Behind The Music »


Piper Kaplan, Pearl Harbor.

I sing, play bass, program the drums, and come up with the keyboard parts. My sister is 15, so I pretty much call the shots as far as business goes.
My sister has a nice gold glitter '69 taesco guitar, I have a pretty boring standard black fender p-bass, a pretty aged yamaha keyboard for psychedelic sounds & drums, roland sp-404 sampler.
I don't really think in terms of gender when it comes to making art. Personally I like to look at this as an ongoing world-beautification project that everyone has a stake in, regardless of age, gender, upbringing, etc.
Yeah, I think that the 60s-90s provided us with female Superstars in all genres, I.e. Diana Ross, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin, Madonna.. female figureheads in music used to exist. You don't really see that anymore, because the world is moving too fast for anyone to really latch onto anybody.
It's hard to say what's valuable and what isn't this early on, but I'm sure we'll know pretty soon!
Well, my sister plays guitar, and we kind of needed the other instruments to write songs, haha.

Sofia Talvik

"I'm a solo artist, but I have a backing band. I produce everything from the music to the album covers. I run my own label and make both business decisions and marketing decisions."
"I have a red Marina guitar that I've had since I turned 18.

I play live on a Guild guitar from -84"
"I don't think there is much difference at all. If you want to be able to survive in this industry you have to learn that no one will work as hard for your music as you do. Don't expect fame and fortune if you don't work your ass off."
"82% of the people that use social media daily are women.. use it to your advantage. Connect with your fellow female musicians and help support each other. Social media is also more and more becoming the most important platform to connect with your listeners. Don't sit around and wait. You have to work hard in the world of music. Record your songs, get them out there. Start your own label. Go out play!!"
"I've been playing the piano since I was a child, but for my 18th birthday I got a guitar and started writing songs to learn how to play it."


"My debut album was released in 2009, recorded at Abbey Road Studios and The Dairy Brixton. I raised £12.5k through fans money by pioneering and setting up 'Pick an Orange Project' in 2008. Each song was called an 'orange' and each 'orange' had 10 'segments'. I sold these segments for £100 each and in under 5 months had raised £12.5k towards the album. I co-wrote every track on the album and I co-produced the album and arranged the tracks. I sat in on mixing also. I hand picked the musicians. I book all my gigs, I act as my own manager. I set up my own label TLC Records, to release the album on. I often use my middle name and maiden name to make up Victoria Powling, Head of TLC Records, when making business calls. I do my own press plugging using this alias and have had success getting airplay and reviews globally. So, I make all the decisions basically! I'm hoping people will come on board along the way so I can concentrate on writing and performing more, but having said that I enjoy driving my career and think I will find it hard to release control!!!! "
Absolutely. Music is a mans world. On the tour bus, in the studio, in the business meeting; its all about the boys. I find it hard as a young, blonde girl to often get taken seriously especially in meetings and in the studio. On my album I had to fight to get musicians that were working for me to take my seriously at first and they kept looking to my co-producer Kevan. Eventually you get taken seriously but you have to prove yourself for a lot longer than a man would. The same is said for meetings with industry types. I have to prove myself to be intelligent and business minded. That is not taken for granted, even looking at my past with setting up the label, setting up Pick an Orange Project, raising £12.5k and co-writing and co-producing the album. The impression I get is that they think all that has been worded well to look like I actually drove all that, instead of assuming that I actually did all myself!! I think if you want to survive in the music industry as a woman you have to accept this is the way it is and be prepared to work hard and longer than the men often do to proove yourself.
Not in my experience.
"My best advice was from my Dad who said don't believe the bad stuff they write about you and don't believe the good stuff. Don't let the good stuff swell your head, don't let the bad stuff bring you down. Instead know who you are, what you are about and stay steady. This life is such a rollercoaster that I almost daily remind myself of this!

My advice to a woman musician starting out would be to do the best with what you've got. Don't try to be something you're not, as a musician, as a person, as an image. Just work hard at making the best out of what you've got. It's all about working hard. And sticking together as ladies and supporting each other, instead of comparing and bringing another girl down. Leave that to the men to do!! We need to be strong together I think. Its healthier all round."
I was always the performer. Dancing, singing and making a show of myself. Singing was just natural. I later became a songwriter and found my passion for communicating through music.

Frankie Rose, Frankie Rose and the Outs

Well, In Dum Dum girls , I am a helper outer, DEE DEE is my pal , and I literally play the drums. She is go to gal. In my own band I do pretty much everything, from recording to decision making.
I have a sometimes wonky 64 fender mustand guitar. I love it even though it notoriously wont stay in tune. I have a fender deluxe reverb reissue amp, I wish it was the real deal. Alas , maybe when i win the lotto.
Yes i do. Here is an example, recently the New York Times did an article about me entitled "a woman of many talents" it was a very pointed article , a sort of half review of a show i did where Frankie Rose and Outs(me) and Dum dum girls(also me) played together.the review for some reason compared the two bands , basically arriving at the conclusion , that both bands play the same kind of music. This is not true. So often female bands or female fronted bands are compared to each other for no other reason than their gender. Its such an annoying double standard. One wouldn't compare The rolling stones to Duran Duran , just because they are all male. Is it because there are just so few of us playing music? I also find the term " girl bad " offensive. Considering I am a 31 year old woman.
hmmm... I feel like its alot easier for young ladies to get into playing music. Now there are programs like "rock camp for girls" We did not have that when i was a kid. I think my mother still cant grasp that I play in a rock band for a living!
I have no idea about "the industry" I do think that if you wanna start a band or make an album you should just do without judging yourself too harshly. None ever taught me to ply anything. In fact , I still don't know how to play. i mostly just pretend. it has seemed to work thus far.
Well for a long time I didn't, I sort of landed on the drums , because there are very few drummers. I feel like being the drummer is a little like being the goalie if you play soccer. i'm much happier since ive been getting to play the guitar more.

Marianne Dissard

I write my own lyrics. I didn't produce my first album, Joey Burns of Calexico did, but for my second, I am now the producer, and well surrounded. I do all my business and marketing decisions and manage myself. I even booked many a tour and act as my own label for North America and the rest of the world besides Europe. Now, I mostly coordinate between my different distributors and licensed labels, booking agents in Europe...
i sing, i have toured in any number of combination of musicians, from solo shows with backup tracks from my laptop to a full 15 piece band. Most common setup, though, on my latest tours, have been a 5 piece: guitar/backup vocals + bass + violin + drums/piano/accordeon.
"I played a festival in New Zealand a couple of months ago where I was the only woman, aside from the better half of band Handsome Family. Things like that are not uncommon. My musicians are all men. I balk at being asked to play 'Women Festivals"" and other such things. I don't want to be playing in what I feel are patronizing attempts to rectify the balance between the exposure men and women get. But I am acutely aware of the disparity in chances and exposure.

Before I took on the spotlight and did my own music, I was excellent at being the helper, the support to men doing music. I was content helping them achieve their goals, helping them shine. It's ingrained in me. I was raised that way. Once I learned to recognize that and moved beyond the fear of being exposed and vulnerable, I became very happy and found my strength. But, as a woman, I was raised and taught to remain in a support role. Now, I can be supportive of my musicians and collaborators but they in turn have to be fully supportive of me. "
No. It's not getting any easier. I used to direct films. It's the same there. I could say it's even worse in France, where I come from. Italy seems maddeningly worse too. Unless you're cute, young, blonde and smile a lot, you will not get any media exposure in Italy. I've seen the differences across countries, many not so between generations.
Don't date at the office.
I'm fairly new to singing.I had been writing lyrics for other singers for many years when a friend of mine, Joey Burns, from the band Calexico, asked if I wanted to do an album with him. I said, hell yeah! I had not sung before, but when someone like that asks you to do it, you have to go ahead and trust that he knows something about you that you yourself don't. I don't regret it.

Jen O'Connor, Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned, We are Jeneric

"In We are Jeneric I am a general partner with Eric. The two of us write and record all of the music, produce the albums, book the shows, keep the websites up to date. As the co-owner of a small business I'm in charge of everything from submitting our sales tax to the state, to coaching Eric on his vocal techniques, to filling CD and tshirt orders.

In Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned I am one out of eight in the Corporation. We incorporated last year for tax and legal purposes. In addition to bringing songwriting ideas to the band and performing live, Eric and I also host regular writing and recording sessions at our Farmhouse, where the eight of us hole up for weekends at a time. I'm also the band's Secretary -keeping track of meeting minutes, merchandise, as well as tax and legal information.

I've always gotten bored easily, and being involved in so many different aspects of the business keeps me excited, interested, and never bored."
"Well, in Sgt. Dunbar my gear includes my violin, my amplifier, and a blue box I carry around which includes 1/4"" cables, my violin neck rest, extra rosin, a tuner, screw drivers (just incase), extra strings, and our snare drum stand (it is the only place it will fit).

For We are Jeneric my gear varies depending on the type of set we play. It ranges from my violin and amp to almost a full drum kit, a children's xylophone, lots of percussion instruments (washboards, jars filled with rice, phonograph horns), a mandolin, and an accordion."
"Yes definitely. Just looking on most stages the ratios are way off. Out of eight musicians in Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned I am one of two girls. I remember before I joined the band I would often go to watch them play. I felt differently about the band because Donna was in it. Although we are all best friends now, I didn't know any of them back then. I don't know if I would have felt so fondly about the band if Donna weren't a member, and I don't know if I would have joined if she weren't in the band. I think often times bands appear to be boys' clubs, very exclusive -which isn't necessarily the case. Because Donna was in the band somehow it made it feel like it was okay for me to be there. There just don't seem to be as many female musicians in bands as there are men. Maybe there are, I just haven't seen it.

I remember last year after our South by Southwest Showcase a guy came up to me and was really praising the band. ""You guys are great. Those boys can play so many different instruments...but you girls really need to work harder."" I got totally bummed out, because in my case it was true -in the set we decided to perform I only played violin, percussion, and sang a few songs... all the while the guys were swapping guitars, banjos and basses for trombones, tubas, trumpets and accordions. All I could do was defend Donna who I knew had played trumpet, trombone, and french horn in the set. The guy continued to pick on me. I just wanted to say ""hey man, violin's not even my main instrument!"" but I just smiled. I didn't know what to say. I don't think he would have said that to any of the guys if they had stayed on a small number of instruments the whole set."
"Just looking at some of my favorite female musicians: Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Emmy Lou Harris, Rita Lee, Kim Deal (from the Pixies), I can see that there's a huge difference.

All of these women certainly have spitfire in them, but just compare Billie Holiday to Kim Deal (at least from a performance standpoint) and Billie seems rather poised, whereas Kim is totally wild. I think that through the generations it's become increasingly acceptable for women to show that spitfire to the outside world. Either way though -it's there and has always been a source of great strength for me."
My advice would be -don't listen to most advice. There are a lot of people out there who think they know the way to do things, or think they know the answer to your success. Truthfully, if you don't follow your own instincts and your own integrity you may find yourself successfully miserable. Only you know what you are trying to achieve from your music.
"I've always loved to sing, it helps me to express myself in ways I can't anywhere else.

I started playing the violin when the original bass player for Sgt. Dunbar moved to Syracuse. The guys asked my husband Eric if he wanted to play bass with them and asked if I wanted to join the band as well. I told them that everyone else already played every instrument I knew. They told me to learn a new one. It was the impetus I needed to really learn the violin, and so I did. I love it. I think it suits me. "

Lily Chapin, The Chapin Sisters

My sister Abigail and I trade off singing leads and we share the writing. We've worked with producers in the studio (Thom Monahan produced our first record, with Mike daley, and working with them, and an earlier producer, Michael Fitzpatrick, I was more inclined to take their direction). Our latest record Abigail and I co-produced, andwe were much more active and involved with the decision -making. I can be very obsessive in the studio and nitpicky, but I love the process of recording. We've always made our own business decisions, as a cooperative venture, we put things to a vote, discuss, its definitely a democracy. Recently we started working with a new manager, and he's helping us with the details as theings getbusier for us and more complicated!
5 year old Martin Guitar - in the repair shop at McCabe's in santa Monica right now because the airlines (jet blue) broke it in transit, but it should come back together nicely. I play my dad's old banjo (he has a newer one)...
Soundchecks are always interesting. Especially when its just us girls up there. The sound guys often don't take us seriously, until they know us, and they can be patronizing, like, "this is a monitor, that's where the sound will come out," Its crazy. But then after the show they're like, "wow, you guys are really good. Can I buy your cd?" Lots of the stereotypes are true. But for the most part, musicians, male and female, are like a club, and once you're part of it, you stop worrying so much about who's a girl and who's a guy. And sometimes the boys will carry stuff, and sometimes that's just fine with me.
I have a lot of respect for the women from previous generations. I think a lot of the things they were dealing with are still true, but those women had to bring it every time. And the men too. The previous generations didn't have the technology available now, so the good singers and players floated to the top much more quickly than today. That's not to say that the new music revolution isn't great. Music is something for everyone to share. That being said, Nina Simone, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynne were great live first. Then, the next generation, Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Ethridge, Blondie, these girls had a lot to prove, and they all did prove it in different ways. Now its up to us to keep pushing the bar higher, and keep breaking through the old boys club. There has always been a place in music for women. Certain genres are easier for women than others. It would be harder for us if we were trying to play hard rock or metal.
Our dad told us to own your own masters. And keep putting one foot in front of the other.
don't remember. thought it was cool? I played viola and piano as a kid, picked up guitar later when I started writing songs I guess.

Zoe Keating

"everything, I'm a one-""man"" band: composing, recording, engineering, business...all of it.

when I play with other arists, I'm just a rock cellist...but I always take responsibility for the technical engineering aspects of my tone."
Cello + microphones + preamp + computer + midi foot controller
"I'm very tech-minded and know how to make an amplified or recorded cello sound good. However, most sound engineers (who tend to be men) will assume off the bat that I don't know anything and I have to work a little harder to gain their respect and let them know that I know what I'm doing. So, I've made it my thing to be super professional and really on top of my technical knowledge (i.e. live sound amplification, acoustics, computer tech, etc). This seems to be a common problem with other female musicians I've met...the need to continually prove yourself. I also feel like I can't make mistakes.

Also, I remember when I was touring with Rasputina (a rock band consisting of 2 female cellists and a drummer) we would have the male member of the band advance the shows with promoters and venues and then settle afterwards...because not only would things run smoother when we arrived at the venue, we would also be less likely to be swindled. On the flip side, I played on a tour with a tour manager who saw being female as a definite benefit. She claimed that unzipping her (rather tight) sweater and leaning forward, as she and the promoter settled the show...helped the band walk out of the venue with more money.

Another anecdote...the first band I ever played with in 1996 was an all girl power rock group called Van Gogh's Daughter. They were signed to Hollywood Records, and I joined them as a cellist in their final years. They complained that the record company wanted to ""doll them up"" and be more sexy, but they refused and it caused quite a bit of friction with the label who accused them of being ""difficult"". They were dropped in 1997.

Lastly.... It does seem with men its less about looks and, as a result, they get a little more time. I know so many female musicians who feel like if they have to look perpetually young and pretty in order to keep their career going...or they have to do it all before they hit the might-as-well-be-dead age of 30. "
"Yes. Women in their 20's seem just as aware of the gender differences as those of us in our 30's... but rather than be superwoman in order to conform to a male environment, they seem more comfortable with themselves. They seem to embrace the differences and expect everyone to just deal.

I notice this the most with women musicians having kids. With other women in my age group, we've had conversations about how we can have a career, or children, not both. Or, you do them first, children later (if you can and haven't waited too long) then back to the career. Maybe its because I went to Sarah Lawrence College....but among my peers, having kids is sometimes looked down upon, like ""you're throwing away everything the feminists did for you!!"". I struggled with this myself, deciding my career was more important and if I never had kids, so be it. Music being such an unstable profession it wasn't until very recently that I felt professionally established and financially secure enough to have a baby...I'm about to have my 1st child in May. I don't think musicians are the only ones who experience this feeling.

I contrast this with some women I've observed who are 10 or 15 years younger than me. They don't see having a baby and having a career as incompatible. They're just doing it, and demanding that the mostly male working environment change to accommodate them. Its exciting. Its the culmination of feminism I think."
I see a lot of promising musicians give up too soon. It takes time, years of hard work to make it. Don't give up.
a music teacher asked me when I was 8 if I would like to play the cello. I didn't know what a cello was, but I said yes. Been playing ever since

Zahira Gutierrez, Wild Moccasins

I work with my band on coming up with melodies, harmony's, and the overall structure of the song. I also make sure to make our shows visually appealing to our audience. I love when bands make an effort to put on a show and not just stand there, it's extremely important to me.
I play a Roland Juno-D, beat up old floor toms, and sing.
Yes there is definitely a difference. It has its ups and down, especially if you are in a band with all guys, people treat you differently. They might pay more attention to what the men have to say and disregard my input, while others embrace it. I've had people think I was just "the girlfriend" of the band before, but I love being the only woman in the band.
I think more and more women are becoming a big role in the music society. I see a lot more women musicians on the cover of magazines and taking over the rock music scene than before.
"Someone said once to not care about how people react to your music or what they write. Not everyone will like it and there will always be people who will say negative things and that's okay. I try not to pay too much attention to reviews. As for advice to women, as cheesy as this sounds, you have to be yourself. Don't let anyone tell you what you have to look like or sound like to be successful. "
I've always loved to sing and perform , I've been singing since I can remember. I cant imagine doing anything else at this point, it has always come naturally.

Christina Marrs, Asylum Street Spankers

Sue Lott, Luder

We are all on equal footing. Nobody fights for a greater percentage of the credit. We all have something to bring to every song. There is no 'head songwriter'. Additionally, we have very talented and experienced friends in the studio side of the business and had a fantastic experience recording Luder's debut release, Sonoluminescence. Small Stone Records does a lot of marketing for our release, as any label should, but we get a lot of support from my business partner and significant other in the realm of marketing, in our web presence, in the ever-increasingly important use of social media. We also have a decent fan base from our old bands who have come to follow our latest endeavor closely. There’s a lot of history here.
Multiple bass guitars, a giant speaker cabinet, a head, a compression pedal and a tuner. I don't place a great deal of importance on gear like lots of rock guitarists do. Their effects pedals and toys seem to be such a distraction. I go simple. My basement contains the equipment of several bands on the Small Stone Records label, but we're the only ones who rehearse and compose there.
I don't know that I've thought of things that way at all. I don't feel that anybody has an ounce of credibility as a musician if they don't bring something valuable and unique to the process. There's the stereotype out there that girls can't rock. Whatever. Listen to us or watch us, THEN pass your judgement.
Different generations are different. No mystery there. I'm not interested in the 60s in America, either as an era or as a culture, but there are some things everybody goes through. We all have personal lives with tragedies and victories. Things go right, things go wrong, we all get older, and we all try to live through it. People make music along the way, women and men.
I might be able to give you an example or two, but I have to say no. Slot was aggressively courted by some major labels. All of them sat at their conference room tables with us looking for a way to market the pretty rock chick. They wanted to know if I'd ever been raped, if we had drug problems, tattoos, abusive family lives, broken homes...they wanted to find a hard-knocks story to frame us for the music market. We didn't lie to them. We all had families who loved us, no tattoos, no violence, no rehab, nothing the major labels could exploit like they did with someone like, say, Fiona Apple, the molestation victim. So no, nobody in the industry had much of anything valuable to contribute at all. We made our own way and did just fine. Nobody tells us what to do, and we enjoy that freedom.
"I am a multi-instrumentalist, since childhood, but bass has been the way I fit into a rock group. I have a great deal of control over what I want to accomplish that way, and in my vocals, I can push a song even further. People are not singing to music that sounds like ours in the way that I sing."

Sandra Velasquez, Pistolera

I am the founder, leader, songwriter, musical director, guitarist, singer, and cheerleader of the band. My husband is our producer and recording engineer. I used to be our booking agent and manager as well,but when I got pregnant I got people to take over those positions so I wouldn't have to wear all the hats.
I play a small mexican guitar called a Jarana that is from Veracruz, Mexico. It uses fishing line as stings. I play guiro which is a gourd and rake set used in a lot of merengue music. I play a gibson standard electric guitar. I sing lead vocals and write all the songs. I am left-handed.
"YES. In Pistolera in particular because we are 3 women in the band. There are too many stories to recount, but the one that sticks out is once after soundcheck we were outside the club and when we tried to get back in the bouncer did not believe that our drummer was the ACTUAL drummer of the band. When we said, ""didn't you just see her soundcheck with us?"" He replied, ""yeah, but I thought she was just joking around."" The funny part is that it happened to be a battle of the bands show and we won. We have encountered many a stage hand or sound man that think we don't know about how gear or PA systems work. Then the show starts and our music and professionalism speak for themselves. "
There are as many differences between generations of women musicians as there are in other areas. 20 years ago, there weren't that many female drummers. Now there are more.
"I have been lucky to work with and meet many great people in the industry who have given me some invaluable advice. 1) Follow the love. In otherwords, play where people invite you and want you. If you are not having success in Boston, don't force it. Follow your success. (Pistolera has been on tour to Belgium more times that it has played New Jersey) 2) Every overnight success is 10 years in the making. Keep at it. 3) Every shot you don't take is a shot you miss. 4) Don't ever give up 5) Don't pay no mind to no haters"
I was forced to play the piano at age 5 and begged to take guitar lessons. My dad bought me my first electric guitar at 13. It was right handed. I strung it upside down and haven't turned back since.


i am the boss of the band, the studio, the production and even in my business!
well, the most important thing for the live shows is a puppet theater. since i play all instruments in my songs by myself, but being not even able to play keyboard while i sing (genes!!!), i decided it's pretty clever to do a instrumental playback and dance like a crazy horse to it. and sing like a loopy stork.

in the puppet theater the bear and krawallmädchen (me) explain, how to become a popstar! so it's more of a workshop and everybody will learn something. maybe.
yes, i think girls have more problems to make a monkey out of themselves. if you learn since your childhood that you have to be pretty and nice, you must be a freak to go crazy on stage... getting red and sweaty and your make up is going liquid... not very ladylike.

it took me years learning that it's more fun not thinking about this crap and just have fun for myself.
hm, i just hope girls got inspired by something like the riot grrrls movement (i was) and start their own riot.
"no, i never had big plans and was surprised when i found out that (some) people even liked it. so it went on and on. my advice is: just DO IT! don't wait for big record companies, booking agencies or whatever. nowadays it's so easy to put out your stuff and book shows for yourself. just use the internet and spread the word. be courageous and adventurous and you will win! play play play!!! <3"
because no one ever played the stuff i wanted... also i think girls should start learning to take over the instruments! (not just the mics)

Reyna Kay, Blessure Grave

I write a majority of the lyrics and then Toby works from what I've given him to come up with the music. We collabrorate together to acheive a song that we both love. In the studio I give my opinions on how I would like my parts to sound. In terms of the business or marketing decisions both Toby and I play a role in making the decisions. We need to agree 100% before we move forward.
" Yamaha DX-17 Synth Fender Jazzmaster Guitar, its our guitarists but it took a while to get used to, because I'm small and its a bit bigger."
Never being in a band I just figure I can do as I please and I never set limits for myself nor would I let anyone set any for me. Since Toby (my bf and bandmate) has so much experience in bands, he really sets the pole high and really urges me to strive further and further. To me if I'm going to do something I want to do it to the best of my ability so I can be proud of my work.
Yes, I think women earlier paved the way for someone like me in their late 20's to be able to say to myself, "Heck ya I can do this!", it didn't matter if I hadn't ever sung or picked up an instrument in years, I felt comfortable stepping into this new role.
Toby has given me the best advice. He has told me he believes in me. From that advice it really positioned me to belive that I am capable of anything. I've taken that and really applied it this new part of my life.. My advice to other women would be, to go for it, try everything and anything, practice, and find a way to allow what's inside you to come out through this art.
"I chose to play the synth because I like how it sounds and it is also something that I was to pick up fairly quickly. Slowly as my confidence grew my vocal abilities grew as well. I'm still learning guitar, I have little fingers and have to practice a lot but I like guitar because I think it could be helpful in performing other songs live that require an additional guitar."

Blair Gimma, Blair

I am the song-writer and director of the creative aspects in the studio and on stage. I work with equally talented and creative musicians and studio producers who share my creative vision. I rely on my own research and the experience of my management and record label, both of which are parts of Autumn Tone Records.
I play a Gibson Melody Maker Reissue through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Amplifier
I think that women are often pinned down to either an organic sounding singer song writer or a sex symbol. It's similar to the Madonna/Whore dichotemy.
But, bands like The Kills, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sleater Kinney, and Rilo Kiley have made my journey easier because they refuse to be simplified down into one cliched expected emotion of a female human being. Fans and press treat them like artists, not female artists. All artists want, male and female, is to be perceived as artists, not cartoons.
I would tell a woman artist the same thing I would tell a male artist, which is to work tirelessly on your art, the rest will take care of itself.
"I began playing the guitar because I looked up to guitar players like Neil Young."

Julie Feeney

Decision maker on all musical issues. In all business and marketting decisions I take advice from some great people but ultimately make my own decisions.
Full Protools system for studio. For live shows I either play with 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, or with full orchestra depending on the show. I re-orchestrate for the different numbers.
"Yes in many ways. As a woman you have to be careful not to get caught up in the issue and just make sure to get on with it. It could side track you. People will more than likely express surprise that self produce my music and self manage my career when they probably wouldn't say that if I was a guy."
I can't remember any advice right now that I was given. My advice to anyone is to follow your nose and work really really really hard on every aspect of what you do. Don't expect any magic wand effect from anyone. You will need to do all of the ground work your self if you want to be prepared for 'take-off'.
Never thought about it it just happened naturally.

Madame Scorpio, Scorpio Rising

"I am the front woman, the singer as well wear a lot of hats. Our band does everything, we don't get much outside help. I fund our studio, always in on the mix of our recordings for approval. Sometimes I will help engineer Wonderbred while he records his parts. The marketing is always in my lap. Both Wonderbred and I manage all our social networking sites for marketing, we both work on the art for posters ect..Wonderbred is the master of the studio though."
We are an elctronica band with live drums, bass and guitar with backing tracks. All backing tracks are our original works.
"In a few ways, people treat you different knowing you are the front woman, but I have gotten some bad treatment thinking I am a groupie...that pisses me off. some people are infatuated with Fem fronts as well some think woman just can't rock...It doesn't really matter to me...just being in a band makes for different treatment no matter the gender..most people seems to not respect musicians it is a bottom feeder choice. They have no idea how much work goes into creating and maintaining a band."
"Get a job. If you are in a band or doing it for yourself you and other members better have a job. There will be many expenses to pay. Practice faculty, tour transpo van, gas, food, instrument repairs, adding instruments, trailer, keeping your travel van up on maintenance, registration, inspection, van insurance, advertising, flyers, give always, tshirts, all your merch, legal advice...many many tings that need to be paid for. If no one in the band has a huge bank roll...get a job! If it comes down to having to quit your job because your music is taking off so well, that is great...but it will probably not happen. It is best that you wear all the hats, no one else will have your bets interest except yourself...don't trust anyone.. so ""get a job"" and ""don't trust anyone"" is my advice, along with grow a thick're under the spot light and people have their opinions. On the same note...having a job helps with a bank account to pay medical expenses. I was diagnosed with breast cancer Oct 16 2009. Fortunately I have a full time job with great insurance, even though the co-pays are kicking my butt at this time, I have no idea what I would have done with out the insurance. i know for a fact my treatments would not be the same. I am in my 5th chemo treatment with one more to go. I had a mastectomy and will go through a couple more surgeries to finish up the reconstruction already in progress. We are playing SXSW showcase at the Ghost Room 304 west 4th str. on Thursday, March 18th at 7pm sharp! Austin Texas in the warehouse district."
It was destiny to be a front woman.

Beth Tacular, Bowerbirds

I write most of my parts. Phil, my partner, is really the sonwriter. I help some with lyrics, but not much. I do most of the marketing, business side of things, visual aesthetic of the band, blogging, answering emails, creating the online store, designing tee shirts, posters, look of the merchandising and merch table, etc. I was already a visual artist and designer when I joined the band.

Phil and I make almost all our decisions together, by consensus. We recently hired a new drummer and tour manager/ mandolin player. In terms of the sound of any song, live or recorded, I usually defer the final say to Phil, because he has been writing music for ten years, but for our other decisions, we each have equal say.
Vintage Italian accordion with electric microphone pickup, Nord Electro keyboard, microKorg keyboard.
People are probably affected by prescribed gender roles in our society, in terms of what kind of ways they feel comfortable expressing themselves. So in terms of how it feels to be a female musician, I probably feel more comfortable expressing things like delicacy, sensuality, and sensitivity than the average guy might feel. But at the same time, I know that's what's expected of me as a woman, so I almost have to fight the urge to rebel against that. I actually think I am pretty consciously trying to express my gender honestly in my performing, and I think of myself as strongly identified as a woman, although my concept of womanness is different than our larger cultures normal definitions of femininity. I don't want to be up there acting macho, but I also don't want to act demure or anything.

But the fact that I have thought this stuff through is probably testament to the fact that I am hyper aware of what it means to be a woman performing on stage. On tour, I don't encounter many women in bands or as sound engineers or promoters, compared to the millions of guys, so I can't help but be reminded of my sex all the time.

I've been on probably 16 months of tours, and on only one of those was there another woman playing in a band we toured with. That can be very exhausting. I love guys, but I also love women, and I miss the conversations women have together, the different ways we deal with stress, how we communicate and look out for one another. I just miss female friendship when I'm on the road.

Also, people in venues often mistake me for a groupie or some guy's girlfriend, and I've been condescended to several times by sound guys. Also, I've noticed on online blogs and other websites that women get a lot more criticism of their personal physical appearance than men do. That's just residue from the patriarchal culture at large, but it really pisses me off. It makes it a lot harder for a plain looking woman to make it in the music industry than it does for a plain looking guy. This focus on appearance also makes people post in the comments section on a blog post about the relative value of a man's musical abilities and about the relative hotness of a woman.

I think that has dual effects on women who play music. Some put extra effort into their looks on stage, compared to guys in the band, and some purposely try to look androgynous or tough. Others just say fuck it, I'm going to do what I want and ignore what people think. It's hard though, to not ever think about those things, because you know people are judging you differently because you are a woman. And they are probably going to assume you are a bad musician if they find you attractive. The old idea that pretty women can't also be smart.

But I don't know if the music world is as sexist as the corporate world is. Because artists tend to be less sexist than people who choose a more conventional career path.
"It's a hell of a lot easier now to be a female musician in the rock world than it must have been 30, 20 or even ten years ago. I feel really lucky that all those women paved the way for me, and that all the other feminists through the years have worked to change the way people see women in general.

Women have more power now, and more of us have grown up with mothers and other female role models who were creative and who didn't allow themselves to be dominated by the men in their lives. "
"I didn't really get any female-oriented advice. I just watched what the women did who I admired, and tried to learn from them. I'm lucky there are so many female musicians playing in the triangle area, mskbg some of the best music coming out here. Come to think of it, there is a woman in every one of my favorite local bands who also tour, save maybe two. "
I picked up an accordion belonging to a member of my boyfriend's band, while they were out on tour and had left some instruments in my apartment. I just started fooling around on it and was blown away by how beautiful it sounded, and how right it felt in my arms. I had always dated guys in bands, probably because I just love music so much, but sort of felt like I had missed my chance to be in a band. I was 29 years old, so I thought it was late to start playing guitar or something. But then the accordion wasn't as overdone in bands, so I figured I could just decide how I wanted to play it, and that there wouldn't be as much of an expected level to achieve before starting to play live. There aren't many accordion players around here who could tell how bad I sucked at first.

Amy Rude and Heartbeast

"I'm in a band with three other musicians that are also in their own lead bands. Therefore we share a lot in terms of collaboration and promotion of the band. In the studio I take a rather leading role. I record a lot at home and so when I'm in the studio I get really excited about the resources and possibilities. I play with a guitarist, Naim Amor, and a violin player, Vicki Brown. We co-write a lot of the songs and I work very closely with them on melodies and solo parts. It's a pretty egalitarian process but in the end it also comes down to defending the choice you make in the production and songwriting process. That can cause some tension but since we're all artists for other bands, there is a lot of respect for personal choice and innovation. As far as marketing goes, I'm in it alone. I book tours without a booking agent. I do all my own art work for posters and my cds (I silk screen everything and make most cds short run projects). I've been to Europe twice recently on tours I booked myself (which in itself is a part time job!). I also have a group of Italians I collaborate with when there. "
I play both electric and acoustic guitars. I started out playing bluegrass and country on a Taylor acoustic dread-knot guitar. I also have a 1956 Gibson L-5 archtop guitar, an Airline archtop from the 1960s, a couple of old Silvertone cowboy guitars and a beloved Fender Telecaster that I play live a lot with. I collect other odds and ends--banjos, autoharps, toy pianos and any other noisemakers. I have an old spinet in my house that I love to play too. I use some pedals--a Boss distortion pedal, an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, a reverb pedal and a Head Rush Looping and delay pedal. Mostly I use these at home for recording and messing around.
"Essentially, yes. I think that still people have certain assumptions they make about female musicians. For instance, I'm often referred to as a ""singer-songwriter"" when my male peers aren't usually called that. It doesn't bother me as I think of myself as a singer and a songwriter. However, over time that moniker has evoked a sort of tameness and emotionality I don't think I fit. I think that women might collaborate differently than men (sometimes) and I think that women have a different approach to their influences than men (sometimes). Lately I've been thinking a lot about how women age with their music. The recent film ""Crazy Heart"" and other retrospectives of aging male musicians popularize and romanticize the aging male musician. But if you look closer you can find women that never quit either--Elizabeth Cotten, Rosetta Tharpe, Odetta. Most of these artists had a very close spiritual connection with their music that did not rely on fame or sex appeal. I think that as I age, I want the same pure approach to the music. Growing up in the 1980s my models were Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Sheena Easton, Heart--these women exuded a kind of strength that I'm not sure I quite see in the made for teen cyclone of music these days. I know I was influenced by Cyndi Lauper early on and I wanted to be distinctive and creative like her. I didn't see her as a sexy kitten and I liked that. I liked that she hung around with wrestlers. "
"As I described before, I think women musicians from the 1960s and prior were from a folk tradition. Therefore they were really making music because it was passed down, it was the fabric of their community and it was second nature to the rest of their lives--being mothers, teachers, civil rights activists, servants, etc. Today women (or at least my generation and in my circle) have even more opportunity--to have careers that matter, to make careers in art AND to be mothers. I think that there's a feeling among my female musician friends that if you become a mom it's like, ""well, that music thing is over I guess."" I really respect women, say just slightly older than me, like Kristen Hersh, who did it anyway. She takes her kids on tour and her husband is her tour manager. I really respect that. "
"I have received great advice from many women and men over the years. The best advice I ever received was from an artist who told me to take as long as I need to make the stage my home before I perform. That pause that I now make before playing has made all the difference for me in the world! My advice to anyone just starting out is: Learn an instrument or if you sing, really learn about singing. Learn how to dance. Collect records. Music doesn't have to be a geeky science. Always serve the song. You don't have to recite numbers and notes and memorize everything. You can be shy, bold, expert, novice or naive--just play! Music should be still a social tool. It's silly to have that reserved just for the ""Industry."" The Industry is just a collection of people who care about art. If you're ambitious--that's great. However art is also about longevity and a certain aesthetic form. Learn about who came before you."
I feel very strongly about my skills as a guitarist. I never wanted to be the "girl with the tambourine." Some women are great at that and actually I admire that. But since I was young I always wanted to be someone who could dance with their guitar, use it as a tool for performance and really let it sing with me. I admired females musicians like Nancy Wilson (from Heart) as a kid--I think because a woman with guitar conjured up such an image of strength for me back then. When I was in high school I became more influenced by the leading and improvisational styles in bluegrass music and country and that's what ultimately drove me to learn guitar. Now I also teach guitar to girls.

Laura Ballance, Superchunk

"In addition to playing, I have always been the person who had a head for financial matters. I always did the book keeping, took the conservative view in spending money, etc."
I have a very old (from the 70's I bet) and beat up Ampeg 2x15" cabinet with EV speakers, an Acoustic 370 bass head from the 70's also I think, a Fender Precision bass from 1977 (candy apple red!), and a distortion pedal called "hot cake" made by Crowther audio in New Zealand. I found out about this awesome company because Denise from the 3d's had a hot cake and I loved her sound...we did some shows together and she let me in on the secret. Back in '93 it was really hard to find a distortion pedal that sounded good with bass.
Yes. My friend Jennifer Barwick, who played in a band called Erectus Monotone around the same time that Superchunk started, and I were talking about this recently. Back in the late 80's early 90's we would walk into the club with the other people in the band and it was assumed by the people who worked there that we were either "just the girlfriends" or "groupies" and some comment would be made at some point that alerted us to that. Also any technical opinions we might have had were sometimes dismissed by people who did not know us. I think it is a lot better these days, it seems like it is far less unusual for there to be women in punk rock bands and bands in general now. When I tell people I am in a band now, I still do occasionally get immediately asked if i am the singer. People assume that if you are a woman, you are going to be that one.
mmm, not that i can generalize.
Not specifically as a woman. I would advise anyone in the music industry to do it because it is fun and personally rewarding, and try not to think of it as a way to get famous or even make a living, or that might make it disappointing for you. Take it for what it is and keep it fun. Keep your day job. Most musicians don't become well known.
this guy I was dating needed a bass player!

Carolyn Wonderland

I am pretty much the boss lady. Carolyn Wonderland Band is a trio and on the road we share the responsibilities of driving, merch, advancing shows and keeping up with the hand puppets. In the studio, we take it song by song. I have a hand in most of the business. I think you must in order to understand what goes into making a show happen not just on the music end, but on everyone's end.
"There's a video of some of my gear here:

My live set up is: Custom made ValveTech amplifier 2x10 switchable ohms (4 / 8 / 16) and switchable rectifier (AX7 / AY7)...did I mention it is Sparkle red tolex?

Usually I plug everything in to the ValveTech. Guitars: Telecaster with the Joe Barden pickups (Tellie), Patty the Blueshawk, Leslie Pauline the Les Paul Goddess; Mandy the electric mandolin (hand made with Piezo pickups) and Lappy the Lap Steel (an early 40's Kalamazoo found in an East Texas pawn shop). I play a little trumpet, usually just off my vocal mic."
I don't know what other people feel about this, but I have never had an instrument judge my ability to play and clam up because I happen to be a woman. Instruments are great like that. You touch them in the right way and they sing back to you. People may judge your abilities through glasses tinted by sex, color, weight, height, lifestyle... But I am pretty sure that would be the case if I felt a calling to work on cars, too.
nothing that a little ripening won't change.
"I have been given both wonderful and horrible advice by people meaning well in this industry. The worst advice I am happy I did not take was to stop playing guitar, have plastic surgery and receive a large check. While I have never been offered that amount of money since, I am happy to report that I can sleep at night and play the music that moves me on whatever instrument I choose. The advice I would give is simple: Remember that the music IS the journey and the reward. Be realistic, live cheap, share. This business is brutal in order to weed out those who are not in it for life."
Perhaps they choose us? I cannot help myself when I am near an instrument, I feel compelled to make it sing.

Martha Johnson, Martha and the Muffins

I am the lead singer, co-songwriter, instrumentalist (to a lesser degree), producer. The band is just myself and Mark Gane. He and I have Muffin Music Ltd. to handle the business end of things and Mystery Song is our own publishing entity. We make all the business and marketing decisions along with our manager.
I share a home studio with Mark Gane. I have a Wurlitzer electric piano, Acetone organ and about 4 or 5 guitars. I got my first guitar when I was twelve. It is a small acoustic Hofner and I still have it. I also own a mandolin. I recently bought a 3/4 size bass at a thrift store and had it fixed up. I play it a lot right now.
"A lot of boys get into music and start bands to impress girls. Many girls get involved in music and bands to prove they can do it as well as the guys. Musician girls aren't the ones musician boys are after. Most men in a band have regular hard-working wives at home keeping life going with family etc. Women in a band most likely don't have such a luxury.

I feel my partner Mark and I have had equal respect and attention throughout the years."
"Young female musicians I have met are perhaps a bit more independent. Generally speaking, I think not much has changed as the women who were the pioneers were as strong and determined as women in bands today.

There are more manufactured female 'stars' now selling things such as brands and sex than in the 1960's to 1990's. "
"It's very hard to have it all - a successful career as a musician, a healthy, happy relationship with a partner and children in a stable home.

My advice would be - don't try to do everything at once. Make sure you enjoy all aspects of your life and don't burn out too soon. Be there!

My mother gave me some good advice. She said there are a lot of drugs and alcohol close at hand most of the time in the life of a musician. She said I should be careful not to get drawn into that world. She was right as I have seen so many musicians both male and female destroy their lives with abuse of these addictive substances.

Stay focused on the music and remember you will always have your ups and downs."
"Vocals are what I mostly do and it chose me back in the punk/New Wave era. I started playing very simple Acetone organ parts like 'Telstar' and gradually moved up to the mic where I have stayed all these years.

In high school I got tired of watching my boyfriend playing in bands so I joined in. I was the only girl involved in a band that I knew of in my circle. Most girls wanted to be like Joni Mitchell. I liked Roxy Music and Motown."

Olivia Broadfield

I don't really have a band so I am my own boss. I work with another producer and we bang heads and get to a final song we both like quite easily. In business, I have Vagrant and I have a manager but I am pretty lucky as they are quite happy to let me make decisions or at least be involved, from what I hear of the industry that is quite a rarity so I do feel really happy about the people I work with.
Me, keys, a Mac which is old and needs updating, software which I don't entirely understand and lots of wires.
I think the audience and the public requires different things from a male and female musician. If you're in a band and you're a woman and you're not the vocalist, you have to make a real point of being amazing and standing out. Guys can be in bands and just blend in and be part of the background. Something like a female drummer makes such a statement, I guess because it's a rarity. It's kind of a stereotype but a true one that women have to be sexier too. Male musicians can be fat and hairy and no one cares, if I was fat and hairy, I don't think people would like it so much!
The whole Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez era was about the craft...I'm hard pushed now to find big stars of today that are about the craft of songwriting. It's about the art of performance now and celebrity. I don't think either is more wrong or right but there is a definite change over the past 40 years.
My advice isn't woman specific, it's just work! Work work work, work like no-one else has before...think outside the box. Contact everyone, the people no-one usually bothers with, those people become your friends and help you out more than you will ever know. Be might seem girly, but people like sweet kind people, if they like you, they will want to see you do well and work harder to help you achieve what you want to achieve. Simple, but true.
When I was growing up, my parents kind of imposed piano lessons on us from an early age and I am so pleased they did, sitting at the piano calms me down and inspires me. I never get bored of sitting writing at a piano.

Madi Diaz

"in the band, i'd say i have a musical partner (kyle ryan) that i trust implicitly and that we go head to head 50/50 on every and all decisions. it helps. on the business side, between my manager ty and i, we front the whole shabang and toss marketing back and forth. it works. it's a lot of work....and it works!"
various...mostly my acoustic guitar and a tiny keyboard of some an old casio with hot beats on vocal chords...hand clappin and finger snappin...the usual...
"that's hard. i'm sure it's VERY different being a woman in the industry but i never really think about it as something that i need to overcome. i hang out with a bunch of dudes all the time so i guess if i was always thinking about being a woman/the odd one out/the different one, i'd be trying to prove something else other than what i'm trying to prove in my music.

the biggest difference might be that i can't naturally pee into a bottle while we're all in a tour van. "
"oh surely! i'm forever greatful to the women who spearheaded the women's rights movement to lead our gender to a place where i could feel that it is entirely possible to succeed on every level in my career. back then it just wasn't done. not really even thought of. women put on aprons and waited for their bread winners to come home and eat their dinners and watch their evening programs. there were fewer women leaving the homestead to go out and do things for themselves. being the minority always means you have to work harder than everyone else in order to open the door a little wider for everyone waiting behind you. that is surely the gift that those women gave to the generations that followed and that will continue to follow."
"my dad always told me that there was always going to be somebody better, so ever don't stop. ever.

my advice would be much of the same. there are millions of people with dreams, the difference is between those who can ruthlessly chase them and those who don't. "
i can carry it with me wherever i go!

Sara Bell, Regina Hexaphone, Shark Quest

I play with so many different bands so I have probably taken on every possible role at various times. With Regina Hexaphone I sing and write the songs, so I tend to have the last word in that band. Our drummer has a recording studio and we usually produce our records together. I have been the business manager for several of the bands I play in, doing payroll, taxes, etc. I'm terrible at marketing and promotion so I usually let someone else take over those tasks.
I have a Yamaha studio upright piano and a Wurlitzer electric piano at home, but use a Nord Electro for playing out. I usually play a Fender Jazzmaster but sometimes use a Gretsch Rock Jet for electric guitars, and have a Gibson J-45 acoustic that sounds great but is fragile so for shows I play an old Takamine that has a bridge pickup. For electric guitar I have a pretty simple rig: Boss Overdrive Pedal, Rat Fuzz Pedal, and a Danelectro Digital Delay through a Fender Princeton amp. My bass is a Gibson EB-2, and I am looking for an Acoustic B200 bass head to replace one that was lost... I have a Deering 5-string banjo, a mandolin custom made in the mountains of North Carolina by Paul Graybeal to emulate a Gibson F-5, and and a tenor banjo from probably the 1920s of unknown provenance! The acoustic instruments all have Sunrise pickups, and sometimes I play them through a Fender Twin Reverb amplifer.
When I was younger, in the mid-eighties, the chasm was fairly vast, but it seems that it has closed up quite a bit over the years, though young women who play today do report some of the same kinds of challenges. The most obvious difference is that there continues to be a disproportionate number of men who play music compared to women. I think some of the differences that fall under an emotional category can be attributed to gendered socialized behaviors--like being intimidated in music stores (where in lots of places men still treat you as if you are waiting for your boyfriend than as a customer, especially if you are young). I don't see it as often as I used to, but the music business, especially as you lean toward the harder end of the spectrum, has a very old-boy code of ethics and behaviors that are (or were) very sexist. This kind of thing causes women, especially if they are not incredibly confident to begin with, to retreat from asserting their opinions in the studio and in business environments where they should feel free to have an equal voice. HOWEVER, I must say that in my personal experience I had nothing but encouragement and support from the male musicians who befriended me and played in bands with me. This was in the post-punk underground music scene of Raleigh and Chapel Hill so it was a pretty progressive atmosphere to grow up in. I had a lot of confidence issues (or lack of) when I was younger that severely affected how much I asserted myself in the business world of music. That's not something you can attribute to women in general, of course, but it was certainly affected by growing up in the atmosphere of second wave feminism in America.
Absolutely. I love seeing young women songwriters and musicians today being tough and vulnerable in equal measure, being more emotionally honest and feminine and less likely to feel the need to adopt masculine postures to prove they can play on equal footing with the boys. There didn't seem to be so many choices in the eighties--you were either a super-feminine front person or an androgynous tough chick or a sensitive folkie. There are always exceptions of course, but it seems to me that everything exploded in the early '90s with Riot Grrls and Ani Di Franco and the Breeders and other popular and underground bands who came out of the 80s music scenes kind of shattering those old images and demanding more freedom for women playing now.
Lots of people. Make sure you own your own songs. Educate yourself about your gear and about the business. Educate yourself about the history of the music you love and follow its trails. Always be true to yourself, your own voice is the best one there is, and if you listen to your heart and translate it into music everyone else will want to listen too.
My mom played the piano and so it was the first instrument I learned to play. She became interested in learning tenor banjo when I was about five years old, so I started to pluck around on that when I was a teenager and listening to a lot of Irish music, and I loved old-time American music and got a 5-string banjo and a mandolin when I was about 18. I wanted to learn to play guitar when I was 11 or 12, so my mom's boyfriend helped me pick out the Takamine that I still play at a pawn shop.

Kristin Diable

I write all the songs. I co-produce the records, and do alot of sole production at my home studio. I'm involved in all marketing and business decisions, though I like to have other members of the business team take initiative to make strides forward.
"Guitar: 1959 Gibson ES-330. Amp: Carr Rambler Martin Travel Acoustic Guitar"
"Yes. There is a double standard. Aesthestics, sexy-ness, etc play a much more significant role. Then if you ARE attractive, it's often presumed your talent is inversely proportionate.

Often when people see the face of a woman fronting music, they immediately assume ""chick-rock"" or some pre-conceived idea of girl music. You have to work harder to prove your musicianship.

I didn't choose to be female, and while my life perspective certainly influences what I write about, I consider a great song, or music, about the overall human experience... not a male/female specific experience. "
" In modern times it seems, female musicians success has become more focused on aesthetics, sexiness, etc. Then that sexiness is often taken as an over-compensation for lack of talent. I think back to Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, etc... and it seemed that they had their own style and it wasn't necessarily what most people would deem as sexy or glamourous.... but it was theirs and it was respected. "
" Music is universal. It lives beyond race, sex, religion, time. Live your music. Don't let others trick you in to thinking it has to fit in a tiny box based on any of the above."
I had a guitar already and it seemed the most obvious for songwriting.

Amelia Meath, Mountain Man

"Molly, Alexandra and I run the band as a group, though often I take the manager role, molly handles the money, and alex is excellent with making decisions about how the recordings sound.

business and marketing decisions usually go through the person who reads the email first, and then we ask our other members. "
a guitar, and our three voices. We usually do not use mics.
"As a female musician, I often feel like I am going into an industry completely dominated by men. We have been assembling the team of people we are going to be working with (agents, PR, managers etc.) and nearly all of the humans who have contacted us are male. As a woman who is in an all female band, I believe we are able to touch on subjects that just are not experienced by men as often. Most of our songs are about the possiblities of mother hood, female sexual frustration and our own personal experiences of finding our feminism through experiences. This is not to say that our songs have a strictly feminist agenda, it is just that our music is a product of our lives. "
How could you not. On tour we usually listen to Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Vashti Bunyan and other female musicians who have influenced us. I feel these women paved the way for us. Not to say we only listen to women on the road. Foreigner played on a lot of late night drives.
Most of the friends who have given us advice have been men, and they usually say, continue onward and protect yourself. My advice would be: listen to your intuition, actually. Do not back down from what you believe in and do not feel pressure. Women feel easily pressured, one of the gifts I have been given is to be in a band with women who stand in their ideals. And if things get bad, start getting loud.
I was born with it, and it is what I understand the most.

Christina Marrs, Asylum Street Spankers

"I am one of two founding members still with the band. Our revolving cast of characters that characterized the early years has kind of stuck with us, and every year we usually see at least one member change. For the first few years I was in charge of everything; booking, coordinating everyone's calendar, all the administrative duties of a grassroots band without management. In 1998, we hired a manager; a man who would become my husband two years later. Since then we've also worked with several booking agents, so I'm no longer very involved in things like booking shows. Three years ago we hired a tour manager, rescuing me from those duties as well. For years I would walk off stage straight to our merch table to sell CDs and t-shirts, and then would have to settle up with the venue, check into the hotel, consult my itinerary for the next day's schedule, and then make sure everyone knew what time we were leaving the next day. These days I make most administrative decisions along with my co-founder and my husband/manager. I guess I could be considered the band's musical director, and I produced and mixed our last record. While my co-founder shares with me the title of bandleader, his approach is a little more hands-off, and the rest of the band would describe me as their ""boss""."
all acoustic - 1960s Gibson six-string, Martin ukulele, Vega tenor banjo, Charlie Blacklock musical saw, 100 year old handmade tenor "parlor" guitar
"I guess it's the same with most careers; women bear children, are largely responsible for child-rearing, and have to find a way to make their careers coexist alongside having a family.I have three children, and have had to tour into my ninth month of pregnancy, as well as taking an infant on the road with me until he was weaned from the breast. Obviously, these are things a male musician would never have to worry about. Some people are truly shocked to discover that I have a job that takes me away from my children 150 days a year. I know male musicians with families, and I doubt they get the same reaction; people might assume they miss their children or their spouse when they're gone, but people tend to view a mother's separation from her children as unnatural. For me, it's a good trade off. I'm home more than I'm gone, and when I'm home I'm basically a stay at home mom. I do miss out on some things; first words, first steps, first day of school. But I probably get to spend more quality time with my kids than some women who work 8 to 5 and get to see their kids for an hour a day and on weekends. One thing that seems to happen consistently is the door person at a venue mistaking my ""I'm with the band."" to mean that I'm someone's girlfriend, not someone actually IN the band. This usually just cracks me up. It's pretty apparent once we're on stage who's in charge."
"I think the women musicians who came before my generation probably encountered a lot more sexism than my lot, or the young ladies just starting out today as musicians. The music business is obviously still very male dominated, and it must have taken a lot of guts and a very strong demeanor to go into this business 50 or 60 years ago. I was born in 1970, the era of women's liberation, and never had any reason to feel inferior to men in any way. I've always been truly shocked by the (albeit rare) instances of sexism that I've encountered in life, not just in the music business, but I can't even imagine what it must have been like for some of my predecessors. I started doing this professionally when I was 24, and now 40 is just a few weeks away for me. So I've been in the business for a ""generation"", and it's funny because I encounter a lot of young women who are about the age I was when I started, who look to me now as something of a role model. For me, things haven't changed all that much since we started out. Last summer I volunteered at Girls Rock Camp, a summer program for young women with musical aspirations, and this next generation of female musicians don't seem at all deterred by the music business being a male-dominated industry. They just want to rock out! "
"This career path basically fell into my lap. I didn't research it first to find out how I should make my way; I just figured it out as I went along. It's almost laughable to think about how green I was when I started doing this. I had natural talent, but no real skills yet; I didn't even know how to count off a song! I think the best advise for any musician starting out is to just get out there and play. Play as much as you can. Play with different musicians. Collaborate with musicians who might be coming from a different place, musically, than you are. I have learned so much from the very talented musicians I've been so blessed to have shared a stage with. There is a different set of muscles you use when you play with other people, as opposed to playing solo. You can, and should, practice alone in your living room as much as time will allow you, but playing in front of an audience is invaluable experience, so even if you don't have any gigs yet, go to an open mic to get used to performing, as opposed to simply playing. I think that it's probably best to just think of yourself as a musician, rather than a woman musician. In my mind there's really no need to make a big deal about the distinction. "
"When the Asylum Street Spankers first formed, I didn't play any instruments. I picked up ukulele and guitar at about the same time, as I needed a way to teach our songs to a revolving door cast of substitute bass players and guitarists. As the Spankers were a side project for many of our members in those early years, we constantly had members bailing on our shows for more lucrative ones, and for some reason it fell to me, the person with the least musical skills, to find substitutes and teach them our repertoire. The guitar gave me a means to at least strum chords so that I could show the chord progressions, stops, tempo changes, etc. to new or temporary members. The ukulele was something no one else in the band played at the time; a difficult feat considering our earlier inceptions were sometimes 10 or 11 members strong. I picked up the tenor banjo and tenor guitar later to add to the rotation of rhythm instruments I could play. While I used the guitar to write songs and as a means to teach our songs to others, I didn't start playing it in the band until about halfway through our history; now I play guitar more than any other instrument. I picked up the saw about 4 years into our history. We'd had a couple of guitar players who had picked it up and played it occasionally, but they both quit the band about the same time. I spent about a year really missing it on certain tunes, until I took a stab at it and realized it was something I was actually good at. "

Jackie Bristow

I am the songwriter/ singer/ booking agent/ co producer/ manager/ I am doing it all myself at the moment and ... I need help!!!!!
I have an Australian guitar, Maton acoustic. It is a fantastic sounding guitar .
Yes i do think it is very different. People are generally more agest and I think it is just harder for woman in the music business. Dealing with a male dominated business being a woman is a challenge in its self. You have to be very resilient determined to keep afloat in the music business. Also most the men that want to help you 99% of the time want to sleep with you!
I am noticing that the younger woman coming up in the business are more independent and have good management skills.. They are not relying on record labels and people to make it happen for them. I think this is mainly to do with the massive change in the music business. I think it is a very good thing and give you more control of your career.
Yes i have been given lots of good advice. I would say write, write write, play as much as possable. Do it yourself and don't wait for someone else. I say that from experience I think I would be more successful if i had known how important it was to build your fanbase and from the ground up. I was signed with major labels just before the change and I as advised to not play and let radio do the work.. but radio ever picked me up so I am still building my fan base. Once you have an audience you have a career!
I first learnt guitar at school when I was only 8 years old, then got into piano but once i left home and only had my guitar to travel with, guitar became my main instrument.

Carla DeSantis

Maya Miller Band

drummer / organizer / producer - we both control the creative descisions in our band. Our band is a duo. My bandmate, Becky Black plays guitar and does the singing.
5 piece Pearl Drum set, Sabian cymbals, Vater sticks
"Just in the way you sometimes get treated. Their seems to be a misconception that women can't rock out as hard as men do. we're more than happy to show them wrong.

More like a series of moments - there are times when it feels like we're just not part of the boys club - hard to describe that feeling but it's there just the same."
Apologies, I have no basis to work with to even begin to answer that question.
"We both present ourselves and act first and foremost like Humans as opposed to women.

The only valuable advice i can recall was to remember that no one is our friend - but that advice was not female specific.

Advice to someone starting out: do the best you can, don't fixate on thinking you have to do anything a certain way just because you're a woman. don't trap yourself and then maybe you don't have to be trapped by others."
we started off in another band with friends and we needed a drummer and so I said I'd learn how.

Ruth Merenda, Mike & Ruthy

"Mike and I performed in The Mammals for about 7 years. I was co-manager of the band and did all of the bookkeeping. These days Mike and I try to split the work down the middle but he is the more prolific songwriter and I am the more compulsive business head and I still do all the numbers. On stage we share the musical roles more evenly.

Mike's studio knowledge has really grown over the years and now we have a great home studio. I like to do some editing, but he's more knowledgeable about the whole set-up.

We're also sharing the parenting at the same time, so it's a very interesting puzzle. "
As a duo, Mike and I sometimes perform in a very acoustic style around a condenser mic. But sometimes I play electric guitar and fiddle thru his old Ampeg tube amp and he plays kick drum and hi-hat while strumming his plugged-in acoustic. That's more of a big sound.
"I have always been proud to be a woman on stage who can do more than just sing and play a tambourine. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

When I see a band with one or more women I am instantly more interested in what they are doing. As an actress it was brought to my attention that the ratio is 5 to 1 female actors looking for work and the reverse is true for female roles available.

Why is it so common for a play to be written with many male characters and only one female voice? Maybe there aren't enough women playwrights?

In music the field is more wide open for us to write our own play and raise our own voice. That's what drew me back to music.

In addition to playing in ""Mike & Ruthy"" I have a collaboration with two women (Aoife O'Donovan and Kristin Andreassen) in a vocal trio called Sometymes Why. There is something very special about that project which is hard to put into words. "
"Yes! My mom had a band in the 80's called Rude Girls. They were fun, irreverent folkies who sang bawdy safe-sex ditties, real-life love songs, and the occasional role-reversal murder ballad. These days I don't think we have as much to prove.

In my ""all-girl band"" we don't really make a big deal about our gender and our freedom from oppression. I think we were raised as empowered women and we took that confidence and ran with it. Sometimes I think that translates as the confidence to be vulnerable. Together we create a comfort zone on stage where we can be pretty real. "
"Hmmmm. Because my parents and most of their friends are in the music business I received plenty of advice good and bad.

I think the best advice I got was in my theater training where I learned to breathe and be in the room in an audition setting. I know that sounds pretty basic, but it's easy to forget when you start playing high-profile shows and feeling like you have to impress everyone.

It's the same advice I'd give to anybody. Be present. Don't forget to breathe . . .

. . . and maybe a couple of tips I got from my Dad over the years, like: Don't burn a bridge if you can help it. Make sure you're still having fun!

There will always be high-paying gigs that are no fun low-paying gigs that feed your soul! Get a good balance going and you'll be alright. "
"My Dad plays the fiddle. His name is Jay Ungar and most people know his tune, ""Ashokan Farewell,"" from the PBS Civil War series by Ken Burns. I grew up at square dances on the weekends and folk festivals in the summer, so the traditional roots music scene is where I sprouted. Our 2-year old son is now starting to play the little fiddle that I started playing at 4. I say I've only been playing for 12 years professionally, but before that I was a kid with a fiddle who loved to sing. My mom, folk-singer, Lyn Hardy, is now a skilled luthier and lives nearby. We still sing together whenever we can. You might say that I didn't have much of a choice about playing the fiddle and making songs.

I chose to be an actress in college and for a couple of years after that in NYC, but I came away from the city with a renewed love for music instead, and a lifelong musical collaborator too!"

