman, it is difficult to understand how to promote myself. I don’t know the “codes” here in Austin, I don’t know the direction to take, and in my case, I have a French-style of music, and it is difficult to understand how I can present myself. So, I feel a bit isolated. Is there any manager for my style of music, or agent? How does it work here?
The only way I work for the moment, is via internet and a music library, and I continue some projects in Europe and hopefully, sincerely find more musical activities here in Austin.
I have a new and nice experience to compose for a studio, called Tequila Mockingbird, for commercial projects. Normally I work for movies, documentaries, theater, and dance, and the commercial projects are a challenge to create music in a small amount of time. And it is fun!
I notice that after two years living here in Austin, people are so great, enthusiastic, and happy. I love this energy that we don’t have in Europe. But, there are not a lot of concrete projects. There is still not enough work for female composers at the moment.
For me, I always took advantage that I am a woman. But when I present myself and my work, it is as a composer, and I know that there is a particularity, so I use it. The style of my music can be more feminine or delicate or mysterious. It’s impressionist (European exotisme). This is a particularity, and for some projects, it is what people are looking for. This is a must, and I am proud to be a female composer! There are not so many, but hopefully, there will be more and more. I think it’s important to promote a different style of music, and not divide male and female artists. We are complementary.
Flutist for Lady Morgan
Classical, Celtic, Folk
What I gathered from the Austin Music Census focuses less on the low percentage of female musicians and more on the struggles of Austin musicians as a whole. Musicians are who give this town its proud reputation as “live music capital,” yet they are fighting to find work and when they do, they fight for proper pay.
Don’t get me wrong. Sexism is a major issue in the music industry (as well as many others), and I do believe that measures should be taken to ensure equal treatment/pay. I just feel we have bigger issues when it comes to Austin’s own.
As a flautist, I feel I experience less sexism since my instrument is considered “girly,” but one thing I have noticed when hanging around my musician friends, is that people tend to make the assumption that the guys in the group are in the band and the ladies are probably just their girlfriends/groupies. Or if you are a female musician, you are assumed to be a wanna-be pop star with little real talent.
I believe the problem lies within all of us. We are used to the way things are, and therefore that becomes the norm. The only way to change, is to change our prospective.
Singer and Guitarist for LeBlanc
After reading through many articles on the Austin Music Census, I think I feel the same way as many women, that have spoken out on it, feel – like enough women weren’t even polled for it, and it is a terrible representation of women musicians in Austin. And if this is any indication of how “bro-y” the Austin music scene is, how is a woman supposed to even get a chance these days? I have had a hard time getting a gig lately, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman or if it’s because I haven’t played a show in a while or not. I mean, I would like to think being a woman is not the case, but more and more, I feel it is sometimes.
I moved to Austin from NYC in 2009 – although I am originally from here and spent about 8 years in NYC. I had been playing out a lot in NYC with my band LeBlanc, so when I got back here I knew I had to get a band together in Austin and start gigging. Once I did, we played out a bit for a few years until life kicked my ass in different ways and music just took a backseat for a while. It’s been a struggle for a few years, (thanks life!), but we want to come out of hibernation and start playing music again and gig. We have a new CD we just released, and we still need to have a CD release party. But, so far, it’s been QUITE hard for me to get anyone to want to give us a gig lately. And all the places, besides ONE venue, that I have played in the past in Austin DO NOT EXIST ANYMORE thanks to Austin’s “booming economy” and all the condos the city feels the need to be built instead. I always feel like I have to start out with solo “coffee shop” gigs. Nothing wrong with these, before anyone will even “allow me” to play on a stage with others. It’s disheartening, to say the least, and something I hope can be fixed.
I would hope that an article like this would be a start, at least to let people know that a lot of Austin women musicians think this is a problem here, and we would like to improve upon that. As to where to start, that is something I am still trying to figure out myself, so I’m interested in what other women musicians in this city have to say.
Singer and Guitarist of Descendants of Erdrick
Video Game Tribute Band, Prog-Metal
I believe women face small, daily struggles that often go unnoticed, such as social interaction and expectations from strangers. Even small incidents like invasion of personal space while standing in line are more prevalent for women.
