Breaking Into an Industry That Wants Women to Be Fans, Not Artists
The music industry is built on the backs of young women. We have an intuition and a passion for the musicians we love, and we support them undyingly. Music has a way of uniting people and making us feel included in something bigger than ourselves. In many ways, that’s a very accepted place for women to fit into the music industry: as fans.
When you’re a female singer or songwriter, you face obstacles that men don’t. There’s the cattiness that can come from women competing for success in a male-dominated business. There’s the men who refuse to take us seriously as creatives. And of course, there’s the fact that a good-looking man with a voice you can listen to without your ears bleeding will have a much bigger chance at success than a hard-working woman with tons of talent.
I grew up with a lot of insecurities surrounding my body image. Like many women, creative or not, I constantly felt like I had to apologize for taking up space. I felt inadequate working next to successful, good-looking male artists. I'm continuously trying to stop apologizing for everything I do, everything I say, every time I make a simple mistake. I know that this urge to keep apologizing comes from a deep-seated feeling of unworthiness of love, success, and acceptance.
In an industry where conventionally good looks can give you a major boost to success and anything different can hold you back, I thought the battle against my insecurities would be exacerbated. But pursuing singing and songwriting made me appreciate qualities that I hadn't loved about myself before. During the years that my insecurities hindered me from being the social butterfly I always wanted to be, I would research my favorite songs and see who wrote and produced them. Then, I’d reach out to those people to try and learn more about the business or facilitate a collaboration. Obviously no one was going to work with a 14-year-old with no music experience, but I had tenacity and I worked hard.
When I finally felt confident enough to start performing, I booked all of the shows on my own, got a band together, and played the Sunset Strip Circuit. Now that I’m in the process of creating my own music, those people I emailed when I was 14 or 15 are giving me advice over coffee, all because of the drive that came from a kid in high school who loved music.
In Los Angeles, you’ll get those good looking males with a few songs out and lots of Instagram followers who will treat you like a joke because you want to write a top line for them. It’s very hard for a lot of men in the music industry—particularly ones enamored by a newfound sense of instant gratification, fame, and the promise of fortune—to see female creatives as equals, and not just people who will buy their record and stand front row at their shows.
I’m still figuring it out; we all are. For now, I’m just focusing on keeping my head down and not letting any insecurities stop me from working to become a better writer and performer. It’s easier to scroll through Instagram and compare yourself to people who are in a different place than you, but that won't get you anywhere. If I have any advice, and if that advice is worth anything, I’d say it’s really important to trust your own path. Your journey is going to be different from everyone else’s, and if you work hard and stay authentic to yourself, you’re going to end up exactly where you need to be. Trust your instincts.
By Caity Krone, 19