Kate Levitt, Teeth Mountain and the Dan Deacon Ensemble

In the ensemble, Dan makes all the administrative decisions. However, in TM all the marketing, business, and booking stuff is done primarily by Andrew and myself. The two of us literally do everything you could think of.
When I play a kit it's a marroon sparkely Gretch Kit, circa 1970's. However, in TM and the Ensemble, I play a mitigated kit made of: A high hat, cymbol, floor tom, roto toms, and sometimes some other things.
Being a woman who has toured internationally with exclusivly dudes--several dudes at a time, I might add--has given me an interesting perspective on what it's like to be a female musician today.

It is perhaps impulse — my impulse, even — to think that the difference in sex (I say sex here instead of gender because I believe there to be a distinction between the two) between my band mates and I should not matter when touring. Every night we are on the road or play a show, we are all working towards a common goal; to be on time, set up quickly, to sound check and then to play with out messing up horribly. Easy enough, except with a band the size of the Ensemble — and traveling on a school bus which runs on vegetable oil scavenged almost exclusively from highway rest-stops — things generally take several hours longer then anyone would ever expect them to. There is a lot of teamwork involved in this process. I have come to think of us as a teepee: if you imagine the ensemble as a teepee, we are all planks supporting each other, and if one person is not on time, or not pulling their weight the whole structure collapses. And believe me, in the beginning especially, there were times when this teepee was not suitable for inhabitants.

However, it is not in the process of setting up the show that I feel least at home as a woman. Truly, I cannot lift the amps that the other guys can lift. I say this not because I am someone who believes that women cannot be physically strong — on the contrary, I believe that after playing two long sets every night for months at a time that I have have gained muscle endurance which permits me to play for much longer then other male drummers I know — but because it is simply a reality of the situation. Here these boys are dragging equipment which must weigh almost as much as I do (I also happen to be fairly tiny), and I know I can scarcely contribute to this part of the ordeal. Of course, I load and unload all my own gear, but there was a time when we were designating jobs to everyone, and I was relegated to cleaning the bus. I didn't mind this, so much. I always knew where my own things were on our vehicle which became very cluttered very quickly.

Honestly, there were really two main times when I feel the most different and distant. One occurs sometimes when we are playing. I can relate this feeling to a song written by the band Bikini Kill, entitled Tony Randell, where Kathleen Hannah sings, "I see a punk club, he sees a strip bar." Its this feeling when you are are playing and you look up for a moment, and see these guys eyes on you from the audience, and you are not sure exactly why they are looking at you — if it is because they are enjoying the music you are making, or if it is because they are looking at you for another reason: because you are a woman on a stage who is doing something physical. This is especially true when I play with the ensemble. There are so many musicians on the stage, why catch my eye? In no way am I the best musician in the band, nor would I consider myself the most interesting to watch on a technical level. Here's a concrete example of this phenomenon: over the summer we played at Lollapalooza. While we had played Primevera Music Festival in Spain and other large festivals in Europe, Lolla was probably one of the biggest crowds we had played to. There must have been thousands of people there. It was summer in Chicago and it was incredibly hot out. It may even have been of the hottest days all summer, and the fact that there was so many people around made the place seem several degrees hotter. Of course, Denny and Greg, the other drummers, played shirtless that day. It would have been stupid, dangerous even, for them not to. The body heat created when playing a set like Dan's is unparalleled to anything I have ever experienced. Because of this, I decided I would also go shirtless. Of course, I had a bra on and, lets be clear, it was not in any way a sexual undergarment. It was a thick black thing which just as easily could have been a bathing-suit top. However, as we started playing, I noticed that one of the guys in the film crew seemed to be paying especially close attention to me.

It started with him filming in my general direction from across the stage, but, seriously, by the time a quarter of the set had elapsed the man was right next to me, squatting on the floor and filming upwards. It didn't take long for me to figure out exactly what was going on, and I resolved to tell him to stop. However, every time a song ended, or was about to end, the filmer would move to a different part of the stage and act like he was filming someone else, or would be doing nothing — then when the next song would start he would be right next to me again. Part of me thought I was going crazy. Like, I was possibly making something out of nothing, however when I brought the incident up with the other drummers they both admitted that they had noticed what this man was doing as well. This was uncomfortable for a number of reasons: obviously, knowing that there's some guy out there with tape of my chest is kind of disconcerting, but I also couldn't keep myself from wondering whether he would have taken as much of an interest in my if my shirt was on.

I try to consider myself a drummer fist, and a woman drummer second. I am very adamant about this. It is for this reason that I never followed up with an offer to do an interview for an online magazine devoted exclusively to female drummers. I know that sounds completely insane. People have told me this many times, however I do not endeavor to distinguish my self from the boys more than I already have. It might be true, as some people will argue, that any publicity is good publicity, but I can't help taking a moral — almost political — stance on the matter. I want to be praised not because I am a woman, but because I am good at what I do by a general standard, and if I haven't made it there yet then I haven't made it there yet, but I refuse to accept anything less.

The other times when I feel — lets face it — a little bit out of the loop is when we are in transit, or hanging out after the shows. It is during these periods of down-time that the conversation has its way of turning towards girls, and bodies. It is times like after we have broken down all our equipment and we are all sitting out side, drenched in sweat and sharing cigarettes, that I learn who was checking out which girl in the audience, and whether the ladies out that night were a generally attractive crowed or not. Of course, I can engage them in some of this conversation. I can say things like "which girl in the neon green shirt with the big glasses?" and "yea, she was looking right at you all throughout "Woof Woof".

At first it seemed apparent that my role in these scenarios would be obvious: that as a woman I could just simply dole out womanly advice. This could range anywhere from how to maintain their currently long distance relationships with their girlfriends back in Baltimore or New York City — a feat which rarely occurred without incident — to what lady they should hook up with at a party. Honestly, this game was rather amusing to me. I knew pretty much what was going on with everyone for a good while. Not like you don't always know what's going on with everyone all the time when you are seventeen people traveling together 24/7 for weeks at a time, but I really knew the details of the situations. However, a problem occurred as we got deeper and deeper into the tour: as everyone got to know each other better, I felt like I became less of a woman to these boys and more like another dude. Which was cool, except that I'm not a dude. The phrase, "Hey Kate, can I ask you this thing about my girlfriend," suddenly turned into "Kate, your like the closest thing to a girl within several hundred miles because we are driving through the desert somewhere, so can I ask you this question..." At first I was actually pretty excited about this. "Great," I figured, "the boys consider me on the same page." However, there were still elements of their conversations that I couldn't really contribute to. "Oh yeah," I found myself saying sarcastically on way to many occasions, "I hate it when I get road boners to. It really just ruins my day." So, its like I have basically come to feel like I am stuck in a weird limbo zone where I can't accurately fulfill some kind of heteronormative female role in the group because they don't really consider me a chick, but I can't really contribute to conversations about "guy stuff" either, because it simply doesn't apply to me.
Honestly, check this out:

So, it seams like every time a new genre starts woman are initially exculded from it and then slowly but surely creep their way into it. This can be seen clearly with punk and rap, and now it is happening more and more with noise and electronic music. I would like to think that currently woman are becoming more fearless with playing music--that is to say have less aprehension when playing rowdyier--dude like--music. Woman are playing more instruments these days while as in the past were relegated to vocals and the occasional guitar. However, this is not to say that we are equally accepted. I think women still have to be either super good or really really sexy to be accepted in any scene, where as there are a lot of dude bands which basically are terrible and get recognized.
When I first started playing the drums, I was listening to a lot of Riot Grrrl bands. Specifically, I was super into Bikini Kill, and Sleater Kinney--bands who activly promote female musical empowerment. I think this was a very good place to start. Listening to these bands was of particular importance to me becuase I was very into the New York punk scene when I was a kid, I hung out at places like ABC No Rio, and that genre is very male dominated, with an obvious male hierarchy. While the Riot Girl scene developed out of Olympia, and I was living in NY, having female role models who came out of the punk scene was really helpful to me becasue it made me feel like, "hell yea, we can do this too!" The first couple of bands I was in when I was a kid were "riot grrrl" bands. I guess I would suggest that any woman who was feeling kind of self contious about this stuff pick up one of those cds and do a bit of research into that scene. Having female role models I think is really good for any female musician to have positive female role models.

Also, having your first band be with other women can be empowering. There is a strong bond you make with the people you play with, and it is simply different when you are playing with dudes. I can't really explain it further then that. It's intangable and ineffible. I guess for the most part I have found that the people I play with have become my best friends, and having a female best friend is different then have one whose a dude. I'm not close with many of my girl friends from high school, for example, but of those i remain close with the majority are people i played music with at one time or another.

Ultimatly though, the advice I would give to a woman musician just starting out would be just to play the music you want to play, and play at the bars you want to play at, and don't give a shit about what anyone tells you, especially if what they say is discourging. Unfortunatly, though, thats easier said than done.

A NOTE: I think it is really really awesome that you guys are doing this. Check this out: on december 9th i sent a very similar show idea to This American Life. However, I sent it by e-mail and figured no one would ever read it. If you guys did, that is sick. But if you came up with this idea with out reading that e-mail that's even cooler becuase it means more people are just realizing this is a relevent topic. Thanks NPR!!!
Honestly, I guess I started to play the drums becuase I had a ton of energy when I was a kid (still do) and felt like it would be a good way for me to use that energy. Then I realized I never wanted to stop. I also have always been really in to listening to music, since I was a little kid and hence playing music seemed like a natural choice.

Nancy Lombardo

writer singer
neutral into 5th
no, except women are more poetic
be the next you not the next anyone else....advice have a backup plan

Liz Burke

I am the Bass player, back up vocalist, main contact and I book all the tours.
Squier Bullet Bass and a Peavey TNT 130
"Yes. I think it can be both more difficult and easier in different ways. Rock music tends to have a ""boys club"" feel. It can be difficult to gain respect and be taken seriously. We also tend to be promoted as a ""girl band"" or a ""chick band"" as if our gender is a gimmick.

On the other hand, I think it can set you apart from the countless numbers of male bands. "
I think the women in music now (not all) tend to use sex appeal, especially in Top 40 music.
I would say when starting out the most important thing you can do is play as many shows as you can for a diverse variety of people and not be intimidated by men....they can actually be your biggest fans.
At the time a friend needed a bass player so I gave it a shot.

Pilley Bianchi

I am pianist, composer, singer/producer. or &
Lots of keyboard & recording gear. Now, most events I play rent a grand piano.
Absolutely. As a sideman, I was featured as a keyboardist on MTV's TURN IT UP with an all male band. The guys had no respect for me. Then I did a show with Denis Learly and all male band and got respect but also envy because I was featured on camera because I was prettier than they were. I also got rock/pop gigs simply because I was a woman.
Not really. Times don't really change, just our perception.
"Amazing pianist Lee Luvisi (I studied with him at Aspen Music Festival) He said ""the only secret is, there is no secret, you just have to work hard and practice.""

Pianist Ivan Davis. ""you can do it, I believe in you.""

Always loved the piano and knew it was what I wanted to do, since I was 4.

Jone Stebbins, Imperial Teen

"We are a very democratic band. We all do it all. I do handle all our ""business"" right now as we are self managed at the moment"
"I play an Ernie Ball MusicMan Bass I also play a Gretch hollowbody guitar"
No so much. I remember back in the olden days I would get interviewed about being in an all girl band and even as a 14 year old I said an E minor is an E minor whether its played by a boy or a girl....
go for it.
Well as a pre teen in the late 70's early 80's I was really into Saturday Night Live. At that time it was one of the only places to see current happening music being performed plus it was just so funny and cool...anyway I clearly remember seeing the Talking Heads on SNL and saw Tina Weymouth playing a guitar ( I thought it was guitar at the time) I had NEVER seen a girl playing an instrument in a rock band before!! My best friend and I decided then and there to do it too. We formed our all girl band The Wrecks soon after recruiting some girls from school one of whom was Lynn Perko who amazingly I AM STILL IN A BAND WITH 21 YEARS LATER. Weird. I played guitar back then but play bass in Imperial Teen now, mostly. We do trade instruments around...

Kelly Crisp, The Rosebuds

"I am half of a two-person song-writing team. I write music and lyrics and collaborate on the same with my partner. In the studio I find that I act as director and producer more than I would have thought years ago. I'm endlessly creative, and naturally bossy, so I've found a niche for myself with this business. We both have our own areas of strength in the business to which we've naturally gravitated. My strength is communication so, on the business side, I do most of the behind-the-scenes work of interacting with the manager, booking agent, record label, licensing team, publicist, merchandizers, et cetera. We have built a really great team but it takes constant contact and coordination so I'm the girl for that job."
"I play multiple instruments both live and in the studio. My gear ranges from a glittery gold accordion, to an Alesis keyboard, to a pink Barbie piano and beyond. Creativity is the focus and that takes a lot of weird instruments."
"No. My experience may not be typical, but I have surrounded myself with a team of really talented men (mostly men) who view me as an equal and who are open to my creativity. My creativity, though I do not see it as necessarily feminine, must be informed by my femininity in some ways, but the main story isn't man/woman in our creative life, it is nurture/nurture. We've been able to create a nest within which our business can thrive and it is more about caring for the project by pushing one another's ideas forward to their logical (or weird) conclusions. In the business world, I've never, in all of my meetings or interactions, felt my being a woman created an obstacle, though I don't think that's your question. In reality, I think those in my world respond to ideas and I'm bright/intelligent enough so men (music business is a man's world) appreciate and admire that in me to a degree that maybe neutralizes our obvious sex differences.

Having said all that, I occasionally find myself dressing for the show in front of men, sharing hotel rooms with men, brushing my teeth with a couple of men hanging around brushing their teeth. My femininity is apparent, as is their masculinity, but we all acknowledge the situation for what it is--probably not a conventional lifestyle but it works for us."
We played a show with Ronnie Spector. We played a show with Superchunk. In both cases, the women are perceived as respectable and powerful, because they present themselves as powerful. However, the divide between generations couldn't have been more apparent in those two situations. Ronnie Spector was "handled" and treated as precious, fragile while off stage. She was very protected and maybe she's developed a need for that protection from her experiences (being married to Phil Spector couldn't have been easy!) whereas Laura Ballance from Superchunk... I don't know how to put this... she carries herself. I remember telling her when we first played shows together that I thought she was a positive role model for me because, though she is friendly and kind, she is firm, strong, and very direct. It was clear to me that these would be the tools of survival.
"I've always studied women (and men) that I respect and I try to identify what it is that makes them successful. It is usually ethics and their approach to business that I notice first. I do want my band to be wildly successful, but it has to be our own way. To be respectable in business is more important to me (than bling or whatever) and so I aspire to those goals.

My advice is to be active and present in all aspects of the creative and business life of the band. If you are making truly valuable contributions, you will remain happy. And your gender should not become an issue so long as you do not make it (or use it) as one. It is easier to be a successful woman in this business than outsiders might think because, at least in my band, we are all working together so feverishly for better, more intense creative expression in our project that we forget to see our differences. Or we burn them for fuel."
Instead of a honeymoon, my husband and I started this band just for fun the week we got married. We were just hanging out at the house and he started playing the guitar so I grabbed a keyboard, which was the first instrument I had on hand.

Mel Watson

"I play solo and with my duo partner who is a virtuoso cellist named Corbin Keep. I can write when ever I feel like it, I don't feel like I have to turn on any creative faucet. I feel it is always there, at any time. We write together. I have my own little studio and have recorded my last two releases from there. I run a little independent label called 100th Monkey Records. I make and release my own music. I also book for a couple of other artists non exclusively. I create projects for example the last one i did was called Compassionism. A compilation album created to raise awareness of animal cruelty. 100% of the profits going to PETA. "
Takamine Acoustic Guitar,Yamaha Trumpet, an old Lyon Healy Soprano Sax, Yamaha Flute, Werl Tenor Horn, various percussion pieces. I use a mac set up to record my own music.
"Yes I think there is probably a difference, but I prefer to contemplate the similarities.

When you go beyond the surface of a musician, man or woman, dive beyond the person, the personality, all the stuff that is on the surface, and dive into the heart of a musician, that is the place where you find the most precious of gifts. It is that place, that when expressed through sound, connects us on levels that are unable to be expressed with such intensity in any other way. To me music is the most powerful art form and there is no difference between the heart of a male or female musician. "
I think women musicians of the past had a battle to be able to be a musician more so than women do now. But I can say, that when you have the burning desire inside, it doesn't matter, you just do it. I did.
"I had boundless support from my music teacher, and my parents. My father said ""it's all about the marketing and management....."" I didn't take his advice, but he was right. i was interested in making my own way, and finding my own path.

Be you. This is the most valuable advice I would give any one starting out. I want to hear what you have to say, not what you think I want to hear. :)"
"I love making music, and so I try to play the sounds I hear. Trumpet was my first instrument, I loved the dynamic range of the instrument. I used to love playing loud, now I am appreciating the softer qualities of the horn. :)"

Kristina Esfandiari aka Mountshout

i write all my own songs. i play by myself. sometimes i can conjure up enough spare time to practice and have a drummer play with me.
just an audix mic & my parlor style pawn shop fender acoustic guitar.
" i'd have to say it depends on the person. some women can be really naive and some really strong and discerning. i have been in situations where a guy told me that he loved my music and wanted to help me in any way possible. i was cautious and upfront about my intentions in working with him musically and that i meant only to focus on my music. turned out the guy had an interest in ME, not to say that he didn't have a genuine interest in my music. but his motives were twisted. it is hard not to come off as suspicious sometimes.

i feel like i have seen a lot of female musicians get away with having little to no talent because they play coy and cute or have sex appeal. i have seen some guys get away with this too. "
honestly, not really. we have more available to us then we ever did before so maybe i should be able to see some difference.
toughen up! do what you feel compelled to do and don't let anyone pressure you into doing things their way.
my parents got me a guitar for my 16th birthday. took me years to actually pick up the thing and play it. maybe i was a little bit compelled towards guitar? i love instruments in general.

Pamela Rose, Wild Women of Song

Band Leader - Co-producer. While I invite a healthy amount of input from my musicians, I do always have a strong sense of how I think it should sound. Marketing, business, bookings, thta's the job we all hate, but it does seem that if you are promoting something you believe in, you've got to do it yourself.
This new show I'm performing in right now tells the story of the women songwriters of the class jazz and blues era (Alberta Hunter through the early 50's), and we project slides of the women on a screen while I tell stories and we performn their songs. So....these days I need a laptop and projector, and I've never been too proud to haul the p.a. system.
"It's changed so much since the days I started out, when women were supposed to be 'chick singers' and cook dinner for the guys and clean up after rehearsals. (I kid you not). I used to feel that I had to sing powerful strong songs so as not to get pigeon holed as the 'ballad singer' (chick singer).

My last CD which was about the women jazz composers naturally featured a lot of great women players. I'm happy to report in that I can't close my eyes and say that there's a 'women' style of playing that's qualitatively unique or different than the men's style. We've come a long way, and I work with some pretty bad ass women musicians.

And of course, let's discuss the fact that to have a boyfriend or husband in this business, he better have a good healthy ego, able to handle that you are getting flirted with from stage or off stage. The male musician 'band wives' go to all the gigs, but the husbands don't, for sure. "

It used to be hard to find a really strong woman drummer, now there's scores of young women who are fantastic. and guitarists, too.

I think the men musicians have also become a lot more sensitive - on the band stand, and in terms of process. "
"My new show ""Wild Women of Song"" does talk a lot about the unique challenges of having a family and being in music biz. It's hard for anyone to juggle the demands of work chldrend...but so much harder when you are on the road, when you can't promise you'll be there for birthdays or recitals.

And women, I feel, aren't as naturally comfortable promoting themselves as men are - so much of the networking happens from hanging out at parties and in bars, etc. Really difficult on the musician moms, who just can't do those things.

I'm happy to say I've got a wonderful, very supportive, strong minded husband who is not threatened by my lifestyle, and who has had to throw many a birthday party for our kids when I've not been around. "
Funny thing - I was always pretty shy; folks that grew up with me are usually pretty surprised when they see me perform as a lead singer. I was always writing and arranging songs, and trying to give them to bands, but when I would sing the song down, I'd be asked to join that band as a singer. So....eventually I just accepted it's a big part of my alter ego.

Submitted Anonymously

As a solo musician, I write all my songs, provide artistic direction for the band and make all business and marketing decisions myself.
One Danelectro guitar that looks like it was made from a recycled formica countertop. A non-name brand classical guitar (that I play like a regular acoustic). A strumstick with a pick-up attached. An autoharp, also with a pick-up attached.
"Men are obviously all different so I can't generalize. I have no idea whether being a male musician is ""different"" but I will say that there is a lot more of them and it is hard sometimes, when touring and playing, say, ten shows in a row on rosters of three bands per night where every single member is male, not to wonder why. I try not to dwell on it, but sometimes the numbers alone DO make a difference to me. The low percentage of female fronted bands or solo artists on year-end best-of lists, or on magazine covers, sometimes makes me at least wonder WHY the gender imbalance is so skewed. As I grow older, and am planning to have kids, I started to notice how few successful female singers have families and wonder if making these kinds of sacrifices in part play a roll in reducing the number of women able to pursue music to the fullest extent that their talent and ambition could take them. In terms of moments when a difference became clear to me, I can provide this anecdote: I was recently included in a top ten list of favorite singers by the music blogger David Gutowski (Largehearted Boy). Of the nine other female singers on the list, only one had a child. Two of the singers were younger than me (I am 35) but seven were older. The one singer with a child, Kimya Dawson, is also married to a musician and they are able to tour together as a family. For me it was really an eye-opening moment. And I did wonder to myself: Do male musicians also face this same kind of choice, or are their wives at home, taking care of their kids while they're on tour...?"
The best piece of advice I ever got was from my high school friend Amanda Palmer, who is now a successful solo musician and 1/2 of the duo The Dresden Dolls. The night before I was scheduled to talk on the phone with a label that was interested in releasing my first EP, I called her to ask what I should say. And Amanda told me, unabashedly, that you really really really have to WANT it. If you aren't 100% invested in your music, then audiences and labels and industry people. etc, will sense it and, in turn, invest their faith and their resources in you. She convinced me that a half-hearted effort would only end up giving itself away, and that if I wanted to make music my life, I had to fully commit to it.
I don't believe you choose the instruments you play; they choose you. That said, I do favor lighter instruments and acoustic instruments, especially when touring abroad since lugging amps gets pretty grueling and limits you in terms of travel and being able to do shows that require minimum set-up.

Elizabeth Cook

acoustic guitar, cable, headstock tuner, capo, strap, clogs.
it is easier to get attention, harder to hold it. once a producer didnt introduce me to his wife and i later noted, it caused a lot of unnecessary trouble. once i watched a female musician backstage at the opry work to diffuse the tension b/t her and the women who were with the men she was working with.
i think older women that are still surviving at it rely less on their sexuality. but they have more grace.
yeah people told me to not change, but i've definitely changed. i would tell them its okay to change and its okay to let a man carry your gear.
my mother played

Sara Hickman

I just finished producing an album of nine women. I love to produce, and have been doing that since 1989. As a label owner, I'm in charge of writing, creating, producing, arranging, getting rehearsals structured and back up bands together; I'm in charge of art direction for not only my cds, my other packaging I help art direct through Stingray, a design company I co-founded with four other designers/photographers. I set up mastering, replication, and distribution, whether digital or hard product. I also teach songwriting/creativity classes at festivals and am signed with International Speakers Bureau for public speaking engagements. I oversee contracts, whether I'm licensing (to Martha Stewart, film/tv, American Idol) and I am involved in writing/singing on regional/national commercials, from Wal-Mart, Daisy Sour Cream (I sang on their commercials for 8 years) to Southwest Airlines, etc. I also have served on the board of The Recording Academy and helped with talking about industry related issues in schools, at SXSW and through creative consultanting for other musicians with questions about how the industry works, from copyrighting to publishing to lawyers and management.
I have a Takamine endorsement, so I have about six acoustics. I also have a turquoise Wildcat (electric hollow body) from my Gibson endorsement. I just got a new pedal made by Mark McQuilken that I've yet to try----he's getting different artists to try them and give feedback. I have a 1960's blonde Guild hollow body that I've had about 25 years, and I utilize a Martin, the limited edition 150 year celebration model signed by C.F. Martin, in the studio.
"Yes. I mostly work with men, and I have to speak clearly, directly about what I want. I've learned to be bold and not care what someone thinks because I have a ton of experience and I deserve the right to be heard and respected. I'm fortunate in that I've worked with the best of the best, so I've learned how to speak up, but, in the beginning, it was maddening. Becoming a mother made my job more difficult only in that I am the breadwinner, and I do my best to be a creative mini-mogul AND carve out quality time with my children/husband/family and friends. I think I've managed to do a pretty amazing job. I think I have the respect of my peers because of the body of my work, and the ability to produce quality work. I think the biggest moment for me, as a woman, was one day in the studio, about 16 years ago, I was reaching for a fader to change the level of a single track, and the engineer reached over and slapped my hand. I was aghast, and it showed me that, sometimes, no matter the experience or the aptitude, some men are still going to see you as inferior. I've had to deal with men on the phone that were narcissistic and completely rude. I've had to deal with people trying to fondle me and I have been attacke on occassion---after a show, after a rehearsal. I've learned to be aware of my surroundings, to ask for help loading/unloading gear, and I don't let the actions of a few men measure the value of all men. I can say that there are a lot of women out there who are just as maddening, but that's a different story.

I do know I am grateful that my husband is a stay at home dad, and that he has come to help me run this business, whether answering the phone, helping to set up interviews, set up rehearsals, overseeing our stock and mailing out product to Amazon, etc. It seems more men have their wives helping them then women have husbands helping them, but that will, and is, changing. "
"Yes. When I started, it was me, a manager, a high falutin' attorney and the major label. I actually started my first record as an indie and licensed to Elektra, which was a big deal at the time (thus, I still owe the master). If you weren't on a label in the early 90's, no one wanted your product in their stores because it was all about distribution/sales/numbers. I fought to produce on my first major release, especially when the producer was in Hawaii working on another album simultaneously, and I was left in L.A. putting the record together. I questioned why he was getting paid the big bucks (and getting points) when the engineer and I were actually arranging/doing the work. As a result, I ended up with credit and the ability to produce, fully, the last three songs on that album.

I feel like young women today are more savvy about how the industry works, they are starting younger, getting in bands or doing their own solo thing, much more involved in the business aspects. They've watched and learned from us, whether they are aware of it or not, and it's cool to see them be musicians, not ""women"" musicians. I think that is all we've been asking all along...just label me a musician, who happens to be a woman.

Lastly, I enjoy singing about issues that are important to me, as a woman, that a man may or may not understand, and I think younger women are hip and confident to sing about those issues, too. The level of talent is astounding and flourishing at an unheard of rate. Women help one another, we network, we are a large sisterhood. That's been a big sigh of welcome relief for me, cuz like I said, in the beginning, I was one of a few women working/making it in the industry, and we were all doing our best to have singles/be on VH-1, The Tonight Show, do radio tours, whatever it took to stay at the top of a male oriented game."
"Peter Himmelman once said to me, ""Just be yourself. Don't let others talk you any to anything. The way you are creating is amazing."" And Lucinda Williams brought me on stage when I was stiffed by a club owner to perform before the bar had even opened...she heard what had happened, and at the end of her performance, while the club was packed to the nines, she introduced me as her FRIEND (we'd just met) and had me come up and sing to an awesome, enthusiastic crowd. She shared the moment with me so graciously; I've never forgotten the awe I felt from her unselfishness and caring.

I would say to a woman musician starting out: surround yourself with women you admire, even if only in recordings, and network wherever you can---festivals, conferences...and be bold in sharing your work....send thank you notes...ask LOADS of questions...imagine yourself where it is you want to be, and everytime you are on stage, make it your best performance possible. Take constructive criticsm, mull it over, and take what is true that can help you grow. Listen to a variety of music and practice, practice, practice. Keep a journal. Ask to open for women you admire. Don't ever, ever,ever give up----even when club owners say you're fat or an audience doesn't respond or a label turns you down or someone doesn't like your song---all that just makes you stronger. Play music with people better than you. Listen to what people are saying around you at conferences, you'll learn a lot. Take notes. Expand your horizons and never be afraid to try something new with your voice/lyrics/sound/music. There is room enough for everyone, don't let anyone tell you different. And, lastly, you don't have to be a household name to make a career/living on what you love to do. Do what you love. Be happy. Enjoy the moments. Make your songs an extension of who you're the only you that will ever be and YOU MATTER. Thanks, Sara Hickman, Official State Musician of Texas for May 2010-May 2011"
"The guitar became my best friend at age seven. I could mimic what I heard on the radio, and I started with a strict jazz instructor who taught me voicings, tablature and to think in a broad, musical spectrum. I credit him with teaching me picking variations.

I've traveled the world with my guitar(s), and they help me through good times and bad. I always turn to my guitar to express myself. We're pretty married, I'd say :)"

Hatii Rose De Leon, Dazzle Ships

My role in the band is cowriter, cofounder, I write everything I perform, my lyrics, my basslines, my guitar parts, everything. I play my own stuff when we record too, I'm still learning how to use the recording program that we use, its called Logic 9 for the mac. Most of the time Tyler sets everything up, drums beats, distortion, etc. I have though learned how to open my own certain recording slots, like for vocals and instruments, and learned how to put different effects on it. In our business decisions its half and half, between me and Tyler.
I have a generic fender bronco bass that I got for xmas this year. It actually started my band because all the instruments I had beforehand were acoustic and you can't really rock out on acoustic intruments. I also use a novation xiosynth in the band, its a really overlooked keyboard, it has over 200 presets, and allows you to make you own sounds which I have already done for some of our songs. I like to make everything as personal as possible. I use a fender strat to play live as well but it belongs to another bandmate.
I don't think it's different in talent or ability, but I have to say I feel like female musicians are usually overlooked on their talents, and only get attentions for their appearance. I could be wrong though, I just have a preset view of this because I've always heard from my male friends that girls are just prone to always being sub par when it comes to playing instruments. I remember always thinking to myself that one day I'd prove em wrong on that. I feel like after our first song Least Resistance was recorded and up on the internet, those comments from my male friends didn't even matter, only the music and how it made me feel was important.
I do see a difference in the generations of women musicians. I feel like women play a bigger role in music now, like music made only by a female is more accepted and thought upon in a higher sense. Also I'm seeing a lot more females playing more than the instrument of their voice which I think is awesome. I feel more empowered as a female when I see a beautiful woman who is not only talented vocally, but can shred on a guitar, or can play the drums like a mad man. It gives me butterflies. I really can't wait to see where we take things next.
I think some of the best advice I got was to be genuine, to be myself and not force it. Making songs that come naturally to me is just more fufilling, when I try to overthink parts or calculate everything out it usually doesn't work or flow as better as something that just comes natural. Its important to keep a real part of yourself in the music I think. My advice to a woman musician just astarting out is to not be afraid, I know its intimidating with so many male musicians who have been lead in this department for so long, and I know how its easy to lose yourself and just have someone just tell you what to do. I say don't be afraid to share your ideas, have confidence in your abilities, just because your a female doesn't mean anything, you're just as talented as any human being out there. It took me a while to realise this myself and it just made me feel so much better about myself, my confidence, and my abilities.
In all honesty I didn't really choose, it was kind of my only option since bass was the only electric instrument I had, not to meantion that I was already familiar with the instrument from playing the cello. After I got more comfortable with my role in the band though the instruments I played become more broad and I'm glad I get to express myself with the guitar and keyboard. I have to say though, that singing has been my favorite part. I feel like people get a more personal view of me, they hear me, and not my fingers on an instrument. I feel more vulnerable with singing but it also gives me more of a rush. I'm truly addicted to performing live.

Angie Hart, Frente

I am now a solo artist, so I guess I'm the band leader, both live and in the studio. I have a manager that I work closely with on all business and marketing decisions.
I use the Garageband program to write on, I play a Maton acoustic.
It's hard to say that being a woman has been the factor for any situation I've faced in my career. I think my musical style is quite feminine, which affects the subject matter I choose to tackle in my songs. This attracts a certain audience and determines the types of places I play and what kind of print and radio coverage I get. I'm pretty happy with how I'm perceived. As I get older, I see many other women my age and older, continuing to be treated as viable musicians that deserve respect and attention. I'm sure there are differences, but they are too subtle to lay claim to.
"As above, I look towards women who are my age and older. I see many of them starting later in their lives and succeeding in creating a career. I see them continue to receive the respect they deserve, This is heartening for me. As far as differences, I guess we cease to viable pop fodder, which is of no consequence to me. I cannot speak for all women, but the longer I make music, the less I care about such things and the more I care about making just good music. I am involved in a mentoring program, so I get to enjoy working with young women at the beginning of their careers. It's inspiring to see how much more confident and self-aware they are, than I was at their age. It's also satisfying, being a part of something I wish I'd had when I was starting out."
"As I said, I wish I had more role models and mentors around me when I started out. I didn't know many women artists who were at my same level of success. I could've used a little grounding there. I would say to young women to take a deep breath in confusing situations and use your intuition, when it comes to decisions involving the direction of your career. It will be right for you in the place that you are at. You will grow to want different things. Be the artist you would love to listen to. Most importantly, do music because you love it, not because you feel you should."
It was a great way to express myself and I soon found it was something I was good at.

Shannon Stephens

I'm a solo artist, so although I invite and respect the opinions of my band, I make all the final decisions. I also make the decisions in the studio, since I haven't worked with a producer in years. I steer clear of controlling personalities in general. Same is true with business and marketing: my friends at Asthmatic Kitty Records give me a lot of freedom to direct the way things go.
I play an Edwinson guitar, handmade in Seattle from local trees. And I have a voice. My band consists of a guitar/banjo player, a pianist and a bassist, plus drums when I can afford them.
Male musicians tend to get a lot more attention: more press, and more validation. Female musicians can get ahead much faster if they are willing to assume the image of a sex-starved teenager on crack. I was recently flipping through a Rolling Stone magazine featuring the cover story "The New Girl Power: Women Take Over The Pop Charts". I kept looking and looking for that article, and was amused that all I was finding were articles about men, peppered with the occasional chick. The Girl Power article was exactly one page long. There was a lot of cleavage on that page.
One huge difference I see is that SEX was not nearly the selling point it is today. The famous female singer/songwriters of the 50s, 60s and 70s did not stalk around half-dressed and half-crazed. I think back to Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Judy Collins, Joan Baez... Although they probably fought hard for their chance on the stage, once they got there they kept their clothes on. They weren't expected to be sex objects: they were expected to sing.
I've gotten plenty of advice, mostly bad. All of the bad advice I've received can be summed up in the statement, "You must kill your own soul to achieve success." The good advice has come from my own gut. I refuse to kill my soul, to harm myself, to harm my child or my marriage, to achieve success. I refuse to quit everything else that gives me hope and enjoyment. Music is a part of my life because it's a part of me, but it's not the only part of me. I do it for the joy of it, and if success comes from that, I will be glad about it. If not, I'm free to continue making music or try something new. To a woman musician starting out, I would say: Make sure you're taking voice lessons from someone good, and singing every day. Work hard to stay in tune. Practice your instrument at least a half hour a day (this will sound lazy to some). Warm up before shows!!! Learn to be a savvy businesswoman as well as an accomplished artist. And don't harm yourself for success. See yourself as a whole person. Do music not because you need validation from "The Industry", but because you love it.
I started out playing piano as a kid, and I complained a lot about it. So my Dad promised me that if I persevered for a few more months with the piano, he would buy me a guitar. He did buy me a student-sized guitar, and it just seemed the perfect thing to accompany my songs. It was portable, all-purpose, and lovely on its own. No wonder so many people play it.

Tanya Horo, Sherlocks Daughter

I write a lot of songs in the band, we do write as a band as well, however the band mainly started as a solo project, but then once we all started playing together it naturally developed into something resembling a dysfunctional family, where we couldn't live without each other, in the studio we all take an equal role and business decisions as well, we work on a voting system, so being 5 of us, it always sways one way or the other, marketing for our ep was mainly myself and our designer lani, however for album i feel it will be a full band decision
i play a gretsch guitar, play a casio keyboard, own a juno 60 but to fragile to lug around for live, have a fender pro junior amp, use a line 6, reverb, pog 2, rich blues drive guitar pedal.
"I do think it's different being a woman in music. It is mainly a boy driven industry, I see a lot of boy bands and very rarely girl bands, if I do see girl bands most people have the ' wow it's all girls' attitude, which i don't really like... however i love seeing girls as front people, it's awesome, I think one of the defining moments was when a guy came up to me and said 'you play guitar really well...for a girl' ass. I do think there needs to be more woman in music, however i think there needs to be more woman in politics in well.. just as a general actually!"
"I don't really .... I see the same drive and passion with woman that i've always seen, read about throughout history. I guess now our voice can stand on it's own, of course thanks to the woman of the past."
"The best advice i've ever had was from an old boss, who said to me ' if you believe in what you're doing never give up.'

It's true, never give up, never surrender!!"
It seemed the easiest instrument to play whilst traveling, my dad also played guitar and when i moved away from home and overseas, i missed my family and that instrument made me feel close to home.

Meklit Hadero

"in my solo project, which is the main music i am working on, i set the musical tone and give the musicians the feel to work from. sometimes i write parts, other times, i play with musicians whose sensibility i feel the music needs.

in the studio, i made many of my decisions in tandem with my producer eric moffat. we are a good pair. our ears hum together.

in business, i work with my label to make decisions. in terms of marketing, i have been able to set the tone of the story, and the publicists are on the implementation tip. i feel lucky to have real partnership in these areas. there has been no feeling of loosing control of my image, or anything like that that many women in music might experience. perhaps that is just because i am still relatively unknown! we'll see, right?"
"when i go to shows, i bring quite a lot of things with me. of course i take my guitar and my guitar stand. i set them up first. i have always loved the look of my guitar in its stand. it is a character on the stage. i also love the feeling of walking into a theater with a guitar. that sense of arrival, you know.

i take a quarter inch cable, an extra microphone, paper to write out setlists, a clip board for the email list (with many sheets of ""please print clearly"" written out), cds to sell, a capo, a tuner, an outfit to change into in the last moments before the show begins (that transformation moment), and high heel shoes that i will almost certainly take off after the first song. "
"i think where it becomes super clear is in the realm of instrumentalists. it's one thing to be a singer and acoustic guitar player. the world is used to seeing women like that. i find it must be much harder for the women upright bass players, drummers, trumpet players, and the like. i would love to find more women to be in my band, but it is challenging. i'm on the search for it now. women instrumentalists and improvisors - where are you? call me, ladies!!!!

"I cant say that i ever got particularly valuable advice about making it in the industry. but when women musicians ask what they should do when just starting out, i say two things.

1. embed yourself in a community. much will come of that. do not go the route of trying to make it alone. it's not really the point of music anyway, and you'll end up feeling the struggle of it more.

2. organize. bring people together, and you become invaluable within your community. when you dedicate yourself to a group, it can be enormously hard work, but it helps the mind to stay in the big picture. and you'll always get more than you gave.

everything that has come to me in music has come from these two points! it works!"
"i'm afraid this is not a very romantic answer. i chose the guitar because i wanted to play something quickly.... i wanted a language that i could learn right away. and i was right! i wrote my first song on the guitar only a month after my very first group class. those first few months i played three hours a day, every day. immersion.

and i also grew to love the physicality of the guitar. the sensation of cradling an object made of wood. that came from a tree. but was now pressed against my body, resonating tones. i loved the sensation of fine motor control.... moving my fingers just slightly to make huge shifts in sound. the way that fingering shapes repeat along the neck of the instrument. and how the instrument gets used to you, after a while.

my first guitar was an old gibson from the early 60s. a friend of mine sold it to me for $300. he bought it in a music store in the middle of nowhere america on a road trip. her name was little sister.

i'm learning the kerar because of a recent trip i took to ethiopia. i was there this past december with a group of ethiopian diaspora artists of many disciplines called the arba minch collective. we traveled through the south of the country, learning about the incredible diveristy of cultures there. it is an enormously culturally rich land, you know. while in the south, we saw a master kerar player, playing by fireside in the mountaintop village of dorzey. i was nearly in tears from how beautiful it was.

and in ethiopia, there is also strong tradition of great women players. women who were poets as well as accomplished musicians. women like mary armedey and asenakesh worku.

and these women are not your typical conservative ladies. they are rule changers, and i like that. i aspire to that. "

Jessica Martins, Via Audio

I'm one of two songwriters in the band, and I also sing "lead" - I put this in quotations, because while I'm sometimes considered the front person, I don't like being on any different of a level than any of my fellow band members. We're definitely a team and a complete working unit - we all have our roles, but we are a machine that would not work without every individual piece in place. The same goes for in the studio, and in business - this is our company, and we strive to create a "product" that while people might not need, while hopefully want in their lives. I'm active in every part of the puzzle, but don't consider myself any more important than any other member; we are all active decision-makers, and together make a fine-tuned democracy.
I play a Les Paul Special through a simple 30w Fender amp, just a tone and volume knob. As far as pedals, I've got this great boost pedal made by Xotic with a nice mid-rangey saturated gain. I use an MXR Carbon Copy analog delay pedal, and a Holy Grail Nano for reverb. For my keys, I used to use a sweet analog Juno 106, but they're so fragile, I've switched to a digital Roland Juno-D, which is pretty versatile and has some pretty good preset patches. I use a volume and sustain pedal for the Juno. For my vocals, I tend to use a quick slap delay with only one repeat, as well as a nice small plate reverb, both usually coming from the sound board straight to the house to alleviate feedback.
While I can't think of any specific moment it became clear to me, there is a definite apparent difference between the reaction to men and women musicians, even if as simple as people expecting you to be either fantastic or horrible - always to the extreme. I find that the business, especially the performance aspect, is more often than not male-dominated; I've learned that in order to survive, you've got to become "one of the guys", in personality but also in musicality. Going to Berklee (College of Music) definitely opened my eyes to the fact that there are amazing women players out there, on every instrument you can think of. But generally speaking, people tend to either put you on a pedestal or shove your face in the dirt - there is not really a happy medium. I find that people expect that because I'm a woman, I don't pull my own weight, that the guys in my band carry my gear, that I get coddled and pampered; in actuality, this is a complete misconception. I like to forget that I'm a woman and just focus on the fact that I'm a part of something greater than gender.
I think that generally speaking, the path that popular women musicians have taken is not the best example of what women musicians like me are trying to achieve; the auto-tuned, sex-driven pop star icons shown in the media are a bad representation of what is actually sexy - being good at my instrument is the sexiest thing I can think to do on stage. It used to not always be about the things that surround the music - the image, the reaction - but, rather, the raw emotion and natural talent involved in making a classic song and performance. This is not to say there are not still women out there doing this effectively - they're just harder to find than the "icons" that are spoon-fed to us today.
I think the best advice I've absorbed is to just hold on to your tenacity; to continue forth in the face of adversity, and to always strive for more, no matter your level of success. You can use your gender to an advantage, but only if you're good at what you do in the first place - it shouldn't be abused. The advice that I would give is to be gender-blind; it doesn't matter that you're a woman, because more importantly, you should try to be a good musician.
I've been singing as far back as I can remember - it's the most natural instrument to man, ever. I guess I always tinkered around on keyboards, and in 4th grade started in the school band playing flute and piccolo, but quickly got antsy and moved to oboe, bassoon, glockenspiel, and by the time I got to middle school was deeply immersed in guitar. I have a pretty good collection of instruments by now, including accordian, autoharp, and a drumset, just to name a few, and plan to continue adding to my collection. I guess I never really chose any of the instruments, they kind of presented themselves to me at different points in my life, and I've never been able to resist at least trying to make any and all instruments make a pleasant sound. Just about anything you can touch can be an instrument in some way, I suppose.

Miranda Lee Richards

Singer, songwriter, performer, visionary, producer, string arranger, band leader, manager, tour manager, accountant, designer, stylist...At this point in time I make all the business and marketing decisions, and handle my online presence and social media. I am in the process of expanding my team so I can delegate more. Handling everything myself up until this point has been out of necessity...and I have to admit, choice.
I play a black Gibson Elvis Presley custom shop acoustic guitar, a custom finish black ES-335 1965 hollowbody guitar, and a Keith Richards style black Telecaster guitar. My keyboard is a Kurzweil midi piano, and I use an Oberheim OB-3 Hammond organ module with it. I also play a plethora of assorted harmonicas in different keys. :-)
In my opinion, one of the biggest differences between male musicians and female musicians revolves around being a parent. Quite simply, guys don't have to get pregnant, carry a child to term, then nurse an infant around a recording, touring, and promotional schedule. I think this is an enormous pressure put on female musicians, and because of this pressure, a proportionally larger amount of successful women in this business either do not have kids or choose to wait. If they do have children, they certainly don't have five or six like some male rock stars have!
I see there not bring as much of a difference between the 60's and 70's generation of female musicians - I think there was much more of a divide between the 50's women singers and the ones of today. In the post World War II era, many women musicians were still playing second fiddle to the male counterparts, but after the 60's liberation movement, all that changed. Women of the 60's and 70's were just as bad-ass as their male peers, the first female rock stars were born, but they still faced the same issues around child rearing that have been a reality for every woman in the modern music business. As mentioned earlier, there is this touring and promotional schedule that can be in conflict with being domestic raising a family. Theoretically, you could release albums and not tour, but many labels up until this point wanted you to tour as that was one way for them to sell records. Now that the focus isn't as much on selling albums, all that is changing, so it becomes, "Don't go out unless there is a huge demand for what you are doing." Even then, is it really necessary to tour on every record? We could save a lot of greenhouse gas emissions and have a lot more babies in the process! The only reason to do anything is if you enjoy it - having children, performing or otherwise. No one is making anyone do anything anymore from where I stand, and music has gotten a lot more free, independent, and creative without the business micro managing everything. The result of more creative freedom is amazing - it's as though we're in the middle of a musical renaissance! Speaking of gender in relation to their creativity, women no longer need to prove that they are equal to men, they already are (in the western world at least). With feminism no longer being an issue, it's venture becomes simply about making great art. We have the generations before us to thank for that.
I have received so much advice, but some of the best advice had to do with learning to do what was right for me. It's important to know somethings about the business so you can make educated decisions, but even then, you will have to be in touch with yourself to know when a situation feels right, when someone has your best interest at heart, or when an opportunity feels exciting or just the opposite. Very rarely do you feel good about things that turn out bad. I have felt cautious about things that ended up turning out great, but I've never felt bad about something that turned out good, does that make sense?
To express subtext and mystery, and deep emotions associated with life's experience.

Stephanie Winters

I started out with my own group called The Nudes and toured for 8 years and released three CDs. Then I became a sideman playing with Dar Williams, Richie Havens and other folk style songwriters. Now I am focusing on my solo career which is spoken word and cello. Finally - the focus is on finding my solo music.
A 18th century Italian cello my grandfather bought for me 30 years ago, a newly minted carbon fiber cello made in Arizona that I amplify , and a cello from 2001 made in Chicago. A beautiful modern Beglian french bow for my Italian cello, a carbon fiber bow for my carbon fiber cello, and a french made baroque-style bow for my Chicago cello that is set up Baroque style. Various amplification and selection of cello cases and other gear.
"I was playing a festival in France a couple of years ago with Richie Havens - the folk singer. This was a major festival, there were scores of people around doing different jobs - mixing sound, moving gear, sound checking and I was the only woman in sight. If fact I think I was the only woman on stage that night despite there being multiple bands. Even the catering was all men, the drivers... It always strikes me how dominated touring is by men. If there are women they are headling their own band or they are a singer.

To be blunt - if you are the hired gun and a woman (not a headliner) it's very difficult to have a family and tour. The headliner can take their kids with them and have a nanny, but for the person who is the hired gun - if you choose to play music it is impossible to have ""normal"" family life because you are gone for weeks or months straight and often on weekends and holidays."
Like I said I hardly encounter other woman on the road so it's hard to speak to this. I quit my touring gig a year ago and I am focusing now on playing solo. A solo career at 50 for an alternative cellist? Believe it or not, it seems to be working.
David Darling was my cello teacher (he just won a Grammy). He told me to play music with love. I have followed this advice and it has served me well. If you play music as a way of connecting to something large and wonderful - the rewards are inherent and it nourishes you internally. I am not rich or famous, but I have no regrets as I followed what I loved to do and I am proud of the music I have made.
Gardiners Avenue Elementary School orchestra needed cellists and I was tall for my age (still am) so the cello was a fit - 39 years later and the cello is still the center of my life.

Rachel Ratner, Partman Parthorse and Butts

"Partman Parthorse: write and play bass and keyboard parts. Involved in all business and marketing decisions

Butts: write and play all vox and guitar parts. Band manager, booker, oversee all business and marketing decisions"
"Bass: Fender Musicmaster Guitar: 1980s Hondo Keyboard: Moog Rogue"
Not really. If anything, it's been more helpful because there's less women in bands, so it makes me take notice when there is a female fronted band.
"Yes, I think in the past women musicians (and to a certain extent, this is still the case in popular music) female musicians were saddled with fitting certain images and were hyper sexualized

In the 90s the feminist movement seemed to changes a lot of this, but I think female artists still struggled to find their place in the music scene and a lot of music was consciously overly 'female' - dealing with female issues and trying to separate them from male artists.

Now there's more and more female lead or fronted bands that seem to be held at face value, as music, and the fact that there's women in the band is less important. At least, that's been my experience. That said, there's still a minority of females in bands. The majority of musicians I know are males."
Focus on the music, express yourself in a way that's comfortable to you, be yourself, and don't feel like you need to present a specific image to be taken seriously.
"Partman Parthorse: I'd never played bass before and thought it'd be fun Butts: I never sang before and wanted to try. I've played guitar since I was 15"

Lou Hickey, Codeine Velvet Club

"In Codeine Velvet Club, there are two members including myself. The rest of the band are session musicians. I am the joint lead singer and song writer with my band mate Jon. In the studio, as Jon has been producing the albums etc he takes on a more dominant role than myself. Im fairly happy with this, as having always produced my solo material, its a welcomed break and lets me learn and observe. In business and marketing, the record label etc deal more with Jon, despite my efforts to be more included in these decisions. Its incredibly frustrating. I do feel this is because I am female. My suggestions often get ignore, then revisited 3 months later when the men think its their idea! haha

With my solo work, I am the sole song writer, producer, manager. I deal with everything from arrangements to finances. "
"For Codeine Velvet Club, I mostly sing, and occasionally play percussion.

For my solo work, I play a Roland RD 300GX I also have a piano in my house

I've also got in-ear monitors. "
"Yes, I do think there is a difference. But I also think it depends which area of music you are in and what kind of people you are working with. As I have said, often my ideas get ignored, then a few months later one of then men will bring it up saying its their idea. When my band signed, I realized that everyone would approach my band mate Jon with ideas for approval and not myself. I am constantly having to ask for information. I feel like I have to prove my intelligence a little and work a lot harder than a lot of men I know in the business."
"I think the 70's saw the start of a big change with punk, DIY, etc, and I think there has been a constant progression from this. Women are using music to voice their opinions and concerns, as well as making a career for themselves. I released my first two records myself. More and more women are doing this and learning more about the business. They are also becoming more business minded. More and more women have active roles in this industry. Not so much that it is perfectly even, but its an improvement.

"I was just told it was hard, and that I would need to toughen up. You have to put yourself out there and give it everything you've got. It is hard being a female working in the music business. To someone starting out, I would say, keep your head down, work hard, and if people choose not to see your intelligence and talent, then more fool them. Sometimes playing up on their pre-conceptions of women is the very thing that can outsmart them the most. You can use it to your advantage. "
"I have been singing as long as I can remember. I started learning piano when I was 6. We had a piano in my house, and my sister used to go for lessons, and listening to her made me want to play.

At primary I learned the clarinet, and in high school I took up the cornet and trombone. At University I moved my focus to vocals. "

Carrie Clark

front person. song writer. actively involved in production and decision making. Full partner and as involved or delegating as much as seems appropriate at the time.
"Sixteen Deluxe (currently- used to have more!) : Daisy Rock Rock Candy guitar, Kay hollow body guitar, 1980's Marshall Artist series head through a Marshall (celestions!) 2x12, overdrive pedal, Big Muff, Double Muff, mxr octave pedal, cry baby wah, analog reverb pedal, electroharmonix memory toy, electroharmonix chorus, boss tremolo... Elevated Lines: Kay Hollowbody, smaller fender amps (deluxe or blues jr) fuzz pedal, delays, variety of keyboards and midi synths, and lots of tea for singing"
It's different in that, although there is no doubt that men and women are creative and intellectual equals, there is an inherent difference in communication and listening styles. I think these differences can strengthen the creative process if one respects those differences and each other. There was no "lightbulb moment". I'm still learning about all of this!
"Absolutely. When I was on tour in the '90, everyone thought I was either the bass player or the tour manager. It wasn't common for a woman to be a guitar playing front person in a loud rock band that didn't advertise itself as a ""riot girl"" kind of thing. Also I felt like I had to be a tomboy to be taken seriously... but that's a longer story about perceptions of beauty and compentency.

Women seem more accepted as musicians, whatever instrument they choose. There are also more women sound engineers, which also helps a great deal in establishing a basis of acceptance when a woman walks into a club or studio to work."
"If you are the only woman in a group of men, don't convince yourself that you have to be ""one of the guys"" to be accepted. Have confidence that you are all equal and enjoy the fact that you are different. Respect and nurture those differences. At the same time, take time to understand how male communication can be different. Learn the language and expect respect in return. Lastly: nothing is more important than your health. really. Know that your 115 pound self houses that brain that makes all of the music possible. Take care of them both."
If a none to bright dude in a rock band could play guitar, certainly a smart girl could.

Betty Rupp North Elementary

Along for the ride for current band, have had previous projects where I've done it all.
Roland Jazz Chorus 120, Hartke amp w/SWR cab, Epiphone Les Paul, Fender Jazz master
Not in the general sense bit there are definitely guys still out there that you run into that don't see you as quite equal, of course they're usually older. There's definitely guys that are surprised when you don't suck at your instrument!
There's more female "rock" musicians now which is awesome. In the past all the way up to a decade or so ago there were less females in the scene, but the ones that we did have were amazingly talented, like Rosetta Tharpe. Most likely of course because they wouldn't have gotten any notoriety unless they were better than your average guy musician.
Advice no. My advice, just do it and have fun!
I like em all!

Lisa Shelley, Let's Pet

"Band- Keeping the band productive. Scheduling practices. Socializing with other bands. Finding natural sounds and recording them to use in the studio. Studio- Keeping the band productive. Having a good ear and listening. Business- Getting shows. Keeping up myspace and facebook. "
"4 piece Slingerland Drumkit, Chimes, Flute, Roland TR-505 Drum Machine, Singing Bowl

Martin acoustic guitar"
Yes. I think that in many bands it is hard to be heard as a woman. There seems to be doubt once and awhile that what I have to say is good for the band. I attribute it to being a woman. However, as the drummer, I think i get a double whammy- See- the guys can tune turning practice- but drummers should do that before. and drummers should just know what they are gonna play rather than play around while writing a song to find the sounds they want to make. When I was a vocalist I found it very frustrating that I was not allowed to make decisions, or so I felt. We had two female vocalists (Human Cock) and the instruments were played by boys. The band eventually broke up over the feeling of sexism. We felt like the boys did not respect our opinions and often talked over us.
"I am not sure since I am stuck at age 33- in the middle now. I see more women playing istruments. I find it easier for myself to be in a band with others. When I was younger and wanted to play, I was often denied access by the guys in my social scene. They would tell me that I did not have stage presence. This was strange to me since I was an actress and vocal performer through out my school years. "
When I was learning to drive, my father told me to not worry about the cars around me. I would say the same thing to the other ladies. Don't worry about what people are doing, just do what you want to do. Grab and instrument and play. Grab a mic and sing. It is your life and if you have an inclination to share yourself through music or have a song in your head that is screaming to get out, you have to nurture it.
I love the drums because it is fully interactive and loud. I aspire to make the drums an instrument that can carry a song and become a song within its own right rather than being a simple metronome.

Kera Washington, Zili Misik

I am founder, band leader, one of the vocalists, and lead percussionist for Zili. Right now I am manager (would love to pass this role!!) and booking agent. I have co-produced our first two albums with our engineer, Gabe Herman; but we mixed together as a band.. We collectively (8 women) make business and marketing decisions.
The gear that I use in Zili Misik: congas, bongos, a bag of smaller percussion (including different kinds of bells & rattles and flutes), udu (clay pot -- makes a water sound), flute, cavaquinho (a four stringed instrument from Brazil & Cape Verde), mbira (an African "piano" or metallophone), various stands to hold all the instruments, microphones & a full PA system (monitors, speakers, mixing board, stands, etc)! (but it all fits in my toyota 4runner!)
"In some ways, definitely! I began Zili as an all-female band, because I was often the only woman in large world music bands (Batwel Rada, Tjovi Ginen in Boston) and, while I LOVED the music, I got tired of hearing how good I was ""for a girl"". So I started Zili Roots with two of my friends; when I went back to grad school, the band became co-ed as the membership changed. As the musicianship got better and better, the women in the band (maybe it was just with this particular group of men) became more and more invisible, til one day I just left the rehearsal for awhile and the men in the band didn't even notice -- they were vibing on each other so much. It just seemed that the original intention of the band -- to become a place where female musicians could shine -- without feelings of gender bias -- had been lost. I decided to put an ad on Craigslist, just to see if there were female musicians that would be interested in this concept -- and many of the women who are currently in the band responded! We played for awhile with our male drummer as the only guy (he was perfectly happy with this ratio), until he moved to NYC. When we put out feelers again, we had 5 female drummers to choose from. NOW, five years after becoming all female again, we have grown, our musicianship has grown, our band has grown, and, while it is important to us that we are all female, we also appreciate being musicians first and letting our gender be second. "
I look to those female musicians who have inspired me -- Sweet Honey in the Rock, Sarah Vaughan, Big Mama Thornton, Women of the Calabash, Marie Daulne of Zap Mama, Emeline Michel, Meshell Ndegeocello -- (and I know everyone in the band has a different list of mentors) who have paved the way for us. They have given us hope and guidance and I know, we have little of the challenges that they faced because they have already faced and traversed them. I give thanks for their work and they knowledge of the women we inspire today is what keeps me going.
Listen listen listen. Ask questions. Find good mentors. Try not to burn bridges even when it is difficult. I have lots of mentors that I still call for advice (although my mother is not a professional musician, I ask her advice everyday!)
I didn't begin playing percussion until college. I met a Professor from Haiti who taught me about the importance of Haiti, particularly to this region of the world. He also introduced me to the world of ethnomusicology (which was not yet taught at Wellesley College) in an independent study. During that course he explained to me the importance of playing music -- in order to truly understand it, so it was a natural next step that we begin playing -- I invited some of my friends to meet with us and that course became the drum and dance troupe that I now direct at Wellesley. I began to travel to study with master musicians (Haiti, Brazil, Cuba, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde) and to seek them out more intentionally here in the U.S.

Tania, Via Tania

"I have been a solo artist for a long time now, so the band leader by default. I definetly make the last calls and initiate the ideas but now I have a talented band it is opening up a bit more and I able to collaborate a little easier , I want to collaborate more actually, especially working with some trained musicians as I am not, it's kind of fascinating for me. I am surrounded by some great people that help me try and get more marketing savvy. The decisions end up coming down to me in that whatever I manage to get done gets used in some way or other."
"Less is more approach for me. One ukulele, one SG electric guitar, some pedals an Ampeg amp, various percussion instruments"
"I've been told that I'm a 'real girl' sometimes, I think because I like to be comfortable, which touring is the opposite of... I think a lot of the circumstances around being a musician are what makes it hard for me but I don't know if that's because I'm a woman or because I'm an older more informed - i know what I like now - person. I am immensely influenced by my environment so dressing rooms that are underground bunkers that smell like old beer do affect me in a way I don't think they affect my male peers. But again, I don't know if that's me being pretty sensitive in general. Music wise no, I don't think it FEELS different whether you're a man or a woman playing music , though I've heard there might be different reasons as to why men and women join bands in the first place! "
"When I was growing up playing music there was a woman, Lindy Morrison who played drums in the Go Betweens that used to help out other young female musicians including myself with advice and helping get good shows etc. Then there were other women I was influenced by (rarely men) that led me down this whole path in the first place. I got to know these women personally and I always wanted to be just like them. I 'd say the only difference are the time you are playing music, the decades are really the context. I have a pet peeve when media say it's fashionable to be a women right now in music I think gee, wow , between the two sexes you are going to make one come in and out of fashion?"
"over time probably, but no one really hit the nail on the head. No one really knows, it's such a crap shoot. Ok I guess really the only one that matters is persistence, which is boring to hear even when you know it's the case and in times when you think : this doesn't make sense, on paper, or from any way I look at it, -I could be actually having a wildly successful extremely lucrative career in an actual job that exists- heh

Except I like to make music and write songs and I'm choosing to do it for my own well being and I'd be pretty miserable without it."
"My older sister and I used to jam when we were kids and naturally I followed her around mimicking her, thank goodness she discovered the Ramones . When I joined a band with her at 16 we needed a bass player so I switched to bass for a good 7 years but continued to write on guitar. A few years ago I moved to Chicago without barely anything and I wanted to write really simply so i got a barritone ukulele it was a test to keep it simple and see if they songs could almost play themselves."

