|Whether you’re the lead singer in a militant feminist punk group, or play second fiddle in a folk collective, female musicians all need a helping hand from their sisters if they want to get ahead in the big boys’ club that is the music industry.
We at LOUD WOMEN Club know this all too well, which is why we’ve asked some of the bands who have played for us to share their top tips for being a girl in a band.
My top tip for women getting involved in music is that it’s ok to suck. Seriously, there are plenty of men who play music that suck, and they are allowed to suck and it have nothing to do with their gender. It takes time to get good at what you do. So suck for a bit, and enjoy it. You’ll get better without even realising.
Here’s a technical tip for soundchecks: often when you’re having problems hearing things on stage, the sound tech (often a guy) will shrug and tell you ‘it will sound better when there’s people in the room’. To an extent they’re right – but that’s not much help when you’re trying to get a balance onstage so that you can all hear what you’re doing. So when that happens, ask them to switch off the front of house PA so you can play a song or a bit of a song with just the monitors on, and see if you can hear yourselves then. That’s my tip from the top! It’s one of the things I wish I’d known when I started out, anyway.
Don’t be scared to say no. In my old bands, stylists wanted me to wear things I would never normally wear and I was too scared to put my foot down. As a result I was uncomfortable and gave a worse performance. Just say no!
“Don’t do yourself down until you’ve given everyone else the chance first!” That observation was from another female performer and it really resonated with me. I had, and still have, to get out of my own way, as a performer, writer or really anything else! My advice would be, just have a go. There’s no magic formula or god-given talent or right involved. Hook yourself up with some enthusiastic and supportive people and do some work. Put on a wicked outfit, or don’t, and have a ball. If you think you’ll love it, you probably will.
When you’re a new band, you’ve got to shout from the rooftops about how awesome you are. Blow your own trumpet – no one’s going to do it for you! Bigging up yourself goes against everything we were taught as little girls about being ‘ladylike’. Which makes it doubly important that the next generation of little girls see us smashing that toxic stereotyping to bits. Be bold and confident (or, at least, feign confidence for long enough for it to start to feel natural!)
Know when to stand up for yourself, ask questions and prove yourself. Online trolls can be ignored, but certain people in the industry can and will help you if you can calmly but fairly show why they are in the wrong. Most people don’t know they’re being sexist, and although it’s unfair that we need to work extra hard to prove we belong here, I think it’s the best way to push the industry forward. Use your knowledge and be proud!
Kill with kindness. Nobody is perfect. Making music is hard and it’s scary sometimes, showing all when you’re on stage or people are checking out your MP3s. So don’t diss your fellow artists, befriend them. They’ll be your greatest allies.
I hosted an exclusive acoustic gig with Lilith Ai last week, in my kitchen, with a select audience of Abi Brady from Kenickers and Jen Denitto from The Wimmins’ Institute. Lilith is very much at the top of my ‘should be playing the Pyramid stage next year’ list (if you’re reading, Ms Eavis, take note!), so it was a huge honour to get to hear her play across the table. Loved it. Hope this will be the first of many more awesome Kitchen Sessions, maybe …
Get your tickets quick for our first ever all-dayer – LOUD WOMEN FEST! Tickets selling fast.
Saturday 3rd September 2016 at T.Chances in Tottenham, 12.30-1am
Tickets from WeGotTickets- http://www.wegottickets.com/event/371192
25 acts across two rooms – no slot clashes
Full line-up now confirmed:
Argonaut – www.facebook.com/argonautband
Viva Zapata! – https://www.facebook.com/Vivazapatauk/?fref=ts
Fight Rosa Fight! – www.facebook.com/fightrosafight
Petrol Girls – www.Facebook.com/petrolgirls
Dream Nails – https://www.facebook.com/yourdreamnails/
The Franklys – https://www.facebook.com/thefranklys/?fref=ts
Desperate Journalist – http://www.facebook.com/DesperateJournalist
The Wimmins’ Institute – www.facebook.com/thewimminsinstitute
Foxcunt – https://www.facebook.com/fxcnt/
Rantipoles – https://www.facebook.com/rantipoles/
Greenness – https://www.facebook.com/greennessmusic/
Grace Petrie – https://www.facebook.com/gracepetriemusic
Janine Booth – https://www.facebook.com/JanineBoothTheBig
Lilith Ai – https://www.facebook.com/lilithaimusic
Spanking Machine – https://www.facebook.com/spanxphalanx
Maddy Carty – https://www.facebook.com/MaddyCartyMusic
Madame So – www.facebook.com/madamesomusic
Nia Wyn – https://www.facebook.com/niawynmusic
Fightmilk – https://www.facebook.com/fightmilkisaband
The Ethical Debating Society – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ethical-Debating-Society/76532450884
Louise Distras – www.facebook.com/louisedistras
Rabies Babies – https://www.facebook.com/rabiesbabiespunk/
The best in woman-led pop/rock bands, plus solo acts, poetry, and a few more surprises.
Children welcome all day (although after 7pm things get a louder and little ears might not like it!). The venue is wheelchair accessible. The venue’s toilets will be de-gendered for this event.
Join the group LOUD WOMEN for news of more women-lead events
“Loud Women will undoubtedly be the beacon for all the best new female talent in 2016” – The Morning Star
“Fans of women-centric punk, rock and riot grrrl will heart this UK-based promoter.” – DIVA magazine
““If, say, Kathleen Hanna flew in to Gatwick tomorrow, grabbed you by the collar and asked “What’s going on here then? Where do I need go? What do I need to see?” – God is in the TV
Number 1 women-led music night in London – thegirlsare.com
A night of top notch badass woman-lead pop-punk-riot-awesome, in Brixton’s best venue, the Veg Bar.
Line-up for Friday 27 May 2016:
Poetry and talk from the inspirational feminist artist
Another special treat for this gig … we’ll be joined by amazing artists from Tuttii Fruittii The TecniKolor Hair Sculptor, who’ll be bringing their CandyKONK Transformation booth! Get your face painted, and find out more about their awesome project
Doors 7.30 pm
LOUD WOMEN is a DIY collective that champions women in music by hosting live events that are fun, friendly, and frickin awesome.
All profits go to the artists, and any additional funds raised go to charities that help women (usually Women’s Aid).
Join the group LOUD WOMEN for news of more women-lead events