My experience in Austin has been mixed. My style of songwriting is not common, and I have a hard time fitting within acoustic singer/songwriter circles, as I write metal-structured acoustic songs often about video games and literature. With my full band, I’ve had my share of gigs where the sound person did not realize I was a member of the band, much less the lead guitarist for a progressive metal band. I’ve been personally contacted by mistake by bookers who believe they are contacting a male member or manager of the band with comments regarding their “female guitarist.”
I believe that some genres of music are more male-oriented than others. Heavy metal music is mostly male-dominated, and there does seem to be a disconnect sometimes with working with other musicians in certain scenes. I’m not sure how there can be a solution to improvement, other than more women stepping up and participating.
Singer and Guitarist for Nightblooms
Atmospheric Dream Pop
If the survey is right and there are in fact fewer female musicians out there— which is not really a problem on its own, just a fact— can’t it just mean that there are simply more male musicians than female musicians? How is there a correlation being drawn from that to women musicians being discriminated against? There are more female nurses than male nurses. There are certain things certain genders are drawn to more- for non-oppressive reasons and not every profession has to be 50-50 male /female. Or could the low number of women musicians reflected actually be higher than in the past therefore reflecting an upward trend of more female musicians? Do we know what the numbers were 10 or 15 years ago?
The truth is I have rarely felt there is inequality between the sexes in the Austin music scene. It’s possible maybe I’ve been lucky to not feel any discrimination and I run with particularly good dudes in a happy bubble. I see women musicians being featured all the time- in Austin press and otherwise- and I feel like the tide has turned and it is no longer a mainstream value to underestimate them.
I have been in many bands with men of all ages and generations and have never felt disrespected or belittled— in fact quite the opposite. Even in Alejandro Escovedo’s band, whose members are usually much older players and whose demographic might be more prone to an older mentality regarding women musicians etc.—I am treated with utmost respect. They are pros who respect skill and talent wherever it comes from. And I feel like the younger generations are super used to having women in bands— I feel like I see so many more female musicians now compared to when I started in the late 90’s. I get the sense that the younger generation really seeks out talented women with whom to collaborate.
I have my own project- Nightblooms (mostly female members from 3 to 12 depending on our format!) and am also in 2 bands fronted by extraordinary women musicians- Dana Falconberry (in which 4 out of 6 members are female) and The Dialtones, fronted by Lauren Gurgiolo, who shreds in the male-dominated world of lead electric guitar players and experimental music. In these cases, I almost feel like there is even more respect given to us— and yes, perhaps that could be because we are excelling in a male-dominated world and we stand out, which I suppose is some form of inequality. But the difference between men and women can’t be ignored and will always be there and perceived — and if it’s perceived in a positive way then I think there are bigger battles to fight.
Sure, once in a while there are a few comments or laughable attempts to “mansplain” our gear- mostly coming from older male fans. But it’s not anything more than what we encounter as women in the world outside of music anyway. And as far as jokes within our bands- humor is a big part of camaraderie among band members, male and female, and to work and tour together closely under difficult conditions, we can’t be sensitive and be offended easily about anything— feminist- oriented or otherwise. Being respected in your field in a greater sense makes the smaller things inconsequential, and allows jokes to be funny.
In the rare cases of sound guys or staff being initially dismissive, which does still happen- and mostly outside of Austin…instead of calling them out we take a great pleasure in turning that around quickly and having their full respect within minutes of beginning the sound check or set. They change their tone right away as soon as they hear us play. And hopefully we encourage them to think twice before dismissing a woman in the future.
I’d say that is the noblest and most effective thing we can do as women in the music industry— just be damn good.
Singer and Guitarist for The Deer
Folk, Avant Folk
The Austin Music Census results don’t surprise me. White males make up the majority of musicians and industry people that I work with. But I work mostly in Texas Folk Music, it’s been a bunch of white people probably because of its origins: folk music from many different European traditions.
In the modern music industry, artists don’t just suddenly “receive” unprovoked promotion. If you’re a band getting a lot of good press, chances are you generated it yourself or hired someone to do it for you. I don’t think media outlets deliberately shut females out, their agenda is fund-based. There aren’t a lot of female musicians represented because I don’t think there are a lot of them who actually want to stick to a career in music. Lots of girls start honing musical skills when they’re young, there is no problem there. Look at the boy/girl ratio in your average mixed middle school choir or band, it’s most likely half girl. A lot of them continue to play for fun, to dabble at home and around campfires. But many of those girls won’t end up making a career out of playing live or making records. Why? In its current state, most good gigs in Austin are centered around the bar scene. It’s not a steady line of work and it’s especially unsustainable for mothers.