Meaghan Smith

I am the CEO of my music business with my husband being a chair person. Everything goes through me in the end. I think it's strange for some people know that my husband is essentially an employee of mine. Luckily he's very supportive and is totally fine with it. It works the same way in the studio. In the end, I call all the shots. I like to listen to what everyone's ideas are, but since my name is going on the music, I need to be happy with it. Since signing to a major label I've had less to do with marketing decisions. My manager is in charge of making marketing strategies and sharing them with the label. My manager is a woman and so is my marketing point person at the label. My entire team of publicists are women and in fact most of the people I deal with are women.
I usually travel pretty light when on tour. I play a Collings parlor guitar. I also use a sampler to supplement some of the beats in my songs. I play the Omnichord which is an instrument that is like an electronic auto harp from the 80s. It has it's own little set of beats and sound effects.My husband is my guitar player. He also uses pedals and other "noise makers" to supplement what is on my record The Cricket's Orchestra.Sometimes we travel with an upright bass player. He just brings his bass.
I am still at the stage of my career where I need to be an opening act. It can be more challenging for a woman in terms of exposure. It's not hard for a male to get an opening slot for a male or female performer, but a female performer usually has to try to get an opening slot with a male performer. So there's more competition for female performers. I also hear this comment a lot; "I don't usually like female singers but you're great... " and so on and so forth. It's so frustrating to know that a lot of people (generally male) won't listen to certain music just because it's performed by a female. I also noticed that when both my husband and I enter a venue to play a show, he is approached first. It seems to be assumed that he's the point person. I'm not usually offended by this, but I do find it interesting. Even though "Meaghan Smith" is on the bill.My manager is also ALWAYS referred to as "he", if it's not know that she is a woman. Again, it's assumed my manager would be male. I recently did a broadcast that involved me and four other artists being showcased with an orchestra. The other artists were male and after the first dress rehearsal, I was told to "sex up" my number because that was what people would be expecting from "the girl on the show". I rarely run into such ignorance, but it's shocking to know that it still exists in some places.
"As a musician of this generation, I am so thankful that a lot of the pathway has already been cleared. This is not to say that we are in any way close to being on equal footing with our male counterparts, but at least some headway has been made. Lilith fair did a lot to help out with this by proving that a bunch of women on the same bill is actually a great thing. I am thrilled to be a part of Lilith this coming year.This topic is important to me and if you would like to make use of me or my experiences in any way, please feel free to do so.My email is

Sarah Mclachaln is someone I am inspired by. I grew up listening to her and am eagerly anticipating this summer's Lilith Fair as I'll be one of the performers in the line up. She is obviously a very smart business woman who is creative and original. I aspire to her level in every way. She has given me amazing advice and I would pass it on to other musicians. And that is to be yourself. Be smart. Don't dull down the brightness of your light and work hard. I hope at some point we don't really care about the fact that a musician is male or female. If you make good music, that's all that counts.
My dad bought me a guitar when I was in the 8th grade. I had expressed an interest in learning after falling head over heels in love with the music of Sarah Mclachlan.So I learned to play and have been doing so ever since. I didn't become a musician till very recently. I used to be an animator, so I took my time getting to this point. I am now managed by Sarah's manager and consider her to be a good friend.

Terra Lopez, Sister Crayon

I started Sister Crayon. It used to just be a solo project but I always wanted more-more sound, more players, more dynamics. It is now 4 of us and we all have roles in the band, I would say that I have a huge role in the band. I have done most of the booking and managing of the band in the past. We now are all taking an active role in different areas. In the studio, it's the same thing. We all take an active role in our instruments and the overall feel of the music. I am huge huge huge into vocal arrangements and the overall mood of the songs. I have a good relationship with our engineer so we will be in the studio for 16+ hour days sometime, working on songs. The same thing with business decisions. We are lucky enough to be working with a label, so we don't have to do everything. But we definatly get the final say on pretty much everything, and I am the main contact for the band with the label. As a band, we make all the decisions together.
I sing and record loops live on stage. I use a kaos pad as well as a Boss Loop pedal as well as a Line 6 Loop Pedal. I sing thru the effects pedal (and also clean) while looping live to our music, matching the BPM's of the music to the vocals.
I think everything is different being a woman compared to being a man. Living in a patriarchal society, it is inevitable to be treated differently as a woman (in any business/art realm). In the past, I would have sound guys at venues that we would play at that would think that I was just some girlfriend of a member...and then they would see us play and then come up after the show to say how much they liked our sound or whatever. I tried to never let it get to me though. I always thought it was funny. I think that it's getting better for women but there is still a long way to go. It's always a little scary to be a woman and to try to create art and try to be taken seriously. People will always look at the way that you look before anything, no matter how good your voice may be or how genuine your lyrics will be. First thing, will always be how attractive you may or may not be. It's sad.
There are differences for sure, I believe. I think that there are great things going on now and there was amazing female musicians in the past as well. I have to say that even though I adore many contemporary female musicians, I am a sucker for the past. Watching old videos of Billie Holiday and hearing the real pain she felt in every song, or Patsy Cline crying during, you don't see that everyday now. You know? But I think that women have more of a presence in music today, which is great. I think that more women are creating music that has not only become popularized in society but that is loved and adored by the world.
I don't really remember any one single thing that has stuck out, other than people who have just told me to keep it going. There has been a lot of support for the band that I am in and I appreciate it so much. It's amazing to me that people even listen at all, you know? I would just tell someone that if they have the feeling where they would not feel complete or even alive if they were not making music, then go with it and stay with it and run with it. If it's genuine, people will respect it and see that. Genuine music/genuine people will always win. I believe that.
I've always sang. I used to be really shy when I was younger and would never sing in front of anyone, but when I was alone in my bedroom-man. I would jump on my bed and grab a hairbrush (you know, the classic tale) and sing and scream and dance to Elvis, Diana Ross & The Supremes, and 50's music. It was always 50's music. I would charm my stuffed animals that I would have lined up in my room. I lived a completely different life in my bedroom. I was about 5 when I first started this. Gradually, I couldn't prevent from singing. I started a band in high school and played a lot in the area. And I've been in different bands ever since...all sounded drastically different from one another. I finally feel complete in Sister Crayon.

Shonna Tucker, The Drive-By Truckers

We work as a democracy in every aspect. We really do work together to make decisions about our work. We all have free creative range when it comes to studio as well. No one tells anyone of us what to play or how to write or sing. It's very close to us all being able to do whatever we want, and it actually works. All of our opinions count equally.
I play a Fender Precision bass through an Ampeg SVT/4-10 cabinet combo at our live shows these days. I love Fender and Ampeg!
I don't believe that there is a difference. When I was a teenager, I felt like maybe I had to work a little harder to prove that I was a real player. I knew I could play, I just had to convince the dudes to give me a chance. Once I got past this, I did have a ton of support back home though. I was lucky to have some pretty incredible mentors. Mostly men, a few women. The beautiful part of making music, is that it does not matter if you're a man or a woman, a kid or an adult, what color or race you's truly the Universal language.
"I don't know if there are more women musicians today or not, but I do think that maybe there are more ways of knowing about them. Television, internet, etc. I guess it seems more acceptable today. Maybe this means that women feel more confident and comfortable doing what they do. It's ok to be talented! As the years go by, becomes more and more ok for women to be independent and hold careers of their own and this includes musicians. "
My dear friend Spooner told me once two very important things.... "The more stuff you have, the less you need" and "take more pictures". I would pass this along to anyone just starting their journey in the music world. And to just always do what you do the way you do it. Don't be confined to one style or sound, but don't lose who you are. Always study, practice and go see as many live shows as you can. And learn to say "thank you".
The feel of the bass has always caught my attention. When I was a kid learning how to make chords on the guitar, I would always throw the pick down and play bass lines. (Mostly playing along with Creedence Clearwater Revival cassettes) I don't even think it was the bass line itself that grabbed my attention, just the way it made me feel. Luckily, my Daddy recognized this and got me a bass for my 12th birthday.

Carol Lester, Carol Lester & The World Women

"I am the singer/songwriter/guitarist and arranger in the band. In the studio i currently co produce and in a few songs am sole producer and engineer as well."
Guitar(s), cables, effects box for guitar, microphones and mic stands, bass, shekere, often a cellist and keyboard also accompany
Being a woman musician is different. First of all, men see women musicians as the lead singer who is interchangeable. Not in all cases, but in many, men also have less of a feeling of bringing out the song than in featuring themselves within (sometimes on top of) the song. I enjoy having an all female band. Our decision making about arrangements takes in points of view. Also it is nearly impossible to explain a "female" dynamic of the flow of a song when that one song varies back and forth between introspective and subtle to full blown rocking expression, back to subtle. Let's just say men are physically programmed to start out slow (or fast) and get faster and louder until a crescendo is reached which is the end of the song. Women experience a much fuller range of emotion and intensity and our musical progressions and intricacies reflect that.
This generation as in every generation there are the cover girl pop stars who are created and marketed by men (expect in the case of the fab Madonna who NEVER had a middle man and acted as her own pimp). There are also those women who break that mold and show the good bad and ugly or the beauty and the beast in who they are (and we all are). These women have less money behind them in marketing dollars and their reign is shorter, but their following is strong for the rest of their lives from female fans who understand the risk these women took in telling it like it really was in their lives through music. Here are just a few of my favorite women who inspire me to keep on writing and performing: Joni Mitchel, Joan Armatrading, Chrissie Heinz, Phoebe Snow, Alanis Morissette, Beyonce, yes even Lady Gaga
Always practice and perform standing up. Put your whole body mind and soul into every single song. Be as vulnerable, furious, ecstatic, turned on (etc) when performing as you were when you wrote the piece. Name names and be true to what you believe in.
The guitar can be played in a highly emotive way. It's a great portable, light weight instrument that can be strummed, picked, banged and electronically enhanced for many different sounds. i like to vary the dynamics within a show so that the listener is not bored with too much of the same. Singer songwriters need to be sure they stay strong on their instrument or the listener will start to only hear the similarities in their pieces.

Kelley Mickwee, The Trishas

"I am one of four girls, where we each have individual roles in the band. For example, I'm Finance Trish. So I handle the money. One of the other girls is Merch Trish, she handles the merchandise at the gigs and oversees the designs, etc.

All four of us have an equal voice when making band decisions. We make them as a group. Its a Democracy!

We are starting our debut studio project in April, so Ill have to get back to you on that! "
I play a Kentucky Mandolin F-style, with a Fishman pickup. I use a Boss stomp tuner and an LR Baggs Preamp. Vocal mikes vary depending on the gig.
"Well, I have had several experiences as a woman in the music business. One as part of a duo, and another as part of this all girl group I am currently in.

As one half of a male/female duo, I definitely felt I was an equal partner. I was more the business side of things though, and relied on him for most of the creative stuff. Mainly because he was the songwriter...but there was still this thing kinda standing in my way of being creative and musically an equal in with him. Alot of that was relationship stuff I'm sure, but I was also not really pushed by him to break out of my shell and try different things. As part of this all girl group, it is such an empowering and different feeling. We are all really supportive of each other and push each other to break out of our comfort zones. Thus, forcing us to grow as musicians and as a band. That's what is special about us I think, it easier for us to put our egos aside and be a support for the others. Its a girl thing:) And its fun! I think men tend to get competitive and I don't blame em...heck, there are so many more men (especially in Texas) attempting a career in music than women.

Thats another thing. There are so few women here in Texas playing music, that we all really support each other. It helps us all when one becomes successful or breaks out of the pack. Its really exciting to see attention being drawn to women in music these days. Im honored to be included in the group. But, I will say....its not as hard or suppressive as one might think. Generally, we are treated as equals and have alot of support from our male counterparts, friends and peers. I would even say that in some cases, it is easier to be a women in the music business. The other girls would kill me for say thing, and maybe thats not the angle you were going for here.......but, The Trishas have gotten some great opportunities lately, and I really think we can contribute some of that to the fact that we are 4 girls on stage together. Its different and hopefully inspiring to young women....and men!:)

So, thats my moment. Getting on stage for the first time with these beautiful ladies, and feeling that sense of empowerment and gratitude for who I am and what I do for a living. And I'm so thankful to be doing it with four other women who, hopefully, feel the same way!"
"Definitely. I see women from generations back who had to really fight for their place in music, who had to really prove themselves as musicians in order to gain the respect of their male counterparts and peers. Women these days, in general, have a much easier road to walk. If you have the talent, the determination and the have just as much a shot at success as a man. Thats how I feel anyway. Maybe others feel differently, maybe its a genre thing or a regional thing. I don't know. But Im from Memphis and moved to Austin and in both places, I have felt great support and hardly any suppression. I can imagine if you were to ask Loretta, or Mavis or Kitty or Odetta these same questions, you would get much different answers. I admire those women so much because they had to fight for their place. And it shows in their music and in their presence and in their legacy. Women musicians these days could stand to fight a little harder in my opinion :) Makes you stronger and strengthens the soul..... you can see in those women I mentioned. "
"You know, no one ever really gave me any advice or pushed me in any certain direction. I think for some musicians, especially for me, it was just something that I never lost sight of, even when I attempted to have a real job after college. Its kinda built-in for some of us I think. I have always wanted to be a performer, and cant remember a time when I ever thought that wouldn't be possible for me. It never seemed too far out of reach. Even if it meant just playing a weekly gig down the street for 50 bucks, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I think for women musicians my age, it is as possible to be successful in the music business for women as it is for men. Two things you need: Talent and Determination.

My advice to women: There is nothing you can't do. Follow every avenue, you will grow with each opportunity. "
Well, I was initially interested in the banjo. I was in a duo at the time and wanted to learn an instrument that would accompany a guitar. I saw Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines play a show at a festival in Texas one summer and they were a duo, where she played mandolin on a few songs. After their show, I went up to Lloyd (whom I greatly looked up to) and mentioned I was interested in playing the Banjo. I asked him if he had any tips or pointers on which banjo to buy, etc. He said to me " You shouldn't learn the banjo, you should play the mandolin." "It will fit better with what you are doing, and's much easier to learn!". So, I took his advice and went out the next week and bought a Weber mandolin. Im still learning how to play the thing!

Jill King

"On stage I sing and do the acoustic guitar parts. In the studio I am producer or co-producer.

I make all the final decisions on business and marketing, but have a great team of people who are constantly giving their input and advice."
"Primary acoustic - Gretsch Historic Series G3700 - spruce top, mahogany sides and back, with pick-up

Taylor 512 - spruce top, mahogany back, rosewood neck, with pick-up

Hand-made acoustic, out of old Martin wood, made by an old Martin guitar-maker. Sounds like a cannon. Spruce, rosewood, with no pick-up

"I think there are some differences.

There are challenges for women musicians performing on stage that have to do with being seen as more than just a pretty face, as a great musician or a great vocalist more than just a ""chick who plays guitar"" or a ""chick singer.""

From my experiences, challenges for women musicians within the band have to do with perceptions - in proving yourself to be a team player, a legitimate contributor, and in gaining the respect of your band members. Do you contribute creatively, do you help solve problems, do you help the band set up and break down? "
"As women in general, it seems we face the same personal challenges. It seems more that what has changed is how society views women. More is accepted, and more is expected. I think earlier generations of women have made it easier on women today, by breaking down stereotypes and breaking through glass ceilings in our society in general.

As a woman musician, there are the same internal struggles and difficult decisions on how best to balance career and family. However, it is more accepted these days when a woman makes a choice to be away for career reasons, and it is more acceptable for women to take on the roles of living independently or of being bread-winners for their families. Now, more than ever before, women can wear many hats, and have it all. These days women are more respected for trying to balance marriage, home, children, artistry, adventure, career, and independence. This is thanks to the generations of women who came before and fought to change how women are viewed in society, to change our rights.

I do think, however, that the same complexities within each woman on how exactly to find her own balance - musician or not - still remain."
"1. For any musician male or female: You must have a higher reason and a lasting passion for doing music, one that goes above and beyond basic goal-setting, or you will not last.

2. Try to keep emotions in the music and out of the business and continually keep good lines of communication open with those you're working with. Don't assume people can read your mind, and listen carefully to what others have to say.

3. Good paper makes good business."
"I didn't get into the piano lessons as a child, but loved guitar. I learned quickly how to play songs by ear, which made it more fun for me.

Portability is another big plus."

Amie Maciszewski, Amie & Sangeet Millennium

Leader and collaborator.
I own my instruments (sitar, tanpura, harmonium, esraj, tabla, electronic tanpura and tabla), have condenser mic, a dat recorder, and a video camera.
Yes! It's often hard to make your voice heard. Women's communication styles often differ from men's. I realized that as an instrumentalist I was usually in the company of men, often competing with them.
I think the gender gap is/was greater for women of my generation (baby boomers) than for women today. It's easier for women today to navigate in traditionally male arenas.
A publicist woman friend of mine told me: don't be afraid to get your work out there. This was valuable because I was always reticent about self-promotion. I had gotten too much discouraging feedback from men in the past. My advice to starting women musicians: understand what you want, mastermind your goal, and go after it. Be strong, work hard, and believe in yourself, but don't be afraid to be flexible.
It cast a spell over me!

Jill Barber

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.
minimal. I have a vintage washburn parlour guitar, and a Gretsch Tennessee Rose hollow-body electric
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.
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.
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.
Because my brother played guitar, and I picked his up.


I am the songwriter, lead singer and guitarist of the band. One of the things I really like about my band, is that when we finish a song, it's really a product of all three of us. My band mates Janneke and Linda love to be part of the writing process, for instance they make their own arrangements on their instrument, and (co-)write (with) some of the lyrics. We are a very democratic band, so we make every decision together. Most of the time that goes easily, because we make most of our decisions based on our feelings about something and we think and feel the same way about a lot of stuff. That might also have to do with the fact that Janneke is my sister. It's probably also easier to decide on things when you only have three band members by the way.
"I have an american, dark green Fender Stratocaster, and I use .011 - .048 nickel wound strings by Ernie Ball. The effect pedals I use are: - an OCD ( =obsessive compulsive drive ) by Fulltone - a Jemini distortionpedal by Ibanez - a Cry Baby wahwahpedal ( model GCB-95 ) by Dunlop - a Chromatic tuner TU-2 by Boss"
"If a band with - for instance - a female drummer and for the rest only male musicians is performing, the girl will probably stand out a little more than the rest of the band. In general there are a lot more male than female instrumentalists, so people don't see it very often and that makes it special. I base that on what I've heard from many people standing in the audience while watching a band like that. Next to that, I think that guys are by nature more ""laid back"" than girls. Off course not all guys are relaxed in manner, and not all girls are ""tense"". But a lot of female instrumentalists I know like to rehearse in a structured way, and men often prefer to see what happens when they're rehearsing. This is my general opinion, it's not always like that. "
The only difference I can think of right now is that the current generation brings a lot more female musicians than the previous generation. Unless off course they were hiding in studios... ;-) But seriously, I think that there are more women who feel the urge to jump on stage nowadays, maybe also because it gets more and more accepted by society.
It probably sounds a little cheesy, but my advise to a woman musician would be to always believe in herself as an artist/performer. There may always people who may think less of you as a musician just because you're a woman. Prove them wrong :-)
I have been singing almost all my life, and I wanted to play an instrument so I could accompany myself when singing (my own) songs. I loved the sound and the look of the guitar. Besides that I was (and still am actually) really interested in Spanish classical music when I was younger. My mother introduced me to that kind kind of music, as she plays acoustic guitar as well. So I started playing Spanish guitar when I was 8 years old. Then at the age of 13/14 I also wanted to make pop/rock music, so I bought an electric guitar and started in my first band.

Meredith Sheldon, Family of the Year

Joe Keefe and I share lead vocals. On stage, I play guitar and sometimes bass. Our studio life is rather mad (in a good way...). We write predominantly as we record, so most of the time, Joe and I are engineering and producing while we all play, write, and record at once. Sometimes Joe and I bring things to the table that we have recorded independently, seeing as we both work well just being on our own in the studio. On the business side of things, Christina and I are very active on the internet/social networking front. It is a huge part of our band's philosophy to create personal relationships with our fans and stay up to date and available to everyone. She and I also hold down the merchandise duties for the band.
I am currently armed with a fender telecaster, a vox AC15 amplifier, a catastrophe of cables, a sennheiser microphone, and I mooch off of my band mates for the use of a bass and some pedals.
"Absolutely. Some are good differences, some are sort of a drag... for instance, any time I have ever walked into a music store (maybe excluding the one in my home town where there are some very dear people!), even if I make it clear that I know what I want, the sales guys will almost always direct their sales pitch at my boyfriend, or if I am alone, will talk to me like a total amateur. And don't get me wrong, I don't know anything extraordinary, but sometimes its painfully obvious that they assume I a) don't really play seriously, or b) just have no idea what i'm doing. But that said, what the hell? Pick your battles. On the good side, there are ways that being a woman is really helpful, like in our band, we sort of figured out that it is more efficient after shows for the girls to go straight to the merch table to meet and talk with fans, while the guys load out the gear. It seems to be easier for people to approach a couple gals than a bunch of guys, and we're generally better at the pr side of the business. "
Yes and no... In this crazy time, when the industry has been turned upside down and put into a blender, I think that men and women have a very different sense of what they can do on their own than they did, say, 20 years ago. There's a lot of power in being able to write your own songs, retain all ownership of them in terms of publishing and masters, and for some people, being able to record yourself. I think its a big deal for women especially to feel like they can be a part of the musical beast without the help of a big authoritative man pulling all the strings. Though that definitely still happens.
"Make something you really believe in. Be honest. "
My uncle is a great guitar player/songwriter and started teaching me when I was a kid, so I guess the desire stemmed from watching him, and of course, the early obsession with Jimi Hendrix..

Hannah Lew, Grass Widow

I play bass and sing in Grass Widow. Grass widow has a triangularly equal way of doing everything, from song-writing to business. We collaborate on songs, each writing parts and all singing. We have band meetings where we make decisions together. We don't have a band leader. It's a very empowering project and it takes a lot of work.
I play a shitty Ibanez Bass that is the only Bass I have ever owned. I've been wanting to upgrade for the past 7 years. I play an Ampeg combo amp that I love, which I bought for $80 at a flea market 6 years ago.
Being a female musician means that when people describe us-they often call us a girl band, or identify us as that before recognizing anything else about us. That can be very frustrating since we spend so much time conceptually and musically making challenging music. It's a bit reductive and insulting when gender is the first thing people comment on. It's unfortunate that a lot of women feel that they need to assume men's roles to feel empowered about what they are doing. I would like to think that we as women can help foster new positive female identities that don't rely on dusty gender stereotypes. We are very focused on a non rock star approach to our performance and general attitude in the way we put ourselves out there in the world, putting the emphasis on song writing. I don't think there was really a defining moment when all this became clear to me. Anything we ever do is being done within a patriarchal context,using a patriarchal language to create context-so in that sense i feel that we as a band of female musicians we have an opportunity to create a new context for experiencing and discussing music. In terms of being a female performer,specifically- I feel that we are constantly confronting the way that people use our image-discuss it. We spend a lot more time working on songs than we do working on our appearance, and it does bother me when people objectify us in the spirit of centuries of patriarchy. This is not to say that performing in front of an audience isn't part of what we do and I feel aware of how our image as three young women plays into that. Women shouldn't have to hide their confidence and celebration of themselves because men can't control themselves. That attitude seems to be in the service of men-excluding women from the audience.
Well in terms of women performers- it seems that early female punk bands ,riot grrls, had the position of reaction in a feminist context, and at this point- since there are so many female bands- we are functioning in a sort of in a post- feminism context, where we don't really need to complain about how everything is misogynistic, and react- we can instead act in a feminist realm, past a struggle,utilizing a female language and a context for women in bands that is outside of image or representation, and based in talent and integrity. If is weren't for the riot grrl scene paving this path-we wouldn't be in the position we are in now. I'm not saying we don't have tons of shit to be pissed off about, but I am saying that I feel we have the opportunity to decide what context we want to thrive within. We're really glad to be aligned with the woman run Kill Rock Stars, and their dedication to politically consciousness.
I had very few role models to tell you the truth. My advice to a woman starting out would be to find friends who have a similar belief system as you and just play! Ability has very little to do with being in a band. Everyone gets good at their instruments by playing with other people. Most of what being in a band is functioning on pure belief and genuine love for what you are making,outside of any external influence. Also I would say that we as women have the opportunity to represent ourselves with artistic dignity and manufacture personal confidence not in relation to our appearance. We have the opportunity to thrive in our community first as musicians, then as women.
Well In my first band-The Insides -I was the only girl. I didn't play any instruments, besides Moog on some songs. I mostly just sang and jumped around a lot. I really didn't feel very empowered to play any instruments. Then years later I moved back to SF from the east coast and met up with Frankie Rose. She and I were in a similar place of jadedness and depression and decided to start a band,although neither one of us could play any instruments. We convinced our friend Wu, who knew how to play guitar- to jam with us. We really had no pre-conceived notions. The three of us got together and I decided, pretty arbitrarily, to play the bass. It just kind of stuck.

Amber Rubarth, The Paper Raincoat

"AMBER RUBARTH - Writer. Performer. Producer. Arranger. Some self-recording but I do a lot at the studio now as well. Self-manager. Self-releaser. Self-driver (or train ticket buyer). Besides my booking agent right now and the lovely musicians I get to perform with, I'm pretty much a one woman entity.

THE PAPER RAINCOAT - Co-writer with Alex Wong. Lead and side vocalist. Keyboardist / Guitarist / Drummer / Glockenspieler / etc. In the studio Alex does most of the producing, I produced one of the songs on the record and helped with some of the other stuff but I love Alex's production. With business and marketing, Alex and I equally split everything and carve out our path together."
"Well, for AMBER RUBARTH shows I bring my hollow body HB-15 Washburn guitar and run it through an old Fender champ amp. I sing through a Blue Microphone Encore 100, just started using that and they're AMAZING. I play piano, my preference is an old upright. And I whistle.

When I'm playing with my side project, THE PAPER RAINCOAT, I use a Nord Stage and play bass lines, organ, wurly, piano, etc. on it. I also play glockenspiel, vibratone, acoustic guitar, and drums, anything to serve the song. And lots of vocals of course, lead vocals or harmonizing with my partner-in-crime on the project, Alex Wong."
"I think it's been made to be different but in actuality is exactly the same. Women will of course have different tendencies just as different cultures and experiences will alter someone's approach to a song.

I tend to avoid Women Musician nights when they're focusing on Girl power, etc. I think if it's joined together as a decision to have similar musical styles, etc. that's fine but when people act like women have had a harder time making music, don't have as much opportunities, I strongly disagree with that. If anything I think it may be easier to be a woman and a musician sometimes.... because there are things like Women Nights out there (there are no Men Nights or people would call it sexist).

I like music. If it moves me, I'll listen, and if it doesn't, I won't. I can't imagine that anyone would be different from that part."
Yes. Women have opened up from the time of Patsy Cline with her soft, pretty songs and conservative outfits, crossed legs.... to Janis Joplin and her forward and reckless music and attitude.... to someone like Ani DiFranco who showed the world that you can run your own empire as a woman. However I don't think it is only specific to women, I think the world in general has moved in these ways from acquiescence to a need to show individuality, to our need to be in charge of businesses and music and anything else. But in the end I think it is all just moving toward equality of everyone, our human-ness trumping any cultural or sex differences.
"Yes yes yes yes yes. Very valuable.

When I was 17 I moved to Carson City, Nevada to become a wood sculptor. I worked with a chainsaw carving animals and sculptures seven days a week for 3 years in that apprenticeship program and I left because the head sculptor (who had also become a mentor to me) told me this: You will only be truly great if you follow your number one passion. If you don't, you're not only not going to be as great as you could be, but you will not serve the purpose you were put here on earth to do, there is something only you can do how you do it, and you're robbing the world of that if you decide to take the safe route and do what you're told rather than carving your own unique path out. Don't have a Plan B, once you decide what you will do, work hard and give it as a gift and the universe will come together to support you.

I quit that day. I traded my chainsaw for a guitar and have never looked back. It is the best advice I've heard and I think of it often. It is easy to think when we're doing something that we are being selfish in choosing exactly what we love, I struggled with that for a long time. But when you recognize it as a gift, and give it as such to the world, that erases all self-consciousness you feel on stage, all worries about whether you are supposed to be doing that or getting a ""regular job,"" etc. Don't have a back up plan and give everything you have to giving to the world through the way that you love and only you can do."
"I chose to play guitar because the piano was too heavy for open mics. I traded my acoustic in for a hollow body electric Washburn through a Fender amp because I wanted the guitar to crunch and was inspired by Adam Levy's playing.

I play piano because my favorite thing in life is watching the hammers hit the strings.

I play glockenspiel and vibratone and melodica because they make the sounds that are in my head for those songs.

And I play drums because drums are rad."

Sharon Van Etten

So far i have been solo, mostly. I write and record all of my own songs and spin ideas off one or two people who help me record later.
Guitar (acoustic or electric), amp, mic (for vocals), mic (for amp sometimes)
In some ways, I feel responsible for being a positive role model. I don't feel that many of the male musicians I know are very personal in their writing - which isn't a bad thing... I make it a point to be confessional in my lyrics, and not afraid to show my emotions. One of my messages is that it's ok to be sad - and that positive things can come from that - and I haven't found may male singer/songwriters that have conveyed they feel the same, to me.
I think there are a lot of singer/songwriters that carry the torch of guitar picking styles and political messages, as well as taking old folk and putting it into a "now" context (i.e. Meg Baird of Espers solo project). There is still a lot of traditional folk music, but I think that new female singer/songwriters are crossing new territory, with pedals and layering and vocals - really pushing themselves to stretch what folk music means now.
Be honest, always be nice to everyone, if you believe in what you do and what you say what you write, you will never be disappointed with a show or a release or your decisions. And ALWAYS work with people you trust and know and would consider a friend. And NEVER do anything because you think the listener would like it - you should do it because YOU like it.
For it's simplicity. I like being able to sing complicated melodies and lyrics and rhythms over the strums. Makes it more interesting to me... a lot more room for harmonies when recording and performing live...

Stephanie Luke, The Coathangers

The same as everyone elses in the band, to make music we want to listen to, to practice, to inspire, create, etc. The band is a true democracy so everyone puts in equal time and energy in both the studio and in marketing the band in a DIY fashion.
Of course it is like everything else in life. The club owners usually think you're a groupie when you show up early to load in or go backstage to chill, people tell you after the shows "I thought that was gonna suck bc your a girl but it didnt!" (gee thanks), and critics describe what you were wearing at the show as opposed to what you sounded like... However it is beneficial in the fact that you get noticed immediately, well usually beneficial...
Yes and no. I would like to say i work just as hard as Janis or Diana but I'm sure the barriers back then were even higher and more vast. However when the going gets tough it helps to think of the Patti Smiths and the Kathleen Hannas who helped pave the way for women artists today.
"NO! However the best advice my mother ever gave me about anything was to never quit! If it isn't difficult it usually isn't worth doing... Much love! "
for fun!


I'm the leader/ manager/ singer/Video editor ... and I chose the crew of designers& Producers to work with
"on stage: MPC 2 mics ( one plugged to a Kaos Pad) Kaoscilator

@ home: 2 comps + Logic & After FX Neuman Mic Old microphones Neve channel External Reverb Ohmforce plugs & more..."
"It is different just because it's rare, especially technic stuff, men are amazed/scared/ of you, but it will soon change, because more and more women take over computers. When I arrived to Israel ( after 21 years in Paris, france) men were really shocked of my knowledge and productions, and women were also a bit intimidated, it's an adventage, because it makes a first impression , but what you do with it after that depend on your real talent :-)"
... only technology has changed... :-)
"the same as to a guy--> be yourself, look deep in you and once you love what you've found be strong and flexible all the way out!

Try to be independant, don't be lazy, and love everything you do, bureaucracy as the music itself, if you don't love it-> let someone else do it!

Surround yourself with good and talented people, pay them for their good work, and keep clean connections. Be a professional!

I mainly sing, it's the closest connection possible to yourself, and I produce because I want to be free to sing as much as I want :-))

Mia Doi Todd

I'm the singer, songwriter, rhythm guitar-player, boss, organizer. I'm the co-producer when recording. I try my best at business; it's not my forte. These days I book my own shows and make all the phone calls. I'm looking for a manager to take over some of these duties. I have not been very good with delegating responsibility and trusting others to do what they say they'll do. I put out my last 2 records on my own label, so at least I knew how much or little was being done.
Mostly I play a 1969 Martin nylon string guitar. Live I sing into a Sure beta 58. I own a Neumann mic and Universal Audio preamp for recording. My ukulele was made in Java by a Hawaiian company called Pono. Tanpura by Rikhi Ram Music of Delhi.
Yes, it's different. The whole thing seems to be geared towards men mostly, so as a woman you are challenging the norm. Looking beautiful and sexy is so much more important if you are a female musician. Guitar virtuosity seems to be more important and easy for men and their big hands. Women's voices are sometimes more quiet than men's so it's hard to hear yourself in the monitors oftentimes. Women are very sensitive and their songs can tend to be more fragile and personal than men's. Music venues are often bars which might not be the best medium for such expression. When I started playing in rock clubs, all my peers were male mostly. Now it has changed a bit, and there are lots more women leading groups. I got very discouraged at one point that all my peers were men and that I would never really be their friend, because in the end I am not one of the guys, even though I am as tough as them. It's good to have women on tour, van tours, bus tours. Women make it much nicer. We make sure there are good things to eat and it doesn't get too nasty and dirty everywhere. Women can be more moody than men though, and there's not much room for that on tour.
I just watched the Patti Smith documentary and identified with her a lot. I identify with Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell as well. So there must be continuity. Now there is so much access to music and recording gear that every other person you meet in LA is in some band. That was not the case 40 years ago. That older generation of female musicians had to defy more odds than us today. Perhaps they had more classical training to support their craft.
"I had very little advice going into the music industry. One record exec told me to hurry and get myself together, because I was getting old. I was only 23. I was very creative as a young performer and I realized there would be very few roles available to me in acting because I didn't have a particular look and I didn't want to wait around forever for nothing, so I started writing songs out of a need for self-expression. I would say only do it if you really feel you HAVE to do it. It's not easy, nor very rewarding in many ways. But if you have to, start writing songs immediately and start performing them out live for an audience. You don't have to be a guitar virtuoso. Find your own personal voice. Do not imitate your favorite singer.

I made a record with Mitchell Froom as the producer, and he taught me about making decisions and moving forward when recording. It's a good idea to decide which take or compilation of takes you are going to use before moving on to the next instrument. "
My mother had an old Martin nylon guitar that she bought new in the 60's, which I loved. I found a similar one and put a pickup in it. It is a very gentle, feminine guitar.

Sharon Jones, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

singing and dancing and making people happy
been signing since church

Barbara Kooyman, Barbara K & Sparrows Wheel

Singer, songwriter, guitar player, leader, producer, engineer, mixer, owner of record and publishing company, founder and director of
"Guitars: Gibson Chet Atkins (2), Gibson Howard Roberts, Gibson Nighthawk, Martin Acoustic, Alvarez Yairi Acoustic, McGill Acoustic, Greek Bazouki, 1920's German fiddle,

Studio: Soundcraft Spirit console, Genelecs, Yamaha NS10Ms. Tube Tech mic pre, compressor, eq, Various effects, ADAT multitracks, Neumann microphones. Beta-tester in late 80's for what became Pro Tools.

Guitar Amplifier: Dumble"
"Of course. Women have more power than men. Every moment makes a difference when we maintain awareness of every moment."
When the music one plays is timeless, there is no difference between generations.

Play from your heart and love will follow."
The guitar called to me when I was 9 years old.

Margaret Ayre, Fern Knight

I write all of the music and lyrics, and consider myself the band leader, but everyone is pretty independent musically in my band. Everyone has a lot of freedom to try new ideas and sounds. In the studio, I voice my opinions and ideas about how I want the songs to sound and the orchestrations, but again, everybody brings something to the table in the studio and live. We're a democracy in how we make business/marketing decisions, but we've really not had many to make.
Baggs DI for my Martin acoustic guitar with an I Beam pickup, my cello has a David Gage realist pickup.
I think there are more women in rock and folk now than when I started playing indie rock 20 years ago. When I toured our country in 1995, it was rare to share the bill with any other women in bands. It is much different now and more balanced. It's been gradual, but I definitely have noticed more and more women on bills between 1995 and now.
My roots are in the DIY indie rock early 90s era, back when indie labels were all still independent and not owned by majors. It is a different world now, but my advice would be to make your online presence strong through social networking sites. Try digitally releasing singles and turn those singles into videos with your talented friends. The CD format just isn't selling these days like it used to, so then releasing an LP and/or a 7" as well as digital might be a better second step, either releasing them yourself or finding a small label who can help you get started. Own your own masters and keep your publishing rights!
I came from playing the electric and upright bass to cello and guitar because of the versatility and songwriting ease they bring; plus, they're smaller.

Jen Olive

"i am a solo artist... i write, record and produce all of my own stuff.... andy partridge mixed my current album... he heads ape records in the UK...

as far as business and marketing it is a partnership with ape records"
"don musser custom made acoustic guitar - fender telecaster fender p-bass fender fretless bass manu katchu drums...small kit various percussion"
"yes..VERY different

the primary difference being that your looks are focused on first and you have to really prove yourself to be taken seriously... if you want real recognition...

there were lots of moments...

the first was when someone play pretty good for having such tiny hands or... you should show your legs more... you'd have more fans...

things like that"
"yes.. i do

i notice that younger girls now are not as locked out... they seem to be more accepted... there are a lot of female players, writers, etc... and not all dance stuff...

when i was first starting it wasnt like that... seeing women i the forefront was not as common so i thnk girls today feel entitled to it, which is great... i think my generation was excluded from certain genres.. we had to fight to get in..."
"well .. the same advice i would give to anyone which is... don;t lose your integrity. your vision for yourself as an artist is ALWAYS the right one.. that's what makes YOU the artist... and if you are a woman... don;t feel that it means you are obligated to put forward any particular perspective or viewpoint because of that. your perspective as a woman IS the female perspective... and whatever your take, it will bring strength to more people, not just women, to express their own views as well."
well guitar is my primary instrument... and it just feels right

Utah Green

"Basically I have been the sole provider and leader for all these things. Just recently I have added an upright bass player, we are still learning how the roles may change."
I use direct input for guitar, vocal microphone, sometimes instrument mic for guitar and banjo as well.
"Yes. Generally, the male gender has tended to override the feminine presences in society. At this point, given my mentors and teachers have been musical men, my experience has been nothing but them supporting me with my success and inspiring strength in me to sing my songs and to continue to follow what I believe. So there."
Yes. I think that the evolution of women has come a long way, and we are beginning to see that men are more willing to support us, when all we have to do is ask. Kindly.
Yes. "Gypsy Dance" I would tell the woman beginning to continue to do everything that is beautiful and feminine, embrace the good and the bad, and remember We are all One.
My father gifted me his guitar when I graduated high school, and it perfectly fit my soul. Later I decided to accompany my songs with harmonica, and learn the banjo, for the round moon feeling on my belly suited me so.

Ginger Brooks Takahashi, MEN

We are a three person collaboration and so we share responsibilities but also have individual roles. I am the art department which means I design and make the merch (screenprinting tees and letterpressing cd covers) and I also initiate performance collaborations with other artists.
I play an insane flying-V esque Silvertone KISS signature guitar that Chicks on Speed's Melissa Logan picked out with Tina Weymouth! I play through a Fender Ultra Chorus and sometimes a digital Marshall stack. I use a bunch a pedals--an octave shifter for playing bass lines in some songs live, an analog delay pedal and a RAT!
"Totally. Name one female producer. One! Because of the inherent sexism and huge gender gap in the music industry we hire and collaborate with female musicians whenever we can"
"The work that the wimmin's movement and feminism have accomplished have propelled us through to the radical activist work of riot grrrl. Now some younger women can dream and be. We love intergenerational collaboration!"
"I learn so much from my bandmate JD Samson on a daily basis. Her experiences in Le Tigre have given us an incredible base to work from. Advice to young women: Follow your intuition and play how you want to play. "
I first started off on violin, moved to bass guitar to express myself and write songs, and then onto guitar, inspired by more strings and possibilities of tone and texture.

Camila Grey, Uh Huh Her/Adam Lambert

My role in my band is Lead Singer/Producer/player. At the moment I'm managing the band alongside my bandmate. It was daunting at first but we really wanted to take back some of the control we lost by having "handlers" all the time. I enjoy being able to talk directly with people as opposed to being represented by someone personally.
I have a wide range of gear. On the production side I run Pro-tools and ableton live, with an O1V digital mixer. I use in ears by Ultimate Ears. As far as synths that I play, I have a Korg Triton Extreme Pro, Korg MS2000B, Korg M3, Nord Lead 2x, Roland Juno G, and an M-Audio USB keyboard controller. I have a Fender Jaguar Bass, and 2 Fender Telecaster guitars. I use pedalboards by Line6 and Vox.
Women have always had an interesting role in music, and for the most part it's been an uphill battle. I think you answer your own question just by the title of this article. I don't think I've ever seen an article titled, "Being a man in music in 2010". I'm not trying to invalidate the role of women in music, but the title says it all. It is a man's world. Speaking of which I just saw the runaways biopic, and it's so clear that it was a huge problem then. They paved the way for woman to play loud hard rock music "like a man", and with each step made it easier and more formidable to be in music as a woman. That being said, I look at it from a genderless position, I always have. I don't think "I'm a woman, and I play woman music". I just play music, and I happen to have breasts.
I think this generation of women musicians have an entirely different experience for obvious reasons. The industry has changed so vastly I can barely keep up. It's a world now of pop superstars or indy artists. I feel like the gap is huge. Either you're an indie artist, or a megastar like Lady Gaga, and this can all happen in an instant. A blogger like Perez Hilton can give you a plug and then next thing you know, you're in the top 10 on the pop charts. It's the age of technology and sharing information. It's far different from the time when Alanis Morrisette was selling millions of records and touring grass roots style to get her name out there. It's just a different world, for better or worse.
"My college Professor at Berklee gave me some sound advice. He said,"" When you go to LA and embark into the music industry, be sure to bring some vaseline. It will make the ride much less painful"".

As far as my advice to younger women starting out...""These days being a musician encompasses so much more than just making music. You have to wear many hats. You have to be willing to be very creative in a climate where music is the least common denominator, and personas, hype, and twittering are valued more. I would also say that ownership in this day and age is of utmost importance. Owning rights to masters, publishing, merch, tours, etc. is the only way you'll make money as an artist. It is like the holy grail for people who want to do this for a living"". "
I saw Amadeus at age 6 and decided playing piano was what I wanted to do. I was fascinated that he could play backwards, and so I made it my goal to play backwards like him. I ended up becoming so passionate about piano that my parents never had to force me to play, I just wanted to. Years later I went to Berklee college of music to study full-time and have never really looked back since.

Alanna Meltzer, Jews and Catholics

I am 50% of the band. Eddie plays guitar and he is the lead singer. He also programs the drum machines. I play my bass and sing. We write together. Sometime Eddie will come to practice with a riff read that he has come up with, or even most of a song, and then I'll add my part to it. And sometimes we start from the ground up together. We've become very accustomed to writing together at this point. As far as studio, business, marketing, booking, touring, all of the above, we're pretty good at being 50/50. We divide up booking, driving, flyer making, etc. and try to split the burden as evenly as we can. Studio wise, Eddie typically has more to say based on his audio engineering background and the fact that he sings on every song and programs the beats.
I play a 3/4 size upright bass through a stack- SWR workingman's cab, a marshall guitar cab and a GK head. Do you need more specifics?
Yes and no. I think just being a man or a woman and being a musician is one thing. But when you are a woman in a band, I think then it is different. I mean, I personally don't see why it is different but I know that it is, or that people perceive it to be different. I know this because, despite the fact that I am 50% of the band, a club owner will push his way past me to hand Eddie the money at the end of the night. Or the sound guy might look past me to ask Eddie what we need. I've even had sound men ask Eddie questions about MY rig. What??? Are you freaking kidding me??? Sometimes, though, I am lucky enough to find myself in situations where I don't see the difference anymore. Like shows when we play with all female bands, or every band on the bill has at least one female in them. Or the club is owned by a woman, or the sound guy is not a sound guy, but actually a sound woman. So yes, I do think unfortunately some people still think it's a man's world, but not everyone.
Well, not so much music industry advice as something my first bass teacher said to me that has always stuck with me. I was struggling with learning how to carry my instrument. It is a beast. I was even shorter then, and I'm only 5'2" now, this thing was huge. And I must have asked someone for help or something and she told me that if this was what I wanted to do, if I really wanted to play this instrument, I would carry it for myself. I would always carry it on my own. I still hear those words in my head and I think it's important as a woman to carry that over into other aspects of being in band, not just schlepping my instrument around, but being sure to pull my weight with everything we do just like any guy would (or should).
When I was like 11 years old, in elementary school in Idaho, this group of local musicians came to an assembly at my school to teach us all about string instruments. So they demonstrated each one and I was just like yeah, yeah, whatever, and then this guy, (who I wound up later playing in symphonies with), lifts up this big bass, and plays the low E string and it reverberated through the whole room and I loved it immediately! I asked for one right away. The school district, however, did not have an extra at that moment, so I played cello for a year or so until they could get me a bass. And the rest is history.

Mo Perce, Lick Lick

We all work hard at other things - jobs and other bands or theater. We do it to have fun. I guess I'm the band sister. Here to support and be protected and provide a different POV. We collaborate on everything in the studio, but I front the money for big projects. We don't do a lot of marketing. I book many of the gigs we play, but that's not too hard here in Austin.
I have a Shure Beta 58 mic, and a cord, and boobs.
Yes. I tend to get more attention than my male band mates, whether I deserve it or not. I feel coddled and rarefied by my band mates, but I also feel alone and bored sometimes. The gender ratio is skewed, especially in the louder rock scene. There are few women left to talk to by the end of the night.
I see that there are lots more women in bands than ever before. Maybe that means they are more courageous?
Randy Biscuit Turner always ended his shows by saying, "Now go form your own band!" You need to make sure it's fun, whatever you do.
Because my band mates were willing to back me up.

Janiva Magness

"IN THE BAND: Artist & Band Leader. IN THE STUDIO: Artist, Arranger & Co-Producer BUSINESS & MARKETING: I make the decisions for my business and marketing either on my own or with the Team of folks I have hired to work with me. In my case I have two excellent First Teams (my Band and Alligator Records). I also have a small number of folks I have contracted with to do specific jobs ie: Social Media Marketing, etc.

I usually get a good chuckle to myself when someone asks me ""Are you with the band? What are you.. the singer?"" I just smile and say ""Yes!"""
Sure SM 58 Beta Microphone. Sure PSM Wireless In Ear Monitor System.
"Yes, absolutely different. I believe women have our own set of challenges that comes with being in the music business and on a bandstand or in a studio. I believe men have their own set of concerns but I cant really speak to that.

However, I have ever felt the male/female difference but did not clearly understand any of it until around 1983 I had been working with a group of players for several months. I was doing a LOT of the booking. There was a conflict between myself and one other player in the band about a particular date booked. They were going to back up a famous artist without me.

I did not mind that ""the guys"" wanted to do that, it was simply the way this other band mate went about making that happen. Pretty underhanded in my view.

I realized right then and there if I didnt start taking the bull by the horn and acting much more like the Alpha, that I was gonna continue to be run over by this guy and a bunch more just like him. So I booked a huge pile of shows (translation: I got the work!) to be billed with MY name out front and let everyone know right then if they wanted to continue to work with me, it would continue to be as Janiva Magness and...... Everyone was really cool with it, except the one guy who had been behaving poorly. He quieted down when he understood that I could work fine without him. In the end, he took the work.

But I have to say I really had to do some soul searching before I was willing to step out and wrestle this guy (and anyone who stood behind him) for control. My nature was to be a lot ""nicer"" about business than pro-active or aggressive.

That was a very valuable lesson for me. Turns out - wrestling him down was the best thing I could have done, for me, for the band and for MY career. I did not want to have to behave so Alpha like, but it paid off in spades, especially in the long run.

Turns out, I am a really good at arm I choose my battles as wisely as possible, I now realize that NO ONE has power over me unless I give it up to them. I dont have many conflicts with people any more, if they cant or dont give me what I need, I just move on. I still try to be fair and kind, but its best for all involved to not waste time. Shocking, but true. A whole lot less blood gets spilled... What a relief that is!"
"Yes. I see a lot more women on Guitars, Bass & Drums than I ever have before... Keyboards and Wind instruments too. It used to be VERY rare to see a woman on the bandstand other than traditionally speaking, IF a woman is on the bandstand - she's singing.

That's great, but there is also the ""No Chicks"" rule that is of course totally insane, but it still does exists amongst male musicians. Not as severe as it used to be... but I still see it here and there. I'm just relieved women are continuing to break those small minded high school rules. I hear a lot less of ""yeah, she's good ... for a girl"" and a lot more ""yeah... she's good or great!"" and that's excellent. There is definitly evolution in process.... in my view, that's a beautiful thing for all of us!"
"Yes. Bob Tate who was the Musical Director for Sam Cook for many,many years. I had the honor to work with Bob for a few Years in Phoenix, AZ. What a beautiful soul he was. He taught me much (and still does) about practicing and getting better command of my instrument. He used to tell me it was the ONLY way to get respect from other players. He talked a lot about Sarah Vaughn and Aretha Franklin and how they could show up ANYBODY on their instruments and piano. Sarah was ruthless - so he said - about players that gave her crap and didnt play the right changes behind her. She would school them fast and hard - it wasnt pretty - and they would get in line or be fired. Simple. But she had full command of her instrument and knew music and could read like a M.F! So can Aretha he said. He would tell me again and again ""...and dont take no stuff from these men... cause they gonna dish it! But dont take it, no matter what they say. And for god sake dont sleep with them... cause they all gonna want to sleep with you - soon as they feel your power! Soon as you do - its over!"" Well I took his words in and boy was he right for the most part. Hahahaha God Bless Bob Tate!

My first voice teacher, Gail Hensley Gunderson told me similar things, including that ""...when folks started to praise you, be very very careful to not buy their words hook line and sinker, cause people in the music business eat their young!"" Hahahaha boy was she right!

Nancy Cox my second voice teacher taught me - practice, practice, practice! And I still do!

MY ADVICE: Get control of your instrument. Practice, practice, practice. I still practice vocal exercises to this day - after 34 years. I do that because it works. I see so many players trying to make their way and havne't done enough homework to have a grip on whatever their instrument is, enough to command respect from their fellow players and artists. So players get frustrated cause they cant get any respect and get an attitude about that! Ha! Respect is earned, not a given. Remember half the gig is YOUR ATTITUDE! I work with people who give me what I need musically and otherwise, and if they dont or wont, I simply move on to find the right fit. Oh yeah, get real good at handling your own business. You are gonna need that skill! Also, try to be willing to have the ""student mind"" and be teachable, a very valuable thing I have learned. Learn what it is you want and then pursue that with a vengence. Be clear and whenever possible be kind. It is usually possible to be kind to people. Take the high road whenever possible when dealing with other humans. The music business is full of really bad musicians, taking money. Then there is this huge glut of mediocrity taking more money, above that are some tremendously talented and disciplined people, hopefully taking money. Strive for the 3rd category!"
It chose me, I did not choose it... ; ) and its the one thing that came the most naturally to me. Singing speaks to the place where there are no words, and I need that speaking.

Petra Mases, Francis

We are a very democratic band and we do not have a "leader" or anything like that, and we always try to do everything together. But I write the lyrics and melodies of our songs. In the studio I just try to keep focused and try to focus on the feeling rather than the technique. Im not very into technical stuff. Im not in to the business either, but I try to be involved as much as I can, without getting to upset or bored. I have done some of our artwork and will keep doing that.
I useally use an electric piano when we play live gigs beacause its easier, but recording I use a aucostic piano called RIPPEN. I use a shure beat 57a on my vocals on live gigs.
It can be a very macho enviorment to be in and I am often the only woman on stage. It happens that people can talk down to you, especially when I was younger, and that has happend so many times I cant keep track when was the first time. I guess its harder in a way, and you have to make your own way in a very man dominated world. Everytime a woman or some women preforms the same evening as us I get a little happier.
I think that women musicians can get more space nowadays and we can act more as we want to, rather than what people expect of a woman artist. An there are more role models for young girls now and that will create more women musicians. Someday as many as there are male musicians. I hope so anyway.
"I always been tought that if you want to do this you have to give it 110%. And I think thats true, you have to work as much as you can to get somewhere. If you want to make a living out of it, that is. Remember that the songs you write is yours and they are there for your sake. Thats the only thing that matter, that you enjoy playing your songs and that you do it with your heart."
From the beggining it was just the very best thing I knew in the whole world. To sing and to play music. And as I evolved the meaning for me become even bigger. Its something that I need to do, and I dont have no chioce.

Cariad Harmon

"I'm the singer/songwriter, booking agent, marketing director, band leader, manager, tour coordinator, I do it all!

I did work very closely with two producers in the studio on my recent record and we developed a great working relationship. Having three opinions to work with was fantastic as when we had a question about a decision, generally speaking two people would agree and convince the third that they were on the right track. It was a very smooth and collaborative process and a great way to work. I work very closely with one of the producers still, we co-write a lot of music together and he's been instrumental in helping me to create and define a live sound that compliments the record.

I do find the business side of the industry exhausting and am still learning how to be an artist and a business woman without one of the elements suffering. It's a tough industry with so much competition and you have to develop a very thick skin in order to make it work, you have to send out 100 emails for every 5 you receive back, you can never allow yourself to be discouraged by anyone's lack of enthusiasm about what you do, you have to sell yourself, convince people that your music is better than the next record they'll hear and stay on top of all of the social media that we use now. Twitter, Facebook, Myspace are all incredible tools for an independent musician but it's very easy to feel overwhelmed by everything an indie artist is expected to do and I find all of that external noise very counter productive to creativity and self expression.

The music itself is only a part of the process with more and more pressure put on artists to prove themselves. Unless you get very lucky, a manager, booker or label will not consider you unless you have a viable fan base and solid marketing opportunities already in place. It can be very hard to keep the motivation and faith while working full time, paying bills and taking care of the creative side of things. You certainly have to love what you do because it's a hard road to travel and I think most of us would much rather be in the studio, or at home writing a song than glued to a blackberry answering emails and updating a twitter feed. "
I own the basic equipment for live performance, I have a tanglewood acoustic/electric guitar with a built in pre-amp, I also have a fishman Aura pedal that is a great second external pre-amp and gets rid of a lot of the twangy sound that you hear with acoustic guitars that plug in direct. I have a tuning pedal as I use a couple of different tunings on stage, I have a sure SM58 microphone, a mike stand, cables etc. I have a piano at home that I use for writing and I work on garage band a lot when I'm writing new songs, to hear how they sound, send them to collaborators etc. I also have a small Marshal amp and an old univox hollow body electric guitar that I've been experimenting with and play on one of the tunes on my recent album.
"I do think there are a lot of differences but I certainly don't think they are all negative and I think you can use your femininity as a definite advantage if you work hard.

I think that while it's easier for a man to be taken seriously as an instrumentalist and musician simply because there are more men involved in the industry, if you work hard as a woman and stand out as a musician you are seen as something of a novelty and people respond very positively to working with a woman who can prove that she knows her stuff and is serious about her music.

""Chick singers"" often get a bad name and it's assumed that we don't really know what we're talking about or understand how the band works as a whole and that we just want to stand at the front and look pretty. I think it's easy for a lot of women to feel intimidated and to fall back on their femininity as a crutch in a nerve wracking situation. There will always be a guy around who knows how to make that amp work, or how to stop the feedback, or who understands how to get a point across to the band but in the end that attitude doesn't get you very far. I empathise a lot with women I see looking lost on stage and not quite aware or confident about what's going on around them. I think a lot of it has to do with learning to be passive and agreeable, pleasing people and being afraid to take risks. Of course men struggle with risk taking too, but I do think we are still conditioned in a way that makes it hard for a younger woman to know exactly what she's talking about, outplay or out perform a man and feel attractive at the same time. I think on the other side of things, fear of looking ditsy and foolish stops a lot of women from asking questions. I had to really learn to take the time to understand what was going on, to politely tell the men around me what I needed and as soon as I expressed an interest and showed some intelligence I got a great response.

Of course I have heard male musicians make terrible comments about very accomplished women who are excelling on their instrument, questioning an individuals success and intimating that it had more to do with her sexual prowess or the way she happens to look than with genuine talent and hard work but I think in the end your work speaks for itself and your drive wins through. People will always find a way to knock you, if they assume I got a gig because I look good I try to laugh it off and take it as a compliment. At the end of the day, getting the gig and performing as well as I can is all I really care about."
"I think that it has been acceptable for some time for a woman to be a killer vocalist, from Bessie Smith to Aretha, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'day, all these women were taken very seriously and deserved every bit of recognition they got.

Nina Simone was somewhat of a different kettle of fish as she was a controversial lyricist with songs like ""Strange Fruit"" (I'm not aware of any female lyricists and songwriters back then) and she was also a fantastic piano player but she is still far more widely recognized as a vocalist than she every was as a pianist or a songwriter.

I do think that has changed dramatically, with artists like Joni who came along just a few years later and was revered for her songwriting above all else, and women like Feist, and Adelle who are now being celebrated for their musicianship and instrumental ability as well as their vocal style. Interestingly I think that country music has been very open to the idea of women being versatile musicians with artists like Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton who were songwriters in their own right from the beginning, I wonder if that has to do with music being more of a family tradition in the South and an audience down there being more accustomed to the idea of seeing women who can really play.

Then there's Madonna who was really our first female iconic pop star with the same level of superstardom as the Elvis' and Beatles of the world. Now we have Lady Gaga and Britanny and I think it's a great shame that people still associate strong successful women with bitchy and hard nosed characteristics. The softer women at the top seem to be eaten alive by the industry like Brittany Spears was, but I think that is changing like everything else. Gwen Stefani seems to have a good balance between the two extremes that the tabloids sell us.

I also saw more and more female recording engineers creeping into the industry when I was managing a recording studio although I think that is still a very tough road. I immediately saw many clients become uncomfortable around the idea of trusting a young woman their session and I had to fight harder to sell their time. It was definitely much harder for women to get over the initial hurdle of meeting the client before proving themselves with the level of their skill.

However with anything, I think your talent and hard work shines through. People care about the quality of your work and if you consistently put out a good performance or product people will want to know who you are regardless of your gender, sex or sexual preference. That is one of the reasons music is such an amazing medium, it has the power to transcend everything and to change peoples lives. "
"I have had a lot of advice along the way, some useful and some not so useful. I think believing in yourself is the most important thing regardless of your gender. It is such a hard and competitive industry, I think it's very important to take care of yourself, to remember that you love what you do and to work hard at maintaining a high level of self belief.

I think that the best advice I ever had was to make friends and collaborate with people. Every artist needs a network of sympathetic musicians and friends in the industry who believe in and support what they do. Reach out to artists you admire, go see a lot of shows and introduce yourself to the people who's work you love. In times when you want to pack it all in and go be an accountant, it's these people who will feed your soul and persuade you that what you do is important and meaningful enough to continue doing. They are also the people that will stay with you throughout your career and help you as you climb the ladder. With any luck, you'll also be in a position to help them one day and the wheel spins on."
I chose it more or less accidentally when I was about 16 because it was easy to carry around and I could sing at the same time as play. It was easy to put a song together with a little bit of knowledge and there were guitars in my house when I was growing up (the guitar I still use is one I stole from my brother as a matter of fact). The artists that I gravitated at first were also guitarists, Dylan, Mitchell, Van Morrison. Later, when I got into listening to vocalists like Nina Simone who also played piano my instrument choice was made. I dabble in other instruments but the guitar definitely came first.


