Happy New Year everyone! While I try to count my blessings all the days of the calendar, it’s especially apparent around the holidays that I have such an amazing family, friend, and support system. I can’t wait to dig in this year and make some awesome things happen!
The great thing about writing for a publication called Belles & Gals is the recognition and community it creates for women pursuing an already-difficult career in a male-dominated industry. This is especially true of the country market. It gives a voice to those who may not be heard or even noticed otherwise.
As this column explores my experiences in Nashville navigating the music industry, I want to bring light to a project my fellow artist Krista Angelucci and I started back in October of last year. You may have seen the Instagram or Twitter hashtag #WCW. As a play on that concept, Krista and I began a live stream web series called Women Crush It Wednesdays which airs, as you may have guessed, every Wednesday at 7:30pm Nashville time from the WCW Facebook and Instagram page. Each week, we host a new female artist or songwriter to play some songs, talk about their path, and interact with new fans and viewers from all over the globe! For those talented artists who aren’t local in the Nashville area, we also do a Weekend Crush that spotlights a song or album from a female artist elsewhere.
Aside from the shameless self-promotion (go watch it!), I wanted to talk about our development of the show from a female artist perspective because I feel like a lot of women artists can relate to or have similar experiences of their own. While I’m all about girl power and women having equal rights, I’ve never paraded as a femi-nazi (the term some feminists have been so lovingly deemed). I love and respect men, so long as they show me the same. I never grew up feeling as though I were oppressed or there was a chip on my shoulder. I don’t think anyone owes me anything other than what I’ve earned by my own right.
I want to put that out there as a disclaimer, because I understand that individual people are usually not consciously dismissive of female artists. However, Krista and I came up with the concept of the show when we began experiencing a clear favoritism of male acts over female ones within the industry, often without even a consideration of the latter. This is nothing new – Miranda Lambert started the whole “tomato” movement in response to radio calling female acts a garnish on a primarily male “salad”.
In Krista and my own personal experiences, there were also hints of this. We listened as industry execs told us that female listeners don’t want to listen to female artists. We heard them say that record labels were almost three times more likely to sign a guy than a girl. We watched our male friends get attention and admiration in social situations while we were treated as though we were invisible, or worse, arm candy or a potential dating interest (funny how when you take that off the table the number of people “interested” in your career dwindles). It seemed men were taken seriously as a status quo, while we had to fight tooth and nail to prove ourselves worthy of a glance or a conversation. The worst part of it was, we experienced other female artists become cliquey and form closed groups that purposely kept down other girls and furthered their own individual agendas.
Our creation of Women Crush It Wednesdays was more than just a way to generate social media fodder. While our goal is to highlight some highly talented ladies, we also strive to create the type of supportive community that seems to be lacking in other areas of the business. We want our alums to interact and write together. We want our guests to learn from one another. We want to break the commonly held belief that you have to be part of the “boy’s club” to be heard or have your art be appreciated. We, as women, know that while we can use our image to attract a fan base and establish a brand, we are more than our looks, and our hard work, passion, and music deserve a platform. Women need to help women, because otherwise, we don’t have the numbers or solidarity to make a difference.
In conclusion, thank you Belles & Gals for providing a mouthpiece to females in the music business. We hope Women Crush It Wednesdays will continue to pick up viewers who are truly interested in seeing women shine, and for any girls that are feeling discouraged: you aren’t alone and you know in your heart that you are badass enough to make waves with your music. Keep playing.