Women working in male-dominated fields learn to speak that language and can play Alpha from time-to time, or they don’t last long. After a glimpse into this work environment I think a lot of women are likely to just walk away, disinterested in struggling to impress these people for such little pay, and just continue to make music as a hobby…I almost did.
Patterns of thought and culture vary widely and are changing quickly in some areas. A majority of the people I now work with treat me with nothing but respect. Those same people will tell you it’s because I’ve worked at this, and they know all too well about the double standard. I’ve been working in the music industry for over ten years. I knew in the beginning that it was strange, the amount of people approaching me after a show to say “good job.” Even I knew I didn’t do a good job, I barely knew how to play my instrument (mandolin, I knew three chords) and was only trying to have some fun. I rode along on tour for a month with an extremely-skilled male band I knew, yet I never saw their audience members lay it on so thick for them. Maybe they weren’t as approachable, maybe they looked like they already knew they were great and didn’t need goading. And granted, maybe I am pretty attractive (wink).
My own band has been drafted several times for shows and festivals who, unapologetically, tell us they want us because we are female-fronted: one promoter couldn’t wait to express her relief that we were actually a good band. I know female musicians are rare, but that seemed backhanded and tacky. Unfortunately, I can understand where she’s coming from. I’ve seen some very cute girls commit sloppy musical murder on stage and still have the audience eating out of their hands, regardless of a clearly reserved, tone-deaf performance. I attended a show like this with a close friend, and literally all she could comment on was how adorable they looked with their guitars, how she wanted to learn guitar now because it looked so damn good. I was about to sign my beloved friend off as a psychotic anomaly, when I overheard a group of girls near us gushing the same thing. Shouldn’t we know better by now?
We’ve got to make the music scene a more stable place if we want more women to work there. I think one of the best ways we can encourage the future of music in Austin is to center less of it around alcohol. Its current structure shoulders out a huge chunk of its potential audience, and discourages performers who have families or young students. So much weight being placed on alcohol consumption makes the music scene a harsh environment for young girls. Most of it is harmless, a lot of it will be unwanted attention, and some of it will be dangerous.
If we want more girl performers, we have to give them plenty of safe, stable forums to be exposed to live music. That means the Austin venue of the future works in tandem with its community’s cultural assets like markets, food events, and art. It means they start their features before the sun goes down, and alcohol is background noise. This is a necessary shift if we want to make jobs in the music industry more accessible and realistic for performers.
In regards to pedagogy, we as mentors need to be careful that we are not so desperate in our encouragement of young girl musicians that we reveal to them how dire we perceive their challenge to be. We need to let them have their own experiences, not ours. They don’t need to be told, pleadingly, not to let anyone make them think that they can’t be whatever they want to be when they grow up: it may never occur to them to question it.
Academic, Classical Music
I do not believe promotional materials are inclusive enough of the number of women who are active in the Austin music scene. Music tends to still appear to be a male-dominated place, and a woman who “pushes the boundaries of what we females typically have done” in the past is not always seen in the most favorable light. If we behave ourselves and force ourselves into the expectation, we generally are not treated too badly. But if we dare to move beyond and set our own definitions, in our own terms, then we are sometimes seen in an undesirable place.
I have had mixed experiences, personally. I have received highly constructive feedback on my works, but on the obverse, I have received some of the most egregious gender discrimination during my lifetime within the confines of the musical community. Keeping all relevant parties anonymous (out of professional courtesy) I was told in no uncertain terms that when a woman writes music worth listening to, I will be informed. The person who said that was male, in his sixties, and a mentor I have known for no less than 25 years. It was devastating. It took me a couple of years to rebuild from that, and I was more angry about the betrayal than what he actually said.
While I cannot fix the past, nor am I able to change it for everyone, I am working with musicians with disabilities on a pro bono basis to assist them in preparing for careers in music, or for entry to university level degree plans. I do not charge for my expertise simply because this is something that should be free.
Singer and Songwriter for Raina Rose
I took the Austin Music Census. I answered as thoughtfully as I could because I know that knowledge and information are both powerful. I have been a professional musician for the last eleven years, and I often am the victim of rampant sexism by the majority of men I interact with. And the majority of people I interact with are, in fact, men. Look at the line-up of any major festival and you will see about 80% male acts. I am now a mother of two, and I have found it very difficult to continue my career. There is no support from venues, and even my agent in the UK dropped me once he found out I was pregnant.