"In Tone i am the music maker, and then Kristian, the other band member is a VJ. We have made small videos to every tune he controles under the show. Tone have a great record company and I participate in almost every decision regarding Tone, but our maneger takes care of a lot of the parctical ma that i am greatfull of, because i not that good at this."
Labtop, sometimes different instruments, Microphone, midi controllers.
Yes i think there is a huge difference being a woman in the music industry. The most clealy example is that I once was nominated for a music price, and a guy came up to me a said he thought that it was only because i was a woman and not for my music.
I guess that the sex object issue has always been an huge factor for the women musicians. Now it is a bit more, but when we look back it is kind of the same. But there are a lot more female musicians with stronger messagses today, not only singing about Love and break ups.
"Allways take a moment with yourself before saying yes to anything. There are a lot of people giving all kind of promisses but they can not deliver. If you know you are good then relaxe and have fun, but know your goal."
"I love the idea that I can controle everything. Having a Labtop give you the possibility to be the conductor of every instrument/sound in the world. You can shape the sound into your own and even invent new sounds. My Labtop as an instrument give me the chance to play with the sound around us, by recording them and the manipulate them in the programs."

Jennie Arnau

I am the singer/songwriter- leader, of the band. Marketing decisions are made by myself along with Tamara Miller (manager) and Steven at Big Hassle... along with the crew at MRI.
"Martin Guitar Fishman Loudbox amp John Pearse Strings"
"Oh yes- in soooo many ways. From going into a music store with a friend of mine that happens to be a man and the salesperson ignores me and speak with him.... to being on stage and having the sound man treat me with a little more care and maybe a little less respect. It shows in small ways everywhere.... not to say I'm put off by it, it's just something you have to deal with as a woman. We know no other way...."
"Yes- I find the older women are much stronger, in some ways harder. They have had to be. They have developed a tough skin because they had to break in to the scene through a very thick wall of brotherhood."
Stick to your guns- they fire just like a mans!
Always loved the acoustic guitar--- was a fan of country when I was a kid

Sarah Tracey

"I am the primary songwriter, and collaborate on arrangements with my producers and the musical director of my band. In performance I definitely try to command the stage and own the spotlight but I owe so much to the contributions of my backing musicians. In the studio, I really try to be as open as possible and give the musicians I am recording with room to put their own stamp on their performances. I definitely trust my producers as architects of the sound. Although I write alone, the recording process is all about collaboration for me! The songs don't fully come to life until we're in the studio. I'm deeply involved in the business and marketing decisions. I understand that marketing can be just as important (if not more) than the actual music-making. I'm very aware of my target audience and constantly brainstorming ways to reach them. I personally choose the photographers, stlylists, designers, etc that I want to work with in creating the visual component of my art. I'm contributing to all my social networks every day. I do many of my own bookings. In time the 'team' behind me has certainly grown, but I still retain heavy involvement in pretty much every aspect of what we do. As much as I can with the day jobs, etc."
I have a Korg keyboard that I bring to gigs but I prefer to write on my slightly out-of-tune old upright Lester spinet piano in my apartment. I also like to sit in my garden and play my acoustic guitar (an Olympia), armed with a stack of notebooks filled with lyrics and an old 8-track recorder to capture song ideas. I'm not really a digital girl- you won't find me creating loops on a laptop or anything like that. I guess my 'gear' also includes some very handsome guys with a proclivity for the technical and digital to help execute my recording ideas! Are fishnet stockings and stiletto heels considered 'gear'? Because I don't perform without them.
"I think being a woman in this industry is entirely different. I feel like there is a LOT more pressure for women in terms of maintaining an 'image' that's attractive. It's been more of a growing realization than a singular moment of awareness. I would cite the fact that pretty much every review or item of press that I've ever gotten mentions my appearance in some way, and I often feel if I were a guy the focus would be much more on the music that I'm creating. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I've sadly learned that you have to be constantly on your guard against men that try to take advantage sexually. It's terrible that this still happens in this day and age. It can be hard to be taken seriously as a musician, and there have been moments when I've been trying to forge a professional relationship with certain men and on their end there's an unwelcome sexual undercurrent. I've been better able to navigate this treacherous ground as I've gained more industry experience but I'd guess men rarely have to deal with this. It's hard having to constantly look out and be on your guard! On the flip side, musically my songs have become much more about using sexuality and femininity as empowerment, just owning it. Many of the women who are successful in the industry (obviously Madonna being the Godmother of this) have been able to control the way their sexuality is represented and use it to their advantage. My sexuality is very much a part of my music and I'm not going to hide that."
Our young generation is faced with a lot of challenges obviously, being the first to come up in the era of technology, blogs, myspace, twitter, youtube, and all of that. It's daunting trying to navigate it all! We won't be making most of our income from record sales, and have to constantly come up with ways to court the new media, keep it fresh for audiences that have almost unlimited access to music. The days of a record company controlling all the press on their artists are gone. Sometimes it seems like the music alone isn't enough- fans want more and more access via video blogs, social networks, etc. It's hard to imagine what Carly Simon or Joni Mitchell or Billie Holiday or Nina Simone would have done with Twitter at the beginning of their careers. I sometimes wish I was of the generation when a little mystery was an asset.
"It can be extremely overwhelming when starting out in music- trying to get your band together, creating your music, hustling for gigs, trying to create a following, doing all the internet marketing, etc- so great advice I have gotten is: choose just 3 music-related goals each day and do them. And don't forget to make some time to live your life and have experiences and adventures, this is the soul that you will bring to your art.

I've been lucky to meet a few successful female musicians that I look up to (Renee Fleming, Roberta Flack, among others) and the universal advice has always been a simple 'keep going and don't give up on your dreams'. I hold that advice very close especially now that I'm at the point where I've been developing my artistry for a few years in New York and I'm gaining ground and at a certain 'breaking point' where I'm ready to launch it on a bigger level. It's difficult to take the 'starving artist' path of building from the ground up, rather than going on a reality show chasing the overnight success. So amidst my bartending and cocktail waitressing and random vocal session work and being a professional Doo-Wop Girl and all the other things I do to feed the dream and pay the rent- I often tell myself, 'just keep going'. Hopefully persistence will be rewarded in the end! That's what I would tell aspiring female musicians- keep your head up despite setbacks, celebrate every small victory- and just keep going."
My primary instrument being vocals--- I really give all the credit to Judy Garland. My earliest memories of singing and the magic that the human voice can create were from watching The Wizard Of Oz as a very young girl. I would sing along to 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' over and over and over... I think of my voice honestly as a gift that I didn't necessarily choose; but Judy was probably what opened me up to using that voice for my own artistic expression.

Dawn Landes

Sovereign, Band Leader, Diplomat, Peace Keeper. In the studio I can be part elementary school art teacher, part tyrant. In business I'm learning how to hold my own and in marketing I know what I don't like ... I hate self-promotion, I try to make it all into art but you can't always do that. It's really all about the people you surround yourself with in all of these situations.
Live I play a BlueRidge Acoustic (w distortion pedals) Guild Starfire with flat wound strings through a Blues Jr. (with a Rvb pedal and occasional Distortion) and have a Boss Loop Station with pre-loaded samples. Sometimes I sample live too, if I'm feeling like it. I have a microkorg that I sometimes play and my drummer runs his vocals through a Kaoss pad to add effects. In the studio I work with all kinds of things. We have a Hammond x66 organ that sounds like it descended from outer space. A ludwig kit, a danelectro bass, I like to use M-tron plug ins for melotron samples and things. We have a rhodes and a wurlitzer, an accordion and a banjo. A few stringed instruments I cant even identify but have picked up in my travels and used in obscure ways on records.
"I think being a woman who is a TOURING musician is a completely different experience than being a man. At least in my genre of music. I'm so excited when I get to tour with other ladies, it's so rare. My husband is a musician too and it's impossible to imagine his life on the road surrounded by 98% women. When I'm out there touring I'm almost always surrounded by guys. I guess I didn't really think about it until that contrast was so close to me. Also, working for years in NYC recording studios, there were countless ""Ah ha"" moments. Mostly involving the toilet seat and penis drawings... There's a HUGE lack of women working in the tech roles (sound girls - I've been one myself), booking shows, running clubs, promoting shows, Managing Artists, rock critics. I really do wish there were more women in all these roles."
I don't really know any older women in the music business. I wish I did. I'd love to see someone show me how it's done. I toured with Suzanne Vega when I was first starting out and I remember her laughing at me as I got a little car sick on a ride to a venue. She gave me this look like "get ready... this is what the rest of your life's gonna be like:)" I have a feeling it hasn't really changed much, although on the technical side I see more and more women interning in studios and running sound and lights at clubs... so that's exciting.
I worked at a music festival for 2 summers when I first moved to New York and I asked all the performers for advice. Jonathan Richman said something I'll never forget..."Play as much as possible. Play your aunts birthday party, play your friends porch, play as much as you can." I think that's good advice for any musician out there, boy or girl.
A guitar is the easiest thing to carry around to gigs. If I could I'd bring my whole studio to the stage, the 1,000 pound organ and the delicate Optigan! I just don't have the resources to do something like that...yet, anyway.


Motivational Leader, keeper-in-checker, prankster, consummate friend-to-the-fans
brain + lungs + microphone (sometimes)
"Boys have a free pass with crass.... as soon as a woman ""goes there"" or says something slightly edgy or ""ballsy""... people are shocked. Women can 'have balls' too ya know, its not just a testicle thing.

"20 years ago, guys in suits decided everything in the music business.

But things have totally leveled out. Women have so much power now, I'd even dare to say more power... mainly because female fans (which is a probably one of the biggest single demographics, second maybe to 'teens') have no reservations about declaring their adoration for a female musician. The female fans are honest, and loud about their favorites. The influence is very direct.

Guys aren't AS eager to wear their favorite musician on their sleeve. After a certain age, boys seem less willing to evangelize about a male role-model... maybe its an ego thing."
"No. They didn't! ... Haha, that's a little sad now that I rack my brain for it... but I'm almost glad that no one did. I might have done something differently, and I'm not second guessing anything I've done. I guess the closest I can remember, is one of our first managers always telling us to ""write more songs"".

... Advice I'd give to a woman starting out: Do this for the person you look at in the mirror every morning. If you're doing this because you want a record deal, or because you desire monetary fortune... you might want to stop... and re-evaluate. I'd say write a bunch of songs, and have a blast playing them. If you get better, and get better, all the right things will happen."
It feels good to tell stories, and singing is also a natural outlet for release.

Emily Neveu, Calico Horse, also solo artist

In Calico Horse, I write, record guitar, keys, vocals, some percussion. When playing live, I sing and play guitar.
"Live: -Fender Telecaster -La Patrie Motif parlor nylon string -Fender Hot Rod Deluxe -Boss DD-6 Digital Delay Pedal -Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal -Boss RC-2 Loop Station (used for vocals) -Roland FP-7 Digital Piano

Recording: -Shure SM-58 (haha) -M-Audio Fast Track (haha) -Garageband (haha)"
I definitely think being a woman musician is different from being a man. I think it gets you noticed quicker but it definitely has its pros and cons. First, people are quick to lump bands with women in them together. While on tour, we were paired up with several local acts who had women in the band--regardless of what the music sounded like. I wouldn't care if our bands worked well together, but it was almost as if no one cared. I want to avoid becoming some sort of spectacle. I'd rather people walk away from a show saying "That band was good" rather than, "That girl band was good". I feel like I have to prove myself more as a woman because I think people tend to assume that the only reason I'm in bands is because I'm a woman. Hopefully, when they actually listen to the music, they'll realize that I play music because I'm passionate about it.
Yes. But I don't think that it pertains to just female musicians. Women today are expected to be both radio and video friendly. People care more about being seen than being heard. It's not their fault, it's just the way our society is today. On the other hand, I think that the independent music scene has done wonders for women. Because there are more and more independent bands and musicians, there are more and more women in music. We are becoming leaders of bands and being accepted within those bands as equals as our male band mates.
"I haven't had any heart to hearts about being a woman in the music industry, but I have learned a lot from some well-seasoned musicians. While recording the Calico Horse album ""Mirror"", I had some really cool talks with Pall Jenkins. He's done so much and been so many places and played with so many amazing musicians, but he's the most humble guy I've ever met. If you're ever at a bar with Pall, you can tell that people know who he is, but he's cool with just sitting with you and drinking a beer.

I also had the pleasure of helping my buddy Joey Barro (The Traditionist) record his album at Tim Bluhm's studio in San Francisco. Tim's also one of the most humble and down to earth musicians I've ever met. He wakes up ever morning, goes surfing, then records bands. He's in love with his wife and takes people on nature hikes every summer. If you didn't know that he was in the Mother Hips, you'd just think he was a regular guy. I once asked him, ""Who are your music heros?"". He answered, ""Neil Young and, Barbara Streisand"" So rad."
I started playing piano when I was 6 years old. I learned to read and write music which then helped me to learn other instruments. I moved down to San Diego in late 2001 to go to college. The typical thing to do in the dorms is to learn the guitar and play it on a blanket in the courtyard of your dorm building, so naturally, I did that. I had never sung in front of people until college, so I'm cool with living out that stereotype.

Jenny Conlee-Drizos, The Decemberists, Black Prairie

I am an equal business partner with my bandmates in the Decemberists and Black Prairie.
"Petosa Accordion Hammond B3 Organ Nord Stage Piano"
I think you are treated a little differently. I think in most cases it s to our advantage to be women making music, I think audiences really enjoy seeing and hearing women in bands. I think if you are a good musician it might help you get hired into a project. At times it can still feel like a boys club, if you stop and look around at some festivals you can really feel what a minority you are. There have been plenty of moments of security guards not believing I was in the band and keeping me from the backstage, but those instances are getting more rare.
I think the younger generation of musicians has a lot better representation of women. I am not sure about other differences though. It is hard to lump a whole group of people together and make a judgement.
If you act like there is no difference between you and your male counterparts, there most likely won't be.
I grew up playing classical piano music. I have always loved rock music and slowly learned to play electric piano and organ. I started to play accordion about 15 years ago to play more folk music and play acoustic gigs.

Jennifer Knapp

"As I am a solo artist, but often perform my original works with a band. So while I'm always seeking players that bring their own personality and styles to the table, I fill the role of translating the final vision of any particular song or set list. In the studio, it's much the same path. While I prefer to have a producer guide the project, the better that relationship is, the more freedom I have in spending time communicating the vision to the team creating the recordings.

By independently releasing my latest record, I'm ultimately responsible for funding the entire project and like to know where ever dollar is going. But there's a lot of work to do, and each role needs to be filled by people I trust, admire and have the skill set required for what I'm asking. In general, I'm very vocal in the larger business picture. Marketing is not my forte, so lean heavily on the experience of others in our team. In the end, the full impact of how being a public artist comes directly out of my flesh, so being attentive to the larger scope of how the entire machine operates is a must for me."
"Currently running lean. Taylor Acoustic 810ce, Boss Tu-3 tuner, sometimes carrying my own Demeter Tube DI. Microphone: Audio Techinica 4055. General goodies box: Monster Cables, Dunlop Tortex .60mm picks, D'Addario strings, almost exclusively EJ16's. Calton Road case custom made for my acoustic, as well as Mono case gig bag that is a champ! Shub capos."
I've never been a man, so it's hard to say decidedly. :-) But there are significant indicators throughout my career that have always made me aware that I am 'living in a man's world'. Anywhere from subtle comments like when, unfamiliar with my music, the assumption that I'm a woman with an acoustic guitar that I will need a stool to sit on for a quiet night of parlor music...or men who think I'll need help tuning my guitar, or treating me as if I am grossly incompetent in regards to the technical aspects of my the more obvious financial differences to my equivalent male counterparts. I could go on, but it's a little box :)
I can certainly say, that I feel the impact of other women musicians who have gone before me. Particularly in terms of women who have supported themselves throughout their live performances while playing guitar. There is rarely a day that goes by that I don't think upon artist's like Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Dolly Parton, Janis Joplin, Madonna to name just a few, that have brought a significant impact in their role as creators and shapers music culture. For me, I would say that as an artist today, it is in the generations before me that allow me, without embarrassment or undue force, to fully embrace the unique experience I have to share my music as a woman.
"Many along the way have offered excellent advice as well as useless, self-serving can get overwhelming! There's a big difference between those who think they know something that can help you and those who are passionate about what they've learned. Learn to the discern the difference and you'll have gained some valuable friends indeed....don't forget to trust your gut. If it looks like a duck..."
Initially, it was a rather innocent attempt to learn a stringed instrument. But later it evolved into a physical experience, the resonating wood, the shape, the freedom that guitar gives me to have instant access to a song, wherever I find myself. With a band, without a band, at home alone...My guitar is the wellspring of my musical joy.

Evie Ladin, Evie Ladin Band/Stairwell SIsters

I lead a few bands, and follow in others. I have been the business manager, agent, primary mover and shaker, etc. for many projects, and find that the only way to stay busy and financially successful, is to do it yourself. Unless you're very lucky.
Banjo, guitar, tap shoes, square dance calling cards, stomp box, cords, sometimes the whole PA system, dance board, merchandise, instrument stand.
I think being a professional musician is difficult no matter who you are. I play in one all-gal band and think that facet is intriguing to people, and has a definite appeal. People are surprised we can actually play our instruments, which is frankly insulting! I'm not sure why competent women musicians seem so unusual. The music I play is not quite mainstream, though it is a big subculture, and I feel great being successful as a woman in this field. If anything, women seem more supportive of each other (surprise, surprise) in this environment. I will see women have a tendency to talk more in rehearsal, and men noodle around more...But I'm not sure if there's a big difference once you are working professionally. It depends on what kind of venues you play. I also moreso see differences between people who are professional, and not.
I do - I see older women wrestling with the age appeal - I think women "age-out" much faster, and it's harder to stay vital and appealing to broader audiences. Men can be physically unappealing and still have successful music careers - this is definitely harder for women to do. As I turned 40 and see the next generation of women coming up behind me, I know I will never be the next young thing to come onto the scene. But the experience I have is so valuable, and translates on stage. Our society is very focused on the young, especially in this business I think it's very hard to age, but I certainly admire the women I know who are working through that. Also I think only in the last generation or so has it been an option for women to pursue this professionally AND have a family - now it is acceptable for a man to assist his partner in pursuing her dreams too, while everyone raises the family.
I'm not sure I got specific advice about making my way - I've always jumped in and made it up as I go along. Only recently has music become a career choice supported by the greater society - especially as the technology to make it a DIY career has changed. The one piece of advice I would offer is to be as versatile as you can, and tireless in making contacts. The only way to get work is to go looking for it. Play as much as you can, because that's the fun part.
I started lessons when I was a kid and it stuck. I came back to it as an adult, added guitar, and have always been dancing - so I bring the percussive elements into the music. I grew up in a social scene where music & dance is a part of social communication, and this has remained important to me.

Laura Burhenn, The Mynabirds

The Mynabirds started out as a solo project, though it may grow into something else in the future. I write the songs, record them (the last record with the help of Richard Swift and some other dear friends), work with the label (Saddle Creek) on marketing decisions, and call all the business shots. This comes pretty naturally as the first two solo records I made (pre-Georgie James) came out on a record label I started, Laboratory Records. I'm used to having my hands in everything. I like it. I was definitely inspired by stories of women wronged by the industry -- and women who made their own rules and became incredibly successful (Nina Simone, Buffy Sainte Marie, Ani Difranco, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos).
I'm not a gear head or a very technically savvy person. If I could single-handedly carry an old upright piano or fender rhodes everywhere I go, I would. But I'm not gonna win any strongman competitions anytime soon. So I play a Nord Electro through a Fender Twin amp. I've tried vintage-electric-guitar-up my sound as much as possible -- with the least amount of technical wizardry possible. I recently invested in a Neumann stage mic, but it doesn't do so well in most loud venues.
Absolutely. I didn't used to think that way. In fact, I shied away from the "feminist" moniker for years, probably because I was hopeful that we'd already come a long way -- hey, everyone's equal now, right? But of course women still suffer from inequities -- pay inequities on down. In Georgie James, I started to get a real sense of some of the inequalities in the music industry. Things as simple as outsiders looking to John when asking a question (even though he and I were equal partners in the band, splitting songwriting and all other duties right down the middle) -- those were indicative of disparate treatment. I've been hit on, I've been asked really inappropriate questions. Thankfully it's the exception to the rule. And when things like that happen, I think, "You wouldn't go there if I was a man." I think the indie side of the industry doesn't suffer as much at all. But the pop world? Wow. Thankfully there are ladies in all pockets of the industry who've been blazing trails for decades. So for us ladies making music today, it's probably /not/ that different from being a man.
I definitely think there are generational differences between women musicians -- women who came up in the 60s definitely faced different pressures than I have. And the women musicians of the 80s and 90s have made it easier for me, I'm sure. If you look back historically, though, I'd say the women who have done what they've done -- not because of their sex, but because it's just who they are and what they do -- those are the types of women that are successful in every generation. Patti Smith, Carrie Brownstein, MIA -- brilliant ladies who put their brains into their music and look damn sexy doing it.
My mom, who's got her MBA and doesn't work as a musician (except to accompany her gospel choir on Sunday mornings), has always encouraged me to be as creative and outspoken as I want to be -- but to do it with an eye for the business side of things. I think that's the best advice I've gotten. It's important to do your art. But if you want to make a living doing it, it's important to read the fine print, to know what the contracts say that you're signing, to think about investment and return. You're your own best advocate and protector, so don't be afraid to stand up for yourself -- or to say "no" when it's not in your best interest. And, as a woman, don't be afraid to put on some lipstick (literal or figurative) and flaunt what you've got. The world will love you for it.
My mom is the daughter of a Methodist minister. She grew up playing piano in her dad's church -- hymns, spirituals and the like. We had a piano in our house when I was growing up and I started taking lessons from a friend's mom who also helped clean our house. I've tried my hand at guitar and violin over the years, but i like the linear design of the piano (all that math), and the percussive element, too -- all those hammers striking strings. My first job ever was reconditioning old pianos. I still haven't learned how to tune my own. I'll leave that up to the professionals.

Shilpa Ray, Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers

Songwriter, Front Person. It's my band so it's like a democracy under a dictatorship.
Harmonium, lavalier wireless mic through a Galleon Kruger bass amp. I use a beta 57 for my vocal mic.
Not so much anymore. Everyone has to work and bring it to every show. We all have our roles and chores we have to do as a touring band. My band mates are all male, they're my bros and they're the best.
Yes and No. I think Feminism in America went through a huge backlash during the W. Bush years. We are now going through a cool Renaisance. There are tons of amazing female musicians and artists on the scene with something to contribute and it's not cheesy, kitchy, or female centric. It's universal. Now if we can get a woman into the presidency without it being a media circus...
Sure, tons of people, both men and women. The hardship of being an artist in this country is gender neutral. Own yourself, what you do, how you live and don't worry about the end results.
By default. I was forced to sing and play the harmonium as a child.

Elisa Randazzo

I record a lot of my own stuff at home before I add other instruments later--I work on marketing with the advice of Drag City--I produce my own stuff and also co-mix it, so I'm pretty involved on all levels.
Remy violin from the 1800's, martin acoustic, fender custom tele electric
Yes, I do think it's different in every way. A lot of it has to do with the way other musicians approach playing with you. I takes a lot of sensitivity to play certain genres of music, especially music with a female vocal. I try to chose musicians who add tasteful parts without overplaying. I think it's always better to be a player who is subtle works at facilitating the actual song instead of being showy. This is even more important when playing live music.
I think things are always cyclical, especially since the 60's, so it depends what part of the cycle we're in, but I definitely see repetition. I think music can be amazingly reminiscent when it comes from a person's sub-conscience, and this depends on what one's soaked in over the years. At this point in our greater development, it seems like we are amalgams of many things. Like conglomerate rocks, you can see the what kinds of elements make the greater whole, but the combination can also be totally unique.
Don't let the opinions of others thwart you from letting your quirkiest moments come through. Try to write a lot and not judge your work till it's really complete, and you've had some distance from it. If I had heeded this advice, I would have written hundreds more songs!
Because it was small and because is was romantic!

Kelley Darlin, Those Darlins

I play with two other women, Jessi & Nikki Darlin, and we all swap instruments and share vocal leads and harmonies. In the studio we all share our ideas and make collaborative decisions. In business an marketing we all have an opinion and work in a collaborative way toward decisions with our manager, John Turner.
I play an Epiphone Casino, Fender Telecaster 72 Reissue, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Amp, Ampeg Rocket Bass Amp, and a Gretsch bass
Yes, I think mostly when you are a pre-teen or teen and gender differences are becoming so much more apparent and important in your social circles that being a girl who plays music can be awkward and even discouraged by your peers. Mostly I think it's because more boys play and that it has a lot to do with sheer numbers and the awkwardness of gender interactions as a teen in general. In the professional world though, I think people are very open-minded and receptive to women musicians, especially as artists. I worked in live sound and production before doing Those Darlins full time and that world is still very hierarchial and non-receptive to women, I think mostly because of the physical labor involved and a general macho roadie mentality. Because the gender discrimination happens so early, I think it's important for girls to be encouraged at a young age to pursue music. I think all of the girls rock camps are making huge progress in this area. In fact, I helped start the Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp and all three Darlins volunteer at it each summer.
Yes, even between the riot grrrl movement of the 90s to today. It has been a much more politicized position to be a woman musician in the past, whereas today I think women approach with a much more "so what" sense of entitlement and ownership. While that may seem unappreciative of previous women's efforts or somehow that modern women aren't political or are complacent, I think it's just the opposite and speaks to the progress that women before us have made. The ultimate goal of just about any movement in my opinion is to make it to where people in the future won't have to use their energy to fight the same battle.
Practice. Ha
I originally wanted to play drums but my parents said noway because they're so loud, so I asked for a guitar instead. I was 12 and got a small folk guitar for Christmas. Once I started learning around the age of 14 I knew I wanted an electric and wanted to be louder so I got a summer job and bought my first electric guitar, a Fender Squire, then started my first band with some older guy friends around that time.

Kim Shattuck, The Muffs

I am the lead singer/lead guitar/producer/songwriter and co manager.
Gretsch BST guitar, Fender Vibrolux amp, Ibanez Tube Screamer pedal.
"I've always been a woman and have no other experience from which to draw from. I imagine being a woman guarantees a different vibe for the band than being a man does, but it's me and 2 guys and we all kinda rock out."
I really don't know. Again, I'm sort of in my own world. The ladies from the 60's didn't usually write their own songs. At least not that I know of.
Don't get a manager. Do it yourself. Be true to your vision and be strong.
I love the guitar and that is why I play it.

Arum Rae, White Dress

My role is the leader of White Dress. I write the music and bring it to the band, in the studio, because we don't have a producer, I do most of the producing or directing, with song selction/feel/arrangement/ etc...
my guitars: a gold top Les Paul Re-issue through either a bassman amp or a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
"Yes, being a woman and a musician differs from being a man. I think it's probably more fun for a woman than it is for a man. Most the time we always have help carrying our gear, we create greater mystery because we do not look like what we play so it's fun surprising an unexpected (new) audience of men and women.

But I have also encountered COUNTLESS men on the business side who are very unprofessional and have bad motives... from producers to management to top songwriters in Nashville who have shown up with promises and compliments and then eventually tried to get me in bed. I had one producer bring me all the way out to Austin from Georgia to record with him for TWO months and then dropped the project once he realized I wasn't going to sleep/be with him. But now that I know how to spot a dishonest situation it has saved me a lot of heartache and precious time!"
"""you've just got to work hard and be good, which you are so keep doing what you're doing"" Britt Daniel from Spoon told me that. He has had a helping hand in my career.

I would say to keep your head focused, extremely focused. Do everything in your capacity to do as much as you can on your own with out random music industry sharks getting in your way and distracting you. The fans/listeners are what matter, from 50 years ago to 50 from now, you have nothing if dont have any fans. "
I play guitar to accompany myself and it's the instrument i use to write music with

Edie Carey

Like so many indie singer-songwriters, I'm secretary and CEO - and everything in between. It's an enormous amount of work, but it's also so incredibly satisfying to know how every facet of my career works. I have worked with great managers, booking agents, publicists, and interns - but no matter who comes and goes, it feels so grounding to know that noone can take away the knowledge and skills I have learned over the past 10 years of doing this. My career truly feels like it's mine - from top to bottom.
I am not much of a gear "nerd." People in airports (99% of them men who are clearly so passionate about guitar) always ask me what model I play. I tell them that I have a small-body Martin 000-16 acoustic, and then they tell me what they play, and I nod and smile, but I truly have no idea what the model numbers mean. I also have a great Larivee guitar (don't know the model - typical :) - that my friend Melissa Ferrick gave me. It has a big crack down the front which is probably bad, but it looks badass. It's become my writing guitar since I stopped touring by car and started flying out for weekends, and therefore couldn't bring 2 guitars anymore. I think it feels dejected that I don't take it on tour with me anymore. It stares at me when I come home. As far as electrical gear, special pedals etc...I am pretty simple. I have a tuning pedal, and that's pretty much it. I think I have always been pretty intimidated by "gear." I'd love to get over that. When I walk into a music store as a pretty preppy looking woman to buy strings, picks, anything for my guitar, they usually always assume that I am a soccer mom buying stuff for my son's guitar lesson. It's hard not to feel like I don't belong in there.
"Not necessarily. I think women have enjoyed an enormous amount of success over the past number of years. In fact, I think before John Mayer came onto the scene, women singer-songwriters were faring much better than men. Men seemed to do great in bands, but they seemed to have a harder time making it work than solo female singer-songwriters. Now the playing field seems far more level to me. I think that if you are good at what you do, gender doesn't seem to play much of a role any more (except when you are buying guitar strings on a Wednesday afternoon in Tempe and they expect you to know nothing about music :)"
I play a lot of women's festivals and get to see a number of crazily talented artists who are from the 1970's women's music movement (Kris Williamson, Tret Fure, Ferron). Of course, that world was far from the mainstream back then (just like much of the indie scene is now), but I think those women were a HUGE reason that artists like me have the audience that we do. I have no doubt that so many of those women experienced so many more closed doors than so many of my peers and I do - and as a result, it's no wonder that these artists are still playing primarily at women's festivals even though I think their music would be so well-received by men and women alike.
A manager I met with once when I was first getting started told me that no matter what you do to "network" - whatever connections you make in the music world are really of no consequence if you don't do you work. We have so many tasks to take care of in this job - mailing out press kits, updating Facebook, emailing fans, trekking to the post office 3 times a day sometimes, recording albums...but the MOST IMPORTANT thing is that we write GOOD SONGS! I think I would pass along that same exact advice. Writing good songs is really our only crucial job. Everything else is ancillary.
I had always been a singer in a cappella groups, high school bands, etc, but I never played an instrument. I studied classical voice from when I was 9 until I was 19. When I quit, I went out a lweeke later and bought an acoustic. I wanted to be able to make music even when there was noone there to play for me. I loved the sound of guitar - and I loved that it would grant me the autonomy that I was craving. Plus, it was a heck of a lot more portable than a piano.

The Whispering Tree

"I am the songwriter along with my partner, Elie. Our music is very much a co-creation but we each have strong ideas and concepts for every song that we work on. In business and marketing decisions it is a 50/50 split with Elie in every way. We have been completely responsible for everything we have created so far and made sure that when we signed our record deal we would remain in control and keep our copyrights and masters. "
Casio px210 keyboard and Ibanez acoustic guitar
"On some level there is a difference. I try not to dwell on that difference because it only makes it more apparent to me. I have always felt that there is a difference in what is expected and what is ""acceptable"" for male and female musicians, but great things always happen when musicians of either gender disregard those norms and be whatever they want to be. I think the gender roles we are born into create great contrast and many unique points of view - and great songs! "
" It seems like in mainstream music there has been a shift away from substance and towards image - especially for women. There was a time when major labels would get behind great female artists - regardless of how they looked. But 'mainstream' is pretty irrelevant nowadays anyway. So, while the majors have pretty much bailed on worthwhile female artists, there is now a plethora of women who are making the music they want on their own terms. This has created an abundance and a great variety of female musicians who don't have to compromise their vision in any way. "
Don't compare yourself and your progress in this industry to anyone else's. Instead, celebrate each and every artist who has the courage and conviction to share their music with the world. See every victory of every artist as proof that your dreams are possible.
"Singing was not really a choice so much as something I have always loved to do. Singing is the most intimate and direct way for me to communicate. I feel like while performing a song there are things being communicated on two different levels; one has to do with the words and imagery of the song and the other is completely ineffable and more of a communion with the audience and not beholden to the 'subject' of which I'm singing. I started playing keyboard and guitar in order to help my songwriting. Piano is such a rich and rewarding instrument. Its also such a friendly and inclusive instrument and even without great technical knowledge can be very effective."

Stephanie Nilles

I am my own one-man band. I am my own manager, booking agent, publicist, and more or less auto mechanic. All business and marketing decisions (and catastrophes) are my own. I have produced two of my own records, both in a small studio in NYC so that I would play and not engineer, but then I mixed the records.
I am on the road about 9 months out of the year, and I travel with a 2 speaker Yamaha sound system and mixing board, although I usually use whatever (sketchy at best) system is available in the venue that night. I play on a Roland FP4 keyboard (love it), a Martin acoustic/electric guitar or an Ibanez George Benson hallow body electric guitar, and sometimes I play the keyboard and an audion (cross between an accordion and harmonium I found at a flea market for $5) simultaneously so I can "solo" with myself. But I call it my circus organ. If I record myself it's with a 2 channel mbox running through an imac.
"I have been in a professional musician mindset since a relatively young age. I knew I wanted to be a musician by the time I was 12, but at that time I wanted to be a classical pianist (chamber musician). I think this makes the differences between being a man and a woman in the particular business less stark to me. That said, I have noticed that being a woman in classical music is very different from being a woman in the improv/jazz/lounge music setting, interestingly enough not at all in the way you'd assume. In classical music, women tend to hold up about 50% of the working musicians in my experience. There are many women employed by top 10 American orchestras, and the fact that they win their auditions is rarely seen as significant because they are women. In jazz, it is different. I can count on one hand the women I know who can and do take solos. Most women in the genre are singers, or singer/songwriters. There is a huge difference between male and female instrumentalists in terms of ability. The women are by and large much less self-educated or daring in their knowledge of and approach to their instruments. (Again, with singing, this is not as true). All my life, as a classical pianist, listeners would comment to me that I am such a small person, but that I had such a huge sound. When I started playing jazz/blues/rock/whatever it is I do now, the comment is most often it's surprising I can so easily get around the piano and ""are you classically and jazz-trained? You can tell."" I've noticed this comment isn't as thrown around with my male bandmates or collaborators. What's interesting to me is, it doesn't make me angry at all. When people comment that I play the piano ""like an old man,"" I don't immediately reflect on the shortcomings of society by way of feminism and socially accepted women's equality. Instead, if anything, I wonder, ""well where ARE all the other women?"" I think that if we (women) spent more time practicing, learning how to play our instruments, and less time marketing ourselves, there would be more Shirley Scotts and Betty Carters and less -insert female pop icons here-."
Yes. The older generations of women tend to have experienced more obvious forms of gender discrimination. I think that tends to make them more hyper-aware of it, but it has also meant that in order to survive in the business they've had to work their way around it. My generation of women have this react-by-working mindset seemingly less so. Maybe, growing up with pop music has meant we've always been somewhat aware that we could always just get by via looking sexy, or choosing a look (innocent girl nextdoor look = pure voice and simple sound, etc). But that is the entire business--these days, people (both men and women) tend to go about development as an artist by figuring out what is the best marketing strategy, as opposed to just learning art until they have become a working artist.
Yes, lots. Again, since I started so young it's difficult to pin-point most of it. What has worked best for me though is, don't think of yourself as a "young woman in music." Think of yourself as a young musician. Practice your craft, learn from your mistakes, be persistent, work hard, etc. The few times you are aware that you are being treated by a booker or sound guy or club owner in a particular way because you are a woman, ignore him. The best revenge is living well and all those other old sayings. Dwelling on any kind of unjust "ism" that is so deeply rooted in cultural history well only drain you of energy you could be using to create. That said, it makes excellent fodder for lyrical content.
The piano was in my house when I was a little girl. My mother played until high school, and her parents had this upright they wanted to get rid of, so we inherited it. Apparently I had sounded out most of the parts to the Nutcracker and would play and sing them simultaneously by ear before I learned to talk. But I think I talked pretty late, so my parents were worried... They didn't sign me up for piano lessons until I was 6. I started playing cello when I was 10, because a Suzuki teacher moved in down the street and I was fascinated by the shape and sound of it. I started guitar at 18 and then started writing on it primarily at 22 because the piano isn't portable, I couldn't afford a keyboard at the time, and none of the clubs I played at in NYC had pianos. There is also something to be said about the romance of setting up shop when you are on the road with a guitar in tow and playing/writing. I didn't start officially singing or writing until 22/23, and the singing was just a ploy to enable me to explicitly write politics into my music. It wasn't until very recently I started thinking of my voice as its own solitary instrument.

Catie Curtis

I have always worked collaboratively with my manager, Tim Bernett, to make business decisions. Recently, I've created an Advisory Team, made up of 6 women and 2 men, who are CEOs and visionary thinkers, to help me succeed in the new frontier of artist promotion. This time feels very exciting, fresh, and ripe with opportunity.
"I play a Martin 000-28 guitar, and a Gibson LG2 (1947) I use Boss tuning pedals, Digitech JamMan Looping pedal, Diaz Tremodillo Tremolo pedal, LR Baggs pre-amp. I use Elixir Strings. I have a home-made foot stomping board with a Fishman pick-up in it for creating a kick-drum sound while playing solo. "
"Most men say they learned to play guitar to attract the opposite sex. I personally learned to play in order to avoid the opposite sex. Early on, men like to show what they can do, whereas women want to show who they are. Women always have to prove themselves. The first time I realized it was going in to a music store to buy a wah wah pedal. The sales guy asked if it was for my boyfriend. "
"There's so many more of us now. You can't really generalize about women in music anymore because there's so much diversity.

Women (and men) no longer need to be ""chosen"" by labels, by the industry. We make our own paths now, using the internet and social media. That gives us the latitude to really be ourselves. "
"My fans give me advice. I talk to them every night after the shows, while signing CDs. From the beginning, they have always been clear: stay true to yourself, don't let the business make you over. Now my advice to emerging artists is this: find a way to make your career meaningful. Connect with groups of people who resonate with you philosophically and politically. Play benefit concerts, take a stand, be a leader. "
I was given a guitar as a teenager, by a woman artist/neighbor who said "you can have this as long as you promise me you learn to play it." I have since started an online endowment called Inspire to Aspire (link to photo in Billboard: to give guitars away to kids.

Anni Rossi

I am a solo artist, so I am responsible for the final say in all of these things.
I have a viola which I play as a rhythm/lead guitar most of the time. I have 2 pickups on the instrument, one electric guitar pickup and one string pickup. I usually play the viola through a fender twin or a silvertone amp. I also use analogue synthesizers - the rogue moog and a juno.
I am a very direct communicator. It can be difficult to not fulfill the unaware, flighty and quirky expectations the music industry and press often have of an artist like me . Male solo artists and bands face this too, but my instincts tell me it's slightly more ingrained to expect this from the "female solo artist type".
The younger women I know tend to be pursuing their own solo artist career or band while the older women are working behind the scenes in production, specifically high end pop production for other artists. Unfortunately, I don't know many women in the music industry over the age of 40. The women I know who have sustained themselves for a number of years have filled multiple musical roles over the course of their career. As a young musician looking to the experienced generation's successes and struggles, I would feel like I hit the jackpot if I was able to continue presenting and developing my own artistic ideas full time for the long term.
"Get as much experience as you can, quit your day job so your back is up against the wall and also learn how to sing in tune before you decide it's not your thing. Give yourself enough room to understand what kind of artist/musician you are and keep low expectations and an open mind about where you might be in the months or years to come. "
My mom got some wrong info when she signed me up for a community ed class when I was 3. We showed up expecting a group music class for toddlers, but when we showed up it turned out I was signed up for private violin lessons. We just rolled with it. Violin lessons eventually turned into piano lessons and I ended up with a viola for chamber music in high school. i started writing songs when i was 10 and have been focusing on my own songs and solo stuff for about 6 years.

Ashlyne Huff

"I am the artist/lead singer in the band and on stage. I am the co-writer and singer in the studio but I would say I also make a lot of musical decisions beyond the lyrics. In marketing, I have to be able to sell it, so it essentially has to agree with who I am! I have a very in-depth role in all three. "
I am plain jane--boring! I have KSM 9 and 57! That's all I need! Oh ya, and I started running Pro-Tools when I was 12. I got my own Mbox and Expert Mouse when i was 14.
I haven't noticed it as much in my case as an artist just yet. I haven't felt treated differently. But then again, I am in pop. In country music, I have noticed a lot more of a MAN's World. There are a few women that rise to the top but for the most part, the men rule the radio waves and the charts. I've also noticed it in management. I'm sure I'll come across it more in the future, but as of now, I feel pretty equal.
"I think women were more masculine in a sense back then. The Runaways, Janis, Pat, etc. They had a strength about them...yet still feminine. Now if you are like that, you are considered ""punkish"" rather than just strong. Then you have the other side--straight up girly: dresses and accentuated chests and lots of makeup and high heels.

"My dad Dann gave me a lot. He didn't say much about man vs woman though, probably because he didn't want me to see it that way. He told me that I needed to have something to say, that I was always a work in progress no matter what part of the business I took part in, to make myself indispensable to everyone I worked with, to give those you work with gratitude that they can feel. Be yourself and go with your gut instincts. Women have killer intuition!

I chose to sing because I write and I love to sing my own words.

Nikki Darlin

That's funny. We really try to keep everything pretty even in our band. We all take turns leading songs. Everyone has the same say in the studio and we make all of our business and marketing decisions together as a group.
I have been playing a Baritone Ukulele that is a piece of junk with a contact mic inside of the body. I was playing a Kala but it is on the fritz right now and needs some work. blah. I play though a Fender Acoustic Amp that is also in need of some repairs. man I really gotta get it together!
it really depends. I'd like to think no. I would rather not mention the times it has made a difference because it's usually not very positive.
I was turned on the baritone ukulele by a friend of mine when I was living in Olympia ,WA. I moved shorty after that back to my hometown. My Dad had one laying around his shop and gave it to me (which is still the one I play now). I started playing bass because we switch off instruments so much from song to song in our band. I enjoy playing bass a lot. Although I am so new to it and is a such a contrast to the uke.

Luxor, Bam Bam

My role in the band, the studio........ I sing and do some lyrics with Bam Bam, I compose the songs of Selma Oxor some times by myself and sometimes jamming with my bandmates. Play bass and keyboards sometimes... we dont play that often couse we all have other projects so who knows... i might go solo some times is not that hard... i guess I do management of Selma Oxor?? getting the gigs, making art for the merch... you know, stuff you gotta do to actually get your band moving. Its all a la DIY
I personaly dont own any instrumments couse of economical reasons had to sell most of them, My gear right now consists on a casio oldschool keyboard with cool rythms to jam with and vibration effects and some reverb that makes it sound kinda goth... own some thing that looks like an arp, flaut and some percusion stuff. I like any kind of instrumment, not neccessarily bought items but also stuff you can make with rocks and stuff that makes noise... I also use fruity loops to make sequences in the computer, some people say is for dummies but i like it, Its easy and fun and you can make lots of stuff with it.
Woman musicians are more authentic some times becouse they r not affraid of looking like a girl when u play or like a guy, either one or the other is ok haha, so i guess women are more sensitive and follow their feelings a lot and that is a very important key when making a song. My band mate Mou said something like that when asked how was like to play in a group formed by girls.... And is true... some girls say man, woman we r all the same. We are not. And boys that play in bands most of them are as in touch with their feminine side as woman with their masculine... Just look at L7!! they act like dudes, but they are awesome!!! they have style... some times i see Anarko punk bands where girls singing and dressing totally like dudes... I dont get it... That just tells me lack of confidense, or being affraid of guys saying nasty stuff and that is something that i know, I've heared girls say i cant play on a skirt bcs of some nasty dude screaming stuff at me... there is always gonna b that guy saying nasty stuff... watever man he is the one looking like an ass, not you. Iam not againts dressing like a dude but just dont do it bcs you wanna be accepted.... thats just dumb...
yes, not officially but my musician friends just by beeing friends gave me a lot of advices, most of them aremuch older than me. I think im lucky to find good people allt he time. The advice i can give to anyone is not to listen to anyone but yourself and be friends with Satan
I saw my older sister played the bass in a band so i just took it by curiosity... then started playing my favorite bands songs, got bored of other peoples songs... then I made my own, when you know how to play an instrument, the next instrument you try to play comes easier, then the other one too, so i would say i can play any instrument, I didnt took any classes but if I see a guitar im not gonna chicken out becouse i dont really know how the chords are called or anything... im not a super musician but Im not affraid to play anything and i can get stuff out of it that sounds good even tho i dont literally KNOW how to play it. I hate people that hates musicians that play simple stuff, like you need to be a virtuous player to sound cool. duuh no, I punk

Jonatha Brooke

I'm pretty much the boss. My husband is my partner in the label. So all business decisions are joint. but anything artistic has my print on it. I'm the songwriter, arranger for the most part, producer, (at least for the last ten years.)
two olson acoustic guitars. two guild acoustic guitars. vintage 60's student model wurlitzer. yamaha motif. fender fretless and regular basses. baritone Jerry Jones guitar. custom baritone acoustic guitar. custom mandolin. first guitar, martin HD28. various guitars people have sent over the years......
When a deejay in seattle asked for the bra i was wearing on the cover of an album in exchange for adding my single to the playlist, it was pretty clear what the difference can be. On the other hand, I have always maintained creative control over my work, even in the early days, I had enough good people around me advising me not to give up my publishing, and I had enough of a sense of myself not to pursue some imaginary brass ring at all costs.I am lucky to have the respect of my peers, so no one looks sideways in the studio when I'm coming up with parts or running a's my own demons i have to keep in check!
I do see a lot more women really taking technical charge of things. recording, engineering. That is the best. What's a little disenchanting is the way the visual part of marketing women artists, at least main stream pop artists has become so sexualized, - we don't even blink at really violent disturbing images any more. takes so much to grab the diminishing attention span these days.
Keep your publishing. Keep your pants on. Go to college. There's a lot of crap out there, so if you don't HAVE to do it to breathe, to survive in your soul... then find a real job. It's really hard to make a living now that music is for all intents and purposes, free.
I was infatuated with my camp counselor Mindy Jostyn when I was ten, - she played and sang so beautifully. So I begged my dad for a guitar until i got one for christmas when I was 13.

Olivia Fetherstonhaugh, Fanshaw

fanshaw is essentially a solo project... I write the songs and all creative and business decisions are up to me. There are two consistent players (shane turner and johnny payne) who have contributed a lot to the sound but 'fanshaw' is whatever comes out of me... I have creative license to choose different musicians for different songs.
"All of my gear is always broken so it is constantly changing depending on which friends are willing to lend me their stuff. I always play a fender guitar..I prefer telecasters but lately i've been borrowing a fender jag because my tele is all messed up.

"Older folks usually assume that I am 'just the singer' if they haven't seen me play, or that I am the 'front woman' but don't write the songs. People my age are more used to women being in the industry.. I haven't been treated too differently..except that sometimes sound guys will ask me if I need my guitar tuned for me .

Also I think I am forgiven for not being a particularly technical guitar player."
"I'm not sure... I guess I'm supposed to say that women were more accepted as pop stars or folk singers before..but I think since the late 70s and 80s women have really been as accepted as creative leaders. Maybe not in mainstream music but I think about people like Nina Hagen, Kate Bush (who was mainstream!) , Laurie Anderson etc etc these woman were really respected for pushing boundaries

Ultimately, I'm not sure I see too much of a difference now. Mainstream pop/rock music doesn't expect men to wear their sexuality on their sleeve as much as women.... and even the most succesful 'tough girls' don't take it all the way. Avril Lavigne dances in front of pink skulls, wears tu tus and so on.

So I mean, probably there are differences but I'm not sure how much that has permeated the mainstream. The mainstream is always more conservative (in terms of change). And there are a lot female artists, particularly from the 70s and 80s onward outside of the mainstream that I still look up to without taking their time and place into consideration. Kate Bush is still a fucking art star."
I think that I fit the mold of what a woman is expected to be in music so it hasn't been that hard for me. I make pop music, my voice is pretty etc. So I don't feel like I've had any hurdles that I've had to jump over. If some guy wants to tune my guitar for me then the jokes on him!
I used to play classical piano but I didn't write any music until I picked up a guitar. I had no idea how to play it, and didn't really bother with tabs so I became really inspired by the learning curve. The guitar was just sort of ..there. I don't know why I picked it up, I just became obsessed with it out of the blue.

Jessi Darlin, Those Darlins

In all three aspects we try to keep things pretty equally distributed. It's kind of the whole ideology behind what we do. There's no front man/woman, every one gets their time to shine. Since our partnership is set up between my 2 fellow bandmates and our manager, we all own 1/4th of everything and have 1/4th of an equal decision in it all. It's cool!
I play a blonde epiphone casino guitar through a 70's fender pro reverb with 2 12" speakers. I also play a black hofner bass though an ampeg rocket bass.
"There isn't a difference. I go out there and I play music and I rock and I roll. People enjoy it, I get payed at the end of the night, I go to the next town, I write songs, I record a record, I put the record out. It's all the same in that regard. The difference is in how others perceive me as a woman musician. The difference is people notice my gender before they notice my songs, or how I play, or what I play. I'm not saying this is always a bad thing, but it is a difference. People don't look at an all male band and say ""whoa, that's all guys."" or ""whoa, where's the girls?"" People don't say to a male musician ""When you walked on stage I thought, WHOA a dude band, what are THEY gonna do? But then you guys can ACTUALLY play!!!"" Sometimes people come to our shows because they are interested in what a buncha girls could do. Sometimes people don't come to our shows because they don't care what a buncha girls could do. I've often heard ""I don't like female vocalists."" Can you really block out the entire sex of womankind and say that not one of them you would like their vocals? What if they sing like a man?

Anyway, I've always been aware of this perception of women in general, but especially in music. Coming from a family full of boys wailing on guitars... When my mom said ""You better practice that guitar so you can show up the boys"" it really stuck with me."
With the music industry in such a change and the rise of the independents, male and female musicians have been able to go out and say "this is who I am, this is what I want to do." It's a beautiful thing! In terms of women of today and women of years before, I think this change in the industry is what makes them different. In years before, even the most badass women have had to answer to their Big Time lawyers, managers, and record labels telling them to dress like this, talk like this, walk like this and baby we'll make you a star. Today's woman musician now has so many more doors open to her to be an independent woman in more than one way! I am really grateful to be making a living playing music without someone telling me to fix my teeth, shave my legs, and suck in my stomach. Instead I have had the opportunity to make decisions like, do I even want my picture on the cover of our first album? (I chose no.)
"I grew up around a lot of musicians and was influenced by a lot of different people, so I don't really remember a specific moment of valuable advice... But I do know that as a 17 year old girl trying to make my way in the music world, I had a few things in my mind... Which is what I would tell any woman musician starting out.

Stick to who you are, don't back down on your beliefs, STICK TO YOUR GUNS! Also, don't forget to have fun. That's what music is all about. If it's not making you happy, you are doing something wrong."
It's kind of a recquirement in my family to play an instrument, and since my grand father taught guitar lessons I decided to try it out.

Kate McGarry

I am in charge of and responsible for the career I have developed although my collaboration with my guitarist husband has helped direct the shape and quality of the music greatly.
larynx and other vocal paraphernalia
I think men just tend to DO more, produce more, as artists. They are less conflicted about moving forward in the business then women in general. It seems to be simpler for them.
In jazz, we have some very tough shoes to fill - Artists like Sarah Vaughn, Ella, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter and Nina Simone just aren't to be found anymore in this genre. It does seem that genres have their hey day and then lulls.. don't you think? The challenge for us today is to be totally fluent and steeped in the tradition that these great women created for us but to keep moving forward and express in ways that are relevant to us now, not try to recreate anything from the past.
I have received a lot of help in my life - support from people who understood and valued what I was creating and wanted to make it a little easier - to these people I am eternally grateful. I can't say I've gotten much advice from folks though..I think they are stumped as we all are, by this strange behemoth of a business. In general I have found that there is an inner GPS that keeps me moving in the direction that I need to go in, and my trust is growing that the desire to share love and emotion and create community through music is at the helm and knows how best to proceed.
just how it went down

Simone White

I'm a solo artist. When I record with musicians I'm in charge but it's taken me a while to feel confident enough to tell them what to do. I'm an instinctive musician and a self-taught guitar player so working with professional Nashville musicians was intimidating at first. The producers I've worked with were working for me but it took a while for me to trust my own instincts and be confident in my choices. I don't have a manager so I get to fight with my label about marketing and business decisions, I don't think there's a difference there between men and women artists. The stereotype is that a label will try to exploit a woman's looks etc... but that's not been the case at all for me. I've actually had to lobby for photos of myself to be used in the artwork.
I play a 1964 Guild M20 guitar with a Dearmond pickup
"I feel like women artists are categorized more. I get compared to a lot of different artists and usually the only thing that's similar is that we're both women, that gets pretty annoying. I don't think men have to deal with that as much. But definitely things have changed a lot since I was growing up. Girls today have so many women artists to look up to, and they learn guitar at a very young age. I never felt like it was a possibility for me, as pathetic as it sounds, I had to wait till I didn't have a musician boyfriend to start playing guitar."
I think today's younger women musicians are starting out with more confidence but I could say that about young men as well. Everyone can be an artist now, it's more accessible, making a record, putting yourself out there, finding your audience. But with that there might also be the feeling of deserving success and feeling rotten if you don't get it. For me, and perhaps others of an older generation, I never thought it was possible to make a living as an artist so everything I've been given feels like a huge blessing, not a right. Now it seems like there is more of the possibility of instant overnight success on a much wider level and everything is so sped up. I think it used to be that you plugged away at it, mostly, because you loved doing it.
I'd give the same advice to everybody, just keep doing what you love.
I started writing songs vocally, was always trying to find musicians to help me play them. picked up the guitar so I could do it myself.

Grace Parker, The Blue Hit

I am the lead singer and I write most of the songs. Usually I will play the finished song for my boys and lead them through the arranging process. Some of the songs were instrumentals that they wrote together and I wrote lyrics and melodies over them. I also make all the merchandise - I design and screenprint the t-shirts myself and I design and print the postcards, stickers, and other handouts we have.
I sing with a Shure Beta 58 mic. I take it to every gig so I do not get sick from using random microphones. I play a Martin 000-C electric-acoustic guitar, and I have a Yamaha P-80 keyboard.
It is definitely different for women in music because it is mostly males with whom we work. There is a sort of camaraderie of competence in the field, and in my experience I have noticed that a lot of the music guys we deal with will immediately talk to my male bandmates first about stage setup, pay or other details. I am respected in my field only if I prove myself by performing well or speaking with confidence about a subject. We also perform in bars a lot, which is a place where men and women go to meet other singles and find mates. Being a good-looking female who puts herself out there, I get hit on a lot - even sexually harassed - while I am working. Many men are either intimidated unnecessarily by me or they don't take me seriously at all. The one moment that sticks out to me is when we played a small town in Louisiana. The sound man, the bar manager, and the booking agent (all male) literally ignored me when we first came in, they only talked to my bandmates. Once we finished playing our set, all three of these men were falling over themselves to talk to me with this newfound admiration that hadn't existed before. They set us up with a place to stay (with hopes of getting closer to me) and begged us to come back anytime. Funny how that works.
The older women who have been my mentors tell me that I am doing a very brave thing. They warn that it is hard to earn your place in this industry, especially if you are doing it for the love of the art, but once you make your name known the way can be paved for you. The younger ladies I have met are often either very shy or over-confident. It seems like they have had to jump some significant gender hurdles already in their career, and everyone handles that differently. The younger girls are also much more concerned about their looks than their stage presence or musical content.
Anais Mitchell told me to never be afraid of making music that doesn't "fit" anywhere. If my heart is compelled to compose it, the piece has an innate right to life and I should nourish it all the way. She also encouraged me to hold onto my publishing rights because so few people still do. I would tell a new musician the same thing, and I would add that a little confidence goes a long way. But the most important advice I can give is that (if you are a singer) your lyrics are prayers that you say over and over. If you only write about one subject, like bitter love or endless war, you are bound to relive that feeling over and over in your heart. Too long repeating negative prayers or mantras like that will weigh heavily on you eventually - you are better off taking that negativity and turning into a song about what you learned from it, rather than just griping aimlessly.
I have always sung, but I have not always been "a singer," if that makes sense. Growing up I was pretty insecure about it - about everything really. I knew I had an extraordinary gift, but I could never visualize myself singing for people. I guess you could say I was afraid of doing well, thus drawing attention to myself. After twenty or so years of closely studying music, I came out of my shell and took command of my voice. I started writing and singing because it was so therapeutic for me - something I had to do to maintain my physical and mental health.

Rebecca Schlappich, Kiss Kiss

If I could put "Rockstar Band Mom" on resumes, I totally would.

My job, first and foremost, is to perform. I love being on stage, and I love entertaining people. It's such a rush, and so humbling when fans know our songs and sing along at shows.

Me and my bandmates try to divide up our work for the band according to people's strengths. I like to help out organzing tour itineraries and doing tour promotion. I also help sell and keep track of our merchandise, although on our last few tours we've been fortunate to have talented tour managers/merchandise sales-ladies with us, who have been a blessing in relieving some of the stress before and after shows.

When we're on the road, I take my responsibilities as a bandmate and performer seriously. I do my equal share of loading in and out of venues, driving our tour vehicle (which is a full-size school bus!) and navigating. I find myself waking up my bandmates in the morning so we can get on the road on time, and I generally have to mediate disagreements when tour tempers are high. I help out with busines matters at venues as well, although Jared, our drummer, takes the lead in that area.

During the writing process, Josh, the lead vocalist, and I will generally sit down and work on violin parts together. I like writing as a band, but i find that I am more productive working one-on-one. In the studio I'm like the icing on the cake. All other tracks get laid down before the violin, save for vocals and any last minute effects.

We make business decisions as a unit. We may not all agree, but everyone's opinion is heard. We are all terrible business people to be honest, and if we could do nothing but play music and perform we would be the happiest kids in the world.
With Kiss Kiss, I use an acoustic violin which I set up with an LR Baggs pickup. I send my signal through an LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI, and the pedals I use include a Line 6 Delay Modeler and Loop Sampler, a Holy Grail Reverb, a Boss Mega Distortion, an ARTcessories Personal Monitor, and a Peterson Strobo Stomp Tuner. I prefer to go direct to the PA for Kiss Kiss, but for other gigs I own a Fender Hot Rod Deville Combo Amp, and I have a 5-string electric Bridge violin. My professional acoustic instrument is an 1888 German violin made by Oswald Mockel. It's my baby, and is probably more valuable than my own life!
"There are marked differences between being a woman and being a man in the music industry.  For the sake of brevity, I'm just going to take a look at the role I chose in the music industry, that of a woman in a touring rock band. You can't deny that there is a double standard of sorts in an industry in which an all-female band is still something of a novelty. There's no novelty to all-male bands, right?  So where does this double standard stem from?

In past decades it was much more difficult for women to be recognized and respected as contributing members of the musical community. In the 70's, 80's, and 90's to some degree, while the stereotype of a ""rockstar"" was a sexually charged, drug consuming, guitar-slinging Adonis with throngs of interchangeable female groupies, female musicians fought tooth and nail, working twice as hard to get their voices heard.  Women like Mama Cass, Janis Joplin, Debbie Harry, Pat Benetar, and Joan Jett paved the way for female musicians today. 

I am happy to admit that there are many more girls in bands today than there ever have been before.  Especially when you take a look at the ""underground,"" indie music scene, you frequenty see bands with at least one female member. It is still a male-dominated industry, but from my experiences, most of the tangible oppression has been overcome or left in the past. The worst I ever experience is being confused for a ""merch girl"" or girlfriend of the band during load-in, which I generally laugh off, unless I'm in a particularly combative mood.  Very rarely I'll have to deal with some light harrassment from a drunk bar patron, but I don't view this as relevant to being a female musician.  Drunk idiots are everywhere.

