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Jill Barber

How would you describe your music?

"smoky folky." I write original songs that have an old-timey jazz feel. My music can be streamed online: www.jillbarber.com

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

I am a band leader of 5 other (male) side players, I work (and rely heavily on) my team of people which consists of a manager, a label team, a producer, an agent, publicists, but I have a major hand in ALL decisions regarding my career.

Related Themes: She's Got The Look

Describe your gear.

minimal. I have a vintage washburn parlour guitar, and a Gretsch Tennessee Rose hollow-body electric

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?

Yes, I think women think and feel differently in this business. I feel that being a woman has both its advantages and disadvantages. In my early career I felt constantly "ghetto-ized" as a "girl with a guitar." But now that I am established in my career, and have developed my own unique sound, I feel that it helps to be a woman. I feel like my music/song-writing comes very much from the female perspective and is therefore very relatable by other females (a good thing, in demographic terms.) But I also feel that many men in engage with and relate to my music as well. Personally I think that there are more interesting ways to "market" female artists than men, mostly because females can play with looks/fashion/roles, and can pull it off better than most men.

Related Themes: Onstage

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I don't strongly feel that there are differences in generations of women musicians, but the climate has changed. There are many more opportunities for women musicians now. Even 15 years ago when I began playing guitar it seemed rare for girls to play/write. It seems to be more common now, young girls are more encouraged.

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?

I had an older brother that encouraged me from the get-go. I had lots of people give me plenty of advice, but my approach has always been trial and error. I started early, and moved slowly through the business. I feel that the business aspect of music has always come pretty naturally to me. I've always worked hard, but never had to try very hard to understand the ins and outs of the business. Sometimes I worry about young musicians who attend music conferences to "learn the ropes." I'd rather see them get out there and just do it their own way and learn as they go.

Related Themes: Advice She's Got The Look

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

Because my brother played guitar, and I picked his up.

Related Themes: The First Time