In Austin, I have found that most men are actually more evolved than in other places. Austin tends to be a place where people are into your music if it’s good, regardless of your gender, age or any other qualifier. However, when I became a parent, I was shocked to find out that Austin doesn’t have a network for musicians who are also mamas. Even HAAM doesn’t provide any services for us.
Promote women! Have an all-female festival. Have a stage at ACL for just women. Provide support for women who are musicians to continue their touring and recording.
I received twelve, long survey responses, providing in-depth anecdotes of their lives and ideals about gender issues in Austin, Texas. Out of these, seven of them agreed that gender disparity does exist. This involved instances where not enough women have furthered their music careers, either out of discouragement or personal choice (continuing their projects, practicing, doing shows, or touring); where women have not taken it upon themselves to promote themselves due to societal norms (press kits, social media, participating in professional discussion, networking by word of mouth); where women have not received enough focus by media preference (financial or social), festivals, or venues; where mothers have been disregarded in their professions so easily; where male contemporaries have harshly criticized the female’s compositions skills; when a woman decides to pursue a genre that has been claimed by society as masculine; and many other subordinate reasons.
Three respondents disagreed out of the twelve long responses. These women claim that men and women have complemented each other while working in their professions, creating a harmonious give and take; both men and women have influenced each other to pursue a music career; women should take advantage of the feminine qualities in their songwriting or composition skills; musical ability will silence any sexist views; sexism is subtle and social justice is not as urgent as it was for our predecessors; or that these women have not experienced any sexist issues within their own social circle.
Two respondents out of the twelve had either mixed or neutral views on this subject. While not experiencing firsthand or feeling the heat in a consistent manner, these women believe that sexism exists in this male-dominated world. However, they state that the change can come from within (more participation and taking a proactive stance as musicians). The seven respondents agreeing with gender disparity share this latter sentiment as well.
Four more respondents decided to share a short write-in of their experience as a female musician – two of which were neutral, one that agrees with gender disparity, and one that disagrees with gender disparity:
Spoken Word Artist
“My biggest obstacle has been getting booked for performances that pay. If I’m having a hard time, I know other poets must be as well. We have a beautiful poetry scene here, and I would just love to see more paying events with Spoken Word being featured.”
Freelance Performer, Educator, and Community Musician
“The main obstacle I encounter as a musician is around attaching a monetary value to my work. It is difficult both to ask for a living wage (which is our responsibility as artists/educators/community members) and to find those who will offer it. I don’t find this to be related to my gender, but to the profession as it stands in Austin and much of the world.”
Private Voice Teacher (contract in Leander ISD), Soprano Choir Scholar at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Marcos
“My main issue is with having people take my business seriously and pay on time. I teach students in middle school, so I contact the parents through email and arrange their invoices to be sent through the Zoho portal. Even with a clearly outlined contract and a late fee, I have parents who ignore my invoice emails. This is my bread and butter, people.”
FemCee, Song Writer, Hip Hop Performer
“I have faced many issues with the music in Austin, but it’s not just Austin. It’s in general… it’s a man’s world out here in this scene, but there is plenty room for a real female who is about their art and expression. One thing that I will say to ALL females is to keep your integrity and NEVER EVER let go of ANY artist control and NEVER EVER let nobody tell you who you are or what you are about. Be authentic, express YOUR STORIES and keep pushing.”
Cut With Confidence
Perhaps what we can all agree on as active or non-active musicians is that we can cut through the stereotypes and keep exposing our talents, in whatever fashion that means for the genre and audience. A couple of the answers in this article even encouraged all-female festivals, shows, or events.
This is not a counter-productive idea – when it is a struggle to land a gig among a continuing hub of male performances, if they are rapping over your verses, encouraging you to show some cleavage at the next show, telling you your improvisation skills are null, calling you a “professional groupie” when you’re the reason they landed a gig out of town or a big crowd at the last show, half-ass teaching you a bass lesson, calling your thesis “feminist bullshit,” assuming you want to sleep with them since you’re the only “chick” in the band, or assuming you’re not buying anything at an instrument retailer. Yes, coalitions are beneficial to raise awareness. To be fair, we should be cautious of exhaustive empowerment and rhetoric of gender dominance.