To be honest, I feel that the double standard mainly resides in the minds of women. I play so many shows where girls come up to me afterwards and tell me that they wish they played an instrument. I want to shake them and yell ""Well, why don't you?!"" but I generally try to phase that sentiment in a more positive way, and inspire them through my life and my music.  It's just disheartening when I see so many young girls content with being groupies to their boyfriend's bands rather than picking up an instrument, any instrument, and being rockstars themselves. There's no better time than right now to be a woman in a band, and personally there is nothing I would rather be doing with my life than making music with my band."
I touched on this briefy in the last question, noting some trailblazing women of past generations who made it possible for the current climate of possibility to exist for me and my fellow female musicians today. Instead, I'd rather note the similarities between the generations of female musicians. No matter what, touring and promoting your own music is hard work. It takes an incredibly strong woman to survive life on the road and thrive on little more than the belief that what you're creating is valid and relevant and worthy of recognition. I don't say this to laud my own strengths, rather I feel it is worthy of mentioning because every single woman I've met who does what I do has had a huge amount of inner strength and beauty. These are powerful, ballsy women, of whom I consider myself lucky to be among the ranks.
The best advice I have ever received, and what I have learned since joining Kiss Kiss, is that no one will ever care about your music and your band as much as you do. As a young band, the dream is to get on a record label, get management and a booking agent, and then you're set! Nope. You need to have your hand in everything, you need to be promoting yourself and creating opportunities for yourself, otherwise you'll get lost in the shuffle of the 40 other bands your label or manager or agent work for. If you're just starting out, get yourself out there. It's so easy to promote yourself online, if you're not sure where to begin, you probably have 5 tech-savvy friends who can help you. And most importantly, be proud of what you create. Work hard, never settle for mediocre, push yourself to be awesome, and be passionate about your work. It may be cheesy, but if you are honestly striving to be the best you can be, you will find fulfillment and success. Ladies, you've just gotta have balls!
"   You would think that my parents had predestined me to be a violinist, considering how young I started playing the instrument. On the contrary, it was my little 3-year-old, hair-brained idea to pick up a violin. I was watching television when a PBS program featured violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman. I promptly informed my parents: ""I wanna do that too!"". My mother found Pat Chandler, a Suzuki violin teacher who lived within walking distance of my house, and I started violin at 4 years old.  Incidentally, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Perlman a year later, backstage after a performance. I don't remember what he played, but I do remember informing him that I was also a violinist and that someday I was going to be just as good as him. I was a precocious child. My mother almost died.   I studied the Suzuki Method with Mrs. Chandler and with Linda Fiore, who is one of the premiere Suzuki instructors in the country, and had the opportunity to tour Austria, Germany, and Bermuda with Mrs. Fiore's performance group, The Dacore Performing Strings.  My final teacher before college was Lee Snyder, and I consider my education with him the most formative years of my musical life, as a classical violinist anyway. 

I went to Manhattan School of Music, and although my degree program was a classical performance degree, these were the years that I started exploring and finding my niche in the worlds of jazz, experimental, rock and pop music.  I joined my first band during my senior year, joined Kiss Kiss a few months later, and while my roots will always be in classical music, my heart has been stolen by my band and the music we create."

Andreya Triana

I am self managed and also write all of my own material. In the studio I work with a producers and its we work collaboratively with production but he does most of it.
"My honest view and from my own experience is it's completely common place for a man to say what he wants and how he wants things done. However as a female the minute you are assertive and say you want things done a certain way you are called a 'diva' which I feel is a derogatory term.

I think to be successful in any career you need to be assertive and I sometimes wish that was embraced and not seen as a negative thing. And despite the 'diva' tag I will always continue to honestly speak my mind and be open about how I would like things done. "
I think woman as well as men have always made their mark in music whether this was 10 years ago or 50 years ago.
One piece of simple advice I've always stuck to is to believe in yourself... and the rest will follow.
I didn't really choose it, it chose me!

Olivia Merilahti, The Do

I write a lot of songs on my own, sometimes we compose together too. In the studio it's just Dan & I recording one another, playing different instruments, trying out things. I give a lot of directions as for the arrangements, but Dan's the one to finish the songs. We have the same amount of work, and are very complementary. Then, though i'm learning a lot, i'm still not business-minded, there are things i just won't understand. Lady Gaga is way ahead.
"At the studio, we have tons of different instruments: the usual ones such as acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars, loads of vintage keyboards, but also a harpsichord, a Finnish Kantele, a Turkish saaz, kitchen pans and pots, drums, etc. On stage I've played on an American Fender Stratocaster, with 3 or 4 different effects- mostly distortion. I also played on a Gretsch duo jet reissue, which I love. Also some wurlitzer and some Farfisa. I sang in a Sennheiser e945, and I had a multieffect pedal, Boss vocal 300. But i am trying out new gear now...the whole set is gonna change for our second tour!"
What bothered me mostly was that I was the only girl on the road, on the bus, the technical team was all boys. I asked the tour managers to find at least one girl for the team, but we so are outnumbered in those jobs. It's just tough to be a woman on a tourbus, considering the hygiene, the intimacy, etc...You end up acting like a boy! I can't see much more of a difference otherwise, you obviously meet some guys who don't take you seriously when it comes to technical issues, but never when it comes to artistic matters.

Make your own path and may others follow you there!"
"Because no one could play as clumsily as me! I started playing classical guitar when I was 12, but i never thought i could play and sing at the same time. I liked to focus on one or the other. When we started rehearsing as The Do, we looked for guitarists, but they were all trying too hard, they were too skilful... And we were in such a hurry, we had a gig in like two weeks, that i just had to pick the guitar and handle the problem. It wasnt easy, but i made it, and i even enjoyed it. Then I play the keys for fun, to change a little, but it's more Dan's instrument."

Krista Loewen, You Say Party! We Say Die!

For decisions, the band runs on consensus, or when that's impossible, by majority-rules. I personally handle a lot of the business aspect. We have a full team (manager, label, publicist, agent, etc) but we remain very involved in the business and marketing side of the band. I write music and on occasion lyrics, and in the studio I record everything myself.
I play a Roland JX-3P and a Super Jupiter. I use a Roland Jazz Chorus amp.
Only in the ways that anything is different between being a woman or a man. People will approach and react to women and men differently, and that happens in the music industry too.
The best thing you can do is know your stuff. Know your gear, know your instrument, know what you want in business, know what's important to you and what your values are.
I've always felt like older, analog gear is much more authentic sounding for the type of music we play. I am not interested in having a laptop on stage (not to discredit anyone who does, because for some kinds of music it makes sense). I also prefer to not have too many things going on at once, so that I'm not totally distracted with the technical aspect of performing and can fully engage with the crowd and my bandmates and enjoy the music we're making.

Shannon Frid, Cloud Cult

My role in the band is solely violinist and back-up vocals. It's funny because I went to school and have a degree in Music Business. I wanted to manage bands. After being on the other side of things (the performing side) I would not want to have it any other way. Luckily my degree has helped me find other jobs involving music when I'm not touring with the band.
I have a Realist pick-up on my violin and I use the LR Baggs preamp. These give my violin a really warm tone. A lot of times venues don't have the greatest equipment and has made my instrument sound really tinny, so this has been a great combo.
"I think it's definitely more unique to be a woman playing a band. You just don't run across it as much. I'd say the only major difference is it's harder to load the heavy gear in and out of venues. It became clear to me on my first big tour with Cloud Cult. I remember one gig where Craig and Scott (he is one of the band's visual artists) were carrying a super heavy speaker and I was just carrying some really light merch. They looked at me like I was insane. I try to lift the heavier stuff. It's a great way to stay in shape on the road!!"
I think nowadays you see women in bands who can play a wider variety of instruments, in other words do more than just sing. For instance Ra Ra Riot, who also has two string players or local band Roma di Luna. Channy Moon Casselle is lead vocalist and plays the violin as well. Both groups are a great representation of what a talented woman can add to a band.....
"My parents played huge roles. There was a time when I stopped playing the violin for awhile and they were still so supportive of what I wanted to do with my life. They were never pushy or forced me to was never a chore. I'd tell any woman musician starting out in the music industry that patience is important. It might take awhile to get to where you want to be but it will happen. Also, that they are capable of doing anything they set their mind to. Even lifting heavy gear!! : )"
I remember the day when my elementary school brought in all of the different instruments that the kids could choose to play. Someone demonstrated the violin and it really stood out to me. The tone was so beautiful. I almost picked the flute, I think if I did I never would have had the opportunity to play in bands. I most likely would have stayed in the realm of classical music.

Jessica Larrabee, She Keeps Bees

I am the songwriter - we are a two piece... Andy my drummer supports me without ego. it's a shared experience in the studio and in business - we have a deep trust in each other's ear and how we want to market ourselves. we got each other's back always.
"1979 American Strat - Antigua Hardtail 4X10 Hot Rod Fender Deville Tube Combo Amp Maxwin by Pearl set"
"Yes, I think so, but it should be getting better... dear GAD i hope so! when i was in my bands in college very often we would load in and someone would direct the comment about the merch table to me. like there was no way i could be in the band. ALSO when at instrument/music stores... STILL to this DAY questions will not be directed at me... only to my father or my boyfriend ... anyone but the female. they also very often will not give me any credit for actually knowing what the hell i'm talking about. IT DRIVES ME INSANE! this past tour in Europe over the winter, i could name 4 maybe 5 shows where we saw other female musicians.. we played about 30 shows."
"I found my own way. i loved with all my heart the female musicians that inspired me. I tried to read and support and buy everything they did. I never really had one woman who told me anything.

To other women musicians i say .. RIGHT ON SISTERS!!! .. keep going and keep doing what makes your heart sing. forget the bullshit... the selling yourself.. the sexiness or whatever they say is the right path... continue to stay heart centered and connected to the healing music gives. rock the fuck out sisters! hellyeah!"
i wanted to sing live...i didn't think back in 1994 i could play drums and sing... i thought only phil collins could pull that shit off. i was wrong. i felt like i sold out learning guitar - i liked being a girl who played drums. i almost felt like picking up a guitar would lead me to folk songs... a typical thing girl musicians were doing. i stayed with electric to set myself apart. i found bands in college.. all boys - i was always the only girl in our indie rock scene. then i left those bands to start a solo thing in NY... almost folk/country still with electric guitar. it wasn't until i found my now drummer that i allowed myself to just BE - stopped "trying" and let a natural process of songwriting happen.. leading to more aggressive/rock.

Chandra Watson, The Watson Twins

"All duties are shared with my sister Leigh, the other twin, we are the main song writers and we trade off singing lead and playing guitar.

In the studio we are very involved in the entire process. From choosing the musicians, studio location, sounds, instrumentation, mixing and mastering.

Our first record was a self-released EP called ""Southern Manners"", because we were without a label at the time my sister and I and our manager, Lisa Klipsic, were very ""hands on"" out of necessity. Nothing was going to be done unless we pushed to make it happen. At this point in our career we now have a team of people working on our project, but we still remain very involved and hands on from a creative and business standpoint. I think that's because we have been that way since the beginning."
Vintage Yamaha Acoustic guitar, Beta 58 Mic, some percussion (i.e. tambo, shakers, etc.), harmonica and vocal chords
"Yes, the music industry is definitely a male dominated field. I think women have made a lot of progress in the past few years which is very exciting but it's not always easy to be ""heard.""

I spent a lot of years trying to voice my ideas and opinions to male producers and engineers in the studio... most of the time the reaction was that they were uninterested. I think because I didn't know as much technically and on top of that being a woman, it was tough to earn their respect. Now that my sister and I are the main artists and it is our project, we have sought out people that respect us and treat us equally in the studio and on stage."
Yes, there are more women in the music industry which is amazing and with that there has been a lot of progress in how we are viewed. I think the women's movement through out the last 40 years a pretty accurate comparison to the music business, we have made great strides but still have a ways to go.
"Patience and Persistence

Give yourself room to be human

My mom played guitar so there was always one in the house and it seemed like a good tool for writing.

Mary Pearson, High Places

My band is a duo with my male best friend. We split all duties pretty evenly. We each record ourselves separately and I do a lot of the song construction. My band mate is more of the aesthetic expert and I am more in charge of pitch, organization, and structure. I handle most of the business and finances that come with the band. My band mate handles most of the art design for posters, album art, t-shirts, etc. We both make visual art, and I have made several music videos for us.
Teisco guitar, Roland 404 sampler, Rat distortion pedal, Digiverb reverb pedal, Shure beta 57 vocal microphone, Roland keyboard amp, homemade telephone speaker microphone, effects rack, Fox Renard 220 bassoon.
I did not think there was a difference when I was playing orchestral music. However, in rock music I think there is a big difference. Any write up about a female musician, or especially a group of female musicians, will mention gender right off the bat. My band is always referred to as a boy-girl duo, even though we don't both sing (and my 35 year old band mate is hardly a boy!). There are plenty of male front people who only sing in their bands, even though they are the band's mastermind and write all the songs. However, I have felt like, as a woman, if I only sing in my band, it will be assumed that my band mate writes all the music, and my only job is to sing it. Perhaps that is my own gender bias and insecurity, but I do feel like there is some truth to my fear.
"I think there is going to be a really strong new generation of women musicians. There are all of these rock camps for girls that are doing tremendous things to teach young girls about rock music and to give them the confidence and the drive to pursue playing in bands. "
"My mother has always been very supportive of my pursuit of a music career. She studied music and taught it, as did her father. The advice I would give a woman musician just starting out would be to stay as hands on as possible with her career. The more you do for yourself, the more control you have, and the more you learn. "
"I began playing bassoon at age 11 because I loved the role of Grandfather in Peter and the Wolf. I was also quite small at the time, and I was attracted to the idea of playing a large, low-pitched instrument. I considered the tuba, but I liked the melodic voice of the bassoon. It sounded to me like if a cello were a wind instrument. I recently started teaching myself to play guitar because it is such an important instrument in rock music. I was tired of only singing when my band performed live. As a wind player, I've always been a bit intimidated by string instruments, but I'm getting over that fear the more I play my guitar."

Annalisa Tornfelt, Black Prairie.

I sing and play the violin the best I can. In the studio I try to sing and play the best I can. In business or marketing decisions I say yes as much as I can.
I have a beautiful fiddle from the late 1700's. I think it is gorgeous. For amplification I use a realist pick-up. I use an LR bags DI along with the Pre-Sonas tube pre-amp and when I play with drums I will add a volume pedal...:)
I was breast feeding my newborn son while doing a scratch vocal take in the studio.
Women are the same, we are just treated differently in this generation.
"someone told me to ""make sure your home on kid's birthday.""

I would tell a woman just starting out just to really listen to herself. "
My parents chose it for me. Mom was a violin teacher and Dad was a cellist.

Becka Pimenta

"I am a solo singer, and am involved in every part, from the writing of the song, to the production, to the performance, self marketing etc."
Pro Tools LE - Mac Book Pro - Piano - Taylor Guitar - Shure SM 58
"Although subtle, I have found that in dealing with some men in the industry, that I had to fight for my opinion to be heard, and not to fall into an artist that could be simply 'moulded'."
"I think there are more women empowered today than there were decades ago, this being said there is still much to be done."
"Alot of the advice I got I would say I gained for myself through experience, though I am continuing to learn more and more as I go on. I have met with many industry insiders over the past couple of years and the ones that stood out to me were the ones that told me to be honest with myself, to fight for the kind of music that reflects who I am, and to keep going. One of the biggest things I have learned and would pass on to any women musician starting out is to find out who you are before you can give the chance for someone else to tell you."
"I chose piano because my older brother started taking lessons when we were kids and it sounded so beautiful I wanted to also. Then I fell in love with the intimate sound of an acoustic guitar and decided to pick that up and began playing it. I have always sung since I was 18 months old, so it wasn't really a choice!"

Jen Gloeckner

I am the songwriter, producer, etc. In the studio, I normally record myself, and then bring in a mixer at the end. My husband is my manager, and together we make most of the decisions.
"Martin acoustic guitars, Vox and Ampeg amp. Roland RD-700 Keyboard. Mini Moog, Woodpecker Mic."
It depends on the crowd you are targeting. Young teenage boys are more likely to listen to electric guitar driven indie bands. My music seems to attract more of an older crowd, which is probably not the biggest music buying crowd. But I think they relate more to my music.
I think the music business has changed drastically for everyone, whether man or woman. Everyone, even those who have been in the business for years seem to be lost on what to do to market an artist. This makes things difficult, because it is very hard to get good advise or help from others. At the same time, it opens many doors and allows for creative marketing. It seems like their really are no rules now. The social media sites are the biggest blessing, as they let you take the music directly to the listener.
The best advise I have ever received, and can give is to stay true to yourself. If you try to sound like someone else to make others happy, it is not going to work. You need to develop your own sounds and style, and do that the best you can.
I have been playing piano since a young child. I started playing guitar in my early 20's, as it gave me another way to express myself.

Carolyn Cunningham, Woven Bones

"I am fairly new to Woven Bones, we have been together for about a month. We are a three-piece so it has been pretty easy to bond and get to know each other. A lot of the business decisions are handled by Andy (the leader singer and guitar player).

In the Pillow Queens, we made all the big decisions together. I tried to take on the role of facilitator. I like being the backbone of the band rhythmically, and I also like to create a supportive atmosphere where people can feel comfortable trying out new things musically and be themselves. I see a similar role for myself with Woven Bones. But for now I am just focusing on getting up to speed with the songs and integrating into the band and the sound as seamlessly as possible. "
"I have a 4-piece Mapex drumset. I am not really into having super expensive gear because it all gets thrown in the back of the van the same way no matter what. I cobbled together a collection of cymbals and hardware over the years. In Woven Bones I play a snare and floor tom standing up.

The only modification I have ever made to my drums is staining them. I took the vinyl wrapper off the drums, sanded the wood, and stained them green. "
"For all-male bands, I think that bringing a woman into a band can be a big deal. She is expected to bring something extra to the table. If a guy joins an all-male band, on the other hand, there is probably an assumed level of familiarity and comfort.

There are more and more women starting and joining bands, but it is still feels outside the “normal” realm of rock n roll. I am constantly reminded of this when I tell people that I play drums. The most well-meaning people respond with, ""Wow, that's so cool! A girl drummer!"" I doubt that many male drummers hear, ""Whoa, a dude drummer. Awesome!""

I remember going to see bands in high school and college. Seeing women on the stage really made an impression on me. In school band, you don't have to be cool, and usually the uniforms make that impossible anyway. But in rock bands, your confidence (or lack thereof) can take center stage, even if you are nailing your musical parts. The women I saw were up there wailing on their instruments and making it look so easy and fun.

Playing drums in school, I was always surrounded by male musicians. That was good preparation for playing rock n roll. Everyone was on board with me playing drums, but there was also this feeling of me (and other females) having to step up to the plate and show them my chops. Everyone else just got to play drums. "
"That is an excellent question, and one that I don’t feel totally qualified to answer. I have not spent a lot of time with women musicians who are from a different generation than me. I think older women musicians had a much harder row to hoe than I did. Rock n roll has always been a boys club. Something that happens fairly frequently is women who are older than me coming up to me after shows. They give me the best compliments and are super supportive. A lot of them say things like, ""wow, playing drums would be so fun!"" like it is something they never considered doing themselves.

In each of my bands there have been a handful of times that people assumed I was the guitar player’s girlfriend or whatever. But aside from that and a few comments about how I am a “good girl drummer” (as opposed to a “good drummer”), I feel very supported. I don’t think women always had that feeling. I guess I have my parents to thank for never making a big deal out of me playing the drums. They always told me I did a good job, and it wasn’t because I was a girl, but because I was first chair. "
"This may sound like a no-brainer, but I really listened to people when they told me to “go for it” when opportunities have arisen. When the Pillow Queens first went on tour, we didn’t know what we were doing but we just got out there and started contacting people and made it happen. When Woven Bones approached me to play with them, I was incredibly excited for them to ask me but I was nervous about what that would be like. Then a trusted female friend encouraged me to jump on this opportunity. It was different with my other bands because I was already friends with them when we started playing music together. As it turns out, joining Woven Bones has been a seamless process because I really like my bandmates and we all have a strong work ethic.

I would tell a new woman musician that there is nothing to be scared of, and that if you realize that all these other bands are playing shows and making records all the time, you can certainly go make a name for yourself. Also, don’t date your bandmates.

The best advice I would give any new musician is to go out and get involved in your local music scene. Check out your local independent newspaper/music blog/record store and meet people who are doing what you'd like to do. They can be your best source of information and inspiration.

I don't think that there are any post-feminist musical subcultures. Every woman musician will be forced to think about her identity in a musical context at some point. This sounds cheesy, but practice practice practice until you know your stuff is really good, and then get out there and play it for the world."
"When I was in 5th grade, the middle school band director came over and had the aspiring band students try out several different kinds of mouthpieces and instruments. When I told him that I played piano already, he had me pick up the drumsticks and tap out some rhythms. That was the start of me playing drums.

I have stayed with it because it is really fun and I see playing drums as making a big contribution to whatever group I’m playing with. "

Rebecca Lucille Cannon, The Texas Sapphires

"In The Texas Sapphires: 1) I am the lead vocalist. 2) I make sure our web presence stays up to date and captivating. 3) I sell the Merchandise at shows, and on-line. 4) My band partner, Billy Brent Malkus, who I formed the band with, makes most of the fiscal business decisions. He is the band leader, and I'm like the diplomat. We do decide on personnel issues together, and we discuss all aspects of the band on a weekly basis. We brainstorm together. We write, and rehearse together. We definitely make a good team, and are strictly on a plutonic basis, like a brother and sister relationship."
My vocal chords, a 58 Shure mic, my dance moves, my merch, my personality, my BOSE PA.
Of Course, being a woman and a musician is different from being a male musician, however, I love the differences. I love being the only woman in a band. I play a genre of music, that is dominated by men, but that inspires me to do my best, and keeps me on my toes. Honestly, I prefer to play with men, and be the only female in the band. The whole experience has given me a deeper understanding of men, and I feel like I know the man's mind a little better than the average woman, having traveled in such close quarters for long periods of time.
Yes, I do. I think women are way more powerful now, than they were in the past. After all, at least in America, there are Rock Camps for Girls, which proves a greater acceptance of females playing instruments in rock bands. Females are dominating the world wide pop charts, like Lady Gaga. And yes, women are using their sexuality to sell their music, but i don't think that is anything new. I think if you are talented, and you want to use your sexuality to help sell your music, then more power to you. However, if you have no talent, and you try and use your sex to sell your music, I think your career will be short lived or ridiculed. Brittany Spears may not have the greatest voice, but she's a fabulous dancer, and entertainer, and her lifestyle keeps us interested!
I think one of the most important pieces of advice i have gained over the years is to remain humble. After this, everything else I have learned is through experience. You will find as quickly as people praise you, and tell you how fantastic you are, including fans and critics, they can as quickly turn on you, and want to see you fail. So, you have to have a strong sense of self, and be able to put up with criticism. Absolutely, do not play music to be famous; play music, because you do not have a choice, and it's the love of your life.The musical ground upon which you stand, will be shallow and break, if you only want fame and fortune. Play any genre, any instrument that you desire, but you absolutely have to love it, and good things will follow, especially if you stick with it.
I have been performing in front of an imaginary audience since I was real little. I love making people smile, laugh, cry, dance. I want to move people, and I can do this with my emotive vocals. I want people to feel the song, and listen to the stories. That's why I chose to front bands and sing lead vocals.

Rebecca Scott, Panda Riot, architecture

"In Panda Riot, my boyfriend and bandmate, Brian, makes the backbone of the songs with drums and guitar. I write the vocal melodies and lyrics and add other instrumentation (sometimes guitar, sometimes keys). Brian and I record everything ourselves in our loft, and we collaborate on business and marketing decisions.

In architecture, my bandmate Melissa and I collaborate on everything. One of us starts with an idea, then we work together to figure out the structure and details of the song. We also record in my loft. We are just starting out so we haven't made too many business or marketing decisions yet..."
"Panda Riot- vocal loop pedal, Danelectro ""Dead on 67"" reissue guitar, Fender Stage 185 amp, Yamaha Magicstomp guitar effects pedal, 61 key MIDI controller, Apple MacBook Pro

architecture- Danelectro ""Dead on 67"" reissue guitar, Fender Stage 185 amp, Yamaha Magicstomp guitar effects pedal, Angel glockenspiel"
Yes. Of course the obvious difference is that there just aren't as many women musicians, especially women in bands (as opposed to solo artists or singer-songwriters). I think this is especially true in local music scenes. Because there are fewer women out there making music together, I think it is harder for young women to envision themselves growing up to be in bands. Of course, there are many many great women musicians playing in bands out there, but my sense is that they tend to be stereotyped much more than men (the singer, the chick bass player, the girl band, etc.). There is no one moment that I can name as making this clear, but I am again and again struck by the huge lack of female musicians in other bands that we play with.
I can't really say due to my embarrassing lack of knowledge of a lot of music, but I think that there are a lot of women now that are breaking into and creating new genres, which is really exciting. I am thinking in particular of women like M.I.A, Victoria Legrand from Beach House, the women from Coco Rosie, Mary Timony, Joanna Newsom, and others. The music that they make defies generic categorization and, as a result, they give our culture new ideas of what it means to be a female musician.
I can't think of any advice I received in particular, but the advice I would give would be to just be really determined and self-reliant. There are always reasons to give up, but you can't give in to that. If you don't know how to record, buy a manual and learn, if you don't have a drummer find one or make your own drum beats. You have to have the attitude that you will figure out a way to make it work, and a lot of times when you overcome those kinds of obstacles something really unexpected and creative comes out of it, like recording vocals in your shower or making a drum beat out of tape ripping, or something. It's all about just deciding to do it and then taking the necessary steps.
I took piano lessons beginning when I was five, and I'm not sure I had a reason but I knew that I wanted to play music when I was very young. In high school I started playing the guitar because I wanted to be able to play the kind of music that I listened to. I have always wanted to play lots of different instruments.

Doris Cellar, Freelance Whales

My role is to be a dedicated member of our band. In the studio we work on our songs together,  From a business stand point, we are fresh and we don't have that much money so on tour we all share tour managing responsibilities. One of my responsibilities is to advance shows.
I play a Fender precision bass out of an Ampeg combo amp and sometimes run it through a Boss overdrive pedal. A Micro Korg synthesizer, a glockenspiel, harmonium and a Roland JP8000.
In some respect I do think its different but in the same breath  i believe that people are people and we should all be treated and viewed as equals. Being in a band is hard work and its not any easier or harder when there's a certain number of boys or girls evolved. It's like being in a relationship: it takes dedication, compromise, democracy, strength and confidence and I don't think any of these things are harder or easier for a male or female. I saw what it was like being in an all girl band, and I see what it is like being the only girl in a five piece.  We deal with the same crises and situations because a good band is essentially a small business trying to survive off of their music, music that we -- as people and musicians believe in.
Well I feel like before the 1960's it was more of a struggle for women to make it as a musicians, so there was a lot more dignity involved in the way they handled there persona's. Now, and I'm not speaking for every woman in the industry, but it seems as though certain women turn themselves into sex objects in order to push their career forward.
Well I was once told by a good friend of mine, Natalie Sky, that at any given moment there can be something trying to get in the way of your dreams, and that I should practice patience in order to remain strong and move forward in my career. My advice to any female  musician starting out is to always keep a pen and paper handy, and when an idea hits you don't be afraid to miss your train stop and if you don't have public transportation, pullover. 
I started singing in the third grade after my homeroom teacher gave me a solo part in our spring musical. When I realized how much I enjoyed performing, me and my best friend Nina started a duet called "Double Diamond." Even though we were only 10 we were really serious about our project and even went as far as writing our own a cappella songs.  When I entered high school I met a friend who let me practice on his drum set and when I got good enough to keep a steady beat and that's when I started  "The Doxies." At rehearsals I would tinker around with the guitar and bass and when the band broke up after 2 years of punk-rock mayhem, a friend of mine was kind enough to lend me her guitar. I began writing songs, and recording them on Garage band and before I knew it I had my own solo project going. After graduating high school I decided to go to college where I studied music theory and learned how to read and compose songs on piano. During the summer break of my Junior year I went on in search of a new band and instantly clicked with lead singer/ song writer  of "Freelance Whales," Judah Dadone who was also looking to start a band. Shortly thereafter, Judah leant me some of his instruments and the glockenspiel and harmonium were soon added to the list of instruments I play to this day.

Meagan Beth Plummer; Jonas Sees In Color.

"My role is to be the voice of reason among the 5 insane boys in my band. We function as a collective; I have as much of a say in our song-writing as I do in our contracts.

I play a Nord Stage 88-key piano. It's bright red and beautiful.
I think that there is often a difference in the way that women and men approach writing music. I approach songs from a viewpoint that none of my male band-mates have, and I think that's a very valuable thing. I feel the biggest social difference when we're on tour. I don't get the same immediate respect as my band-mates, often being asked by venues or promoters if I'm "just somebody's girlfriend." I think a lot of other bands treat me differently as well; they see the way I interact with my band and assume that they can have the same relationship with me. They see the amount of respect I have for my band and expect the same respect without understanding that they have to earn it.
It seems like there are less and less women in the spotlight who are real artists; so many popular female performers are seen as simple eye-candy that play songs written and produced by men, instead of as women who can create and think for themselves. There is more attention paid to superficial characteristics than to the real signs of talent and hard work I saw in the women that made me want to play music. The talented, real women are still out there now; they just need to be heard. Fads pass, but the authentic art will be what lasts.
"My piano teacher at home always tells me, ""You know what you have to do, so get it done.""

If a women decides to become a working musician, she has to be 100% driven and willing to fight to make it. You'll need patience and thick's's up and down, emotional highs and emotional lows. Friends, family, and your band can help support you, but in the end it's really up to you and your instrument. If you love it, do it."
It's the instrument I relate to the most; I feel the most connected with the piano. It brings the most out of me.

Emily Robison, Court Yard Hounds (and Dixie Chicks)

In the Chicks I always tended to play the role of the soft spoken pragmatic one. I find it enjoyable to put myself out there more in Court Yard Hounds both as singer, songwriter and as a personality. In both Dixie Chicks and Court Yard Hounds we all had a hand in creating and producing the music and in managing our business affairs. If something is going to be done right, it requires involvement on all levels and in every aspect of this business. I think women are great at recognizing the importance of the details.
I'm not a gear'd have to ask my tech. ;)
YES!!! Women have a built in guilt gene that I believe makes it harder to be away on the road. We expect ourselves (and want) to be the ones who are always there for our kids' day-to-day needs. It's a constant struggle. Maybe they just hide it better, but it seems like guys are better equipped for the long stretches away from home.
Every generation has it's pioneers.
The advice I got was to keep my own publishing. I did....BUT...with the music industry changing so quickly, I'm not sure it's really the cash cow it once was. The internet has changed everything. If I meet a young girl who is interested in music and asks my advice, I suggest she learn an instrument. There will always be a lot of great voices out there and not only will playing set her apart, it will allow her to accompany herself if she does want to sing. Playing in bands, doing gigs and just generally getting experience on stage (before trying to "make it") will always be a great way to prepare.
Banjo was my first serious instrument and I picked it because I didn't see any other girls playing it at the time.

Jendayi Bonds, Charlie Belle

I'm the lead singer, the songwriter, and rhythm guitar. I decide what shows we will play, and I arrange the songs and vocals. I guess you could say it is my band. I picked the other members except for my brother. He's been in both of my bands from the beginning.
I play a blue metallic Danelectro 2-PU when I'm plugged in, and a blue flowery Daisy Rock acoustic.
Yes definitely. What encourages guys to keep playing are the groupies and the music, but for girls our drive has to be the music. We don't have groupies at all of our shows. We have to be in love with the music to keep playing. The moment I realized this was when we went to a Halloween festival and the band playing was this group of boys (I forget their name) who we had played at the same gig before. They are my age, and they are really good, but there were girls all in front of the entire stage just staring at them. They were all ages and were just dazed. We don't get groupies like that.
I have Girls Rock, and my instructors have said that they didn't have a camp where they could meet other girls who liked to rock. It's just normal for me to know other girls who are rockers.
At camp they are always giving us advice on things like how to book our first tour, and how to get gigs in your hometown. My advice would be to play in public all you can. Don't just wait for the big stuff to happen. Play open mic nights at cafes because anyone can be in the crowd. We play all we can.
I was taking piano when I was 4, and when we moved to Wynnewood my parents didn't want to buy a piano so they asked me if I wanted to play drums or guitar so I picked guitar. My brother plays the drums.

Frankie Blue, Schmillion

We all participate and work together in writing the songs, getting gigs, making merchandise and making business decisions.
"Peavey Classic Thirty Watt Tube Amp Gibson Les Paul Silverburst"
When i play music i always think of myself as a musician first and a woman second. There is no difference in ability between men and women. The only difference is perception. Being a woman and a musician is still a novelty and a lot of people are still surprised when women are musicians. Once after a show, i heard some men talking about me and saying "Wow. I'm surprised - girls can't usually do that." If more women were encouraged to get involved in the music industry then the perceived differences would disappear until a musician is just a musician - not a gender.
In the past, there were real prejudices against women in music. I haven't experienced any prejudices today but people do still think of women as a commodity.
My advice, would be to think of yourself as a musician. Don't let people label you as a "female musician." Focus on your music so that you get recognized for that instead of your gender. It's fine if people recognize your gender - being a woman is great - but don't let them define you by it.
Recieved a $100 costco guitar for Christmas from my parents. I started to teach myself from a DVD and i fell in love with it and started to take real lessons.

Marissa Nadler

I control pretty much everything, because I am a solo artist on an independent label. I will take people's advice if I trust them (on production, etc), but the joy of being an independant artist is having artistic freedom.
"I have a Martin 12 string guitar dreadnought style. My prized possession is a handmade guitar a French Luthier named Florent made for me with a mother of pearl bird inlay on it's headstock. I also still play one of my first guitars, a really beat up and tinny sounding Tachamine that I have some Neil Young lines drawn on in sharpy. To be exact ""don't let it bring you down, its only castles burning."" Mostly, I play a Taylor six string with lots of cracks in it from flying and having to glue it back together so many times. (Once, in Mallorca, I had to buy some woodglue and clamps and literally glued my broken guitar back together).

I use Rare Earth Humbucker pickups that work on magnetic resonance because live, I find they give the most natural sound to the acoustic instruments.

I have a Vintage Framus banjo on lone from guitar virtuous Glenn Jones that I have been playing a lot lately. Also, a baritone ukelele I bought at an antique shop, and a similarly purchased and beat up autoharp.

I use a TC Helicon voice live unit so that I can control my own vocal reverb and delay on stage. I used to get in a lot of fights with soundmen (most of them are men) where they would tell me how my music should sound. I just decided to start controlling it myself. I am very happy with the TC and its pretty user friendly. I also use a ton of Boss Pedals for my guitars."
"Yes. It has been clear to me since I started out as a little girl. I used to go into the Guitar Center, because in the suburbs that was pretty much it for music stores, and get treated like I wanted the pink hello kitty guitar. As I got older, it was about having to listen to guitar tips from dudes that weren't even good guitar players, or gear talk as If I didn't know anything about gear.

I still encounter a lot of sexism when I am on tour, and on blogs. I feel like if you get up there, and you a girl, and have a guitar, before you even open your mouth to play you are battling stereotypes.

The most bothersome thing to me about being a women musician is that I truly believe you have to be twice as good a singer, twice as good a player, and twice as goodlooking as the man. The pressure to look good and thin runs deep even within the outsider and independent music circles. If you look at the extremely successful female indie songstresses, there is usually one pretty obvious thing in common. I don't see this as much with the men. Sometimes, when you have been on a tour van or driving for 14 hours to get to a gig, the last thing you want to worry about is what you look like. But, people expect the whole package. Lipstick and shredding. "
"I think women today have a more DIY approach, with much of that due to the prevalence of technology. Women can book their own tours and build their own fanbases, as well as control their own images and imagery, from home. They don't necessarily need a record label and they don't need a label telling them how to dress or how to sound.

It is a good step for young women especially starting out right now. The options are so much more open. "
Hard work pays off more than anything else. I truly believe that. You have to be good at what you do and love what you do, and that goes for men too. The industry itself is horrible, and chews people up and spits them out. Therefore, you truly have to find peace within and enjoy it.
My older brother is a great guitar player and there was always a guitar in the house. I started playing right handed, even though I was a lefty. I didn't take any lessons, but it was something to play with.

Amy Rankin, The Rankin Twins

I run all business/marketing decisions for the band and write the music as well as SING both lead and harmonies. My twin sister helps write music and runs the photography business we have.
I have a 2008 Breedlove Pro...she's my "purchase a NICE guitar so I'll play it more" purchase.
"OF course....the entertaining aspect is completely different, especially in the Tx Country category. Guys get on stage and it's a Party...girls have to capture the audience in a different way, unless your songs are all drinkin' songs.

We moved to Austin a year ago and started looking for band members and I posted ads on Craigslist....I noticed that when I put TWINS and a picture it generated more of a response....there are just so many artists here that setting yourself apart is imperative. "
It's honestly all about the perseverance and networking. Keep meeting people and if they like you they will promote you and so on and so on. You can't expect EVERYONE to like what you do but keep going after those that do.
I hung around some Tx Country musicians in college and a friend gave me a guitar for Christmas. I didn't play it until after college and then after a breakup decided to pick it up again and wrote my FIRST song.

Elana James, The Hot Club of Cowtown

My partner Whit Smith and I co-own the band. We met though an ad in the Village Voice in 1994 in the music classifieds. We both sing and he plays the guitar and I play fiddle and we have a bass player, Jake Erwin, who also sings. Whit and I sing lead about 50/50, we both write songs, and in the studio the band is set up pretty democratically--we collectively decide on the set list, the arrangements, etc. I tend to keep track of all the finances and almost all of the non-musical details, though, which I hope to graduate from soon. We also have a band assistant, whom I supervise, who takes care of stuff I can no longer bring myself to handle (advancing shows, web stuff, email, etc). But I write the checks and we are a very low-fi outfit.
I play the same violin I have had since I was about eight years old. It's a Mittenwald, which means it was made at the Mittenwald School which is on the border of Austria and Germany. It was made in 1962 and my mom was the original owner and handed it down to me. It's the only violin I have owned/that I play since being big enough to play a full-size violin. I play through an AER amplifier with no direct box. All my gear info is visible on my website and myspace page, if you want more info. I use Dominant strings and have six bows that I travel with at all times and get them rehaired often.
Oh yes! I am way more detail-oriented than most guys in bands, especially the guys in my band. I care about things that they simply don't. It's a strength and a liability. Sometimes being detail-oriented, or holding a buyer to the terms of a contract, or telling the tour manager what he needs to do differently, or talking with the label, or being clear with the agent about what you want and what you don't want--I am acutely aware that coming from a woman these things can sound bitchy rather than just "business." I understand it's important to temper your delivery to be more patient and compassionate, but often I just want to be direct, like a guy might be, but I think I have a little bit of a reputation for being difficult or bitchy because I know what I want and I think it's fair to ask for it. I went to Barnard, and grew up with a sister, so the idea of women somehow being a weaker gender, or less capable of heading a business has never occurred to me, but I know I need ongoing work in finessing the finer points, but I'm working on it:)
I think music is really a tight business these days. There's a huge element of it now that is DIY where you can just decide you're going to do it and away you go--you don't need a label or an agent or a manager or whatever--there are all sorts of ways to show up (digitally, in real life, whatever), and new, unconventional ways to be seen and to grow a fan base. But because of that, these days I think it would likely be hard to sit around smoking pot or being laccadaisical (sp??)--there is no substitute for working your butt off and making it happen. I think in the past there were more established people who could step in and take care of things--it's more of a free for all now, and you have to be very focused and stay the course. But some issues remain. I would love to have a kid, or even a family, and have not been able to figure out yet how to do that and how to keep touring and maintain my career--it's a puzzle, and likely not too different from what women tried to deal with 30 years ago.
"Sure! Eddie Stubbs, who hosts the Grand Ol' Opry told me one night when we were playing there and I was telling him I was kind of beat from all the touring we'd been doing lately and he said, ""Don't make yourself a martyr for country music, because country music sure isn't going to be a martyr for you."" Amen. Also, once I asked Mary Traverse (sp?) from Peter Paul and Mary if she had any advice for a female in a band with two guys and she said yeah. First, don't sleep with 'em! And if you DO, get over it, FAST! And that they may act all progressive and liberal, but when it comes to stuff like that, they're really not. Words to live by! Also Buck Owens told me to just keep doing what you're doing, don't worry about what everyone else is doing, so that when the tide turns and what you're doing becomes popular, you're right out there in front of it and just let it come and run you over (in a good way). Also got some good advice from Bob Dylan from three tours with him--more in the abstract--about just getting out there and doing it--I don't feel like he gives too much thought to some aspects of a show anymore, just the act of playing for people is sacred and a kind of spiritual practice of some kind.....

Re: advice I would give someone starting out? You have to want it--a relationship with music--pretty darned bad--to the point of single-minded obsession. There's a lot you're going to sacrifice, but if it's what you love, its going to be worth it. It's a reward unto itself, too--don't wait for some big payday that may never come. You need to come home from each tour, or wrap each record feeling like you did what you could do. That's all you can hope for. That and coming home with enough money to pay your bills. No one but you cares if you're in a band or not--if you're not satisfying yourself, it's not worth it. But when it's great, it's great!!"
I heard my mom playing it around the house when I was three and thought it would be fun.

Sara Bareilles

"In the band- I'm the boss. :) I'm the bandleader, songwriter, singer, girlfriend, best friend, and road mom. In the studio- I'm the artist. I'm the decision maker along with the producer, and I'm (hopefully) the visionary. I'm the one who's trying to articulate what's in my brain, and the one who's main purpose is to defend and communicate the essence of the songs. In business- I'm the product. I know that, and I hate that, but that's my reality. I've spent the better part of the last 4 years swallowing that very bitter pill. And honestly everything got easier once I stopped fighting it. "
Yamaha Piano at home, Yamaha Clavinova for touring, Shure Microphones, Martin acoustic Guitar and Ukulele, Epiphone Sheraton Electric Guitar, Fender Deluxe Guitar Amp, Fender Wurlizter. I love my gear. I love each piece like it's an actual extension of myself because essentially it is. I'm a songwriter and the instrument truly outlines where the writing goes.
ABSOLUTELY. It's infuriating. I am still learning how to deal with that. It unfortunately is assumed in most places in the music industry, that girls need coddling, and that can come in all different forms. It's incredibly easy to find people to tell you what to do, what to wear, what to say, what to look like, who to sound like, blah blah blah. Girls are scrutinized in a physical way first, then people listen to their musical voice. Boys can be fat and bald and assholes, while girls are punished for that. Not always, of course, but it is all too often assumed that we don't have a vision, or direction, or perspective. I have learned that the hard way. I had to have success before anyone would listen to me.
I see the young generation lacking a sense of direction that isn't image based. I want more Joni Mitchells, Tori Amoses, Joan Jetts, Janis Joplins. And I want to see more women feel empowered to be who they are at a younger age. There are a lot of fantastic examples of strong ladies out there but, like myself, I feel like we don't give ourselves permission until we are older. And it sucks that I just said older and I mean 30. I'm as lame as the rest of em.
"I would say to someone starting out two very important things: 1. speak your truth, and don't doubt that you have the instincts to lead you through this industry. We are encouraged to doubt ourselves and listen to a lot of opinions, but ultimately we are given the tools to guide ourselves. 2. Surround yourself with people you trust on a gut level. I'm not talking about getting a lawyer or a manager who's your best friend. But trust that they are honest, and they'll work hard for you. And do the same for them. If we have to listen to a lot opinions, they might as well be from someone we trust. "
It was accessible and my big sister played it growing up, so I think I started mostly as a copycat. But I fell in total and complete love with the piano. I never studied, but growing up, I spent every spare moment getting to know it. I'm still working on becoming a better player, but I play with passion and it is the perfect foundation for my first love, which is singing. I have been singing since I could talk, and it absolutely is one of my dearest friends. I feel like I know myself through music. It's like going to church. Except I don't go to church... so maybe it's a little bit different.

Kelly Ogden, The Dollyrots

Luis and I started the band together 10 years ago and have pretty much run it like a partnership. The songwriting is almost always a collaborative effort between the two of us and the rest of it is kind of tag team style. My main responsibilities revolve around the music, fan interaction, finances, merchandising, and maintaining business contacts. We have a management team, booking agent and Blackheart all working with us so a lot of what I do is make sure everyone is working together!
"I play a Gibson Thunderbird bass through a Mesa Boogie 400 head and 2x15 cabinet that I bought 8 years ago when I switched from guitar to bass. I also use a MXR Bass DI that really boosts my tone and has a nice distortion option too.

My favorite live mic is a Shure Beta 58.

That's pretty much it. I play rock n roll so... it's not too complicated. Although some people find a way to do it!"
"I think there is definitely something different about playing rock music as a woman. In other genres like pop, country, or even indie rock I think people more readily accept or even desire a female front person. But rock and roll is different. It's inherently sexual and about power in a way that makes some people a little uncomfortable when it's delivered by a woman. That said, there are women who have done it before me: Joan Jett, Kathleen Hannah, Courtney Love, and Janis Joplin just to name a few. But that's the thing... there are only a few and you can't deny that. I could easily list 100 successful make rock front dudes but that's not the case for women. I've never done things the easy way and I can't help but want to rock. Sometimes I'll wear a dress and sometimes I'll wear pants but I'll always do what I want and maybe people will like it. I'm almost happy now when I walk into a venue and get stopped by the door guy asking for my credentials. It's just great when he says, ""Hey, no girlfriends allowed in until after soundcheck."" I just smile and think, ""Oh, he'll see. He'll see."""
I absolutely think it's different for women of my generation. We've had some amazing women pave the way for us. I can't imagine being in this band in the 70's or even the 80's. At least I can say, "Well she did it. I can try!"
"When I first met Joan Jett, before we were signed to her label, I asked her about being a woman and doing this and she said to just focus on my craft and be myself. I think that's really all there is to it. It's just like anything else you want to do in life, you have do decide you're going to do it, work really hard and then go. To any young women just getting started I would impart the same advice, and remind them that it really doesn't matter what other people think if you're doing what you really believe in, as hard as that can be sometimes."
"Well I started off on acoustic guitar when I was going through my hippie phase in high school. I took a few lessons and tried to learn 'Scarborough Fair,' and felt pretty overwhelmed. I decided to ask Luis (Luis Cabezas, our guitar player) to help me lean some easier songs... that's when I learned about Hole, The Ramones, Nirvana, Bikini Kill, The Vaselines etc etc.

After high school and my new appreciation for music Luis and I went to a weird liberal arts college (New College) and started a joke band. It wasn't long before the bass player quit I had to pick up bass and singing. I had only played rhythm guitar and sung back-up at that point. That joke band became our real band and we moved to Los Angeles to live the dream. And now I'm performing at SXSW for the fifth time!"

Fay Davis-Jeffers, PIT ER PAT

Well, now there are just two of us. We collaborate on everything.
Nord Electro 73, Roland EP30, 71 Guild Natureboy, Fender Twin, black four piece found trapkit, various pedals.
I think that's a bit like asking a twin what it's like to be a twin. I did grow up in a music community that was predominately men, and I was conscious of that, being surrounded by men, but I'm not sure what the difference is. I've never played with women before. I just wanted people to hear me as a musician, not a female-musician.
You can only make one dot at a time. (from Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies)
I just play whatever feels like I need to, whatever I'm being drawn to.

Jan Seides

Since I'm a solo act, I'm the leader, the agent, the publicist, etc. My husband, Andy Murphy, is a recording engineer and a great producer. He produced my first two CDs. The third one is self-produced, and we're still making decisions about how the fourth one will come about.
Taylor guitar (410 CE), Kurzweill K 1000 keyboard.
Absolutely, there's a difference, though I'm going to have to fumble through the explanation. I think that there is more expectation that a woman will choose between her art and, for example, family, in much the same way as there used to be an expectation that a woman would choose between career of any sort and family. That seems to be far less true for me. Also, there is a difference in the degree of acceptance. The moment for me was when I read that both male and female audiences overwhelmingly preferred male music performers. Many of my songs are directed at women, so that was a bit of a blow.
My take is that the younger generation isn't afraid of being flamboyant, exuberant, sexy. My generation was far more subdued. I think the difference began with the punk rockers. In my generation the model was Joni Mitchell, who though brilliant, was subdued and "feminine". Now that model is Lady Gaga and Beyonce. In between was Tina Turner, Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith .
"Oh yes. That advice was to do my homework before doing any deals. Don't shirk finding out as much as you can about the situation, and if you don't understand it, ask questions. Or pay someone to take that responsibility, if you can't.

As far as advice about making music, the best advice I've gotten is to remember that it's about the audience, not about you. Try to be a blessing to your audience. "
Piano was where I started as a small child and is the most intuitive for me. I took up guitar in my teens, mostly because it's portable, but also because I loved the sound. Now I've been playing long enough that I'm almost as familiar with a guitar neck as I am with a keyboard.

Talia Sekons, The Lost Pines

I am in charge of my band. I do all the booking, promotion and management, write some of the songs and make all the logistical decisions. I am also the front-person.
Collings d2h guitar, sm58 mic, red eye pre-amp
"When I realized that the band (5 guys and me) wouldn't get anywhere unless I took charge.

"Don't give up your guitar to an arrogant guy in a song circle...they might just not give it back! It gets boring seeing only guys on stage. People love to see talented women up there, so and having a woman in a band in a sure way to stand out. Don't be intimidated by guys who have been playing a lot longer than you have. Learn from them. Chances are, if you are excited about learning and actually work at it, you will find many people willing to teach you/jam with you. Also, host jam sessions with players who are better than you are but whom you feel comfortable playing in front of. This way, you can feel comfortable in your own space and can learn a lot more than you might showing up at a jam where you might feel intimidated."
it's easy to pick up and take a guitar with you wherever you go, especially the porch, and I wanted to be able to accompany myself when I sing

Vanessa Silberman aka Diamonds Under Fire

In Diamonds Under Fire I make all the decisions. In the studio I'm very hands on with arrangement, production & the whole vision. I take on the role of singing & playing most of the instruments but will also sometimes get a friend or session player to help out. For business & marketing I like to consult my manager, we bounce ideas off of each other which is great but ultimately I make the final decision.
Gibson & Epiphone guitars, Fender Deville combo amp, Boss overdrive & distortion pedals, Ernie Ball strings (Skinny top, heavy bottom), Dunlop guitar picks, & audix OM5 vocal mic.
I think in 2010 being a woman & musician compared to being a man & a musician is a lot easier than it used to be. I am so thankful for female musicians like The Runaways, The Go Gos, Patti Smith, Hole, L7, Pj Harvey, & Tegan & Sara to name a few who have helped pave the way & have opened so many doors for other female musicians like myself.
I don't really see many differences between generations of women musicians -- I think it's probably easier for female musicians presently as audiences are more accepting and supportive. There are also so many more female musicians now.
Navigating through the music industry can be daunting & a lot of it is trial & error. I was lucky & fortunate enough to have met my music manager early on & the honest advice she has given me about the business has been very valuable. Having people around you who don't sugar coat things & who support your creativity in the right way is important. Working with people who nurture your art but don't kiss your butt for you makes you a better artist. My advice to any female musicians & artists first starting out is to try & develop your own opinion/style/sound. Write as many songs as you can & tour. Don't follow trends, be yourself, respect yourself & let the music do most of the talking.
I chose to sing so I could say how I feel & the guitar is great for accompanying those vocals.

Katy, Peggy Sue

We are quite democratic although I am often the organiser. We all make decisions together in the studio and about business stuff. We have an influence over marketing decisions but our manager and record labels have most control - we are signed to indie labels that we trust to make good choices though.
A cheap black electro-acoustic guitar and a Fender telecaster thinline
"I think the fact that we are a 3 piece with 2 girls has softened the blow of a strongly male dominated industry but we still often find ourselves stupidly outnumbered. When females are doing well in music it is often seen as a trend or referred to in that way which means that it is passing and that what is popular will soon return back to males as though that is the equilibrium. Although a lot of journalism is lazy, I think female musicians bear the brunt of that to a greater extent - we have been compared to most current successful female musicians at some point or another and the fact that it is even possible to do that is worrying.

I think that with our generation there is less of an element of rebellion in being a female musician, it is seen less as woman breaking into a mans world - although the balance is still woefully off. There is a level of support amongst our female peers that is noticable but I don't know whether that existed in previous generations, probably it did in certain circles.
Don't be overwhelmed by all the boys, use it to your advantage. Have a list of influences to throw back at a journalist who compares you to a musician just because she is a woman it will be intensley satisfying.
Singing because I was good at it. Guitar probably because I think its cool. Everything else I play - the accordian, ukulele, percussion - is usually because there is one lying around or because its needed in a song.

Jennifer Leonhardt

"The one constant- I have collaborated with lots of different artists but all decisions about the music are mine. Amazing advisors by way of who I collaborate with, like producers and other songwriters and musicians. All marketing such as it is is also my arena."
"Composite Acoustics Pro X acoustic-electric guitar; Yamaha acoustic; Roland keyboard; nameless violin; Pedal rig; Fender tube amp"
"Only like day and night. Same as in life, there are the same things to prove or disprove or in my case ignore: the age question or the sexiness question or using some trickery to ""sell"" the music. I'm kind of anti-image, un-sell-y, about the music. I generally find that as far as managers, agents, PR people-they want something easily referential w women musicians that makes it a ""hot ticket"" and I feel like music speaks for itself and I don't need a reason or a selling point to put it over. The moment for me that I realized it was going to be very different as a woman (apart from a crazy amount of harrassment) was when I had booking people be all excited to book me until they discovered there was a couple songs on my first album that had"" language"" in them and suddenly they didn't want to book me in venues where families might attend or some such. You don't expect some white girl with an acoustic guitar to be saying F U C K like a rapper and know which shows not to sing that tune ;) Unless she's purring the word like the awesome tune by Jenny Owens Young. "
"Of course stylistically influences of peer groups but mostly I find women musicians are looking to support each other and so go looking for commonality. I adore the themes of individuality that women from Laura Nyro to Feist and PJ Harvey to Peaches are encompassing. It's tough to insist on individuality in an industry that is meantime looking to pimp you out."
"Not per se, it was just always a domain people in my family belonged to, music. The industry was an outgrowth of that not the other way around. My parents just taught us to think critically and for ourselves. My advice would be to be completely committed to your own reality and your own perspective, and to be prepared to go it alone if need be."
"Just to accompany singing, and only got as good at instruments as was needed to accompany! "

Leslie Stevens, Leslie and The Badgers

I am the principle songwriter and band leader. We make the important decisions as a band and the song arrangements are collaborative. When it came time to record “Roomful of Smoke” in the Studio, I fought the fights to get the details straightened out.
"Gibson Acoustic Blues King, Saw from Home depot. Alvarez Classical guitar. Mexican Telecaster, Princeton Amp Nineteen Sixty Twoooooo! Fender Twin Reverb Amp, Nineteen Seventy Six."
"Firstly, no interviewer has ever asked me this and the answer is a resounding, yes. There is no doubt in my mind that it’s different. It’s different being a woman in many industries. The culture of musicians however is male dominated. The vast majority of engineers, producers, sound engineers, are male. The majority of the leadership roles are male.

I think that there is so much discrimination against women by men and that there is a good deal of misogyny among women themselves. I think we are blind to it a bit because as a culture we see a member of a group as a natural advocate for that group and that is simply not reality. Nothing about being a woman makes you an advocate for women as a group. "
Not so much.
"Don’t apologize for yourself. It’s good to want your vision to exist.

A couple of friends and I formed a group in Los Angeles of female songwriters and we meet about once a month to play and critique songs and we support each others art. This has been really helpful to me as an artist.

I know I was raised to prioritize others choices. I think a lot of women I know were raised in a similar way, so being aware of that, and giving your ideas and choices their weight and value without apologizing is important. While selflessness is a wonderful quality in men or in women, I think it is helpful to be assertive to be able to achieve an incredibly difficult goal like the completion of a record with a vision behind it. It won’t exist exactly like it did in your mind, someone told me that once, and I have found it to be true, but you might get close."
"The piano was picked for me, the guitar I picked for myself. I come from a fortunate household and I was raised playing the piano and reading Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers and I was to have a coming out party as a debutante when I was old enough. But I didn’t end up becoming a debutante. When I asked for a guitar, I was eventually given my mother’s old guitar (a useless prop from her hippy days). Once I got strings I couldn’t make it sound right. So I ended up getting my first guitar from a boyfriend years after that. So it took a long time to get to a guitar.

The guitar itself represents a sort of independence or freedom. It is actually physically freeing, you can take it anywhere you can play it alone, even on the roof and you can’t take the piano on the roof. So the guitar leant itself to private musings and freedom just by virtue of the physicality of it.

And then in my mind if you played the guitar you could say whatever you wanted and do whatever you wanted to do. Joni Micthell, Bonnie Raitt seemed so self possessed- K.D. Lang, these icons were not going to bow down as debutantes to a man wearing a veil. (That’s what you do at the debutante ball in my hometown, you submit by bowing down to a guy in a veiled disguise. You can google it. The VP ball, Saint Louis MO. It’s 2010 and young women bow down, some of the debutantes lay down completely submissive on their bellies, to a stranger, and I don’t think I like that.)"

Vanessa Lively

"I am the singer/songwriter and front person in the band. I perform quite a few shows either solo or as a duo with my husband Jason. Then we have a band for our larger venues and events.

In the studio, I always have a large role in producing, recording & mixing the albums alongside my husband. We work as a team. I tell him my ideas and vision and we will collaborate. I feel that I lend more on the artistic, creative side, and he has more of a handle on all the technical sides.

The same goes for business and marketing. I do a lot of the footwork myself in this area, and am the primary person responsible for getting it all done, but my husband is always there to help with these projects and give his input on our business & marketing plans. We really work well as a team with all of this."
I own two Alvarez Acoustic guitars, a Kustom PA system, vocal mics & stands, cables, etc. I have percussion instruments (mostly shakers) from around the world. My husband, who plays with me, owns a charango from Bolivia, a few guitars & a bass.
"Yes. Definitely. There are a lot more men in the music community and business, and I feel that they dominate the field. I also feel that somehow they are taken a bit more seriously and treated differently, but it is not something that I personally feel too affected by. I just see it around me. The one thing that I do feel I have to battle is getting people to get past their initial judgements on female singer/songwriters. I have heard folks say that it is all so sappy and whiny, without much content. I couldn't disagree more. I have seen so much variety of content and sound and style just in my immediate community of singers & songwriters. Each women comes from a different walk of life, has a different history and different ways of expressing themselves. I think that one thing that does set us apart is we might tend to dive a little deeper into some heartfelt or touchy subjects that might not be covered by as many men.

I lived in South America for a while and I have never felt the division between men and women so strongly as I did when I was there. Music was a big part of my life during that time, and I can feel these surroundings having an effect on my music at that time. And when I returned to the United States and decided to pursue music, I did feel a certain sense of pride and freedom being able to pursue my dream, as a women, and say what I want to say. Exactly how I need to say it. I have since surrounded myself with amazing women in all areas of music & music business, and also participate in a monthly meeting of women here in Austin, TX called WIMPS, which means Women In Music Professional Society. It is really a joke because all the women are so incredibly strong and driven. I have learned so much from these gatherings and gained so many new friendships.

If anything, I feel now that being a woman can actually open more doors for me and create stronger bonds with my peers. I want to celebrate it and not focus too much on how it might hold me back."
"Yes, I do. I feel that in the past, women had to work really hard just to be taken seriously, and this is as recent as the 60s and 70s here in the United States. If you were singing about real life and real issues, you had to make quite a stink and really blow people away in order to be noticed. And I feel that for my generation, we had some really great women musicians to look up to and follow in their footsteps, such as Ani DiFranco, Tori Amos, Tracy Chapman, The Indigo Girls, Sarah McLaughlin, and many many more. These women really got their music out there and even under record labels, remained independent and had control over their own creative and artistic ideas.

I feel greatly inspired by all of these artists, and am continuing to find more women who inspire me now. I am also grateful that I live in this time because in the past it might have been even more frowned upon if you didn't decide to stay home and raise a family. Artists always have to struggle with these choices, especially touring musicians. It is very hard to lead a ""normal"" life and do what we do. But nowadays, all norms are shifting and all people are opening up to living life in a different way, so the choice is not so hard, and I feel that our friends and family are very supportive in most cases. In the past, this probably was not the case."
"Oh my goodness, so many people have given me advice in this area. I am so fortunate to live in Austin where we have many resources at our fingertips and we are surrounding by working musicians everywhere, so there is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom all around. You just have to ask.

As far as some people who really helped me out, I feel that my friend Danny really helped me know how to approach this life and what things I needed to do in order to move forward. And my two very close friends that I met in South America, Stefan & Dave Pope, really gave me some great tips and ideas in regards to my music and how to grow. They also played a huge role in my first album, which was recorded in Ecuador. Then also continued to play that role on my second album, since we recorded it at their home in England. I now feel that I am beginning to get a hold of everything and I am ready to step out on my own even more, but I am constantly relying on the support and advice from my peers.

What I would say to a woman musician just starting out is this: If you know in your heart that this is what you want to do, and you fully accept all the difficulties that come along with this choice, then just go for it no matter what. Always remember to be willing to grow and expand and get better in all areas that you can, and learn to take critiques well. And beyond that, follow your heart and know that you can achieve anything that you set your mind and your heart to. Most importantly, have faith in yourself and in life helping you out. Be confident and know that you have something unique and wonderful to offer. And never be too shy or scared to ask for help and advice. It is how you move along and how you learn."
"My mom owned a guitar growing up and played it a bit here and there, mostly for her school, the church or weddings. She loved to sing, and we would sometimes sit and sing Beatles songs together.

