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Marilyn Harris

How would you describe your music?

"original: jazzy-pop with attitude covers: whatever the customer requests - generally Great American Songbook, pop stuff from 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s."

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

Pianist, arranger, producer, composer, lyricist, agent, publisher, promoter

Describe your gear.

Yamaha YPG 625, Fender Passport PA, Shure 57 mic, cords, etc.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

Sexism is alive and well everywhere, no matter how much the media scream that "you can have it all" to women. Men have a built-in support system and a tradition of excluding women from better positions in orchestras, bands, studio recordings and just "hanging out", which is where a lot of decisions are made concerning employment. Many older bandleaders are just more comfortable hiring other men and don't even consider a woman to fill a chair, even if she's a superior player to a man. It's still generally accepted thought that women have other (higher) priorities with their family than their careers, and that they don't "need" the paycheck the way a man might (to support his family).

Related Themes: Cashing In She's Got The Look

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

Younger women ARE being more accepted in the musical workplace, altho it's still an uphill battle to be recognized and hired. Younger musicians in general are not as capable or well-schooled as older, more experienced musicians, and this is as true for women as for men. Ageism is hitting my female colleagues MUCH worse than my male musician friends.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

My college professor told me to retain my copyrights as much as I possibly could - this prevented me from making deals that would probably have led to much heartbreak ultimately. Given the current state of the music industry, there isn't much I feel qualified to give as advice to young women starting musical careers, and when I've tried to show support and give feedback to my juniors, I've felt dismissed and devalued by them. The only valid advice I can give anyone at this point is: "take care of your teeth - you're going to need them your whole life!"

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

always loved the piano, which I first encountered at my grandma's house - saved my allowance for 5 years to buy my first upright at age 10

Related Themes: The First Time