The guitar feels like a universal instrument. It is played all over the world. You can take it with you wherever you go. I don't know how many times I have sat around a campfire and swapped songs with strangers, who through the night became friends. It is a communal activity and feels beautiful."

Rebecca Pidgeon

"I am a solo artist and so I'm the writer and lead singer. I do have a band that I regularly play with, who back me up. They are fantastic. I play acoustic guitar, and I have a lead guitarist on electric guitar, a drummer and a bass player. In the studio I work closely with a producer. I work closely with my manager, publicist and publisher in business and marketing decisions."
I have two Collings acoustic guitars and a neuman mic
I think one big difference is of course that women have babies, and are usually the primary care parent of the family. This means that a woman must stay much closer to home for a good chunk of time, and might not have the same freedom to tour etc, that their male counterparts have. A life on the road and raising a family don't mix.
"I think that of course there are differences in style between the generations of women musicians. Songwriting changes as perspective does. I think the younger generation of women are not carrying the torch of feminism quite so prominently, simply because they just expect more equality that has already been won for them by the older generation. In a business sense, now that the music industry is changing so much, I think artists both male and female are expecting to be much more involved in the business of making, owning and marketing their material. Artists are being forced to be more independent, and more inventive about how to get their music out there. It's much harder to get a record deal for example, but much easier to make your own record, and there's always a chance it will catch on on the internet."
I don't think I heard any more valuable advice than persistence is all. Stick with it, even when you don't feel like it, and something (even the unexpected) will come of it.
I chose to play the guitar because it was the instrument that seemed easiest to write on. At the time I was writing with another musician who played the guitar, and I did not. My then boyfriend bought me a guitar of my own, and so I started to learn. I am self-taught. One of these days I'm thinking of taking lessons!

Catherine MacLellan

I'm the leader. They are my songs, my records. I make all creative decisions. Marketing and business decisions are made between me and the record label.
I play a vintage gibson j45 acoustic guitar. that's about it.
"At times there is no difference. But sometimes is is clear that we aren't regarded with the same respect as men. Often, even though I'm the leader, soundguys and promoters automatically ask my band members (all men) where we want things, how we want things, etc. It makes me feel like they think I have no voice. I've been in this situation countless times, I can't remember the very first time. Also, there is often a pay difference between me and my male peers. And they always ask me first if I'll change my set time or whatever if something unexpected comes up. Perhaps because, as a women, they think I might mind less than the men. It's very strange."
"The best advice I've ever been given is just to be myself and to remain myself. Don't let the music business change you. I would pass that on to anyone. For women in particular, I would say learn everything you can about the creative and business sides of music. The more you know, the less people can get away with or push you around. Also, as a band leader it is important to learn the language of music and sound technicians so that you can lead your players and and be the person who directs the soundperson. Then you get what you want, not what others think you want."
It was the most appealing to me when I was 14 and I learned all my first songs on the guitar.

Emma Anzai, Sick Puppies

I'm in a 3 piece band, play bass and sing, I started the band with my singer and we all collaborate in the studio etc. In terms of business we have our manager Paul Stepanek.
I play Warwick basses ( Streamer stage 1 ) and I play through Ampeg Amps ( SVT Classic through 8 x 10 Cabinets)
Yes it's definitely different.Firstly it's not really expected for a woman to be in a band and play an instrument so when you go out there people always find it unusual.Secondly it's a mostly male environment and for a woman to be able to work and feel comfortable in that environment can be a challenge at times because being a touring musician isn't just a job it's a way of life, you're living on a bus (Very close quarters) with 7 or 8 other guys and that something you have to get used to in your own way.After touring for a couple of years you get to know yourself more and also the people around you and you learn your thresholds and limits and find a good balance, I found that because I am a woman I needed different things, I tend to need more time to myself so the bus bunk comes in very handy!!
I'd say that women musicians these days (because of the economy and how the industry is in recent times) need to be more thick skinned and adaptable, you have to be cool with sharing buses, rooms etc and being able to think more like a guy to get by.
"Honestly there wasn't really one particular role model, however I did see lots of bands doing the hard yards and working their butts off to get their band heard and out there, that was inspiring.Our manager Paul Stepanek was also a person that helped us/me to not lose sight of what I was doing when things got tough, he inspired me to keep pushing forward.I also didn't pay much attention to the fact that I was a girl trying to make it in this industry that was mainly paved for guys. The one thing I never lost sight of was the dream, everyone has one and mine was to be successful in music and practicing the bass like there was no tomorrow so if that meant being the only girl, that was fine by me. The one thing I say to girls that ask me for advice when starting out is to NEVER listen to anyone telling you that you can't do it and always listen to your heart."
"I played guitar at first and learned the basics on it however when I met my singer in high school he actually played guitar as well so in order to start a band I moved over on to bass. It turned out to be the for the best! I love how bass is a mixture of drums and guitar, a mixture of rhythm and melody."

Chris Humphrey

"In The Annoying Instrument Orchestra, I am pretty much just an instrumentalist (with some harmony vocals from time to time). Decisions are made as a group.

In Heralds and Minstrels, I am also a multi-instrumentalist, but I am more active in promoting the band."
I use an ancient Conn bassoon; a Buffet Crampon A Clarinet built in 1905; an old metal Bb clarinet. I use a cheap medieval hurdy gurdy and an expensive French style baroque hurdy gurdy built in Hungary. I play a custom made agave LOW Bb didgeridoo, a LOW B didgeridoo made from eucalyptus by an aboriginal artist, and a cheap plastic didj in the key of D. My recorders are mid to professional range. I have a Yamaha keyboard that I use for work at home, but I need a stage keyboard. I have a ceramic dumbek and an assortment of ethnic drums and percussion instruments. I make some of my own percussion instruments from bone and wood. I have an Eb sousaphone that I'm learning at the moment, but I haven't played it with the band yet.
At the age of 60, things look a lot different than they did when I was 30. In my thirties (the 1980s), I felt I had to put my music on hold in order to raise my family. It was only after my children were grown that I felt free enough to do music again. Even today I think it would be difficult to try to balance children and the life of a musician.
I think today's generation of women musicians are a lot more savvy than previous generations. There are more resources available to everyone, regardless of gender -- for example, classes on business strategies for artists, health support organizations for artists,etc.
No one gave me any advice. I'm still re-inventing the wheel for myself, learning as I go. If I were to mentor a woman musician just starting out, I would ask her, "is this something you HAVE to do?" Because if it is, she'll know it. And if it is, then I would encourage her to put her work out there, to make as many contacts as she can, to set herself some concrete goals and to stay focused on them rather than all the distractions, promises and lies that will come her way.
Playing a large number of instruments adds tonal color and variety to the music I play in my bands and also gives me a versatility that makes me hire-able for freelance projects.

Leanne Macomber. Neon Indian

I am tour mom. I make sure no one dies at gigs. I make sure we leave on time and that all my boys have beer on stage. On stage I hop around like a fool. In The studio I am writer but admit I know nothing about gear. That's my biggest failing.
I own multiple guitars but my toy keyboard collection is my real pride and joy. I own tons of casios. My best piece though is not a toy but a Juno 6 synth. eBay.
Everday. I am often asked if I am traveling with the band or the bands manager or someones wife. The oddest was being mistaken for the bands makeup artist...? Like I have the job of making three 20 year old boys look like they haven't slept or showered in three months??!
I wish I had some older women to discuss this with. To stereotype I guess women have busted out of the lead vocalist role. More of us are bassists and lead guitarists than ever I would assume.
You must proove you're a superhero to be taken as an equal (to your male counterparts). Put all of your energy into what you love. be kind to all. Play every note with authority and conviction. If people still think Youre pretty good for a girl or you're eye candy or that you must be dating someone in the band you've probably made it.
Keyboards are the most avaiable and the funnest and most versitile.

Margo Timmins

Little Sister in all three places. I give advice when I think its necessary.
"Live Mic - Shure, KS79 Recording Mic - Milab, can't remember the number Mic Stand - Hercules, grip lock Inner Ears - Ultimate Ears, UA10s Side Table Flowers"
Most definitely. The music business is a man's world. When I tour, I am always out numbered by men. Their talk, their play, their needs, what is important to them is totally different from me and I am constantly trying to find a balance between my needs and theirs. I believe, at least with the men I work with, that they are not trying to make it difficult or that they are even trying to get it their way, it is just that they don't understand the importance of my needs because they are not theirs. I also believe that when a woman asserts herself or is in control she is labeled one of many labels, which can makes it harder. No one wants to be labeled. As far as a moment that made that difference clear, well, there are too many moments a day that make it very clear.
I believe the problems are the same for every generation of women, past, present and future, because I believe it is based on the fact that are needs are totally different and that won't change. However, I do believe that we have it easier than the women in the past because we have more rights, we have stronger voices and we are not as intimidated by the labels. I hope that the women in the future will face less labels and that an understanding of our differences will be more accepted and therefore a the balance will be found more easily. I also hope there will be more woman in the business not just as musicians but as crew, managers etc..
I got a lot of good advice by many people. I suppose my advice would be to find your voice. Don't expect anyone to know what it is you need or to understand why you need it, but to let them know by telling them. Touring is a very difficult way to make a living, its hard on your body, your mind, your partners, mostly your children. It demands a lot to find the balance in all things, but it is very worth it.
Its easy.

Datri Bean, Minor Mishap Marching Band and Datri Bean

"In my main project, simply called by my name, Datri Bean, I am the songwriter, band leader, and arranger. I co-produced my most recent album, Ruby (due out August 2010). I handle all business and marketing decisions, booking and promotion.

In my other project- Minor Mishap Marching Band - a 25 piece renegade marching band - I am the bandleader, composer, arranger, conductor and play melodica and accordion. In this project I also handle all business aspects of the band including booking, promotion and graphic design."
An upright piano I bought when I was twenty. A soprano Lanakai ukulele, and a small light weight Titan accordion. For gigs where no piano is available I bring a full size, weighted key, Yamaha keyboard.

One of the most common comments I hear from the Minor Mishap Marching Band audience is that they are inspired to see a woman in such a powerful role. I am conducting a leading a 25 piece band of mostly men. I am composing for the group; I am making most business decisions. People love to see a woman in charge of such an ambitious musical project, mostly because it is so rare to see women in the roles of conductor, leader, and composer. (By the way, our entire low brass section is also composed of all women!)"
"Yes. A lot of the female musicians we know from past generations, were vocalists- not instrumentalists, not writers, certainly not band leaders. Even if they could do these things, they were relegated to the role of vocalist with a pretty face, and not allowed to show their other musical abilities. For example, Charo was a really good classical guitarist- but the industry quickly took her out from behind the guitar and had her dancing instead. Very few people know her as anything but a flashy performer and pretty face.

As time passes women are integrating themselves into more roles. Many more of my peers are staying behind the guitar, drum kit, bass and making their own business and creative decisions."
Life is not a dress rehearsal. You aren't preparing for some big change or event to happen- your life and your music are not in the future. Whatever you are doing right now is what you are doing. With that in mind, do it for yourself. Try to do it in a balanced, healthy way.
"Our neighbors across the street were moving to Saudi Arabia (he was a medical doctor interested in working with underprivileged populations abroad) and they gave us their piano. I started playing on it immediately; I was 5. I remember trying to write at that age as well, though it took me quite a few more years to learn to write songs. My piano teacher taught me classical music, but I was obsessed with an old Scott Joplin record my mother had and would listen to it all the time. I feel like my music now is a quirky fusion of classical technique and a love for the earthier, sassier sounds and rhythms of early jazz.

In my adult life, I picked up the ukulele, mostly due to its prevalence in the popular music of the 1920's. I find writing with the ukulele and its sweet delicate sound inspires some of my most vulnerable work. I also leads me to whistle in public.

I taught myself to play the accordion within the last few years. I love Klezmer music and French chanson, and accordion is a good entrance into both genres."

Becky Ninkovic, You Say Party! We Say Die!

lead singer in the band and studio.
shure 58 microphone
i don't think there should be a difference as far as equal treatment is concerned. but i think the world still treats women in music differently. often times our band is described using words that i think are inappropriate in this day and age. people (writers, critics) often use comparisons to other female artists in ways that i find are inappropriate and aren't used with men in music.
yes and it mostly reflects the times. it is very interesting to observe the differences between generations and to observe what is happening with women in music now. there seem to be a lot of strippers making their way into the business now.
lots of valuable advice to share. to learn the balance to protect yourself at the same time as you share yourself. hold your own, do not listen to critical voices, do not give them power. be authentic, always true to yourself. we are all in this together like sisters who share in the same love of music and art and self and light and soul and fashion and self expression, etc.... all these things together. at this point, in this generation, it isn't about being original anymore. if people are focussed on originality then there will always be competition there. almost everything has been done, but authenticity is golden and we all have an abundance of authentic energy to share with one another and the world.
i always loved to sing and dance and play dress up since i was a little girl.

Suzanna Choffel

I am the sole songwriter of the band, though I have had some help from my bassist with co-writing recently. I am the band leader, and have to direct everything in my business and with my band because basically it is "Suzanna Choffel", though my band members all contribute a lot to the creative process of the songs and how they morph and change on stage. I have a manager, but it really is up to me to drive the train.
Creamy Yellow Epiphone Wildcat Electric Guitar, Tweed Peavey Classic 30 remod with vintage tubes, Carbon Copy delay pedal, Supa Trem tremolo pedal, EV ND/367 vocal microphone
Of course there is a difference, just as there is a difference in any field of work. I think women approach music quite differently than men because we think and feel and process things quite differently from men. But that's just the creative process, which is a personal and unique experience for anybody. In the business-functioning part of music, I think women may get coddled a bit more than men. I think sometimes people notice your appearance first and then your music because as woman, we are constantly being physically scrutinized and judged. We have always been objects of beauty. But that happens every second of every day in any field of work. You just have to get past it and put your work out there for people to take in and know that if it's good enough people will notice that and not just your ass or your legs. One thing that strikes me lately as I get ready for a performance is just how much more time it takes for a female performer to get ready for a show than a male. Seriously, I know there are some male performers who do groom themselves a lot before a show, but they're few and far between, whereas most female performers I know put on the makeup, the whole nine yards of an outfit, fix their hair, and just look good! I think the pressure is different for women to look better or prettier or just more "done up" on stage than a man. (And some of it is just conditioned grooming-we just want to look good). This week's SXSW Fest was a perfect example- I saw so many dudes on stage in t-shirts and jeans and tennis shoes and so many hot chicks with awesome outfits/dresses/boots and hair, great makeup, etc. It's just funny that's all. It takes me 10 times as long to get ready for a show than most of my men musician friends. Honestly, I feel like I perform better when I feel sexy, beautiful and confident about how I look.
Definitely. A lot of it has to do with the changing nature of the music business. I think there are differences between generations of men musicians too in this regard. I think women musicians these days have it a bit easier than women musicians from generations past simply because it isn't regarded as such a strange, taboo thing now for a woman to be a musician. Also it seems that there is more collaboration between female musicians these days whereas in the past I think woman were a bit more protective of their "claim" in the music industry, so maybe there was a bit more exclusivity in their worlds. I constantly have other female musicians reaching out to me and I reach out to others' to help each other, to advise, to collaborate. I think it's a bit more friendly now because it's one big open field where it used to be a bit more divided by degrees of success. Also there are just more female musicians now to reach out to, whereas in years past it was such a male-run thing, it seemed like maybe you were just surrounded by male musicians, businessmen, etc.
I've received lots of love and advice and reassurance from many female musicians in my life. We have to keep nudging each other to keep our heads up. Women have shared their experiences with me on lots of different things inside this crazy business. I would basically say to any woman musician just starting out, don't let your male buddies have too much sway or control over you, because at the end of the day you are a different animal and need to do things your own way. Keep doing what you do the strongest and best way you know how and if you put your best foot forward and stay positive, good things will happen.
"I sang from an early age because it came naturally and I loved it. It was very innate. Guitar was something i gravitated to as a teenager in the 90s when the female singer-songwriter trend hit hard with Sheryl Crow, Sara McLaughlin, Jewel, etc etc. I already played piano and wrote many songs on my Casio keyboard, but I wanted to rock it standing up with a guitar strapped to me. Plus I got into Bob Marley and wanted to make those funky, percussive sounds that he and Peter Tosh played on the guitar. It was easy to sit in bed all day writing songs on guitar and learning others' songs, whereas with the keyboard/piano I usually had to be in a different room. I liked the intimacy the guitar offered me. And I just enjoy hitting strings."

Debi Nova

I am a solo artist and very much involved in the creative process. Every single song starts with me and thanks to the help of collaborators and producers makes it to the finish line. I love playing with other musicians and writing with other writers but the end product most always represent something that's very me. In the Studio I love to be hands on and oversee every little step from tracking, to mastering. As far as the business aspect of it I tend to be a little more laid back about it, it's definitely not my strongest suit. Nevertheless I am very careful to do only the things that won't jeopardize my integrity as an artist.
"Keys: In the Studio and on the Road Yamaha S90XS and MO6. At home Yamaha upright piano. Favorite acoustic guitar: Cordoba Nylon String. Electric: Danelectro."
Yes I think it's different to be a woman musician than a man and a musician but it's not something dramatic, more like the subtle differences that naturally occur between males and females in general. I guess the only thing I've felt is that as a woman I've had to prove myself just a little more on the instrument. Most of the writers, musicians and producers that I've worked with have encouraged me to play as much as possible whether it be for recording the album or on stage, and in the cases that they saw me just as a singer I would just grab a guitar or sit on the keys and start playing. Nothing speaks louder than action. No specific instances recalled.
Absolutely. I think women musicians in the new millennium can use the element of sexuality to their favor without jeopardizing their credibility as talented musicians. It seems like most of the female musician/artists in the nineties played down their sexuality a bit. Most of them wore oversized, manly clothes and didn't use much make-up. It was almost as though the less girly they looked the more people would respect their playing, with exceptions of course. Nowadays things are different, women are not afraid to embrace their sexual appeal and they actually use it to complement their playing.
The 3 P's have always resonated with me: Patience, Practice and Perseverance. I'll add to that "Believe in yourself", "Focus on the work" and "don't forget to enjoy it". That's the best advice I've received and that's what i would tell any artist starting out.
I didn't have much choice with the Piano... at 4 yrs old my mom had all do with it, but after years of torturous classical lessons I finally fell deeply in love with it. The guitar came almost as a rebellion to my classical piano education, I was dying to play rock and roll and play in bands; and the bass was solely because of Me'shell Ndegeocello. I remember listening to her album Peace Beyond Passion at 14 and thinking "this is the coolest thing I wanna play bass"

Terri Hendrix

I'm 100% independent. Back in 1997, I released a CD called "Two Dollar Shoes." No one would sign me. I brought it out myself and made over twenty thousand dollars by the end of the summer. All the labels that turned me down are now out of business. "No," was the best thing that ever happened to my career. That said, I have a team that helps me. Lloyd Maines is a business partner that helps make decisions. He also tours with me and helps me in the studio. It's a team effort here.
"Boss Tuner Baggs Preamp Volume Peddle Boss Chorus Peddle Special 20 Harps I collect vintage harmonicas from Germany (too many to count) Collings Guitar OM Tacoma Papoose Tacoma Mandolin Baritone Mandolin Tradition Electric Guitar Gibson Dreadnought Guitar Takamine 6 and 12 string Keyboard Sure Beta 57 and 58

Yes, I do. I think that as a woman, you can get away with far less on that stage as well as on a recording. I've seen and heard men that do not sing very well, and yet they do quite well here in Texas. It's all attitude. But for women, you have to be at this higher level. And even women that flat kill it on their instruments, are not written up for their prowess. A good example of this, would be the Dixie Chicks. That said, the new wave of women coming out of Texas are amazing. Look at Sarah Jaroz. When a level is set high, you must reach for it. This makes you a better musician. And yes, there was a moment that made a difference clear for me. Many years ago, I determined that I was going to not only play, but perform on the same stages as men and at the same level. I don't see race or genre. If folks who book me do, I can not help them. That's out of my control. To this day, there are a few women who book music in Texas that get on my nerves. We need more forward thinking women in the industry who are talent buyers who will book based on musicianship and not on gender. What is in my control is to lift up other women, and encourage them to play an instrument and not just sing. Dress for the stage but sell your art and not your gender and you will have a long career.
I do. This "gender" thing will die off. As I write this to you, it is. The new generation is fearless. They are also fantastic. They keep me on my toes for sure. They will have my job if I don't practice. They seem to embrace musicianship. They seem more eager to learn to play. Let me add that women my age are coming back into the fold too. They are picking back up their instruments. I teach workshops. Attendance has more than doubled for women. Ten years ago, this was not the case.
Yes, the most valuable advice I ever received was be aware that you are a woman. Dress for the job. Watch your pants when you bend over. Watch your pants when you sit down. Watch your shirt when you bend over. Watch your skirt if you have to sit on a stool. This stuff might sound stupid, but it's important. Play your instrument. Never quit practicing. Tolerate nothing less than respect. Give others nothing less than respect. Don't cuss on stage. Don't gossip. Never talk trash about another woman. Buy as much music as you can ... both men and women. Own your own universe. All of these things were told to me by a female guitarist named Marion Williamson who passed away in 1997.
Mainly what was going to go over live. When I started playing, I was playing solo in redneck dancehalls. So, country blues like Mississippi John Hurt went over well. That was suited for acoustic guitar. Then, I fell for Sonny Terry and that brought on the harmonica. I like to shake it up live, so the different instruments add color to a show.

Wendy Colonna

I'm the band leader. I run the business and hire the band and work with various business partners on different releases. I'm the lead singer, composer and songwriter for most of the material we perform. I hire producers, direct the marketing and booking. At times, I'm sorta a one woman army with a lot of awesome angels around to help out.
"I own and play a Taylor 614 CE and on the road i travel with a telecaster and a CA guitar (Composite Acoustic) I also have an Ampeg Superjet Amplifier for the Tele"
In this day and age, it's challenging to survive in music for anyone. However, I do feel that being a woman can be limiting. Sadly, image can play a key role in a woman's success in music. Moreso than men. Men "mature" more gracefully in the public eye while women who grow older, gain weight or become mothers often lose their marketability. We also often don't get to join in the 'boys club' style networking that often happens and that sometimes can be a challenge. I have been inappropriately propositioned many times by club owners. I have been treated as property on several occasions and have often been patronized in business settings. However, I will say that we have a great opportunity to grow into even stronger, more amazing women in this process. Despite the odds, I do feel it is possible for a woman in the music business to defy the "whore" or "bitch" stereotype with steadfast dedication, boundaries, clear communication and confidence. It's just unfortunate that those stereotypes are often strikes against us before we begin.
"I think that all women who have made a career in music have made very hard decisions and sacrifices since the beginning of the entertainment industry. It's challenging to know that your career is likely to suffer or even end if you venture into motherhood. My grandmother was a singer in Trinidad in a troop who performed for the soldiers. They were a very well established act in the Islands and she had to retire in order to marry.

There have been amazing examples of women musicians in my mother's generation who found a way to balance their business and families and they are an inspiration to me.

Sarah McLaughlan and Ani Difranco were key mover in the generation of women before me, shifting the women in business/musician role paradigm. These women, their own ways were trail blazers for my generation.

My generation of women musicians have the challenge of becoming creative in terms of not only musical content, but business. In a world where the music business is often referred to as ""in shambles,"" we have an opportunity to participate in an entirely new paradigm of distribution and access. "
"I was signed at 19 to a label and had no clue what I was getting into. I wish there had been a mentor in my life at that time who could've shared with me the pros and cons and realities of having a career in music, but didn't. I have, though, over the years had some really amazing peers and mentors who have helped me to navigate through rough periods.

Advice for a woman beginning her career.

1. Don't make any decisions based in fear 2. Don't make any decisions out of haste (also fear) 3. Embrace what feels natural, don't try to become something you are not able to fully embody 4. Stay focused. 5. Practice. 6. Get plenty of rest and exercise and do healthy things to de-stress. There's a LOT of booze in this business and it can really become a work hazard if you're not careful 7. Check in at each stage in the game and make sure this is a labor of love. . ."
It was portable. I wanted to bring music everywhere I went as a teen. Singing has been a passion since grade school, so it was a no brainer to begin composing on guitar.


My role in my band is the lead vocalist. Whichever role is necessary for me in the studio as a solo artist, collaborating artist, etc. I perform that role. This is best decided depending on the music and artists involved. I am like the director in business and marketing. While my management handles the business and marketing of my music/work, all decisions, e.g. finals decisions, are made through a collective choice between me and my management whenever decision directions are made. I must have it this way, otherwise I am no longer the master of my destiny.
I use a microphone to rhyme and sing lyrics, therefore I am a lyricist. Fortunately, I have achieved the status of "Queen of Hip Hop" having worked with legendary artists including The Roots, Sweetback (Sade's band), the British band Morcheeba, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and many commercial / main stream artists. I am the female protegee of Gangstarr's Guru and have had a successful career as a female rapper in a male dominated genre of music in the industry.
Yes, being a woman musician, especially in the hip hop world of music, is definitely different from being a man. If you just take an obvious look at all of the male hip hop artists with commercial appeal and see that there is no equivalent to the number of women hip hop artists, you have the answer to your question there. There is low or no expectation for women to succeed in this genre of music outside of the hip hop sound being pop. Fortunately, I have been and continue to be blessed to have a strong voice in this genre of music and can rap/connect with the best - from Jay-Z to Kanye West and beyond. The moment that made a clear difference to me between men and women in the hip hop artists world is watching male hip hop artists that I nurtured before they became mainstream, surpass me in the commercial world and foregoing the reciprocation of this nurturing once cmmercial success was at hand for them. This does not imply that I am owed anything, simply that to do seemed the logical, natural progression considering the love that was shown.
The major difference between women from the late 80's until now, with the exception of maybe Sade, is a nurturing quality to their music. Women used to be more inspiring and loving rather than competitive and materialistic with their lyrics. Older generations, especially in soul, jazz, and R&B used to be family oriented, revolutionary, filled with pride, and loving. I think this has changed a GREAT deal.
The most valuable advice I have been given in this industry is to stay true to myself and honor my gut feelings about decisions. Although this advice was not followed early on, experience becomes your best teacher. Staying tight with your family, especially the mother, keeps you grounded despite what "industry" or people come your way. Decisions become clearer when you know yourself before going into the music business. Otherwise, it's an expensive and heartbreaking place to learn who you are. This is also the advice I would give any woman musician starting out in music, especially hip hop. Stay true to YOU even if that seems unpopular, unacceptable, invalid, or wrong. You are going to win and succeed in the end with perserverance, prayer, and talent.
My music as my life is a product of my environment. I also describe it as semi-intellectual, tapping into subjects of life, the psyche, and a representation of the ethnicity, culture and people of which I come and who I am.

Arran Murphy, Dark Room Notes

"my band is quite democratic, we all have the chance to take part in all decisions, though as in any any group of people there are some strong personalities that dont always agree and that can be quite hard to negotiate. Im in a band with three men and our manager is also male. my role in the band: in the studio: i am very involved in the creative process, we each write what we play but we write together, which is important for me as i need to be expressing myself within the music, not just playing what someone else has written, this is particularly important for me as i dont want to feel like i am just there for decoration. in business and marketing: I am less active in this side of things, we are consulted and our views are valued, but i dont at the moment creatively contribute much to this side of things."
three Synthesizers: MicroKorg, Roland 201, Korg Prophesy.
"Yes i definitely do. Its something I am thinkging about more and more. I feel a constant battle to be valued on the same terms. Because of commodification of the female body in contemporary culture, how a woman looks seems to be an integral part of how they are valued, i personally find this very difficult. I am still trying to figure out what to do about it, how to be a performer without playing into that but playing with it, and trying to break new ground, trying to provide an alternative, something I am only newly getting a handle on. Bork is definintley my hero in that respect. At a Yo La Tengo gig this year i over heard a guy saying female drummers are so sexy, it really annoyed me. It is part of a more universal issue, the interpretation of the world from the male perspective. I think it is changing but slowly. While female musicians are more and more common, the music world is still primarily male in my experience. I don't how many times i have been the only girl in room full of bands. Also just recently in this years SXSW, my band was being introduced in a circle of people, i had to actively include myself in the introduction as the people who we were being introduced to just presumed it was only the guys. i saw very few female musicians at that festival and any that i did, i felt that we should be playing in a band together, expressing ourselves, strengthening the female perspective, but then that is a difficult task because of the patriarchal framework surrounding it all.

(sorry if its a bit rambling, I just got back form SXSW and am quite jet lagged!)"
this is something i need to think about a bit more,
be fearless in your own self expression
it was an organic thing, my mum is a piano teacher and while i have never been classically trained, i have always tinkered around on the piano, one night when i was 18 my friend Terri asked me to come and rehearse with his band the next day, they were looking for a keyboard player, for some reason i said yes and that was the beginning!

Ginger Leigh

I conduct my career as a solo artist under my name, Ginger Leigh, whether I am on stage by myself or with 5 other musicians. I spend my day time hours (and often evening hours) working on my career as a full time job. I handle all the marketing (multiple hours handling graphic design of promo materials, online social networking - facebook, emails, blogs, etc). I work with one or two other non-exclusive booking agents, yet otherwise handle all of my scheduling. I create and edit videos for my music. I raise funds for recordings. I market my new CDs and handle all the logistics of the release. I manage all of my touring (national and international).
"I'm not much of a gear geek. Ironically this should be one of the questions. I recently listed my Gibson SG electric guitar on ebay. A man who was interested asked me a few technical questions about it, but I was out of town and away from the guitar. I told him all I could and that it was a standard American-made SG. I later received a raging note from him about how as a GIRL I shouldn't quit my day job and try to be a musician, because obviously GIRLS don't know anything about gear! Ha ha. I thought it was hilarious because music is my ""day job"" and I just so happened to be far away from the guitar at the moment. It doesn't matter at all, but it struck me that there might be some serious resentment from a handful of males out there when women succeed at being musicians. Maybe it is a female characteristic, but I had a lot of emotions attached to the instrument so after my response, he apologized and offered to purchase the guitar. I, of course, refused his offer. The last person I would want owning my guitar is a guy with a phobia of female musicians!

That being said, I play a Martin D-16 Rosewood acoustic and a Schecter electric and a Fender Strat electric. My electric guitars are played through a Peavey Tube amp. I use a handful of guitar effects petals made by Boss and I also run my vocals through two effects boxes (one is a Digitech harmonizer and the other a Boss Delay). My feet end up tap dancing through most of my songs as they control all of the effects. Lately, I have played more of my acoustic guitars, but when I have the right venue for it, I love to bring out the electric guitars as well."
I can't blanket answer this one. There are many men and women who do the same things in the business, but from my experience I see most of my female counterparts managing and juggling all aspects, whereas the majority of my male counterparts have management and agents who handle most things for them. Maybe that's the case of women being able to multi-task better than men? Maybe it's because we are care-givers and men are typically used to being cared for? I am not a black and white person, so it's difficult to say that there is ABSOLUTELY a difference, but I do see this happen more often than not. Another example is that often when I go to play a venue for the first time, the person setting up the stage almost always expects that I will want to sit during my set. Is is that they expect female musicians to be girly and gentle? Do they expect guys to ""rock out"" and females to sit ladylike? I am not sure, but I certainly like to rock out!

A very evident moment was back in the mid-to-late 90's when the Lilith Fair craze was happening. I was very excited one evening when a representative from a major record label was coming to see me perform. Afterward she expressed how much she LOVED my music, but that the label wasn't signing anymore "female musicians"....The market, I assume, was over-saturated with female music. What strikes me as interesting is that there is rock, pop, country, hip-hop....and then "female music." So "male music" is just simply music at large, while "female music" is its own category. Or at least is was at that time. I have to admit that sometimes it can be an advantage, such that there might be a special female music hour on a radio show, highlighting those of us who happen to be female. On the other hand, if you are, for example, on tour and requesting an interview on that same station on, say, Thursday, you can sometimes get the response "Oh, sorry, our 'female' radio show is on Wednesday." This isn't always the case, but it does happen!

Though many things have changed, it's still a "man's" industry, so if you're a female wanting to be successful in music, you have more pressure to look much better and much younger than the men. You MUST be the entire package; pretty enough, sound good, dress right, show your flat belly! ha ha...
I was raised by very independent, hard-working female musicians, which is where I get my drive and work-ethic, so I don't see a huge difference between my mother's generation and mine, however the obvious answer would be that women who have been in music (for decades and decades) were likely more exposed to things kept from women in more conservative times. Women in music spend a lot more time with men in music, more time on the road, more time in bars, so we're often more exposed to those things than say...a stay-at-home mother, but who's to say she hasn't seen those things as well? I know for sure that my own grandmother back in the 30's and 40's spent a lot of time back stage "with the boys" as she calls it and she was much more exposed to a party-lifestyle than most women of her generation, but her parents made sure she was safe and home at a decent hour. Today, it isn't as tough on women, who are allowed to be much more independent and much more learned.
My mother always told me to "be myself and to be expressive." She also taught me to go get what I want and to never let anything get in my way. I am very independent, but at a certain point I have discovered that my boldness can also be to a fault. I'm not sure how to put this, since I am a strong feminist, but ladies, let the guys help you carry your stuff. Make room for those who want to help move your career along, while staying very true to who you are and what you believe in. No need to be a damsel in distress, but find your strength and also your flexibility. Like any business, we will always fight this gender fight. You just have to choose which part of your female power to use without selling yourself short. Be strong, be yourself, but be open to advise and then go forward without stopping.
Since I was a child I was a vocalist just like my mother, two aunts, and grandmother. I took piano lessons, like many kids. I'm thankful for that because I believe piano is a very strong basis for understanding music and other instruments. I began picking up my aunt's guitar when I was a senior in high school. I think I wanted to be able to take the instrument to my room. I couldn't really drag the piano down the hall. So I borrowed the guitar and began teaching myself the chords, and soon after writing my own songs. I received my first acoustic guitar as a high school graduation gift from a friend and her mother. I still have it!

Sara Hickman

Singer/songwriter/producer/manager/booking (help w/decisions on where to play and through the booking agency I'm with, Roots Agency), design, distribution, creative consulting to other artists, on panels for SXSW/Folk Alliance, etc...teach songwriting and creativity at festivals, for private events, through International Speakers Bureau (I'm on their roster as a public speaker)
Takamine, Elixir (strings/cables), Gibson endorsements
"Yes, I'd like a wife. I see a lot of men whose wives run the behind the scenes affairs for them (booking, distribution, raising the kids) while the men go out on the road.

But, I'm fortunate, in that I have a stay at home husband who does all that WITH me, so I can go out and tour and know the kids are happy with one parent in the house, and that my partner supports my dream, helps me to handle the work load."
Girls/women today are TONS more confident because of all the women who broke ground before them and showed them: YOU CAN DO THIS. Also, because of Girl Rock Camps, girls understanding they CAN DO ANYTHING, and not being brought up with the thought that only men played instruments and only women sang. Women today are engineering, producing, mixing, mastering, performing, multi-tasking, understanding the music industry---lawyers, publishers, etc. When I was growing up, I had to figure things out by myself. I was the only girl in my school who played guitar and wrote songs, until I got to high school----then there was FOUR of us....then, in college, I was the only one I knew who did what I was doing....When I moved to Dallas, I only had about three "competitors" from women musicians...there were far and few between us. Now, women are EVERYWHERE, sharing their own brand of femininity and ferocioucity! Go, ladies!
"Listen to advice. Take what works for yourself and grow on that. Network like crazy. Send thank you notes. Join The Recording Academy, local songwriter groups, go to conventions, ask questions, take notes, practice, listen to a variety of different styles of music, write everyday, try the things you are scared to do (whether as a songwriter, vocalist, producer, etc). Have mentors.

Best advice I got was from Peter Himmelman, ""Keep doing what you're doing. You do it best!""

To a woman just starting out, keep discovering who you are and be yourself. Re-read what I wrote in first paragraph."
It's my best friend (the guitar)

Astrum Lux Lucis, One World (R)evolution

I am the band leader, main songwriter, front person, it is basically my band from the ground up. I hire the backing musicians and basically do all the work. In the studio, I let the pro's do their job - producer produces, engineer engineers, etc. I may put some input in for the final mix as I know what I desire to hear in the final outcome and went to Full Sail University so I am very familiar with the studio environment. Plus I've recorded and self-released 6 albums. In business / marketing, so far it has been me doing this as well, but it is not my strong point. Last year I signed with a manager and I also now have a marketing person on my team as well.
Taylor acoustic guitar, Jackson custom Soloist electric guitar, Daisy Rock Elite Special electric guitar, Charvel Model 2 electric guitar, MacBook for recording, several microphones, Guitar Research amplifier, Schecter electric guitar, Alesis QS8 keyboard, bongos
Yes, absolutely! It's still a man's world. It's getting better for woman in music, but woman are still expected to be young and pretty and exploiting their sexuality whereas a man can get by on his talents no matter what he looks like, with the exception of perhaps pop music where it's also based on looks and not necessarily talent. The biggest moment that made this difference clear to me was when some guy (I think he was a booking agent or something) told me I needed to drop 10 pounds and dress more sexy. It's also evident if you just look at the current music industry and what the men look like verses the women, and their ages as well. It is ok for men in the industry to be over 21, but if you're a women and you're over 21, you're a has-been unless you made it before you hit 21.
Yes. I think the younger women feel they have to exploit themselves sexually instead of just being kick ass at their craft. Older women are more confident in their own abilities and are secure enough in themselves to let their talents carry them. I think this is more of a cultural thing though and can be seen in all women, not just musicians. The media programs girls at a young age that their looks are the only thing that matter and will get them success. It's quite sad actually.
LOL- I've received all kinds of advice, and depending on my mood, the valuable advice to take is - "get out now and get a "real" job" or "keep plugging at it, the cream eventually rises to the top". Unfortunately, despite coming from a pretty musical family, I was never encouraged to pursue music as a real profession. My Dad would always tell me I had a better chance of winning the lottery than I do of making it in music. So there has always been an internal battle going on inside me which totally hinders my success at times. It takes years to get over that kind of programming. The advice I will give to a woman musician starting out is: be true to yourself at all times and in all things. Keep perfecting your craft everyday, take people's advice and opinions for what they are but always remain true to yourself. There is no need to sell yourself sexually so just be yourself and let your talent shine the light. Success is a state of mind, so be the success you choose to be.
It came naturally to me. I started playing music as young as 4 years old. My Mom plays piano so we always had a piano in the house and I'd bang around on it and play by ear. In grade school I played trumpet, snare drum, and alto saxophone. In 1981 I saw The Go-Go's on MTV and decided I wanted to be a rock star. I began playing drums and a year or so later joined my first band. In high school I started messing around on a friend's guitar and it felt really natural for me so I switched to guitar. My Grandmother likes to tell me I've been singing since I was in nursery school. I just really love to sing and write great songs. Music is my outlet and my little piece to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Stephanie Bradley, Stephanie Bradley Band

guitar, pa
"No, except for the expectations and fears of my possessive family. Leading the band with a guitar in my hand...the difference was in immediate audience response"
"Yes, as women earn more, and have less children, they record more."
Sing, but don't sing drunk. Avoid the jitters by practicing. Remember people want to see and hear something different. Don't be trepidacious, because there is nothing wrong with what we do. Record it when it sounds good, and when the band sounds good...there might not be another chance.
To lead the band

Rose Baca

I manage a local band called Buttercup, and they own their own imprint called Bedlamb Records. I help make a lot of executive marketing and promotional decisions, but also micromanage down to making sure merch gets sold at shows, and all the mics make it back in the van when all is said and done.
Takamine 530cs, Taylor 114ce, Studio Les Paul, Gibson Epiphone... Ibanez TA35,
"I think everyone is more critical of you musically speaking when you are a woman...

I've always felt like if I wasn't gifted enough to play my instrument, it wouldn't matter if I could sing. "
I don't.
"If your music doesn't impact you, it won't impact anyone. The way you present yourself is how people see you, and if you're presenting yourself as someone you aren't then that's what people will see.

Don't fake it, commit to it. It's a hard lifestyle. "
I didn't take the guitar seriously till I was about 12... when I was gifted a nice guitar, and I decided I loved nothing more than to sing and play.

Rochelle Terrell

I believe in taking full control of decisions that are made regarding my career. Although I am open for suggestions and constructive criticism. With the band I believe that we all are a team and nobodies opinion should be excluded. In the studio my role is not just sing but i enjoy taking part in the track selection. writing process, and mixing and editing process.
Soulful, Melodies, and Jazzy nuances! Live with a 4 piece band!
Oh yes I believe there is a difference, the defining moment was when I realized their were no other women on a line up that i was scheduled to perform and wondered why.Later I learned that alot of times women are forced to prove themselves and are held to different standards as men. Its more difficult for women to have the same opportunity as a man even if she has more experience. From that it has made me stronger. My skin is thicker and I will not give up!
I do see the differences I noticed that music constantly evolves, but a little piece of history is implanted in every female musician and carried on to the future. Women musicians to me are like fine wine we only get better with time.
The reason why I am still thriving in the music industry is only because God has been watching over me the entire time. And he puts people in my life that not only I can learn from but also people to protect me. I have learned to remain humble, give respect where it is do. Encourage the young. And to never give up!
Growing up in church I was encouraged to join the childrens choir. I was around 5 years old when was chosen to sing my first solo, I received so much love form that day, I just knew that singing was what I wanted to do and what I was supposed to do. My grandmother still has the program from that day!

Alyse Black

artist (vocals/keyboard/piano), songwriter, accompanist, manager, agent, business manager, concert promoter, publicist, radio promoter, recording producer, mixing engineer, concert producer, graphic designer, web manager, admin, amateur lawyer/adviser. I am really starting to own that I own my projects. Which is nice. I'm stepping up to the plate.
Nord Stage EX 76. Senheiser e935.
Yes. Women ask for less money, so they get paid less. Men are assumed to have more draw then women, and it might be actually true, though I don't like to think so.
I think younger musicians right now, particularly women, are finding that they need to be scrappers. They need to grassroots everything. I think many of the older women musicians are more talented and INCREDIBLE. But they don't necessarily want to get involved with the nitty gritty of getting their music out there. And I would be lying to say that there wasn't an industry pull toward youth.
Work hard. Work every day at your craft - instrumentally, vocally, songwriting. And get out on the internet. Don't wait for permission to get your music in front of people. And ASK. Keep asking for what you want until you get it. "No" just means "no for now." Don't give up if this is really what you want to do. Be unstoppable. The world needs the art that comes straight from who you are. Make the best damn art you can, and give it to us!
Piano was the first instrument I sang to as a child with my father playing ragtime-style with me. It is the instrument my voice just sinks into best. But I also love singing to my guitar.

Michele Murphy

"I own Natural Ear Music School, est. 1991; it was the first 'school of rock' in the world, and established the template for all the ones to follow, including Paul Green's, Rock Camp USA."
"I have 5 PA systems, ranging from enormous to tiny. 5 sets of drums, high end. 12 guitar amps, 5 bass amps, a baby grand piano, a Clavinova, several cheap keyboards, 15 guitars, 5 bass guitars, one upright bass, a nice cello, some vintage stuff."
"I was never allowed to front a band on a weekend night; I was told by bar owners that 'women don't draw' and was discriminated against routinely. I had great backup, good material and great press. It's just Texas. Even in my school, I have to deal with men looking down their nose at me, however, I have learned to ignore them and simply do my job. They can't help it, apparently, and I no longer take it personally."
"Think like a man. Don't take anything personally. Don't be afraid to step up and declare yourself a contender. Copyright everything, don't believe the 'pie in the sky' promises or indulge in satisfying your childish fantasies. It's a business. Get a degree in Business Administration, forget Music Business courses. It's all business. Treat it with respect, and demand that others treat you with respect. Fire anyone who talks to you like you are stupid. Don't sleep your way up, it's the quickest way to hell and victimization. Pay your taxes, stay straight with the IRS. Stay in shape and pay attention to your grooming. People are watching you; everything is a test."
"I play what I need to play. There are only 12 notes, it's not that hard. I started on classical piano, ended making most of my money in a country band, if you don't count teaching. "

Stefanie Fix

When I've had bands I'm always fronting them so all of the decisions are mine to make. However, my general philosophy is to let the players do what comes naturally to them rather than dictate what sound I'm going for. If I'm exploring a particular sound I try to chose players that lend themselves to that direction and then see what they come up with. On the other hand if they come up with something that I can't stand, I'll let them know. In the studio, I pick producers I can trust and then I just have to trust them. In terms of business and marketing; again all the decisions are mine- this is the one area that I'm genuinely uncomfortable with and feel out of my element.
2 acoustic guitars. I play slide on one of them. I also have a full PA which I often use for gigs.
"It's definitely different and it's difficult to discuss because it tends to put people on the defense. My perception is that this is because being a musician is a difficult path for most of us- male or female but it is more difficult for women and when both men and women are struggling, it's hard to distinguish why one path might be more difficult than another- it's like degrees of struggle.

We're all up against the same issues; poverty, art verses commerce, ego verses truth, remaining sensitive and at the same time navigating the business of music which is not concerned with our feelings or our truth. Yet, in business and in art, in general it's much more difficult to be taken seriously as a women. Artistically speaking, I've never heard of women who was referred to as a genius, on rare occasion you may here of a woman referred to as unique or even brilliant but she's never a genius? She'll never be the voice of generation just the voice of women which is deemed somehow less, or other.

We have to navigate maintaining our femininity and sensuality as songwriters and performers and the same time, somehow carry on business in an aggressive industry where, if we act too aggressively, we'll be perceived as ""difficult"". Secondly, the notion of self-promotion, which is essential to surviving in the music business, can also be a fine line to walk as a women. As women to some degree, I believe we have been taught that it is unbecoming to boast and display, yet how else does one self-promote?

There is also the difficultly of convincing anyone that a women is marketable past the age of 30 or 35- of course that's problematic throughout all arts and entertainment but I've always found it ironic;, since for women I believe, it is usually in our thirties that we truly find and define our voices. Men are usually given a little more leeway in this department. A marginally success man a the age of 35 may still be able to find investors and can mature and still ""break-out"" but this is much less likely for a women.

The music industry, in general is focused on a youth driven markets- due primarily to it's own history- ""Big Money"" in the music business started with folks like Elvis and the Beatles, and it can be difficult to convince ""the powers that be"" that there are markets out there, over the age of 30, who are interested in hearing from voices closer to their own life experience and that those markets are worth pursuing.

To be fair however, the over 30 market won't support ""monster acts"" or ""big stars"". The music business is changing radically right now- all the markets are getting fragmented. In general I see this as a positive augur for artists because they can find their niche and create a career. The difficultly is getting the investment or capital to enter those markets because the pay off takes longer, is usually a lot less $ and it's still an extremely risky investment."
I do think there is a difference between generations of women musicians and I'm greatly encouraged by it. The new generation of women coming into the business are a lot less inhibited than previous generations. They've been supported and encourage to learn all different instruments that previous generation were discouraged from learning. Now we see many more women drummers, bass players, sax players etc. Slightly older generations of women were subtly intimidated into believing that they could not master their instruments- the idea that women could be good players but no woman could fill the shoes of say, Les Paul or John Coltrane. The new generation of women musicians has greater confidence in the notion that they can and will be great musicians.
I've been given so much valuable advice from so many different sources that I wouldn't even know where to begin. I suppose I'd just say, stay open and try to focus more on the process rather then the goal. The goals come gradually and by the time they come, if you're too focused on them you'll lose sight of enjoying what you've accomplished. At the end of the day the only thing that matter is that you keep doing the work because it keeps you whole. What you achieve and being successful have nothing to do with who has noticed or how much money you make. Feel free to look at my web page. I hope this was helpful.
I'm not sure, probably a number of reasons. As a young girl, who wanted to write songs - guitar seemed like the appropriate choice. I tried piano for a while but I was so hungry to express; that guitar lent itself more quickly to my being able to write. It was also easier to learn how to play songs I liked by other people in a very parred down form. My experience was that piano teachers usually started off with nursery rhymes where as guitar teachers started me off with songs that really spoke to me. Finally, I think I wanted to be like Bob Dylan.

Elizabeth McQueen, Asleep at the Wheel

In the Wheel I'm an employee, which means my role in anything outside the realm of live performance or studio recording is pretty limited. Within those realms I'm given pretty free reign to do what I feel. But I don't have any power over business decisions. In my own career, I'm in charge of everything from writing the songs, booking the gigs, marketing anything we do and leading the band.
With the Wheel I play a Gibson J-150. It's actually my boss' guitar. I have a wireless rig for the guitar. On my own I play a Gibson LC-1.
"Being a woman musician is definitely different from being a male musician. First off, there seems to be major differences in the early life of male and female musicians. All the guys I know who are pros spent a fair amount of their adolescence ensconced in their rooms, woodshedding. The really got into their instruments during that time. I only know a few women who had the same experience. That time of their lives is usually spent concerned with more social things. Women tend to come to the game later and with less musical experience than men, which makes them very often dependent on men to create the actual music, talk to other musicians and generally navigate the musical landscape. And also, women have kids. Not that men don't have children, but let's face it, it's different when you gestate and birth another human being. Your priorities shift in a huge way, one that can make a career in music seem less important. My husband and I had our first child almost 15 months ago. And I'm extremely lucky, because my husband is the drummer for the Wheel, so we've both been able to stay on the road and continue playing music. We simply bought another vehicle and brought the baby along (she was 6 weeks old when we went on our first tour). It's been amazing, but pretty grueling. And the guys in the band think we're nuts. Because those of them who have kids, well it never occurred to them to bring their kids along on the road. They missed first steps and soccer games and recitals and pretty much everything, so they could continue playing music. Me, if I had to make a choice between my baby and the road, there would be no choice. I'd choose watching my daughter grow up, hands down. Luckily my husband and I have reached a compromise, but many women don't have such flexibility. So careers and creativity may veer off track during the childbearing years. "
I see the next generation of girls approaching music, especially tradtionally male instruments like guitar and drums, in a much less timid manner. Which makes my heart soar.
The best advice I got was from my male musician friends, who encouraged me to learn as much as I could and become as capable as I could. Not having to be dependent on men to express my ideas or create is huge.
I gravitated towards guitar because I wanted to be able to accompany myself. Also, I've learned the vocabulary of theory through guitar, which I think is crucial to making your own music and playing with other people. Being able to speak the same language as the people (mostly men) I play with is huge. Chick singers do not normally command a lot of respect in that area. Plus, you can get a lot more done.

Kerry Davis, Two Tears

I write all the songs, book all the tours, make all the artwork and run it as my business. I need help.
I play a 1964 Melody Maker modified with humbucking pickups and a Fender Super Reverb.
"YES! The moment is made clear to me every time I put on my guitar and must adjust my strap around my boobs. Also, when I was in Guitar Center in LA and the salesman asked if I was shopping for my boyfriend. Being heckled on stage by guys was shocking, then I just laughed at them because I was on stage and they were watching/paying to get in. The best thing about being a female musician is when a male asks if you need help loading in your amp-say yes! Don't be proud-those things are heavy."
I came from the Riot Girl scene though I didn't participate in it , I see less girls picking up instruments and female musicians getting less exposure and it makes me sad. I'm hoping with Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls and other solo artists that "trend" will return. But we're raised to believe we're not "allowed" to be in bands.
Some friends and record producers taught me about the business and it's important to understand it, but my advice is to play what makes you happy as this industry can be evil and the satisfaction of playing can never be taken away from you!
"My first band the Red Aunts was started by a group of friends, whichever instrument our boyfriends had determined what instrument we played. Free gear. I bought my own guitar shortly after."

Julieann Banks

As a self employed musician. I have to do it all. Computer, websites, marketing, myspace, youtube, create and edit videos and songs, book the gigs, update the web calendars, call the clubs, get promo to the clubs and venues, harass the clubs mercilessly and convince them that I really am different from the other bazillion woman singer-songwriters, schedule rehearsals, pay for rehearsal rooms, learn another band's material for a show, go to their rehearsals, write the checks, write bios for promo packs, update EPK's, answer NPR surveys get the picture? Oh yeah, I almost forgot the most important part.....writing songs and practicing my instruments! And now they want me to Twitter! What?
Hmmmm, this changes quite often as I play so many instruments. Fender basses, Larrivee and Alvarez and a very old Kay acoustic guitar, Ampeg, Bergantino, Ashdown amps and speakers for bass. Tons of PA gear depending on the type of gig I'm going to do. EV mics.
"It is very different. We have to work way way harder. If I'm on bass with a band on and there is a bad note by the guitar player. It will always be assumed it was the woman's mistake. Also, women almost always need a team mate to be successful I've observed. Some of the best bands that I've had I've been dating or friends with another ""leader"" type. I think this leader type definitely needs to be a male. It makes kind of a ""good cop/bad cop"" situation that comes out much better. I've mostly worked with men and some of them cannot relate to a woman leader. If there is another male co-leader there that supports me and they respect him - there are usually NO problems! On the other hand, if it's just me calling all the shots - 99% of the time there are going to be problems when I have to stand my ground about something. Then they relate to me like I'm their wife/girlfriend who won't stop telling them what to do. Maybe because they just left home to come to rehearsal and there was a woman there telling them what to do? I'm not sure. I'd love to find a male bandleader that wants to work as much as I do and join forces. A girl can dream. Meanwhile - I plan to do this the rest of my life so I power on alone no doubt! Funny, after typing that! I just described a husband, but I don't really care so much if I have one of those. I'd rather have a hot band, lol!"
I have not seen much of that. Really good female musicians that intend to do this their whole life are focused and work harder than most males because they have to.
When I first started I was told I'd never "make it" (whatever that means) if I continued to wear Converse All Stars instead of high heels. But I'm still here and I'm still wearing combat boots and All Stars alot! Although I will rock some heels for private parties! I consider "making it" to mean "getting the bills paid doing what I love". I'm not sure I'd want to be Taylor Swift (ugh!) or any of these other girls they trot out who look like marionettes on a string. Better to make it on your own terms.
"My main instrument, bass, chose me. I struggled for years with guitar. Became an excellent rhythm guitar player. But lead always evaded me and when rehearsing it I was always bored and frustrated. One day a friend of mine, Buddy Flett (recently toured with Hubert Sumlin and Kenny Wayne Sheppard) handed me a bass to borrow and said - ""you need to be playing this"". I ignored the bass, it sat in my house for about a year untouched and I continued on as a guitarist but I was on guitar synth playing lots of bass parts. When that broke down I started playing a real bass on the stage one night - and I was hooked. I will say that now I'm starting to want to get back on guitar again because I've been inspired by some ""delta blues"" flavored solo performers who incorporate bass notes with picking patterns. We'll see!"

Phoebe Hunt, The Belleville Outfit

"I call myself the ""T.C"" of the Belleville Outfit, meaning the Token Chick. Now, while I am saying that in jest because I know that the guys in my band respect me musically and as a human, there is a bit of truth to the statement. The truth is that I represent the femininity on stage-- I know it so I dress the part. I wear a dress and smile a lot. I do love performing and when I perform I try to leave my own personal baggage backstage and really put on a show. I sing and talk to the audience, I look at all the guys on stage and connect with them so that we can really be present in the moment. I feel as if I am nurturing the stage. But as far as more official easy-to-title roles? On stage: I write songs, I play fiddle, I sing Off stage: I think of myself as band HR (Human relations) Within the group, I do my best to keep communication constant and talk about band issues as they come up, or help to put out fires. I like the band the most when we are all truly happy. So I look at the guys as brothers, and I put effort into investing into their feelings--not always the easiest thing to do. But the way I see it, if we genuinely care for one another, the band will last a whole heck of a lot longer, and we will enjoy the process along the way. I am lucky to get to play with these guys, and want to appreciate it rather than resent it (which I have seen happen too).

As far as in the studio and in marketing decisions go, I am lucky enough to be with a group of guys that really are hard workers. So they do a lot of work, but I dont hold back on my input. We work hand in hand, and I choose my battles. So if something is happening that I would like to happen in a different way, I say it, but if I am on the fence about something I may save that one. I want my voice to be strong so I try to save it for when it counts the most. That said, I am sure I talk to much anyway ;)"
I play fiddle or violin (whatever you want to call it) through a simple pre-amp called the Red Eye, its unique in that it was designed specifically for the violin by a man who really wanted to hear violins (Darren Appelt) that sound like violins on stage, cutting out most of the high impedance frequencies. Plus it has a boost button, so I can have a solo boost and it is really small so it is super easy to travel with. For guitar he has made a double instrument version of the Red Eye. If and when I start using an electric guitar on stage, I am gonna want an amp probably a fender delux. I used to have a polytone that I used on my fiddle just like Johnny Gimble, but sold it when I got the Red Eye. Whew!
"There is definitely a difference. I dont know if i can vocalize it but I'll try. Objectively, there are way more men musicians then women. I have been in 5 bands and all of them have been all guys and me. So even within my limited bubble of personal experiences, that is one girl and 20-25 guys, the obvious minority. And because of this it makes me the 'different' one. My personality has been affected by being the only chick in a room full of guys that when I hang with my girl friends, I find myself thinking like a guy sometimes, and it ruffles me. I cuss a lot, I am blunt and to the point at sensitive times, and I have missed some of my best friends weddings because I am gone and on the road. I am an extremely independent personality which is a result of being a touring musician on the road with a bunch of guys. I have never dated a guy in my band, because I have seen what happens at the end of that road, and it doesn't usually work out for the band. Of course there are exceptions. So much of my personality and character has been shaped as a result of me hanging with a bunch of guys.

So yes there is a difference. Also I am treated differently by the fans. I get the question a lot in interviews ""What is it like being the only girl in a group of guys?"" and I think that one of the differences is that i am singled out more. In pictures I am usually in the front, and whenever we stay at a house on the road, the man or woman of the house points to the quarters they have chosen for me and says ""This is Phoebe's room-- you guys can figure the rest out"". I would call that a perk of being the girl. But there are also down sides. When we walk into a venue that has never heard our music, the bar tender and people working usually assume I am a girlfriend of one of the guys and there is just something inside me that wants to prove to them that I am actually a musician too; to let them know that I too have spent my entire life working on this craft and care more about the music than what I may be wearing that day. But don't get me wrong, I haven't lost the part of me that likes to shop."
"I do see differences and similarities. Women are always gonna be seen for their beauty regardless of their talent. But I believe there is so much beauty in talent that it can outshine the need to look like a model in order to be successful. I see younger girls being more and more bold about being a musician. I see gender stereotypes declining. For example, I see the older generation of women being glorified for beauty above talent, where people like Madonna helped to shift the mindset a bit by being so outlandish and independent that although she marketed her beauty she also shifted perception. And now there are some really genuinely talented females being glorified-- Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt are two good examples but an even younger example is Sarah Jarosz, an incredibly gifted multi-instrumentalist who is receiving national acclaim. And even Taylor Swift (as marketable as she is) is being recognized as a lyricist and visionary for crossing the pop and country worlds (even though I dont see it as much of a cross since the two today are so similar already). But still, she is being recognized for intellectual virtues. This is not to say that the vanity surrounding the female gender will ever go away, we are still the society that glorified Brittany Spears and her beauty at such a young age that she lost herself in the whirlwind.

Do what you love and the money will follow. If you love music and are truly ready to sacrifice the majority of the rest of your life, go for it. If not, keep it as a hobby.
When I was 6, a sweet lady tapped me on shoulder as I was eating lunch on a picnic table at The Austin Montessori School (my elementary school), and said "It's time to get fitted for your violin." I remember asking "Does my mom know about this?", and she said, "She is the one who told me to come get you." I also remember having watched a violinist on the TV before this meeting and wanting to play, but I had no idea my mom knew. It was definitely a mothers intuition. Now, I took a liking to the ukulele because I wanted to learn applicable music theory and although people say I should play mandolin, I feel like I am cheating when I play mandolin and dont actually learn what I am doing, so I needed an instrument tuned completely different so I couldn't cheat. And at first the guitar was to hard on my hands, so my boyfriend of the time gave me a ukulele for my 21st birthday and I fell in love. Now, I have adopted a serious interest in the guitar because I really want to be able to back myself up on self written songs, and sometimes the ukulele is just not a big enough sound. So, I have sucked it up, and worked on the hand strength and dexterity required of guitar, and my father (an excellent guitarist with both undergraduate and masters degree in classical guitar) has been giving me lessons for the past few years, and I am almost ready to show up to a show with a guitar in hand. Was that long enough? ;)

Gretchen Peters

artist, coproducer (in studio), and record company CEO.
Gibson J-185EC acoustic guitar, Taylor 510 acoustic guitar, Gretsch electric guitar, Yamaha C7 grand piano, Neumann KM105 vocal mic (road), Neumann U87 vocal mic (studio), Roland VS2480 recording desk, various other stringed instruments (mandolin, vihuela, bouzouki, etc.)
"The recording/publishing business in Nashville is a boys' club, and it was especially so when I moved here in 1987. As a woman I had to be assertive in areas where a man in a similar situation wouldn't have. Sometimes in the studio I encountered people who were ready to discount my ability to understand technical things, or play well. I had to prove my guitar playing was ""good enough"" to record on master sessions. I tended not to work with those people a second time. As an artist, I felt the pressure of the sexualization of female recording artists. I think that may be the biggest difference, and the most troubling one."
I think younger female musicians feel freer (and have more role models) to express themselves musically in a lot of areas. There seem to be more young woman instrumentalists, including drummers and lead guitar players, which was very rare when I was growing up.
"I was lucky to have great mentors along the way. The best advice came from my first publisher, who told me not to worry about conforming or trying to write songs that sounded like what was on the radio. For me that meant sticking to my guns and writing by myself, rather than co-writing (which is the norm here in Nashville). It set me on a path of independence, later as an artist, but first as a writer.

I'd reiterate this same advice to a young woman musician, and if her ambition includes being a recording artist, I'd add that she ought to think long and hard about how she feels about her image, and the possible pressure she might feel from her record company or management to ""be sexy"". This doesn't concern me from a ""morality"" standpoint - it bothers me as a feminist, as it undermines the idea that women can be talented, brilliant and successful musicians/songwriters/singers without using their sexuality to get noticed."
I was 8 years old and wanted to play Bob Dylan songs.

Corrina Rachel, Corrina's Dreamland Band

Band leader-- all booking, promotions, PR, etc. Find and hire musicians, call and lead rehearsals, provide chart books. All business and marketing decisions, design for posters/flyers, website, and associated costs for all.
"De Armond X-155 Hollow Body Electric Guitar TraceElliot Acoustic, amplifer for guitar and vocals EKG C-535 Vocal Condenser Mic Fender Passport 6-channel PA System with 2 Speakers"
Yes-- people seem more skeptical of females in a band-leading and booking role. I feel that I am not taken seriously and sometimes that I'm being judged by my appearance and even hair color (I'm a tall blonde). There have been a few moments in particular that I've felt disadvantaged by being a woman. It also seems that my requests (esp. regarding payment) are not taken as seriously as my male friends in the same situations.
Not especially, only the differences of age and wisdom that apply to males and females.
The best advice I've received is to be persistent, I would pass that advice along although it seems pretty obvious. Based on my experience, I would tell a woman who was just starting out to reach out to everyone she meets and to focus on forging relationships with people.
I have been singing since childhood and have played several instruments over the years including saxophone and piano. I ultimately decided on guitar because it is a good accompaniment instrument for vocals, it lends itself to songwriting and bandleading as well.

Emma Cooper, Standard Fare

I play bass and sing in the band. I organise nearly all of the gigs. I organised a recent tour including all visa issues, travel, accomodation and gigs etc. I found us all the labels we are on. I write half the songs.
Fender Mustang Bass. Japanese hollowback electric guitar. Steel string electric guitar. Nylon string electric guitar. Mandolin. Entry level short scale bass.
I found it hard early on being the only female at gigs all male bands and soundguys and organisers. The indiepop scene has more women and I like that much more. It sometimes feels hard organising the band as a woman that the boys feel nagged or listen to me less because I have less patience with just hanging out and mucking about. There have also been occasions where although I have all the information and have been the point of contact organisers have still addressed the one of the men in the band or payed them instead of me.
My mother was in a punk band, and roady-ed for bands before I was born and then was in Klezmer bands whilst I was growing up. She was a great example and was always honest about the men that supported and helped her and the men in bands that ignored her.
"I can't think of any advice. My parents were always supportive of me being myself whatever that meant at the time.

Advice would be use your strengths and network! Always be polite and thank people who have helped you or put you on etc. Enjoy the music and find other people you enjoy working with and playing music with."
I started playing bass because bands always need a bass player and I wasn't comfortable being the only guitarist in a band and having to do amazing solos! Singing I have done for a while and improved loads! Mandolin I am still learning but love it.

Laurie Lewis

I am the band leader. I produce most of the recordings in the studio. I make my own business and marketing decisions, while consulting with band members and other people.
fiddles, guitars, string bass. All instruments are acoustic., so I own some good mics as well.
Over my long career, there have been too many moments to recount here, in many different arenas. Yes, there is a difference in the way one is perceived as a woman/musician. But it can be a very good marketing tool, as well as a drawback. In the end, it probably evens out, at least somewhat.
Certainly. When my aunt was in an all-girl dance band in the 1930's and '40's, it was very difficult to be seen as anything but an gimmick. These days, women musicians are much more accepted on artistic terms. That being said, sex still does sell.
Play music you love because you love to play. That way, if you never get the big break, it doesn't matter, since you are doing what you love.
because I like them

Melissa Greener

CEO. Front-woman, producer, tour-manager, publicist, agent, assistant, bus driver, et al.
Greenfield Guitars - acoustic (preamps, cables, pedals), Microphone (cables, eq)
There must be a difference. Although, never having been a man I don't have a very clear picture of what that is. I do know, from speaking with my male peers, however, that some of my female peers (and myself included) have had more difficulties dealing with male music business "professionals" in negotiating performance contracts. Is it possible that women musicians and women in the music business are taken less seriously than men? Perhaps.
There are HUGE differences in generations of musicians. Primarily in the number of us doing this crazy thing. In a way it was easier for former generations in that, if you were ambitious and were very talented, you could get a lot of support (labels, publishing, etc.) only because there were far fewer players to compete with than there are now. In a way it's easier now, because of the accessibility of resources (venues, agents, djs, publishers, etc.) despite our numbers.
Constantly! The best bit of advice I can give is: Keep doing this. ... if you LOVE it. Don't ever stop because you're afraid you might not 'make it'. Don't ever stop because you feel pressure from others to 'make a living'. Keep going, if you LOVE it. Keep going, if there's nothing else you could ever do to be happy and fulfilled and satisfied. If living your fullest self means living your music, than DO IT! Ambiguous, I know, right?
It chose me. Before my ninth birthday when I received my first acoustic guitar, I would stand on the vacuum cleaner using the handle as a microphone, and a tennis racket as a guitar. All my stuffed animals were in bands and played gigs with each other... It seems like I was meant to sing and play the guitar from the get-go.

Tricia Mitchell

" I do everything myself. I hope to get more support, but I have just come off of a ""hiatus"" from performing because I have young children. Being a singer/songwriter is very entrepreneurial, and there are a dizzying number of hats to wear, between creating, performing, booking, producing recordings, marketing, etc."
" Acoustic/electric guitar, microphone, pick, capo, tuner."
" Many of my musical heroes--folks like Patti Griffin, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith--do not have children. I imagine it is easier for a male musician who is a parent to tour than it is for a woman musician who is a parent. So I don't know about male vs. female, but I think children make it harder."
" Not sure."
" One thing I will say is that, when you're a woman doing music, everyone and their dog has advice for you! Bits and pieces everywhere, from pros and audience members, mostly well-intended, some valuable, some not. I'll tell just one of the ""not"" ones--the guy who offered to give me and my bandmate a ""cord clinic"" about how to properly wrap up our guitar cables after the gig. I cannot imagine that a male musician would ever be offered such a ""service""! :)

Sara Hickman is an artist who has mentored me and recorded two of my songs, and she is adamant about keeping one's own publishing and consulting with lawyers before signing contracts. RC Bannon is a #1 hit songwriter in Nashville. He told me that my best songs will come from what's true for me and not by trying to be ""commercial."" Monte Warden is another hit writer who has given me a ton of helpful information (along with his wife and publisher, Brandi) about how to not have my CD tossed into the junk bin at the record label office--what to send, how to package it, etc.

Because I'm resuming performing, and because I'm doing it on my own now, I feel like I am just starting out. The industry has changed so much, I don't know what to expect. But I just try to remain healthy and seek out support. This is my dream, I have done other things, and nothing else satisfies me the same way. I just try to follow the dream, take one step at a time, and do the best I can to make good choices."
" I like the way the guitar sounds. It's very portable. Twenty years ago, I thought it was easy to play, but I have since learned that I was mistaken. :)"

Champian Fulton

It's basically a one woman show! I pick the material, arrange the songs, set up the gigs, hire the musicians, promote the gig, run the gig, and perform. In the studio it's the same. I just released a new CD a few weeks ago ("the breeze and I") and I'm in the process of marketing it myself. I spend the day emailing and calling radio stations and journalists around the world, then the evening putting together press kits which I mail out the next day. It's very exhausting and there are alot of spreadsheets involved! It's alot of work, but so far I'm happy with the results. I think social media (like facebook and twitter) is a great resource, but sometimes I spend more time on it than I think I really should.
Hmm....well I'm a straight-ahead Jazz musician so I don't have alot of "gear" in terms of electronics. I prefer to play on a piano (as opposed to a keyboard or electronic instrument) and when I sing I pretty much sing through whatever system is provided. I'm a pretty acoustic musician. At home I have an upright Sohmer piano on which to practice.
"Yes, I think it's absolutely different. In the Jazz world, it's basically a man's game. Male musicians look at you and judge you immediately because you're a woman. I would say 90% of the time I'm introduced to people they assume I sing and don't play an instrument. It's very frustrating. I think people automatically assume a woman doesn't know what she's doing in terms of the music or the business, especially in terms of money. I'm not sure there is a moment when that became clear per se, but here is one that stands out.

When I was in college I had a boyfriend who was also a musician and studying in the same program. I was having some musical disagreements with my professors at the time, in terms of what I should be studying and what was important to my art etc, and my professor, who happened to be the dean of the program asked my boyfriend why I was such a ""bitch"" and couldn't my boyfriend keep me under control.

I think that pretty much sums it up. "
I'm not able to answer because truthfully I don't know very many female musicians at all, let alone know them well enough to answer this question.
My father is a musician and his advice has been numerous and valuable. He has always counseled me on being persistent and staying non-emotional about rejection and / or acceptance. Some people will be supportive, some people won't be supportive, and most won't care. I think as a musician in general, and even more so as a woman, you have to be able to count on yourself and only yourself. Be independent, be smart, and be proactive.
I always loved to sing. I have been playing the piano since I could walk, but around the age of 8 I became more serious about it because I realized it was a way to work on my singing. Playing the piano while I sing gives me more control of the music and the bandstand. Once I began to truly study piano, around age 8, I just fell in love with it. Now I would consider myself more a pianist than a singer.

Kellye Gray

leader, producer, record and production company manager and president
Audio Technica mike, Beyer Dynamic mike, various hand percussion instruments
yes. It takes a strong will and clear communication to be a woman in the music industry. Women still have to fight their way to the top of this business and are constantly put into a lesser role by males. They always want to "help" the woman and it's even more exaggerated with regards to female singers.
Yes, the newer generations are beginning to be able to take advantage of all the efforts that their predecessors made to create a more level playing field. They are also, on average, better musicians so they garner their own respect onstage and in the studio with fellow male musicians.
"Not really in the beginning. But, my peer colleagues and I began to see patterns. The same kind's of experiences were happening to all of us. So, we banned together to educate the younger generations to facilitate change. My advice to anyone, be they male or female is to do what you want and don't let anyone tell you different. You are the artist and even if only 20 people get what you do right now...who knows what will happen in the future. Never compromise yourself, because you have to continue to live with yourself throughout this lifetime. "
I'm a natural singer and rhythm maker -- can't imagine not singing for a living, actually

Deann René, On Edje

"Im just getting started in this business. I've been singing in choirs or solo for weddings and corporate events for years. Now Im singing everywhere I can with my band or solo.I am the lead singer of the band. I write the songs and collaborate with the guitar player on some. I've been the lead in business and marketing and in the studio. We have a new drummer and have the new name ""On Edje"". So we are putting a website and recording a new demo soon. I have a single coming out soon that I am recording alone. its a song I wrote a long time ago and I feel the need to do something with it now.

Don't know if that answers your questions. "
I have a cheap Ibanez acoustic electric guitar. Working on getting a nice Martin if I could ever get the money to buy it. I use a SM 58 mic.
"YES!!!!! I have a son that is 5, a full time job, and all the responsibilities of life. I think men have it easy because usually if men are in bands and have families its viewed as ""cool"" but when a woman does that then she isn't a good mother, wife, worker or whatever. I was in a latin rock band for a while before I started my own band while going through a divorce. The band and the practicing was totally used against me in court and I almost lost custody of my son. Even though, I was maintaining a FULL time job and working from home and taking care of my son and paying most of the bills. When my ex husband presented to the judge that fact that I was in a band that had 1 or 2 gigs a month and practiced every wednesday for 3 hours I had to fight to prove that I was responsible. I think if I were a man that subject wouldn't have even been discussed with the judge. But I am a woman so it ""looks bad"". I have plenty to say about this subject!!!"
"Maybe with writing songs. Seems like older women write from a more ""life experience"" approach than younger women. "
"Yes, don't listen to the naysayers. I guess Im just starting out really so the advice I could give is what I try to tell myself. My advice is you're never to old, or too young or too fat or too skinny or too this or too that to follow your dreams. If music is what you have inside of you then let it out and never stop!"
"I just mess around on the guitar and piano to help me write songs. Its just what I've always done since I was a kid. I choose to sing because its just part of who I am. I come from a family of musicians and music teacher so its in the blood."

Suzy Thompson

Depends on the band. In the Texas Sheiks, I play fiddle but I also have been the major person coming up with the band's repertoire. I am not the leader of that band. But usually, I have either been the leader or shared leadership in the bands I've been. In the studio, I just play; I am not a good producer or mixer -- I need all my focus for playing. In most of my bands, I've taken a leadership role in business and marketing. I have also done a lot of booking and managing.
Fiddle (1920s Italian); bow (Glasser carbon fiber); old Gibson acoustic guitar (probably 1940s); 2 Cajun accordions made by Marc Savoy.
"Yes -- it is different. There are exceptions to this, of course, but I find that women musicians tend to be more empathetic, and tend to like to work cooperatively (vs. one person being the boss). This became clear to me in 1978 when I left a very successful West Coast all-woman band (Any Old Time) to join a string band in the east where I was the only woman and the youngest musician (the oldest was nearly a generation older than 24-year-old me). I was used to being in a group where decisions were made by consensus and totally did not realize that I was going to be in a band where one person would be making decisions and I would not have an equal voice. My mother, who is in her 80s now, is a doctor - a rheumatologist specializing in lupus. She was a feminist in the 1950s and I heard plenty of tales from her about what it was like to be a pioneering woman in her medical field. She has always inspired me and encouraged me to follow my muse and to not let being female stand in my way. The other thing - I don't know if this is about being a woman or about being a parent - but having children has altered my projectory considerably because my first child is severely developmentally disabled (she was born with a rare form of epilepsy called Lennox Gastaut syndrome) and taking care of her meant that both my husband and I stopped being able to tour. He is a musician too and we mostly work together (both in bands and as a duo). I have many more thoughts about this whole ""being a musician and raising a family"" thing, but for sure, having a disabled kid threw a major monkey wrench into the works. A year ago, we moved Corrina into a nearby group home where she is doing very well (she is 24 now) and so we have been able to start traveling again and I love it!"
"The music scene has changed a tremendous amount since I started playing the fiddle which is about 35 years ago now. When I started, there were hardly any women instrumentalists and being a ""girl fiddler"" was a big deal. There definitely was some sexism but in general, I’d say that the musicians of stature (people like Dewey Balfa, Tommy Jarrell, Mike Seeger to name a few) always treated me like a person and not like some kind of cute girl fiddler. Of course I was never a ""babe,"" not conventionally pretty (in fact kind of homely) and that probably was a help in a certain way. In the east, where I grew up, there were very very few women fiddlers when I started playing. Maria Muldaur was the first one I saw! But, in the Bay Area (always ahead of the pack) there were quite a few great players: Sue Draheim, Laurie Lewis, Cathie Whitesides, Irene Herrmann, to name just a few. In those days, for example, in fiddle contests there would often be a ""best woman fiddler"" prize. Things are completely different now, nobody would dream of calling Alison Krauss or Natalie MacMaster or Rayna Gellert a ""girl fiddler."" There are tons of great women fiddlers now. One thing hasn't changed, though: it's still way more important for a female musician to be thin and conventionally good-looking than for a male musician."
Advice: play from the heart; listen to and learn from older musicians (especially the very old ones - their life lessons inform their music - and yours will too, eventually); be pleasant and nice and friendly (but stay true to yourself); eat well (stop and snack before going into a hypoglycemic tailspin); take every opportunity to play with the best musicians that you can; cultivate the friendship of other women musicians (it is a life-saver); be humble AND have confidence.
You can play any type of music on the fiddle, and I had a head start with my classical lessons as a child. With guitar, at age 10 saw another kid playing and asked my parents to get me one, my mom showed me a few chords and I was off and running, never had any lessons. With Cajun accordion, I had been playing Cajun fiddle for over 20 years with a great accordion player (Danny Poullard) in the California Cajun Orchestra; when my fiddle mentor, Dewey Balfa, passed on, I decided to take up the accordion and learned from Danny.

Kim Miller

Songwriter, vocals, guitar - I'm the front person or I go solo, when I perform. In the studio, depending on the session, I may be producer or I may put myself completely in the hands of another producer to grow and learn from their artistry. As far as business and marketing, I make the decisions with ongoing consultation, research and advice from my peers in the biz.
"Instruments: a hand made 2004 Collings Om1 acoustic guitar, a 1997 Taylor 510 acoustic guitar, a 1986 yamaha FS-350S acoustic guitar and a hand-crafted dulcimer. Sound Equipment: a Bose sound system w/Mackie board for submix, an L.R. Baggs para acoustic DI, a SansAmp para driver DI, a Sure Beta 87A mic and ALWAYS D'Addario strings (no promotional deal ,just love their strings.)"
Early in my career I was a 'target': Imagine a young girl, on her own, playing bars and clubs in Houston and on the road in the 70's? In so many places where a man could be transparent, I could not. It was scary, sometimes. It took some daring to alter my middle-class culturing and embrace all the risk that came with being single-force-woman pursuing my dream. Why didn't I want to finish college? Why didn't I want to get married, have kids? It's much easier now. Occasionally I still have to dodge the 'come on' bullet but there are a lot more gentlemen out there in the biz now.
Yes, it's inevitable. Technology and culture has changed so much. But at our root, the longing and drive are no different. When you feel the calling to be a troubadour, manifesting it is in the details. It's 'the song' that drives us all - young and old.
I don't recall who said it but somewhere along the way I heard that there are 10 people waiting right behind you to do what you do so you better take your gift seriously. I can't believe how many really talented female singer songwriters there are now. It's become acceptable to pursue the risk - parents and peers are more apt, it seems to me, to support a young girl with talent and dreams. I would say go for it - just keep in mind that you do it for the love of it. If you ever feel like you're loosing touch with your creative voice, don't hesitate to reassess why you are making music and what you want most from it. Fame and fulfillment are not necessarily the same.
I was stunned by James Taylor, Joni Mitchelle, Peter Paul and Mary, Mary Hopkins, Cat Stevens, etc ... the great guitar slingers of my youth. Also, Joni played dulcimer in a non-traditional style that lured me to try one out. I figured out it was esy to play yet the notes were complex and layered because it was tuned like a banjo - an open tuning. Then I learned that I could do the same thing to a guitar - alter the tuning. Freedom! I also played piano for a while but lost it in a flood along with my good dulcimer.

Sarah Brown

I'm a self-employed musician with a long career. I've had long associations with various groups, house bands, etc., some of whom have had management making decisions. In many cases I get hired free lance for gigs or sessions as a bass player, and people know what I can offer a project. I have to manage my career as a whole on my own. I currently tour and record with Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women, and play and record in Austin with several bands.
"I own 6 bass guitars, 3 of which are vintage, also a vintage Telecaster guitar and a new acoustic guitar. I have an old Kay string bass (upright acoustic bass) I just bought a high end Genz Benz bass combo (amp and 2 speaker cabs). I have a computer software system for making song demos."
"Big question! There weren't many female bass players when I started out, so people tended to remember me, which is a bonus. That's still the case, but there are many more women on bass now, which is a great trend. Early on I decided that I had to have enough musical ability to leave no doubt that I was serious. I wanted to dispense with the ""isn't that cute"" response from the downbeat, using good musicianship to eclipse patronizing attitudes I knew I'd encounter. Still, one has to develop a sense of humor to deal with ignorant remarks. ""Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?"" Plenty of them, such as not getting hired for tours because wives or girl friends of the band members felt threatened, or because bringing me on tour would cost more if I got a single hotel room instead of rooming with a guy. Or club owners claiming that they can't hire acts fronted by women because they won't draw a crowd - and then seeing that in some markets this may be true. On the plus side - a big plus - women who see me play, especially when there are other women on stage or an all-women band, make a point of telling me they feel inspired by what I do."
I think the punk scene changed things for women, in that "oddness" was encouraged. People accept women "rocking out" now more than they used to. It's seems that music has benefited too from the general shift in attitudes towards women.
I can't recall a particular mentor or any specific advice. Here's mine to others, corny as it is; believe in yourself and do the work to back up your belief.
I was drawn to the bass. I heard it, felt it, and understood it's role at about 13, when I started listening to the radio with concentration. I played the cello in junior high and high school.

Samantha Vanderslice, Good Goddess Almighty

play, sing, write, laugh, take life lightly
Goddess gear
Absolutely. Men have dominated the music scene for many years. Now is the time for the feminine energy to be expressed. Women use music for more healing and inspiring purposes. I was inspired to pick up the bass by the bass player for Bob Schneider.
Let your music shine. We all have something beautiful to share with the world. And we all are instruments for the Divine. So just enjoy your own unique sound.
I love the richness of the bass. It connects me to earth energy.

Jean Synodinos

"I work solo most of the time, so that about sums it up. When the gig calls for a duo/trio/band, I line up the playsers, most of whom I've generally played with before. I do my own booking and marketing via email and social networking sites.

My husband really produced my first two CDs as a solo artist (we met working on the first record), and while I deferred to him much of the time, I found it pretty easy to offer up a strong opinion. Of course, that might've been the lovely nature of our relationship at work, too.

For the next CD, which I'm getting ready to make this year, I'll be interviewing other producers here in Austin. I have my ears on one in particular, and I'm looking for a great and collaborative experience."
"Main guitars: Gibson acoustic songwriter series; Martin acoustic HD-28. Other guitars: 1953 Gibson 3/4-size hollowbody electric; Guild classical; Les Paul epiphone electric.

The PA is an assemblage of gear I've picked up over the years. I generally use a Shure 58 mic for gigs. I use an A/B pedal on stage to switch between guitar signals, a pretty typical DI box, and, of course, a Boss stage tuner. Otherwise, I'm pretty effects-free.

My husband's a professional musician (full time) and recording engineer, so I like to play w/ some of his gear when he's not looking.

For composition (in addition to guitar), i often turn to the upright piano in the house or my Korg X5 keyboard."
"Being a woman and ANYTHING is different from being a man. It's most often made clear when you walk into a music store to buy gear. The ""can I help you little lady?"" vibe rings like an out of tune bell. I get particularly nerved when the same sales clerk moves on to help a guy and you can hear them both playing Stairway to Heaven and trying to out-testosterone each other.

I think most of us gals here in Austin think it's harder to get a good gig than it is for guys. Sure, you can book a coffeehouse no sweat, but if you were to look over the extensive music listings each week in the Austin Chronicle you'd find the large percentage of gigs going to men. The women who appear in the club listings are stunning and great, but it's the same line up of women from week to week. No question -- they've paid their dues and deliver the goods. But there's not a lot of great gigs for women in this town.

Which may mean (and I don't have data on this, mind you), that it's harder to get audiences interested in women artists than men. I dunno!

Finally, let me say that when I play with other people, I'm almost always playing with men. And my experience is that there's no sexism at all among players. A good musician is a good musician. And that's incredible fun."
Not really, but that might be Austin. We're lucky enough to live in a town where music lovers are as old as they are young. And that's also reflected in the array of ages of working musicians here. I can think of amazing female musicians that span the ages of 16 to 60. I don't know that you'd find that in a lot of other towns.
"I didn't start to play music publicly until i was well into my 30s, and by that time, most people knew better than to give me much advice. I'd have been wise to ask for some, btw.

But to any young woman musician, I'd offer:

1) Go out to hear other women perform. They're not your competition--they're your tribe.

2) Practice your instrument. The fastest way I earned respect (especially among men) was by picking up a guitar in front of people and surprising them.

3) If you're a singer-songwriter, study the craft of lyric writing, and study it hard. I wish someone had said this to me earlier. I won some songwriting competitions when I first started to play in public, so I thought I knew what I was doing. Wow -- what I didn't know could've filled an ocean. It still can, but at least I've got a lifeboat now.

4) Don't be an apologist on stage. I've seen this in both sexes, but it's particularly true of younger women I've seen. We've all got insecurities about one thing or another, but the stage isn't the place to work it out. Trust me, your audience does not wanna see it.

5) Supplement your big dream with a little strategy. Map it out: what do you want to do, and how are you going to get there? What resources do you have, and what do you need? What do you do really well, and what do you need to do better? Who in your life can help you? I know you want it all *now* but a little planning will keep you on track til you actually get there. And quit saying I sound like your mother. All most mom's really want is for their kids to be genuinely happy and for them to have a plan.


6) Have a blast doing this! You've chosen the coolest thing in the world to do with your time on this planet. You'll have days when you hate having to work your day job, when you can't get a gig to save your soul, when you it looks like there's no way you'll get the money to record, and when everything else in your life feels like an obstacle. Don't let any of that turn you into a victim. The second you hear the voice of ""Poor me"" come out of your mouth just hush up and remember: you are doing the coolest thing with your time on the planet that you could possibly do. So go do it.

[Thanks -- this was fun. I think I'll go pick up my guitar now.]"
My dad put a guitar in my hand when I was 8 years old. That, and it's easier to practice quietly on a guitar. Who wants to be heard making serious gaffs? Especially when your husband's a brilliant player?

Lindsay Wells

"Vocalist/Songwriter/Band leader


Business Owner"
Microphone, and rockin' stand!
Yes. I have encountered situations where the focus was more on my looks rather than my ability. There have been several moments, and I still encounter it.
Yes. You've seen more women take control of their careers.
Yes. I would not be where I am if it weren't for the advice given to me. Some advice I would give is to find someone you can trust to help you get organized because there is a lot of work involved and organization is key. Also, find our who you are as an Artist, what your voice is, and how it is different from anyone else's. Never stop trying!!!
At age 4, the church choir director noticed my voice, and gave me my first solo singin' at church.

Submitted Anonymously

I am the band. I am the creative, business, and marketing of my music. I work full time and so most days it seems I don't get very far. I am tired.
I use a Mac laptop, have Pro Tools, use Garage Band and an Edirol MP3 recorder to record. I have my own PA. I don't know much about gear actually. My brother is a guitar player and knows tons about gear, collects it... I just focus on the music.
Yes. Although I'm not sure I can articulate it very well today and this is probably an important part of your survey. Sorry! I'm 33, and most of my friends who are not in music are settling down and starting families. I have an agenda with my music, and I work full-time as an office manager, trying to support myself. I don't really want to settle and do the expected things a woman does (bear children, be a wife) yet. Not sure if I want children at all. Though at the same time, I think people in my life (good people) are worried about the path I take. Will I be penniless and alone and barren? I think being a woman in music is especially tough, because there are expectations on you. I do want a man in my life. I don't want to wimp out and have him support me, but I do know that (outside of music, at least) he'll get paid more for whatever he does than what I will. Sorry, I'm off on tangents here.
I see some older women musicians I know who seem scared and alone and wondering how to support themselves if their career is not doing well. They're also incredibly smart, have a confidence about them, and just as talented and beautiful as ever.
I've had a lot of great mentors, many of them women. I can't think of any single one advice that did it. What I notice is that being around other women, sharing stories, validating each others' feelings of the struggles of the business, offering support and encouragement, has made the biggest difference to me. I'm not sure if men do that, the way we do.
"Voice: I began to sing as a child, when there's no such thing as logic, it just felt good to do. I forgot about it along the way. I came back to it at 23, wondering if maybe I could make music with my voice? I wanted to impress my musician (now ex-) boyfriend at the time. We broke up before I could impress him.

Guitar: The original reason was probably to win the affection of the musician ex-boyfriend, with the added benefit of proving to my brother that I could play guitar too. The relationship with the guitar was on again, off again. At some point I got tired of asking guitar players to learn songs and play with me, so I decided to commit to learning. The reason I keep playing is that it gives my songs a bed to sleep on. And somewhere along the way I surmounted the first, long, painful learning curve, and have gotten to the part where I like it, it's fun, it's still very hard, and I even crave playing it sometimes. "

Myrna Cabello, The MyrnaRocksBand

I pretty much do it all. I am the lead singer/songwriter. I co-produced my first album. I book shows, coordinate rehearsals and payment of the band. I create the graphics for posters, websites. My husband helps as much as he can, but his job doesn't allow as much flexibility.
Myself, tambourine, guiro, shaker.
Unfortunately yes and unfortunately there are many moments. A recent example is when my husband and I were in NY. He was buying a guitar. The sales clerk immediately assumed that it was his band and he was the musician and I was just the wife paying for it. He didn't really address me or take me seriously until we talked about my album and the heavy hitters on it and that I had actually written songs that he started addressing me. I bounced this off my husband as I often do to make sure I wasn't being paranoid and his response was that yes, he got the same vibe. My husband acknowledges when it happens which is why we often tag team contacts. When we see that whoever we are talking to is more receptive to a male - then he takes over the negotiations, etc. Also, I've noticed in local line-ups for festivals and such that unless it's a specific woman's concert there is always way more males listed and usually a token female. Guys also collaborate more freely with men than women. They are more willing to mentor each other. My husband says he never realized it until he met me.
To be honest I haven't even thought about it. But now that you've made me think about it... I do know that the strong successful women in this town are older and work together quite a bit. I think with the younger generations you don't see it as much. Even though the internet has made it easier for people to get their music out there, it has in a sense made it more difficult to break through the masses. It's a different world in radio as well. It's harder.
"The best thing that could have happened to me was joining the Women In Music Professional Society here in Austin. A group of great woman that network from all aspects of the music business. Nancy Coplin and Rose Reyes realized the challenges for women in music and put this wonderful networking opportunity together. Through it I have booked gigs, found support, and learned so much. Whenever I've had a question or needed support Nancy and Rose have been there to help.

I strongly encourage any woman to find that kind of support whether through an already existing group or through creating one of your own. After all there is strength in numbers. Get yourself educated on the music business and learn how to approach the people you need to get where you want to be. Whether it's finding venues to play or joining bands, or getting a manager. Practice! Take your self seriously and others will too."
I've always sang since I was a little girl in musicals, open mics, for my family. I didn't decide to put my own band together until 2005.

Deborah Holland, The Refugees

singer/songwriter/musician (bass, accordion, guitar)
Martin guitar, Taylor guitar, G & L bass, Hohner accordion, various keyboards
"yes record companies sign fewer women and it's still an industry dominated by men the moment that was made clear was when an executive at Chrysalis Records said they wouldn't sign me because they already had Pat Benatar and someone going into a record store would not buy 2 records by a woman."
"yes- women musicians today don't feel they have any constraints also, a woman musician in a band is now considered an asset, something cool"
"the only advice was to have no expectations. I would tell a woman starting out to do it because she loves music and can't see herself doing anything else. I would tell her to do it for the love and satisfaction of creating music. I don't think this advice is any different from what I would tell a man. The only difference is I might tell a woman don't be surprised if you still viewed as a ""chick singer"". "
I play many instruments. Each has a different story.

Ruby Jane

I am the bandleader and songwriter.
Fiddle, guitar, mandolin. I need an electric guitar but cant afford one. mics, mic stands. Is that what you mean?
I dont know, Im not a man. I am growing up in music. It is art. Art is for everyone.
In my experience, the older generations have been very generous to me...sharing the music and helping me. I plan to also pass on my knowledge, experience, and music to the next generation. It is the only was for its survival.
I've had good advice and bad advice. There are plenty of giving musicians and plenty of sharks in the biz too. I think just surrounding yourself with the loving ones is key. Stay away from the bottomfeeders.
I asked my mama for a violin at age 2 because she wouldnt let me watch tv but put in a video of Itzhak Perlman and I fell in love with strings.

Brigitte London

At this point, I have moved into producing my own records and records for others, but it took me a long time to understand the studio process and not be intimidated. After several managers/agents/deals/etc., this is the only way I can do it now. I would be open to a producer who was willing to work with me (i've had several great ones in the past including Richie Albright (waylon jennings) who has done so, but lately its evolved to doing it myself. I make all the decisions now. In the past, I put it in someone else's hands (even 'well known' people) who I thought I could trust, but I learned that even though its a million times more work it is best to handle things myself. If things go wrong, I have myself to blame and can learn from it. There is a fine line between being open to grow musically, and not letting someone conform you to their idea of what you should be.
Martin D28, Fender Acoustic Amp, Tele, Shure 58 mic and whatever else I may need.
Absolutely. I always felt it, but during the recording process of my second album, i grew up fast, and realized that you have to almost shout for the respect. And it is a boys club still to this day, but it is not as bad as it once was. the hard part is having all men work for you, you have to be very careful in how you deal with them because most of them resent it (talking about the sidemen here). Other Male artists, though, can be wonderful, and respect what you go through (because they know how hard it is) for the most part are very supportive and respectful. Booking is also a tricky thing. I actually brought in a Male agent to help book this year, as being a man he gets in doors quicker. I hate this fact and would rather not say its true, but it is and due to economic situations this year, I need the bookings, and am grateful for his contributions.
A lot of the younger women in country music seem to feel they need to use their sexuality more than ever, first before talent, and that makes me sad because hey- its great to be sexy - but show your talent FIRST, use that as your platform, not your ass. The visual commercialism has been bred into them by VIDEOS and the media. I mentor a lot of young artists, and they feel frightened they aren't attractive enough. (I am considered OLD in this business at 40 LOL). But I love performing with women of all ages. Have always done "Women Songwriting Shows." for years. Supporting each other is SO necessary. And some of the young talent just makes me proud. All those women who came before us who opened the doors...Bonnie Raitt, Chrissy Hynde, Loretta Lynn, Heart, Joni Mitchell, etc..... so much is owed to them.
"The best advice I ever got was from my sister, who told me to stick to my guns.

The things I tell my female pickin' friends --- KNOW WHO YOU ARE. ALL THE WAY THROUGH. What your values are. Be Authentic. And get behind yourself before you let anyone else get behind you. Trust your gut over your head, keep out the shoulds and go with what feels best for you. and just Create. that is what matters! .

of course, my advice may not get you the most money - or any money for that matter, keep that in mind ;) But its best for avoiding feeling used, powerless, and creatively bereft...

Thanks for being interested in the women's journey in music. Sincerely, Brigitte"
I fell in love with the guitar as a child, starting taking classical lessons at age 6 but switched to writing songs and playing "chords" ( a definite no-no to my classical teacher) at age 11. I also play piano but only for writing and bass only if needed for something.

Barbara Zigman

Backup. Mixing.PR
My guitars are now landfill in Bonham
Yeah. Hitting the road alone at fifty
Stay home
They chosd me

Laura Mordecai

Definitely a sideman in the band both live performance and in the studio. On the business side, my husband and I own a musician contracting and booking company - BBA/Management and booking. So I assist Javier when I can in getting the band booked different places.
currently, LP congas, DW snare, Bosphorus cymbals, tons of small hand percussion. Shure SM 58 vocal mic, rolls 4 ch mixer, Audix drum mics, Korg MX50 keyboard/synth.
Undeniably there are differences in the day to day business side. There are also distinct differences in our approaches to our respective instruments. We can meet those differences as possitive or negative, better or worse, right or wrong and get all hung up about it or we can focus on the music that comes out of us and whether or not the collaboration is working. Fortunately now, in this day and age, we can do that.
On the business side yes. But mostly in the same respect as men from one generation to the next. The older women I've had the privilege to work with were strong, savvy and focused and went about their music making despite any gender issues. Today, the younger women are just as tenacious but have more business knowledge and more tools available to them so they, like young men in the business, don't have to lose their power so much to lawyers, accountants, record companies, managers, etc.
"To make it in the business - Take a ""basics in business"" class and pay attention. To make it as a respected professional musician - Hold on to your integrity at all cost (e.g. don't sleep with your band mates just cause you can). Never lose sight that your job here is that of a messenger with a most important message to deliver. To make it as a successful performer - When you sit in with a band remember - ""everybody's got something to say. Say what you need to say, then sit down and listen to the next guy."""
When I was 11 picking an instrument to play in the school band, my Dad really bought a tambourine and a set of brushes and taught me a few basics of playing drums - he needed a drummer for his dixieland jazz band. My sister played piano, my brother played bass so, of course, I picked drums.

Laura Marie

I am the songwriter, performer and marketing machine. I have a producer in the studio and work with additional PR people as needed.
Martin guitar, Bose L1 sound system
For a long time, I was surrounded by men and the few women I ran into were highly competitive. It was hard to find a female friend in the industry. That has changed dramatically. More women support each other and work together which is heartening. More men take us seriously. My guess is that, with the support of other women, we've learned to take ourselves more seriously and do not feel that we have to prove ourselves to the men in the industry.
I'm always blown away by the heart and soul that comes from more mature women in music. Self-consciousness fades and they are directed by an inner sense of purpose that enables them to really connect with their audience. The more comfortable they are with themselves, the more they give. It's a beautiful thing to watch women move into that phase. Of course, some younger women have it as well but, generally speaking, it takes time to develop.
"I've received tons of advice but the most valuable advice was to listen to myself. No one knows what your vision is but you and you can't build a career out of other people's wants and desires. When people give you advice, it's based on their perception, their limitations, the obstacles they've faced and the failures they've had. You can't limit yourself to someone else's experience.

That said, it's helpful to find someone you can talk to who is honest, has integrity and is capable of being objective. My closest friend is someone in the industry who holds me accountable to the goals I've set for myself. If I become lazy or discouraged, I have someone who will take me aside and question me. I'd rather have that in this business than someone to flatter me. Compliments are nice but you can only learn what you've done right and not what needs to be improved. "
Singing came naturally to me and there was a guitar in our house when we were little. I loved playing with it.

Tortilla Factory

"In the band I am one of the lead vocalist. I share the learship with my brother Alfredo. I am taking over for my father Tony Guerreo. I have some pretty big shoes to fill lol. He's my hero in so many ways. His health is not good. He has diabetes and goes to dyalisis three times a week. He still manages to book the band and direct my foot steps. I am very honored. This is a family business since 1973. I share in the business Decisions. I help book the band , market it, and keep our music library. In the studio I sing lead and backup. "
I'm a vocalist so I am the gear lol
I am fortunate that I have been treated as an equal. There are times that being a woman does have it's advantages, but I'm sure being male does too. I feel very fortunate to be surounded by talented individuals that treat me as an equal musician
Perhaps in the clothes an hairstyles. We are each unique individuals that bring heart and soul in our own way.
My father once told me to eat an breathe music . I live by it. An anyone starting out my advice would be to surround yourself with better musicians. There is always room for growth! An DONT EVER GIVE UP!! DARE TO DREAM!!!
I really enjoy being able to project what I feel inside . And to be able to connect with others the music I sing is a great and wonderful experience . It's truly an honor for lack of better words

Phanie Diaz, Girl In A Coma

Besides playing drums,I run all of our social networks,replay to fanmail and work with our manager on business with the band.
I have a 4 piece teal Gretsch set, lead singer has a brent mason telecaster and fender deville amp,bass player plays on jack cassidy bass with ampeg amp.
It is different...being in this band for 8 years now I find we get stereotyped alot. People assume we will sound a certain way or don't know how to work our gear. There is also more pressure to need to look a certain way as a woman in entertainment,such as weight etc. I see it a lot in press,from comments from the public and touring.
There is difference. Musicians who are coming before this technology boom had to work a lot harder. There wasn't internet,email,myspace,twitter. They had to mail , get on radio and get press a different way. They were making records different too. There were not files to make and protools. I think the talent then is more real and raw. Now and days there are auto tuners for singers. Sad. We have to now find ways to be clever in marketintg because anyone can stream themselves live. I believe anyone can get attention which makes the music industry sometimes seem souless.
Joan jett told us to always enjoy and live in the moment as things arte happening. I would tell any women musician to never give up no matter what is told to them. You don't have to look a certain way or come from a certain background. Work hard and just be.
Was a guitar player and my bass player convinced me to play drums because I could keep a beat. My father drummed.

Lauren Morris

In my studio, I produce film scores and still record and produce original Celtic. I make all of the decisions. I have global distribution and am an internationally recognized Celtic artist.
I have a full production studio with an arsenal of equipment for both live performance and recording.
Stigma and physical ability.
Absolutely. Learn as much as you can, do as much as you can for yourself, wear as many hats as you can, keep your backstage ego in check, and learn how to produce. Be responsible to your art and be the best person you can be. Remember, you are a servant of the music and you are there for the audience.
I started out on voice and guitar. I now use virtual instruments because of their production power.

Audrey Auld

I am my own manager, booking agent, record label, publicist, graphic artist sometimes. I am in control of my career and hire people to work with me as needed.
Beta 58 Sure mic, DI, Taylor guitar, Q lighting personal light system.
It's only recently I am clearly understanding chauvinism in society and specifically in the music industry. I don't think it's a conscious thing on the male's part. It seems they just don't consider the female to be equal, viable or even similar to the male. It's evidenced by them not considering females in line-up selections, top ten lists, etc. Then when reminded of valid female artists they blink and think "Oh yeah, I forgot about her/them". I am not gay, but do prefer working with women as their energy is gentler, less competitive, less condescending, less belittling, less judgemental and more encouraging and enabling.
"Advice I've been given: It's who you know. When you think you've arrived, you haven't. Keep your feet on the ground.

Advice I'd give: Keep faith in your music to carry you through hard times. Trust in your art when no one else is believing in you. Work hard and don't wait for anyone else to come along and do it all for you."
I sing because I write songs and I play guitar because I wanted to be able to play my own songs, and the freedom to play solo.

Anne McCue

'Solo artist' so I am the band leader, string and brass arranger, organizer, composer songwriter. I produce and record my own records as I am a sound engineer of sorts. I am a video director for my own and other artists videos. I produce and record other artist's records. I run my own record company and do just about EVERYTHING. Fortunately my agent, Linda Lewis shares the load when she can.
'79 Gibson Les Paul, Fender Telecaster, Maton Acoustic Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar, Kustom Coupe 36 Amp, Mojave Audio Microphones, Pro Tools LE, Mac G4 Dual Processor, Wah-wah, Fulltone Distortion, Boss Octave, Line-6 Delay, Boss Flanger etc. I could go on but those are the main ones.
Yes, definitely. It's still a male orientated business. Guys in the business just like guy musicians and male artists best. I don't think they really take women seriously as musicians. I'm not talking about male musicians here (whom I love), but men running the music business. They still think women should just sing. The only female guitarist they've ever 'let in' to the mainstream is Bonnie Raitt but there are plenty of us out there. Check out Guitar Player Reader's Poll where they had a Best Female Guitarist Category and many responses were: 'no such thing'. Needless to say Bonnie Raitt won that one every year as she was the only one they had heard of...
Only that there are more of us now. I relate very strongly to Nancy and Ann Wilson. I have toured with them quite a bit and spent some fun times jamming with them and we are on the same page.
Practice, practice, practice! Be your best. Shun the naysayers and don't let the bastards get you down. Play music with people you love, love your music. Leave your ego off stage. Write from your heart and soul. Love is all you need.
I fell in love with the guitar when I was a kid. The Beatles??? and my brother played really well. I inherited his electric guitar and that was it for me. But not for that I'd probably have been an English Professor.

Susan Osborn

Engineer, Artist, Marketing Design etc...
DIgital Performer. Mac
We may have a slightly different perspective on sound at times. Have had to really work to get technical skill. Learned mush from my male friends.
There are more women making a living as Musicians now I think. They are so inspiring to me.
Odetta once told me.....always, take silent time before you make sound. And learn teh power of repetition...repetition, repetition, repetition!
Hmmmm...everyone was playing the guitar. Came to piano much later. Violin was my elementary school the sound.

Sara K.

I play out solo these days, occasionally duo. Am on a German label so play primarily overseas. I've never had a manager so have made all decisions and have artistic input on all the recordings. Have 13 CDs and a DVD to date.
Custom made Manzanita guitar, Roland bass cube, Shure 58 mic
I think we have conflicts sometimes because the music market is still male dominated and often times our opinions are ignored or heavily debated. Age is becoming a factor for me now. But, once I'm playing, I don't feel these things, because the audience is appreciative. My first record deal was sour and it was clear to me that once the contract was over, I was going to quit. Instead I met the German producer I'm with now on the last gig of what I thought was my final tour. Ended up signing and things went smooth for a change. Now the main hurdle is dealing with download sales versus CD sales. I rely alot upon CD sales because of my style and the recordings are Audiophile recordings ~ meant to be played from disc on high end equipment.
The generations of women musicians varies so much. The younger ones now seem to be focusing more on dance routines and special effects than the actual songwriting. As a songwriter, I feel the songs themselves have really changed quite a bit with rap and hip hop. Videos really changed the art of music into performance and music being one thing. I come from a generation where singer/songwriters were just that. You take your instrument and go tour. Sit down and play. This generation seems to complicate music as an art form, at least in the singer/songwriter genre. It's hard to tell what's real and what's effects. So, as an older singer/songwriter, I feel a big difference between what I do and what the rap and hip hops are doing.
"People taught me things along the way. Learning the road and how to perform when you're tired. One person told me ""you have to eat beef and drink whiskey to stay aggressive in this business"". That didn't really work though. I would just say to listen to your inner voice, find the one thing that's never going to let you down and hang on to it. Surround yourself with people who can keep your Spirits up cause there will be tough times and they'll help you to make it through. The tough times make for a good story someday. If you're a singer/songwriter, spread it around to as many people as you can. Recordings, Internet, the road. Not everyone will get it but you can find your niche and the fans will stay loyal. Definitely take chances. And if you get a deal, ask around for a good lawyer. Most of the time, there's bad stuff in the fine print. There's a good website to sell CDs and downloads at It's for independents and a good way to distribute yourself."
Taught myself at age 15 on a guitar that was missing some of the strings. Needed something to sing with and write on. Consequently play a custom made 4 string guitar

Maddy Prior, Steeleye Span

Steeleye is a democratic band, which means decisions are never made, just arrived at. In the Carnival Band there is an MD (Andy Watts) but I am always referred to in the overall direction.
Whatever PA we are using. I use in-ears sometimes too. Otherwise I avoid gear!
I have always felt that we share the same human problems of being away from home and working in a small group. Other than that individual personalities count more. Of course I've only ever been in a band with a woman in it and I suspect all male bands have a different ambience. Certainly all female bands(which I have only recently worked in) are very different. Much ruder.
My daughter, Rose Kemp, is much more focussed and dedicated than I remember being. She works hard at her skills and is aware of the business aspects. But it's a much harder road for them now. When I began it was a much derided 'why don't you get a proper job' type career, therefore not heavy on competition, but now it is seen, mostly mistakenly, along with sport, as the way to riches.
I'm sure many people did, but I don't remember at this moment. Someone said (my Dad, I think) that you should try to do it for the work and not look to the reward. I think music needs to be something you HAVE to do in this climate or leave it alone. It can break your heart.
I worked a week in a Wimpy Bar for £10 and did a gig on my own with a banjo for £8 so I figured I'd try it for a while. That week was the only work I've ever done.

Gia Ciambotti

I am the primary motivator.
"My voice.. a few microphones.. including a Beta 57 (Sure) and a Neuman mid level

It is different, in ways an advantage and in ways a disadvantage, mostly to the outside world.. musicians, good ones, treat each other without prejudice, in my opinion. If you can play/sing you're respected for what you bring, not judged for your gender. That is my experience. Professionals are pro.
I believe it is less intimidating now. Musicians, writers of music, singers, really just love the art form.. women have traditionally played a major role in the creation of music in America. The business of music is more open to women now.
Music advice.. Be able to do what you do, well.. without the computer as a crutch.. listen to the originators of the art form. Business advice.. be a great self-promoter.. Talent comes down the list, in the music industry. Your product has to look good. Steady your nerves, it can be a bumpy ride.
It chose me.

Lisa Sanders

The songwriter the lead singer,The gutair player the business person, If I'm in the studio and if I'm not supporting a friend on a project. I'm the reason why we are recording.Usually my projects. I have to do it all.The business and marketing all of the decisions etc..
"Taylor guitar, Larrivee guitar, Bud guitar, baby Taylor etc.."
"Not so much now with the advent of the independent artist. Women can write their own path. A Beautiful thing. In the main stream it is so obvious to me that we are different by the way they market women for show more than the music. Sad. When I got started. Wasn't that long ago. I'm a late bloomer. I never heard of a man on my record label being told he was too fat or too old. Or not good looking enough.when I got my record deal in 1996. That was the case for me. by then I was almost 40 had only been performing for about a two years when I got signed. It was very apparent to me when I got a distribution deal with MCA and the $65,000 advance was doled out to me at my record label's discretion while the men on my label with the same deal was given their money to do with what they saw fit.( and when I could not get a decent tour on my own after being denied by my record label radio money for a world wide tour as and opener for a major act they cut off my money all together. mind you I was a single mother with two young daughters.)I lost everything including our place to live. Was very apparent to me that men and women were treated differently. Much better now!"
"From an Indie perspective.I see a difference in delivery of the music. the way younger women play their instruments.(Veronica May for instance)The way they express their music vocally too.Different than say Ferron who expresses her music mostly lyrically than musically. Their attitudes about music seems different to me too. I see a lot more women playing music out here in the world than ever before. They are not afraid of pursuing their dream. that's cool.

From a major perspective. You wouldn't see Carol King or Aretha or even Janis Joplin traipsing around in scantily clad clothing singing touch me baby.. While entertaining I don't think they would have done that."
"Yes Ron deBlasio my old manager.said If you don't want to do something in the business (like you've been asked to do something) that goes against your inner self.simply don't do it.

No your strengths, Your weakness, Don't be afraid to get help when you need it. Be totally clear on what you want in this business. Have a plan if you can. Have a Thick skin. If you don't have one get one or get out.

it was the most accessible for writing music . my first passion

Lynda Kay

"Here are just a few of my roles: singer, songwriter, production, bandleader, booking, marketing, web designer, flyers, contracts, costume designs I am actually quite involved with many aspects of my career, although I'd prefer to just sing, write songs, and design costumes! "
"I am a proud Gretsch endorsee, and I have two guitars that are my favorites: Gretsch Knotty Pine Roundup (semi-hollow mahogany body with beautiful tooled leather binding) and Gretsch Rancher Jr. (black lacquer acoustic with creme binding). My friends at Shure keep me in microphones and the SM Beta 58 or 55H seem to work best for my deep contralto voice. And when I'm hitting the road ramblin' roots style, I bring along my signature homemade Samsonite suitcase kickdrum with the double bass drum pedal so I can get that rolling train beat, compliments of the kind folks at The Duallist from Scotland. (normally, these pedals are used by the hardcore men of metal, but it seems that I am their only female endorsee) "
There is absolutely a difference. And one can either look at that in a positive or negative way. I prefer looking at it as a good thing. It is a little more challenging as a woman to be taken seriously as a musician, so I have taken that to mean that I have to continue to work at my refining my craft and develop those aspects that are unique and special to me as a musician and a person. There may be gender bias out there, but talent is undeniable.
The only differences that I can see between the generations of women musicians is the expression in the eyes and the feeling of the voice...there is a knowing in the later generations that can only come from years of experience.
If you love making music more than anything you've ever done in your entire life, then don't stop, no matter how challenging the business aspects are, and regardless of the personal sacrifices, always keep making music. It will be your saving grace.
Out of necessity. I started singing at the age of 3, so my voice was the first instrument I was drawn to. I really wanted to learn to play piano, but my parents didn't think I had the patience, so my sister got piano lessons, and they put me in tap dancing (I guess that's where I got my sense of rhythm.) And when I was in my late 20's, I decided to teach myself to play guitar so I could put chords behind the melodies in my head and began writing songs.

Mandy Mercier

I am the leader when I hire a band; I am the producer in the studio; when I work as a side musician, I defer to the band leader; as far as business, I do all my own although I have hired publicists, managers and booking agents in the past. I would like to have one or all three now but don't have the money to pay a PR person, and the booking agents in town all have full rosters. I don't feel at this point I need a manager but would like to be able to go to the next level and tour full time, even as a solo artist it's hard because I have expenses to cover and no partner.
Collings acoustic guitars; Fender strat; Fender amps; preamps, reverb pedals, pedal tuners, cords, mics, PA system. Percussion instruments (pro)
Yes. In the early days, musicians would actually defy me (in rehearsals and on gigs) and do things like turn down my amp behind my back (being "helpful") etc. They were condescending and patronizing. Later as I became more confident that has stopped and I only work with players who treat me with respect. Socially, it is difficult; I have little in common with romantic partners (men in my case) who are not musicians since they don't understand my priorities; fellow musicians (male) (and female for that matter) often appear to feel threatened by my passion and/or abilities. Another thing I've noticed is that many women seem able to get men to support them financially and/or in other ways; I have usually ended up supporting men (fellow musicians) and being on my own.
Yes, definitely. The younger generation of women are much more confident and take for granted that they can express themselves freely. When I was growing up, women were very much in a subservient role socially and although I was fiery and driven, I encountered obstacles including self-doubt and my family's intense disapproval, which made it hard at times to be as assertive (when I was younger) as I should have been.
Yes, I've been encouraged to be true to myself and my upbringing; to take risks (e.g. contacting and following up with industry people despite fear of rejection); I've had a great example in a friend who was very driven and also would not kowtow to record companies even when that was "risky." Young musicians (female) today seem to have few obstacles; confident young women -- literally the sky is the limit. I wish them well and I think they are doing fine without advice from me!!
I was given the chance to study a string orchestral instrument in 4th grade through my public school; I chose violin. Later as a teenager I took up drums at school, and played in the concert and marching bands (as well as orchestra and string quartet on violin); I discovered guitar and started playing that as a teenager as well. I studied piano at a young age which gave me a grounding in music theory. I went on to play in symphonies in high school and college before dropping out and pursuing music full time.

Connie Todd, The Occasionals

It's a trio, so we're pretty democratic.
Mike, amp, tall chair
Since i was just a singer and came up at a time when big band "standards" gave way to electric rock and roll, I simply stopped singing in public for a very long time. I didn't have musicians to back me up, and that's essential of course for a vocalist. But also, I was busy with college and simply left music behind. A pushy manager or band might have made a difference, but the timing couldn't have been worse. I'm not at all sorry I stopped performing when I did, but I must say that coming back to weekly gigs now (for the last 10 years or so) has been an unexpected delight.
I'm somewhat out of the local "scene," but I know a few female vocalists my age and also much younger, and I notice that the older ones who have been working all their lives have developed very good administrative skills and use agents to great advantage. The younger singers are all about writing their own music, which is a great development, it seems to me. But I must say, covering the old tunes is like throwing good pots--they're always lovely and always interesting, but sometimes they turn out to be truly exceptional. To be able to interpret composers like Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, and others is a delight and a privilege. And I'm constantly surprised that my voice is still really good--I thought it would have left me by now.
I really didn't ever make a living in the music industry, so I don't know how valuable my advice would be, but I'd suggest to newcomers that they keep track of what's going on in their field, who's who, who's writing what, who's reliable. It's like any other field--try to learn as much about it as possible.
I've just been a singer all my life--since I was 2.

Janet Robin

I am now mostly a solo artist, though I occasionally do high profile guitar gigs. I write or co-write all my own songs and I'm in control of who plays with me, such as additional guitar players, drummer, bass player, etc.. Though I do have management, I make most final decisions and a lot of the marketing ideas come from me. It was my idea to raise the money this time to record the cd with John Carter Cash. I book most of my USA dates, however my label in Europe books me there for tours. I will actually be going soon for a 6 week tour in Czech Republic and Germany, UK, Denmark, opening for actor Kevin Bacon's band, The Bacon Bros. They are on the same label as me in Germany. My manager does help with some things, mostly administrative and organizational though.
"Ah, well I am known for my guitar playing, having had some high profile gigs. I use mainly my Taylor acoustic DCSM, Fender Tele, also I have a Fender Custom Strat, and a Custom Turner-Renaissance electric-acoustic that I co-designed. Turner makes all the guitars for Lindsey Buckingham. I have 17 other guitars. I play through a reissue Fender Blues Deluxe. And I have a custom pedal board that I built. I am endorsed by Fender Guitars, Taylor Guitars, Turner, Martin strings, DR Strings, Clayton picks, Seymour Duncan, Daisy Rock, and Sennheisser."
"Well, certainly it's gotten better for women in music, these days you see a lot more women out there playing and doing their own thing. Or, being hired as players in bands. When I started, it really was a novelty. When I was in my band in the 80's we had a major record deal (Polygram and Capitol), we were an all-girl band, (actually friends with some of The Runaways girls), and as we started promotion for our records, radio stations actually said to our faces that they could not add another band with a female singer. That their roster already had one (ala Pat Benatar or Heart) and that they only allowed for one female fronted band at a time on their playlist....Totally ridiculous, of course. We also had some guys come up after our shows and actually ask us if our ""boyfriends' were playing the instruments behind the curtain because ""girls can't play rock n' roll"" that was the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

Now, it's much better and the more women who get out there, learn and play their instrument proficiently, the better. When I got hired to play in Lindsey Buckingham's solo band, he specifically wanted a woman who could play guitar and sing background vocals. There were not very many at the audition, I can tell you that. He was extremely open to the idea and I'm sure all those years working with Stevie Nicks opened up his mind to even the concept of a women musician. People like Joni Mitchell, Heart, Runaways, Fanny, Suzi Quatro, Bonnie Raitt, even bassist Carol Kaye, all helped women get to where we are now. When there are even younger women players and musicians getting recognition now, I hope they remember where it originated from."
"Like I said above, I find that some of the younger women musicians may not know much of people like Joni Mitchell and Heart or even Bonnie Raitt. I have a few guitar students and I try to educate them. Fanny and The Runaways were some of the first all girl bands around, then came Go-Go's, Bangles, Girlschool from the UK, Vixen, (and my band, Precious Metal), during the glam rock days. We all knew each other, whether we were big and famous or not. It didn't matter, there was a comraderie. Now, there are girl bands everywhere, and a lot more girl musicians with companies making guitars for girls even- and really trying to promote playing an instrument to young girls. I think it's great. I just want to make sure that they know their history and know of some of these other women that came before. Even in the blues, there were incredible women guitarists such as Memphis Minnie and Sister Rosetta Thorpe. Most people don't even know who those people are, but for example, Memphis Minnie wrote ""When the levee breaks"" the song that Led Zeppelin made famous and basically doesn't give her any credit. She was also an amazing LEAD guitarist and her husband was the rhythm guitarist in the band. These are facts that not only women should know, but men too- and people of all ages.

Someday I wish to put on a show that features women guitarists and pay homage to women guitarists from the past and present."
"Well, the best advice I received was of course ""never give up"" that is NUMBER 1, no matter what anyone tells you.

Then, of course the rest is practice, practice, practice. Get good at all your skills as a singer, or musician. Whatever it is you do. Dedicate yourself to your craft. You may have to sacrifice some things in life, but if it is truly your passion, you will reach whatever goals you desire.

I'd like to say: This is a great idea that NPR is doing. I would love to contribute more if you need any information, I have a lot, and have been in the business for many years. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

I hope to hear a program like this soon on NPR.

Best Regards, Janet Robin"
When I was a young girl, my brother started playing guitar and I wanted to do everything he wanted to do. (now of course, he's a dentist! like my father!) Anyhow, I followed in his footsteps. I started with folk and classical, and eventually I moved into electric guitar like he did. We had the fortunate pleasure of being taught by Randy Rhoads, he was Ozzy Osbourne's famous guitarist (he eventually died tragically in an airplane crash). Randy was actually more of blues player then being confused with a heavy metal guitarist. I studied with Randy for 5 years and was his youngest and only girl student. Nevertheless, I got some great chops being taught by such a master. I was obsessed with the guitar and would practice all the time as a little girl, not what many girls did when they were young. I only had a few girl guitar players to look up too. As I grew up, I got into a neighborhood bands and just knew this was going to be my life.

Julie Christensen

I'm the lead singer, songwriter, writer of charts, arranger, producer, bringer of snacks, producer, booking person, webmistress, promoter, and now guitar player. (Though I usually employ at least one other person on live gigs to make me sound like I know what I'm doing.)
"I have a Larrivee Parlor guitar (from around 2000- made in Vancouver) with an iMix pickup, and a Dean Markley practice amp. My voice is a mezzo-soprano, and I had a successful vocal surgery last July (for a polyp caused by an acid problem). It's a joy to sing once more."
Yes, unfortunately I do. For better and worse. I remember a moment after I'd been dropped from one major label when my manager said, "Well, they all went home from the weekly meeting at Warner with your demo, but came back and decided that they already had Julee Cruise and Jane Siberry, and didn't need another female artist like that now." (Among all the other men they have on board!) Also, I had a manager say that my being a woman was detrimental (in the year of Lilith Fair), and that because I wasn't 16 and black, the industry wasn't tooled up for me. Of course, I terminated that relationship.
I see that the younger ones now seem to have a lot of confidence and seem like they have an equitable relationship with their male counterparts. And the ones before me had it even harder than I did. But it probably still takes an iron will to get launched.
"When I was doing jazz at an after-hours club in Austin at around 20, I'd just come off stage from singing ""How High the Moon"" in the style of Ella Fitzgerald. A man stopped me and asked me to sit down. He said, ""you know, you pulled that off just fine, but when you drop the needle on a Linda Ronstadt record, you know within seconds it's her. Use your OWN voice, your OWN soul."" The man was the famous jazz guitarist Barney Kessel, who once had to wear blackface and hands to be in a film with black musicians and singers, during segregation.

I would pass on to younger singers that the pyrotechnics that can make you a finalist on American Idol pale in comparison to standing in the middle of the truth of the song. And always be kind to the crews who work so hard in every aspect of this business. They're the ones who can make you sound and look beautiful; no matter how salty they may be. And keep yourself healthy. Drugs and alcohol age you and your voice faster than the road itself will, and that alone will add years if you aren't vigilant with your health."
I don't remember not singing. And I'm trying to be more self-contained and less reliant on having to pay a whole band in these more difficult times, though I love so much to work with other musicians. That's why I picked up the guitar again after having been frustrated with it in my youth.

Texas Ladybugs

Handle finances for band - known as Queen B (bass and backups).
Have 8 bass guitars - favorites Fender 60th anniversary P-Bass and Ibanez semi-hollow-body. Have several amps -- small Ampeg and small Peavey - large rig is Hartke head and cabinet.
Depends on the circumstances. Playing in an all-girl band is awesome, though -- even though we are all very strong females, we respect and hear each other's ideas and thoughts. Not so easy if you're playing with guys (I was the only female musician in my last band - Live Wire - classic rock).
Well, I think it's mainly a matter of maturity. Maturity for women brings with it a comfort in who you are. You don't worry about what everybody might be thinking, you just play and sing what feels good to you. That generally is the best way to do it anyway. Younger women I find are more concerned about being perfect and doing what they think (right or wrong) their buddies want to hear. Mature singer/songwriters just do what they feel, which is generally the right thing.
Find your own "voice". What kind of music specifically speaks to you and just play it.
Bass speaks to me!

Brandi Carlile

"my role is more facilitator than the final word. I trust the twins and I hope to always allow myself a healthy ability to be influenced by the artists in my life...I ask a lot of advice from my friends but I am a control freak at heart and a little that oldest sibling kind of way..not power hungry haha"
"I play collings guitars and I also play these two special martins one is a parlor guitar the other is a mini. I play gibson archtops on recordings and gretsch electrics live and for recording fender delux reverb amp. I love Yamaha pianos."
"Its different because it has had certain limitations in the past that carry over through in the form of road blocks from the industry. art has had something to prove since the beginning of time and in that sense I believe that great art isnt possible without something to struggle against. Its empowering to look at it that way...Weve all seen how bad things can get when they are easy...look at the rise and fall of every frat boy band to ever grace TRL

The moment that made this clear to me was my first lilith fair I wasnt the only 17 year old to hear that women couldnt be rock stars....Yet here they were on the radio,selling out sheds,blowing my mind."
"I see the evidence of struggle when I remember the artists that influenced me who arent on the radio anymore or arent touring...bands broken up because they were tired of the fight or it was made impossible for them to make a living,While their male counter parts are considered ""legacy artists"" and flying around in private jets. I look at those women as the people that paved the way for girls like us,and we have a lightness to the way we walk in the world because someone before us made sure we could....Its important to remember that and to enjoy it because not to would be disrespect to the women that wanted us to. seeing loretta lynn,emmylou harris,and bonnie rait play a show is incredibly inspiring those women and many more are ten feet tall to me."
"The best thing that ever happened to women in music in my opinion is a sense of community. surround yourself with people who teach and inspire you and you might find the power in numbers. Women can sell tickets,records,and being a rockstar is not a boys game"
"because it was mobile piano was my first love but i couldnt carry it with me to lilith fair when I was 17 so i learned to play guitar."

Cindy Cashdollar

"In a band, to musically support both the vocalist the and other musicians.. Same in the studio. As a side person, you have to suss out each new situation quickly and find where to fit in, and add your sound in the best way possible. For business, I have a booking agent to help, and for marketing, I make sure website and social networking avenues are up to date. In this business overall, I sometimes find good intuition is valuable as well! "
Various steel, lap steel, and slide guitars, both vintage and contemporary. Three different amps, (all Fender amps). Two pedal boards, one for Dobro and acoustic slide guitars with built in pickups, and one for the steel and lap steel guitars. I do a variety of music styles, so need variety with gear.
There's been a few moments I've experienced, such as people saying "You play like a man" (?!). Or, when I'm the only female in a band, to try to eat as fast, change clothes/get ready for a show as always seem to do both of those things at top speed.
There's definately more female musicians in each generation...of course there's always been talented women players, it's just that as the years progressed, it became more acceptable and common to be able to do it for a living, casually or full time. The "a woman's place is in the home" mentality kept a lot held back for so long.
"I never really got any advice, I think it was all through experience and learning from each situation. The music business has gotten very tough, due to economy and everything that has gone along with it, but regardless...

Try to be as professional as you can, no matter what the situation, and to learn as much as you can as well. It's just as important to learn the technical side of things too, i.e. so you can communicate with a soundman at a live gig or an engineer in a recording studio. Don't be afraid to ask questions from those more experienced than you. Above all, you have to love what you are doing, and do it from the heart..there's no guarantees to ""fame and fortune""! "
I started out playing regular guitar, and switched to Dobro and steel because I fell in love with the sound, and wanted something different to play/hear.

Franc Graham

i'm everything unfortunately. which is probably why i still play mostly locally. being songwriter and bandleader is a blessing, but the rest of the business is a challenge. hard to do it all and keep afloat...
Fender Pro-reverb silver face amp, seafoam green Fender strat, tangled cords, a beer holder that clamps to the mic stand which i let my bass player use, boots.
people are surprised that i can "play" and some, seemingly intelligent men, still think women can't rock. men would never get put on a bill w/other "boy bands". sexuality plays a bigger part for women in the music biz if you let it. men seem to "wear better" in our culture's eyes, just as they do in the film industry. but it's a blessing all in all, it's what you make it.
yes! now it's about all kinds of other stuff and it's about being younger and younger. a lot of being a musician now is how you look -- and a lot of the work is more insipid in my opinion.
i guess not enough. my advice would be to find your own voice -- that's all that's important really. it may not make you "make it" -- but it's what will fill you. if you got that and can't envision the business end, get someone to sell your work for you -- too tough to do it alone.
older sister played the guitar and taught me some chords, loved the immediacy of it and being able to accompany myself. eccentric musician friend of my dad gave me untraditional (sometimes he just played the flute for me) but basically classical lessons and i found my niche in playing pick-free rock...

Aimee Bobruk

"I am the singer/songwriter/guitarist/manager and main mover. I work with producers in studios--sometimes as a team, sometimes under their sole direction. Business--I work with a booker and a publicist, we do our best with online resources and social (online/offline) networking. Marketing--I'm a people person, I don't have extra money to spend saturating the market with my image like major labels. I play good music and count on faithful, loyal music lovers to come back--word of mouth marketing."
"1956: Gibson J-50 bought in the parking lot of the San Jose in South Austin by a private seller. 1966: Epiphone Caballero 1974: Fender Telecaster bought by saving every penny in college Fender Pro Junior Electrip Amplifier Strawberry Blonde Bass Amplifier 1923 Golbransen Piano--I found a 1926 penny in the piano while searching for the serial number 1950's Melodica Collection of Mexican whistles Collection of Indian Bells Angklung from Indonesia Casio Realistic SK-1 2009 MacBook Pro with Logic and Garage Band Presonus Interface USB Mic and 58's Boss Chromatic Tuner Line 6 looper/delay/echo Packaging Tape for Effects My hands clapping My pots and pans tambo and shakers My lips whistling A few busted cases One 1960's leather suitcase for chords

That's it

Yes, I think there is a clear difference. Often women aren't taken seriously at first when you say you are a songwriter or musician--somehow your work is expected to be under par. More often than not I encounter the classic venue owner/booker flirtation-hit on me scenario. It can be somewhat annoying. Believe it or not, I actually had a booker invite me to "take a ride" in his fancy car. (Puke--I wish I could have slapped him then and there, but then I wouldn't have been able to finish my second set). Let's face it. The majority of musicians are men. Thank God for good gal monsters like Bonnie Raitt, Odessa, Nina Simone, and many that really proved to the music industry (the most of which is men) that women are legit.
"No--we're all the same underneath. Maybe more than 50 years ago there was more social reservations. But since the 60's women have been liberated musically. You can't say younger girls musicians now are more radical or liberal cause look at girls like Patti Smith and Madonna (they came before us). If anything, like any musician regardless of sex, some younger musicians forget to focus on the music and focus more on the media/star/image factor."
"Focus on the song. Focus on the craft. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Let your strengths shine and surround yourself with fellow musicians on-stage that make your weaknesses strong. Be you. Don't worry about the press/attention/how to play that show/how to get on that tour/--just focus on the craft."
"I primarily play guitar. I chose it because the first live musician I heard in my hometown of Huntsville, Tx was playing a guitar. I also wanted to write songs and it seemed portable. You can't travel easily with a piano and keyboards never sound the same."


I lead the band. I run my business - I manage it, fund it, direct it, own it.
"Taylor 714c acoustic guitar Brasilia (east German vintage) electric hollow body guitar various guitar pedals (Two Timer, Tuna Melt, POG, Hardwire tuner, etc.) Carter pedal steel guitar Yamaha upright piano Italian accordion (brand...?) Fender Woody Pro Jr amp"
Yes. Family choices end up affecting the sexes differently. Public perception, expectations, etc. - it's all different. People don't expect (and many times, want) the same level of musicianship, creative prowess, instrumental mastery, and ambition from women and men. The moments come all the time. It's a steady stream, and it's a common joke: "pretty good...for a girl."
Not really. I think women have to break molds, stereotypes, and fight for their equal footing in every generation - and in more fields than just music and music business.
Roseanne Cash just tweeted at me today (she doesn't know me): "Work hard, keep your head down, and never give up." Jimmy LaFave has mused that most musicians who successfully run their own business might make better publicists, radio promoters, booking agents, etc. than most those who enter those fields without being working musicians first. Terri Hendrix has demonstrated to me that you have to work on the art and craft of writing, entertaining, and serving while also doing "the part that ain't art." There are so many who've given me great advice. If I were to give advice, I'd tell her there's always room on the shelf for more good music; people don't stop liking artists they love just because they like someone new. So don't look at music as a competition. Celebrate the greatness you see in everyone around you. Build others up. Champion your friends. Put others first. And yes, everyone else feels like a fraud too.
I've always sung - with my family and in church. Guitar was added to accompany the voice. I learned piano, violin, and flute since I was a kid.

Jenifer Jackson

band leader, writer, arranger, booker, etc. i do it all since i am a solo artist with revolving band members.
"1964 Epiphone Caballero guitar tuner"
"all along, i have been the minority, usually surrounded by lots of male musicians, club owners, record label owners, PR people. when i was 20, i lived and worked in italy as a singer, and had many instances where male co-workers would come on to me.

later, in NYC, signed to a label, i often felt i was very emotionally effected by the business men's actions/decisions/ways of communicating with me. perhaps if i were a man, they would not have tried to control my decisions?"
the younger generation of female musicians seem a bit more business-oriented and pro-active. this may just be the personalities of the specific younger musicians i know & work with now. the changing business seems less structured, and therefore, more open to any gender.
do it for the love of music.
"my dad plays guitar & growing up, we always had his guitars around. my parents bought an old piano when i was a baby & i also began to play that, since it was in our living room!

drums i began later when a boyfriend moved his kit into my living room.

i have always sang!"

Jessie Torrisi, Jessie Torrisi & the Please, Please Me

"Now, leader. I make all the decisions, I front all the money. I gather the troops. I apply to festivals & book the gigs. Go over licensing opportunities & send out packages to labels.

I write all the songs & am the ""star"" of the show. I do work very hard, however, to try to the musical performance a collaborative, both in terms of how we let songs evolve & come up with their sound & arrangement & also in giving everyone in the show moments to shine. I feel very adamant about making it collective in that sense."
"Drumset-- old silver sparkle Slingerland I inherited from my uncle, 1969 vintage

Guitar-- acoustic is a rosewood Guild made in China; small bodied to fit me bought on Matt Umanov guitars in NYC

Electric guitar-- red hot, small bodied music man guitar; purchased at an auction at the Goodwill near my house in Austin for $60"
"Yes. My family has always been pretty supportive. But the current music industry makes the model: if you want to really do it, you have to essentially give up everything (money, stable jobs), get in a van, be broke & often smelly & sometimes inebriated & just keep playing 'til it starts catching on.

That is much harder for women to do. They tend to be more responsible. And so having no money, no job, no plan, and doing something which is both hard on your family (if your parents still clean up your messes), or very hard on a boyfriend/girlfriend, it's just not that common. Women are better at accommodating than putting people out."
"Younger women are more fearless. But older women are tougher."
"Find a mentor. Lots of them.

First, find a great teacher or soulmate who will help you develop as an artist. Who you are willing to take their advice & critique & change things around just to see who it works. This is the only way to get great. You can't be attached to keeping everything just as it was when it burst out of you. You have to be attached to being great.

Second, the music business is more fragmented than ever & it's really hard to find people who will give you honest answers about how it works. Find someone who runs a successful label, or PR firm for bands, or booking agent, and get them to sit down with you & lay out how musicians in 2010 rise to the level of having a career. Call them up once a month to ask your questions. Be relentless. Know that some of these people will depress the shit of you, but others will give you a list of really valuable things you could be doing that most other bands aren't doing.

Think of yourself as an entrepreneur & this as a business. (Hint: you got to sink money in at the beginning.) If you've made a great record, hire someone who can help you get it heard. I recommend an indie publicist. They won't break the band. But you could consider a radio campaign, an internet marketing campaign, or agent as well.

Also, try to be friends with artists who a few steps ahead that might show you the way, let you open for them occasionally, and give your truest glimpse into how it works. Above all, educate yourself. But have your bullshit-o-meter on high. (A lot of people are clueless themselves & give bad advice, which keep you busy and focused in all the wrong directions.)

Everyone who's ever worked with you on recording, performing, or promoting your music... make them your ally. And stay in touch!"
"It chose me. I played other things when I was younger... suzuki piano lessons, then clarinet & saxophone in school band. Drums was the first thing that stuck. Either it becomes me, or 14 just is the age when I was ready to actually practice & not just play.

After college, I became a closet songwriter. It took me many years to both get the courage to sing (to really develop my voice, unlock it physically & learn how to sing)-- and also realize that if I didn't perform my songs, they would never see the light of day.

I was 31 when I recorded *my* first album. It just came out last year. It is good though.

I fancy myself a late bloomer. Though I'd been playing music all my life, I didn't really give myself permission to do it 100% 'til now."

Jan Bell and The Maybelles

Band Leader. Principle Singer/Songwriter. Booker/Manager etc.
Martin acoustic D0018 mahogany top guitar.
"During the Pro Choice Rally's in NYC in the mid 90's I grew tired of hearing women define themselves as a 'woman' artist etc. I stopped prefixing musician by 'woman/female' just because the artists are women. No one says ' And next an All male band! ' I try and keep a sense of humor about it all - sometimes I joke about producing a 'Man's Music Fest! All male bands on stage all day!"" Also, as a part time sound engineer the world does not automatically assume I don't know what I'm doing anymore - the way it did twenty years ago."
Yes. The younger women seem more fearless than ever. There are so many more examples of instrumental soloists than there used to be. It used to be hard to find a woman who could play upright bass, had her own truck and wrote her own songs. Now I know quite a few women like that. A lot more women hit the road on their own without having to rely on their boyfriend, or be the only girl/ 'chick singer' . But at the same time, it seems like they are not so concerned with politics or realize how much they are reaping the benefits of women who took to the streets in the 70's, 80's 90's....perhaps we have evolved past being didactic, or having to label ourselves politically/sexually. Maybe just getting out there and doing it, and believing in yourself is what we were fighting for all along?
"Singing takes courage, and does not always come easy. Someone once told me 'Sing with your own voice'. That helped me find the way. Also - its never too late to learn was a sentiment I felt in the folk music community. I started playing guitar at 29. People often assume I learned as a kid. I think just as many American girls get guitars for their 13th birthday now, as boys do. My advice to a woman starting out, is team up with other artists, work together to support one another in actual real life. Show up to each others shows, produce events together - go beyond face book and support the small business/venues and DIY bookers who present live music."
As a writer/songwriter made sense. Was living on the road at the time, so piano would not have made sense as primary song writing tool.

Ruby James

"well since i am a solo artist, i supposed i am the band leader although i don't think i'm great at it but i try.. i'm a good band leader on stage but in rehearsals and trying to get it together i'm kind of a goof.. my studio experiences have been different.. my first album, desert rose, i was quite involved with my opinions and the direction.. my new album that has just come out this month was produced by charlie sexton and he is like a mad genius and functioning in a whole other world when it comes to music.. so on this album i feel more like a part of it.. it was a magical experience working in the studio with charlie and his brother will and an incredible piano player named mike thompson.. that sort of evolved very organically over three days of us playing together and sounding amazing just after laying down the basic tracks.. but then charlie really worked his magic on it so that was an entirely different process but one that i feel very blessed to have been a part of... the business stuff is really difficult for me as i am not a natural business woman but i've had to work hard to try and learn to be .. it's a long process that still feels really challenging at times but i'm doing the best that i can with what i have to work with.. social networking used to make me very depressed.. trying to add friends and self-promote, but now i've accepted that as an independent artist, it's just what you have to do to get the word out about your art!"
my favorite guitar i have is a blonde thinline tele and i play it through a blues jr. i also have a cool martin 00 series acoustic that sounds amazing w/ slotted headstock. i have a beautiful two -toned green gretsch hollow body that's pretty sweet and very cool unique, custom made Aquila guitar that's made out of purple heart wood.. that guitar is really beautiful and sounds amazing.. i have some other toys as well but those are the main things.. and a Vox AC 30 but that doesn't get played much!
well there are certainly a lot more men playing instruments than there are women.. i'm not sure why that is... i guess maybe boys want to rock at an earlier age and it's cool to think about being in a band and whatnot.. i'm not really sure on this one.. i love when you see a great woman drummer or bass player.. that's the coolest 'cause you don't see it as often as men. maybe young girls are encouraged to play lovely things like piano or violin or something... we need to get more little girls rocking out!
to be fearless... you have to be wildly passionate and determined in this business otherwise good luck.. and i always say that you really have to ask yourself where your heart is at.. is this a hobby or is this your life? either is ok but it's important to be clear.. there are no real easy roads but there are many to chose from.. i think it's always important to dream and to follow your dreams.. that's the only advice i could give to anyone.. male or female.. but to a young girl especially, i would tell her .. what do they say? shoot for the moon and land on the stars? i like that.. anything is possible, if you can dream it, you can be it!
i grew up playing piano but i was classicly trained and i hated playing it.. i instictively new that i needed to learn to play guitar because there would be a lot of songs waiting for me once i learned the instrument.. i started writing my first song on the guitar in my first lesson that i ever took.. that motivated me to practice about 4 hours a day until i couldn't stand the pain any longer.. i was so determined to write and start playing live right away.. my first club gig was about 6 months after i took my first guitar lesson

Kelley Ryan

I sort of orchestrate it all. Starting from "the necessity to do it myself" and graduating to "the pleasure of doing it myself". I may not sound exactly like what's fashionable, but I've actually come to believe that that is a GOOD thing. Luck is the residue of design I say.
I have every guitar I've ever owned still with me. (12 of them). Two basses, two electric guitars, a Danelectro, an acoustic/electric Songbird, and 6 acoustic guitars. Oh, and a strum stick if that counts. I have various loop boxes and whistles and shakers and drums and little key boards and effects etc. A 24 track HD recorder in both Ireland and California so I can write and record all year long.
"You know, I'm not sure how to answer this question, because I have no idea HOW a man would go about ""being a musician""....or for that another WOMAN would go about ""being a musician"". It's all up to THE INDIVIDUAL.

But this IS a very interesting question, since my most recent CD, ""Twist"", is all about women and girls that I've known and been inspired by. I went at it from a decidedly female point of view. (I was quoted in reviews as ""not doing it the rock and roll boy way"" and I've been explaining that one for months). I didn't approach this record with any production 'rules' be they feminine OR masculine. I didn't intentionally avoid anything. It just came out with a more moody, mellow, acoustic, feminine sound which is especially appropriate for ""Twist"". The ""rock and roll boy way"" that I'm referring to is the typical...""let's jam and get a groove going with the bass and drums and then we'll overdub some screaming electric guitars and THEN we'll get the vocals."" My voice is not what you'd call strong. So even an acoustic guitar can drown it out if I'm not careful. I just can't belt it out over the band. So what has ended up happening, especially on ""Twist"", is that I record a simple loop or acoustic guitar and do the vocal FIRST. Then I build all the rest of the stuff around that.

To me it's all about the words and the vocal. Everything else is just there to support that. So I kind of make records in-reverse of the usual method. That's not to say that I don't LIKE the ""rock and roll boy"" method. It just isn't something I usually use. I think (hope) it makes my records sound different in a good way. Of course, on this one, I co-produced it with Dixon and he always added just enough muscle and sonic juice to keep me from wallowing in a pathetic land of girlie-girl. He is a most awesome Producer and Musician be it man, woman or child style. He knows what I do, and he did everything to support the twisted path I went down with each song as the record fell into place. Iron fist...velvet glove. I can't tell you how much I respect him and admire what he does. Same goes for Marti Jones. They are over the top. And it must be said, that the two songs that Van Dyke Parks did string arrangements for are literally bookends to the ""Twist"" story. His musical, string arrangement magic definitely helped define the mood and feeling of the whole record. Guess I should have said, ""the rock and roll boy OR girl way"". I was talking much more about volume and intensity than actual GENDER."
I'm sure women today have more freedom (and, just as importantly, more confidence) to do and say what is in their hearts and on their minds. So, yes, I think women have a better time of expressing themselves now than in the past. This is a very good road to be on.
You have to DO IT FOR THE LOVE. That's really the key to fulfillment, if not success, as well. Money and fame are mostly exotic looking distractions. Although they can represent a certain amount of validation as an artist, they are also both a Pandora's Box of trouble. The best thing you can do is never lose the LOVE for what you do. Just keep feeding the muse. Head down. Get lost in your art, whatever it may be.
Honestly, I like the way it feels in my arms. All instruments I use primarily as a showcase for the SONGS. I consider my self a songwriter, first and foremost, I sing and play and record only as a means to get the SONG out. The end result is I've spent most of my life making music and have totally come to LOVE THE PROCESS as much as the end result. In fact, 'loving the process', I believe makes the end result better.

Christina Martin

I write all the songs and am a solo-artist. I co-produced my most recent album, and in the past have worked with other producers (Darwin Smith- Austin TX, Dale Murray- Halifax NS). I am self-managed at the moment, but I work with a mentor that is funded through the goverment of Candada. As well, I hire people to help project manage, write grants, and do some administrative work. 70% of my time is spent doing administrative work for my music career at the moment. I have a booking agent ( however I still book 95% of my shows.
"Acoustic Guitar- Martin 000S15 12-Fret Electric Guitar- Gretsch Fender Blues Junior Amp Vox Pathfinder 15R Amp"
"I believe that there are advantages and sometimes disadvantages. I think there is still an obsession with youth that can be a disadvantage to women, more so than men in the business. Depending on the record label or industry professional, there seems to be more interest in female artists that are in their early 20's and writing great songs. If you say you are 22 and people like your songs, they are even more impressed! If you say you are 30, and writing great songs, well its expected that you've at least had some life experience to contribute to the tunes. The idea being that if you catch them early, then there is a better chance you can make more money from them for longer. I don't want to bitch about it, because I have found a lot of support in the industry in Eastern Canada form both men and women, however, the question usually comes up at conferences or in label meeting rooms 'how old are you?'. That question makes me a bit irritated.

Even in my early 20's I did not pursue music full-time as a career because I thought I was too old! So I kept it as a hobby. Eventually, I was too depressed and miserable to care anymore, I just had to get out and take it all on!

I was inspired by great women in the business like Patti Griffin, EmmyLou Harris, Shaun Colvin, Lucinda Williams... these women are older and quite successful.... not only that they are incredible singer-songwriters who have built long-term careers for themselves. The older I get, the more I understand the importance of doing what you love, despite financial or cultural circumstances. Its challenging, but I feel lucky to be in a place in the world where I can do this. "
" I know many great singer-songwriter musicians that are of my generation, that remind me of some of the older generations of women musicians. Perhaps there is a yearning for and therefore a return to 'the way it was'. Many of my favorite singer songwriters listen to a lot of music from the 50-70's.

I can't speak for women of older generations, but I know women musicians today are working very hard to learn the business side of music, as well as the artistic side, and are succeeding in both areas. They work very hard!

I've received lots of valuable advice. Probably the best advice that I would pass along is: Figure out WHAT YOU WANT and then MAKE A PLAN to start taking the steps to achieve it. Ajust the plan every day, work every day, and find a balance between Business and Art that works for you!
I had to learn something so I could independently play my own songs. Piano seemed a bit expensive and heavy to lug around to gigs. Guitar was the obvious solution 10 years ago.

Kat Edmonson

"Band leader Producer Record co. manager, booking agent, marketing exec., (I started my own label with my paino player to put out my record, ""Take To The Sky"" and I still book myself and handle ALL of my affairs. I have an assistant.)"
"Sure 58 mic boom stand cord "
"Definitely. It's hard for me to pinpoint the differences but we're a minority on the scene...if we were the majority I know, at the least, we'd be more empowered.

One day, I looked around the bandstand and noticed that I was the only woman on stage. I think this is often the case for women. Before that moment, I was so determined to get on stage and start singing that it never occurred to me that I was the only one. "
Yes, absolutely! Women no longer play the single role of looking pretty and singing pretty in between killin' solos played by men. Now, you'll find women playing killer solos on guitar, drums, sax, bass... this is a recent thing! Also, women feel empowered these days to emote more- to sound angry; sound ugly if they want to; to display things that were once considered inappropriate and unattractive coming from a woman.
"Yes. Jose Feliciano told me to never let any man come between me and my music.

My advice to a woman starting out: Listen to your heroes and try and make music like them. Good music doesn't die with your heroes. Don't waste your time saying, nobody sounds like that anymore. Go and be the real deal and let somebody say that about you one day. Go and be one of the ones."
It chose me.

Jess Klein

"In my band I sing and the studio I sing and play and make the final decisions on what other people are singing and playing.

I am much more interested in making business and marketing decisions than I was when I was younger. I've learned a lot by seeing things done wrong and I know now that even if I don't know or want to know how to do everything in terms of marketing, what I do know is how I want to be presented, and represented, and whom I want to work with. It's important to find a team of people who are motivated, and hopefully by something other than money. I want to work with people who are as inspired by their jobs as I am by mine. I've noticed working with people who are fired up makes the whole train roll a lot faster."
Gibson J200, vocal mic and D.I.
"I do think there are differences and I've noticed different differences at different times. For example, my guitar player (a man) was saying how he'd love to just hit the road alone (like I do at times) and how he would just find people's couches to sleep on. But I can't do that, because I'm a woman - I can't just take my chances on where I'll be sleeping because it might not be safe. I have to consider my physical safety on the road more than I think most men would have too.

Another example is, the dynamic of several guys in a van is much different than the dynamic of several women in a van, or, as I've travelled many times, one woman and several men in a van - like any workplace, the gender ratio affects things. I have to pee more often than most men!

In other ways, I've probably gotten opportunities because I am a woman. I know certain people have a real thing for women's voices, or women songwriters' lyrics - so although I'd like to think everyone who's ever bought one of my albums did so because of my unique gifts, I've probably sold some albums just because I'm a woman. Or just because my picture looks good."
I've coached a few younger women on stage performance stuff and been totally blown away by their confidence and their willingness to put themselves out there. I think it's taken me a long time to really own what I do as a performer. So it's good to see young gals stepping up and not being afraid.
"When I first started out, I was living in Boston, and a fellow their named Geoff Bartley told me it's really important to stay connected to your friends and your community no matter how successful you get, because those people will nourish you and inspire you. When you get disconnected and isolated, your work will go downhill. I've learned that too - I didn't really have a musical community when I lived in New York, and I suffered psychologically for it. Once I realized I didn't want to write songs about my own suffering anymore if I could help it, I decided to move. Now I live in Austin and it's very community-oriented and all I have to do is roll into any local venue and see my friends play and I feel inspired. It's made a huge difference in my energy and my work. I believe in that whole if you build it they will come thing. I think because I moved somewhere where I could open my heart and feel supported, I've begun to have more success business wise too.

I would tell young women just starting out to trust your gut instincts - in terms of your art and in terms of who you surround yourself with. Don't let anyone who makes you feel bad get too close. There will always be a lot of people around you with opinions. Take them into consideration if they are from people you trust, but in the end, go with your gut. Those people can only guide you, or keep you company, or point things out along the way. You're the one making the music. "
Because I could accompany myself singing with it. When I was a kid I played classical and jazz music on the clarinet, but then I got interested in singing and in writing my own lyrics. My dad had an old classical yamaha gathering dust in his attic, so he leant it to me so I could figure out how to get these songs out of my head and into the world.

Shelley Short

I write the songs, and sometimes play solo. In the studio I usually have a clear Idea of what Id like it to sound like, and make sure I am working with producers/recording engineers who I trust. Marketing decisions are hard, I get a lot of Help from my Label, and Booking Agent.
I dont have much on my own, I usually travel with an acoustic guitar and use a DI at the club. I will sometimes use pre recorded beats to play along with, or play Piano.
I definately think there is a difference. It takes a lot of focus, or denial to try and trancend it, or look past it. When I first started touring when I was living in Chicago, I had some run ins with some sound people, who happened to be men, who would roll their eyes and say "let me guess, an acoustic giutar and a mic?" And at imes it seems like being womenly
Yes. It seems like instaed of sort of "fititng in with the dudes" women are becoming more comfortable with beong women, although there is still a strong stereotype there.
Well, it sounds corny, but "stay true to yourself", was the best advice I ever got. Being a musician, touring, making records can suck you into this other dimention, this smaller world. Its important to stay well rounded.
I wanted to be like Jimmie Rodgers.

Molly Neuman

yes to all.
various ludwig 4 piece drum sets
Yes. When I started, there were fewer musicians so it was more of a freak show. Through my career as both a player and a manager of women musicians I've experienced any number of situations that simply don't come up for men. Issues of appearance, perceived competency either as players or producers etc..
I'm not quite sure.
Various people have but when I started playing there was less access to example or information than there is today. My advice to women is the same as to men: work on your craft, have a point to what you are trying to say, have fun and don't take yourself too seriously.
we needed a drummer so I learned.

Betse Ellis - The Wilders

I am not the leader of the band, but my presence influences the band. We're all strong players but perhaps something about holding a bow makes a difference. I am known for my energetic, engaging performance and if I were to stop being outgoing on stage, the band would lose a lot of momentum. In the studio I've learned more to step back, watch and wait, as I have three strong bandmates with strong opinions. I made a solo album last year so I could explore more of my own ideas. That helped me to be a better bandmate, I think. I try to manage publicity needs for the band, coordinating interviews and often giving them. I am not so much a business-minded person and thankfully have a bandmate who ably manages these areas - I give input when it's asked for.
My main fiddle, "Beloved", a French violin, is from ca. 1880-1920, from the school of Jerome Thibouville-Lamy. I've had it since I was 16 years old. It's not the prettiest fiddle in the world and when I first saw it, I didn't want to play it. It's missing some corners, has a dark varnish, plain back... but when I played it, I knew it was the one for me. I can't imagine being without it. Once I had to travel without it for a tour and was miserable (this was after the Heathrow airport scare in 2006, and the band was traveling to the UK). I own another unnamed French violin from the early 20th century, which I bought in Edinburgh, Scotland. I now own another Lamy fiddle, not as finely made as mine but a good "Compagnon" (the model name). I travel with two fiddles always as the music I play includes old time fiddle tunes, some of which need to be played in cross-tuning (open tuning). I own a decent viola and a funny little 1950's Kay cello, and a variety of tenor guitars, including a sweet 1930's Gibson archtop. I play these other instruments on recordings, for The Wilders and my solo projects as well as collaborations with other artists. Each one has a story. But Beloved is my true love.
Well, probably. Look at the world around us. It's still notable when a woman achieves something of great importance. There are still issues of gender (and of course race or religion or...) in the workplace. I have more male artists on my iPod than female. But it's fair to say that personally, I tend to like the music from male artists more than female ones. I love to play sensitive music but I can't stand for all of it to be subtle. I guess I play with balls. And I'm okay with that. It's still crazy that women are judged for their appearance on stage first and their artistry second. That probably hasn't helped my own career any. I can appreciate physical beauty on stage, but I think music is supposed to transcend normal ideals. Maybe. I think I feel the difference of being a women frequently. Often I am the only woman on stage at a festival finale or similar gig. That's starting to change... I guess.
Not sure I do. Memphis Minnie was an incredibly strong player and singer. So is Joan Jett. But Billie Holiday was perhaps a sweeter style and overtly feminine performer. So is Joanna Newsom.
Can't remember specific advice that I received. Sure I was given advice by many over the years and I'll still take advice any time. What do I say to young women musicians? I just had the opportunity to give advice to a talented 13 year old singer/guitar player in Scotland. I suggested that she spend lots of time working on her scales and knowing her chords and playing as much as she can with others. And I praised her for her listening skills. If I'm asked by a young woman what she should do to get started in the music biz, I will tell her to know her instrument really really well. I will tell her to not be too defensive when people give her advice or criticism. I will tell her to be honest and diplomatic and kind. And that she may have to make a choice sometime whether to be kind, or to completely mow over anyone in her way. And that she should consider this choice carefully and not with an impulse decision. And I'll tell her whatever else comes to mind at the time. Thanks for providing this survey. I appreciate thinking about these questions and the opportunity to add my voice to the mix.
Circumstance. My mom saw an ad in the paper for a new violin teacher in town, offering group lessons. She asked me and my brother if we wanted to try. We said sure. Six months later we both moved on from group to private lessons, and piano lessons too. Fortunately my first teacher was incredibly enthusiastic and fun, and I never stopped playing, even during the dangerous junior high/high school years, when it wasn't very cool to play the violin. I made up for it by listening to The Clash, Velvet Underground, and doing funny things to my hair. Nowadays it seems a lot cooler to play a stringed instrument as a young person.

Cathi Walkup

I'm the leader but like an atmosphere of collaboration and want everyone to bring something to the party - and I've been blessed to work with musicians who usually do. I see "marketing" per se as another way to be creative.
SM87(C) condenser mic, Sennheiser 835 dynamic mic, hybrid (Countryman) headset wireless mic and the attendant accoutrement that goes with that.
I think there used to be more opportunities for men than women, but I feel that is changing. I think most musicians are interested in playing with the best musicians they can and gender takes a back seat to that.
I would certainly hope so. Each generation brings their own take to every aspect of their generation and that, in my opinion, is as it should be. I do hope that they would have respect for and interest in what came before them and I would also hope the same for my generation in dealing with the generations who come after. Teachers should not only teach but also learn from the students as well.
"When I was starting out a wonderful piano player let me come to his house every Wednesday for a year or more. He helped me get charts together, taught me a lot and played for me to sing and worked with me on gigs. I didn't realize at the time how very generous this was. I've always felt an obligation to pay this forward and try to help others when I can.

I would say to never stop learning, to learn your instrument from the ground up and know that music is communication, Learn to communicate on every level with other musicians.

Always remember it's the journey and not the destination. Life is like a lottery. Everyone gets a chunk of time, nobody knows how much. What you choose to do with your time determines the quality of your life. Don't forget to have fun."
I've always been drawn to sing and my mother sang around the house when I was a child so it was always something I thought of as totally accessible. Music is magic and can heal. I discovered early that it could uplift and make me feel better and later learned it could also do that for others.

Marilyn Harris

Pianist, arranger, producer, composer, lyricist, agent, publisher, promoter
Yamaha YPG 625, Fender Passport PA, Shure 57 mic, cords, etc.
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).
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.
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!"
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

Stephanie O'Keefe

mostly I'm just a sideman - I do some contrcting
just the horns - 4
yes - I was always one of the"first" - started my career playing in Vegas in the 70's. There were no women in the wind section. No particular moment.
Yes - the younger women who play my instrument are freer to BE women. And the younger men in the business are accustomed to seeing women in the workplace.
"Oh, yes.

My advice would be to be professional always - these men are so valuable as allies that it is silly to get involved with them romantically, unless it is VERY special."
I was so young - just liked the sound of the horn

Judy Chamberlain

All of the above.
Neumann and Shure Beta condenser microphones, Mackie mixing board, QSC amp, graphic equalizer, Lexicon reverb, custom cabinets, power conditioner, direct boxes...much more...full sound system for smaller performances where no sound reinforcement is provided.
Well, of course! There is a "difference" hiding behind every venue, booker, owner, producer and sideman. This would take years to explain. Let's just say we women have to use all of our instincts, all of the time.
Only in that today's younger women can get away with substituting looks for talent, which may not have been the case in past generations. Once upon a time, you had to have looks AND talent.
The best advice anyone ever gave me is that there is no substitution for the elapsing of time as you work to be better at your craft. Learn tunes. Understand that a rest is a musical note. Become a master of phrasing, intonation and inflection. Be a team player, but also an innovator. Don't let anyone bully you or put you down for having ideas. And don't let anyone discourage you. Becoming an accomplished musician is painful, not comfortable. Stick with it.
I am a fourth generation singer and musician.

Cat Conner

"I usually work with all men on the bandstand and I think being a woman there on stage with them is very important. People like to hear a female voice and to look at a woman, looking beautiful and alluring. Also, I am able to talk to and really relate to the audience. The tunes I sing are always meant from the heart."
I mostly just use the club sound system but I do have Mackie board and some JBL speakers.
"Well, I am a vocalist so I am sometimes not seen as a musician. I pride myself in knowing lots of great tunes, knowing my keys and being able to walk in anywhere count in the band and have them swinging with me in no time. That is important."
Yes, many of the new younger singers, sing with a nasal tone. I think it all started with Michael Jackson. Even many jazz singers have that tone.
To any vocalists, I'd say, learn to play an instrument, at least a little. Know you stuff and respect other musicians. Sing from the heart and everything else will follow!
Just been singing since I was a little girl. I am lucky to be blessed with a sweet voice.

Ayelet Rose Gottlieb

"I am the bandleader in most of my groups. in others (like Mycale) it's an equal collaboration. and in some, I'm a sideperson, though those are rare occasions.

as a bandleader, I am also the producer, composer, conductor, fundraiser, booking agent... I usually (whenever possible) hire a PR person to work on press, and luckily, all of my albums were released on record labels who take care of a lot of the marketing, so i just need to ""fill in the gaps""... "
my gear? or my band's? my gear is my voice, my microphone (just ordered my neuman 105...) plugged into the local PA system where I play that night...
I think as I grow older and more confident as a person, those differences matter less... as a young musician, being a woman mattered a lot. the testosterone levels in the room would rise by having one woman and several guys together... that would often lead to sexist comments, and uncomfortable situations... as time passed - I learned to keep a certain distance, choose my musicians based on personality (at least as much as based on their musicality), and cut people out of my environment if they are unable to address me as an equal based on my gender. also - I often work with other women, which is very nice as well...
it's hard for me to say. what i see is that there definitely seem to be more women musicians than there used to be, which is GREAT. seems to me, as the woman's "roles" in society keep evolving and changing, so does the dynamic in the music scene, which has always been predominantly male.
"many have given me good advice. and many have given me living examples...

I think most importantly, for men and women - have conviction in your way. be truthful in your music... meaning - make choices that make sense for the music, without concern for how it will be received (you can figure out marketing LATER, and you should... but first, make good art...)

constantly work on developing your craft. you're never done learning...

keep an open eye for venues, series, musicians, groups that make sense for YOU, for what you do or aspire to do, and try to get involved with them.

if you're genuine, persistent and good at what you do, you can have a life in music. it takes a lot, but worth every second..."
"I played flute for many years, and when I started singing (at age 17) I loved the how immediate singing felt. straight from my head / soul to sound... nothing in between... I felt much more connected to the music through the voice than through an instrument, that suddenly felt limiting...

another reason is, I love working with words. literature, poetry, ideas... have always been a big part of my life. as a vocalist, I am able to link those into my work easily... "

Carol Heffler, Carol Heffler Trio or Quartet

"I am the leader. I choose the songs, make the arrangement, write the charts (music) by hand, set the schedule, get the gigs, do the publicity, arrange for the poster to be made, distribute the poster."
Korg digital piano, Peavey amp, keyboard stand, mike stand, EV N/D367s microphone, stand for Peavey amp, Steinway grand piano in home studio.
Absolutely. As a woman I have had to prove myself more to be taken seriously. The other difference may be because I'm mainly a singer and not an instrumentalist. Though instrumentalists strive to get a voice-like tone in their instruments, singers are often considered not "real" musicians. I can't think of a particular moment that made this clear. I have always been aware of it.
I don't know enough younger musicians to say.
One piece of advice I got was to do it (music) because you love it, not because you think you'll make a lot of money or be famous. Do it because you HAVE to do it to feel like a complete person. I would pass that long to a young musician.
My parents bought a piano and I started lessons when I was 6 years old. I like the piano so much I never wanted to change.

Alexandra Frederick

Usually the leader in all of the above
Yamaha P-85, or acoustic piano, mic set up.
I think you get automatically rejected as a woman in music in some situations, but there are also clear advantages. When I work piano bars I feel I can cover all the music that the men do, as well as music by women that they wouldn't touch. There are a lot of songs that I've never heard men do e.g. "Natural Woman" - how many piano bar guys are going to do that? but I can pull it off!
Not really. I think these days women are less afraid to appear "tough" in the music arena, but I think the fact is that underneath we always were. However, maybe things have changed a bit, because when I was playing bass in London many years ago, I used to post ads on the wall of the music shop in Picadilly for my services, signed "Alex" and guys used to call and ask for the bass player and when they heard a female voice would sound confused and hang up. I know some young people are "gender-cliquey" but hopefully that wouldn't happen so much now.
I've been told so many times to stop apologizing for myself, and I would definitely take that stance with someone younger. In this business, a lot of "civilians", i.e. prospective clients, people who want to hire you for education purposes, etc. don't really know how to judge good music or musicians, so they take you on the terms that you set yourself. People who are hiring often don't know what they want, so you have to be very clear in explaining to them. If you're not what they want, also don't try to just fit into another mould - they'll ultimately be unhappy and so will you with the product. Define yourself and your music and be who you are.
My parents were given a Steinway Grand when I was a child

Laurie Krauz

Musically, I lead the band in collaboration with my musical director/arranger Daryl Kojak. Although I consult with Daryl and my managers, business and marketing decisions are mine.
Mic, mic stand, speakers, mixers
I think differences still exist. I've been fortunate, however, to work with many many musicians (male and female) where mutual respect is always present. I won't work with folks who behave otherwise.
I don't get to work with a lot of young artists so don't really feel qualifed to answer this.
Find the things you LOVE to say with music and say them. It's a tough tough business so your art must always be a source of inspiration because it will take you through the really tough times. If you're not that into it, you won't last.
Have no idea. We all sing, mine just became a calling.

Andrea Wolper

"In my main group (Andrea Wolper Trio/Quartet/Quintet), I'm leader and, for some of the music, arranger and/or composer. Objects in Mirror: leader. TranceFormation: co-leader (TF is a leaderless improvising trio with Connie Crothers and Ken Filiano).

In the studio, co-producer. I feel the pressure of being in charge of everything, though.

I make just about all my business and marketing decisions (only in parts of Europe, where I have an agent, do I have some help)."
"Sennsheiser E865 Gallien Kruger MV200 ART Tube MP Studio Mic Preamp"
"The differences aren't about actually being a musician, and have everything to do with culture and perception. My genres (jazz and improvised music) historically have skewed toward macho. Singing tends to be undervalued by many practitioners and listeners in these genres. And, historically, most women in these genres have been singers, and most singers have been women. So sometimes being both -- a woman and a singer -- can leave one feeling somewhat marginalized.

Additionally, I sometimes find it difficult to make demands or express expectations of the members of my groups (most of whom have been male). I believe this is because in life in general it can be difficult for women to balance being direct and assertive with concerns about being perceived as ""shrewish"" or aggressive. At my age I'm still trying to understand how to communicate clearly in a way that's respectful of everyone including myself."
I think so. For one thing, more and more women instrumentalists are emerging within the newer generations, and I believe the younger men are more accustomed to interacting as equals in musical settings with women. While most singers in my genres historically didn't go to music school (college and post-grad), now many do. I have very mixed feelings about the impact of advanced music education in academic settings, but that's another conversation; one benefit, I believe, is that the women who attend music school probably start out on a more equal footing with the men and, as above, women and men are more used to interacting and thinking of one another as colleagues.
"I can't think of any advice I was given.

The advice I'd give is:

Be smart, be strong. Cultivate mentors IF you honestly connect with their music and personality. Try not to worry about what other people think of you. Express your music from the deepest, most honest place you can find. Take advice that's meaningful to you, and leave the rest behind."
I've sung my whole life. It's always been part of how I've expressed, entertained, comforted myself, as well as one of the most powerful ways I have to communicate my inner life and connect with other people. It's such a direct, immediate route to and from the full range of human thoughts and feelings.

Mary Foster Conklin

Vocalist in the Heavenly Band is a sideman position - I sing what's assigned and get paid by the leader, Art Lillard. When I'm singing as the leader, I make all business/marketing/studio decisions
Shure Beta 58 microphone/Roland AC-60 amp
Being a female singer in the jazz world can be a double whammy, as singers are often perceived of as the blonds of the music world - stupid bimbos who don't read music, which is not the case.
My last recording was a tribute to the California composer/pianist Matt Dennis. I had many long chats with his widow, Virginia Maxey Dennis, who had been a big band singer with Tony Pastor and Mel Torme. It was amazing how little had changed as far as being a female singer.
If you sing, make sure you also play an instrument. Do both very well. Also, learn to negotiate and read a contract. You will often be your best publicist.
I have always been a singer, even as a child

Lisa Otey

I have been performing professionally, fronting my own groups and playing as sideman for others, since moving to Tucson in 1984. I started producing my own CDs in 1994, calling my label Owl's Nest Productions. I also produce a season of 20+ concerts each year, showcasing local, national and international musicians. The CDs have also been a great showcase for these players and singers. I do all my own publicity, booking, arranging, managing, etc.
Technics keyboard, Yamaha PA and speakers, Sennhaiser and Shure Beta mics
"In the beginning, I think I played harder to try to fit in with the men. They never treated me differently as a musician because I was a woman. However, if I didn't play as well as they did, that's another story. As a woman, it can be hard to fit in with men who might look at you as a sexual object. I was 17 when I started and frequently had to deflect their flirtations. even now sometimes. I earned their respect, however, and have felt like an equal for most of my professional life.

In my genre of jazz and blues, I have found an inequality- not among musicians, but with booking agents and festival and concert programmers. They usually want a white guy with a guitar in the US and a black guy with guitar or a black woman singer in Europe. In the US, you might see one woman piano player on a festival, or one woman period, but a dozen white guys with guitars. In Europe, they see jazz and blues as Black American music. They want it to be authentic so someone like me will be on a side stage, never on a main stage. Even so, I have felt very successful in my career and see more doors opening every day.

I have also never waited for someone to discover me or to create opportunities for me. I realized early on that it cost the same money to produce a short demo and shop it to different record companies as it did to produce your own full length CD and sell it. When I realized I didn't fit with concert programmers, enough to sustain myself, I started producing my own concerts as well. I have felt successful doing these things on my own. The audiences have been very receptive as well."
"Women in general are more respected today then they were 100 years ago. In the beginning of jazz and blues, women had to turn tricks sometimes to make sure their rent was paid. Racism, gender bias and economic oppression has always been an issue for women. Of course, Black Americans have had a terrible time no matter what their gender.

Women I know who are generations older than me weren't able to make their living just with music. They were also teachers and nurses. I am grateful that I have been lucky in that way.

In the future, I'd like to see less gender bias in the industry so we never have one token female on the roster. Those decisions perpetuate the economic imbalance. If only one woman can be featured on a festival, the men will obviously have an easier time making a living."
"People told me to write my own songs, tell my own stories. They told me to K.A.T.N. (Kick Ass and Take Names). I have always believed that the universe will meet me halfway. I need to do my part, get my skills together, and put my dreams out there. Everything I have ever wanted as a musician has come true for me. It is a blessing to be able to make a living doing what I love.

I encourage everyone to follow their dreams and trust they will be taken care of. It's hard in these times to trust that you can let go of something that seems like a sure income. What is a sure income any more? I have never made a lot of money but I have always been able to pay my bills. Every time I put a thought out there for some kind of work I would like to do musically, the phone rings or an email comes. This has happened for every creative person I know who has done their part to be ready for these opportunities. I have truly been blessed. I am told that I don't just keep the door open behind me, I hold it open and push others through. My life has been so full and I still feel like I'm just getting started. Thanks for doing this survey."
"Piano was my mother's instrument. I fell in love with it as a child. In my family of professional musicians, it wasn't a question of whether you would play, just what instrument. I started at age 4 on the violin, my father's instrument. When I was 6, I wanted to switch to the piano. My mother told me I needed to be serious and couldn't just flit from instrument to instrument. She said if I was still asking for lessons in a year, I could take piano. In the meantime, I started making up songs. Mom taught me theory and how to write down the notes for my songs.

I moved to Tucson to study with a jazz piano teacher, Jeff Haskell, at the UofA. My roommate asked what I wanted to do with my life. I said, ""I think I'll play piano."" She asked, ""What if it doesn't work out for you?"" I replied, ""it has to. It's all I know how to do."" So far, 25 years later, it's been working fine."

Amy Cervini

I am a leader or co-leader in all the bands mentioned above. I co-produced my records and am making all business and marketing decisions on my own.
Shure SM 58 Beta, AER
"The difference to me lies mostly in being a vocalist, not a woman. Being a vocalist forces you to be a bandleader in most situations. That makes the reality of making a living as a musician much different than if the opportunity for side man work were more available. I grew up being one of a few women in every band I played in. But...there were always other women dreaming of being musicians. There weren't very many women instrumentalists that i looked up to as a kid but it did help to see so many other girls with me dreaming of becoming professional musicians. Even more inspiring that so many of us did!

I see differences in different generations of musicians in general. In the same way that there are bitter women in the jazz industry there are bitter men. They may have different reasons for being bitter but...bitter is bitter. There are just some people out there who are more inspiring than others. I haven't seen that being directly related to one's sex. That being said...I have heard from countless women musicians that they've had a much harder time in the industry. That they are discounted and the fact that they are a woman has hindered them. I think that the jazz industry is making strides in accepting women as equal players on the scene but am still seeing that most women make it as leaders or not at all. There are exceptions of course but that seems to be the trend. I love going to see Darcy James Argue's Secret Society because it feel like highschool -- there are so many women in that band. And it's not a big deal. That's the best part.
"I've gotten a lot of advice, some great, some awful. I would say that any musician should follow their dream. If you love to play standards - play standards. If you love to play free - play free. People can hear the love you have (or lack thereof) even if they can't describe what it is they're hearing. If you are honest and genuine about your music the audience will feel that and become interested in what you have to say.

Surround yourself with other musicians who make you feel good. If they can play rings around the next guy but have a horrible attitude on the stand and off, they won't make you feel or sound good.

Music is your business. Don't forget that. Also, don't forget that you have a responsibility to your audience. Believe in what you do and they will come with you on whatever journey you take them on."
I played classical piano very intensely until I was 18. I also played saxophone both jazz and classical. When I started playing saxophone I was asked to sing with the big band. It became a very strong personal passion. I went to New England Conservatory for my Undergrad as a saxophonist and ended up a vocalist. It chose me.

Amanda Monaco

I am the bandleader and main composer in my quartet; my quintet, Playdate, is a communal effort. I make all of the business and marketing decisions for my quartet, and for Playdate we collaborate on all business- and marketing-related issues.
My main guitar is a Brian Moore DC-1 thin-line Hollow Body guitar, which I play through a Fender Vibrolux or Princeton amp. I use an Ernie Ball volume pedal, a Line 6 DL4 delay modeler, and an Ibanez Tube Screamer distortion pedal (on occasion).
I think there are definitely differences in gender when it comes to music; however, I have felt it more in the straight-ahead jazz scene than in the avant-garde jazz scene. For some reason, straight-ahead jazz still has a vibe of being a "boys club" when it comes to female instrumentalists, almost as if to imply that in that world, only vocalists are female. I have had more straight ahead male jazz musicians make inappropriate gestures towards me than avant-garde. It also might have something to do with the fact that I play guitar, where the ratio of male guitarists to female guitarists is quite high, and misogynist comments still work their way into the guitar magazines on a regular basis.
It just seems that the younger generations have more women jazz musicians, which is great news.
"My college guitar teacher, Ted Dunbar, always said to ""keep on going, straight ahead"" - words that have stayed with me through the years that inform all that I do in this crazy business of music.

The advice I would give to a woman musician just starting out (aside from what Ted told me) is to make sure not to get frustrated by male peers who may be bullying out of jealousy. Sexism hasn't disappeared, to be sure, and it can be so damaging to a young woman, especially one that's heading off to music school which can be stressful regardless of gender."
My father was a guitarist and he inspired me to pick up the instrument.

Diane Moser, Diane Moser's Composers Big Band, Diane Moser Quintet

Currently I make all of the decisions. In a few months my big band will be a non-profit, and will operate more as a collective.
acoustic piano
"Absolutely. When I was coming up in the 70's-men were still ""hitting"" on women for sexual favors in return for playing in their band. Also, it was dangerous for a woman to be leaving the gig late at night alone. The first time a man ""hit on me"" at a gig-I knew right there and then that working as a female jazz musician was going to be rough. To this day-male musicians tend to hire male musicians-unless they have worked with a female musician ( she is usually the leader) in the past that they really enjoyed playing with-or-can expect more gigs from. Women get relegated to Women In Jazz Festivals in order to be heard (this would be in the jazz world-not so much in other styles of music). Also-young females in school (middle and high school) are not encouraged enough to play jazz-on any instrument-although they are constantly encourages to sing."
"Absolutely again. Those of us who are 50 and older remember coming up at a time when women were not encouraged to be in the band, or even to study music seriously. The young women who are going in a jazz program at a college today-still too few-are really making their own way. We had a lot of rules to follow-even down to how we had to dress. Young women today have their own style on every level-music-clothes-politics-relationships-they have more freedom than we did. Although, I will still say, they usually have to be the leader of the band-they're not called to be ""side-women"" as much as men are."
"In the beginning no one gave me advice-I just had to make my own way. However, thru the years I have received timely advice from female and male musicians alike. My advice to women musicians just starting out would be..... 1)always protect yourself when playing in less than safe conditions-don't be too proud to ask the biggest guy in the band to walk you to your car after the gig. 2)Seek out older women musicians-ask them to lunch and for advice-they'll be delighted you asked and even more so to help. 3)Make sure you learn about the business side of music! 4)Remain true to your creative spirit. 5)When it's your turn-help the women musicians who are coming up behind you."
I was drawn to the piano and organ at the age of 2. By the age of 5, my grandmother gave me her very old and very big upright piano.

Amy Camie

I do everything along with my husband who helps produce and inspire the music.
solo harp ;-)
Since there aren't a lot of harpists who are male, I've never really felt any type of resistance or discrimination between the genders.
All of my music teachers (in St. Louis and at Indiana University) have been older, gracious, 'ladies' who encouraged compassionate support and group experiences that helped each of their students grow. Several years ago, when I moved to a different city, I was surprised at the competitiveness and downright primal territorial protectiveness that each musician had for their 'turf'...and many of them were my age. I felt their uncertainty and fear under the surface of their 'masks' and, thanks to my husband's work situation, eventually moved back home to St. Louis. Was the uncertainty generational? I believe that there are a lot of factors that play into generational differences, not just with musicians but with people in general. I do believe that many musicians today view 'the industry' and 'professional musicians' from very different eyes...just as young football and baseball players view their sport. For my teachers, they played because they loved it, it came from their heart and they shared their gifts with their students. Today, many musicians play for the buck and market to the is 'produced' rather than 'created' and the outcome is a completely different experience for the listener. It's my hope and dream that all musicians remember the true value and purpose of their gift...for me, my music is the vibration of love that touches the soul.
My advice to all my students is to play from your heart and 'share' the music...don't 'perform' it. When you share music from the inside, you're not dependent upon the response of the audience...there's no attachment to the outcome, thus there's no stress. You play because YOU love to play. When you 'perform,' you're always dependent on the audience's response, which is crazy since you have no control over how they'll respond. Thus, the tension and stress can become almost unbearable...and that energy is then flowing through the music...which, on an unconscious level, the audience is picking up. The bottom line for me is to play from the inside out...not 'for' the outside, hoping to fill up the inside.
My father was the Administrator of Music in the Alton School system and there wasn't a harpist, so he asked me if I wanted to play and I said "sure."

Dori Levine

vocalist, band leader
mic & amp
Yes. Woman are less excepted in Jazz and we require changing keys to accomodate our vocal range which is usually unwelcome.
Yes. There are more Jazz programs available today than in the past and singers in particular are being better trained as musicians.
"NO! Save up some money. Self promotion can be expensive. Sharpen those skills..there's a lot of competition out there."
love voice as an instrument

Gradie Stone

Anita Brown, Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra

In my band: founder, composer, arranger, contractor, conductor. In the studio, all of the aforementioned plus executive producer, the ears and the one who decides what we eat for lunch.
I write on a "Steinway M" to paper with a pencil and an eraser. I copy parts with a calligraphy pen using ink on paper or hire out. Still haven't learned the computer thing,
"Yes, I do. There was indeed one moment that stood out but it seems that men seem to think women are supposed to exist on the scene with the same response to the rehearsal or gig scenarios as they have. ""Don't take it personally"" when something seems off the mark, or ""not nice"" or when faced with unacceptable behavior from colleagues. Regardless of the playing opportunities or pre-conceived thoughts regarding a particular woman player or band leader, there is an underlying dynamic that has been that of ""the boys' club"" forever. Women think, view things and respond differently. We are allowed to think, see and respond as we do and if we see something as unacceptable and we say it, it doesn't mean we're ""emotional."" It means we see things as we see them. Period. It's time men started dealig with that.

In my dealings I have experienced piano players (in my rehearsals of my own music) instruct me as to something they perceive being wrong with one of my voicings. When I asked him to just let it go, that I would have a look later I was told ""I'm just trying to do my job."" Well, from my perspective, as the composer, arranger, conductor, contractor, roadie and stage manager, I believe finding and fixing voicings is my job and I believe I have earned the right to take care of that task in the way that makes me the most comfortable.

The first time I ever dealt with this it was because I was functioning as producer of a very big memorial concert for a well known arranger, a mentor of mine. I was rehearsing some of his charts with a well known jazz orchestra. The band members were long time acquaintances of mine, yet it seemed to me that although I was the person in charge of all the decisions and making everything run smoothly as per the widow's wishes, some of them just didn't respect my position. This manifested in a few different ways which I don't wish to cite for professional reasons.

There are other stories but I would be fearful of disclosing them, as this industry is so precariously balanced as we all try to work with friends and acquaintances. A strange thing perhaps common only to the performing arts...not sure."
"I know my mother, Phyllis Terrazzano Brown studied with Lennie Tristano right along side of my father, Ted Brown, Warne Marsh, Lee Konitz, Sal Mosca and on the scene with he close friend Sheila Jordan. I know that few women chose to put themselves out there, particularly as instrumentalists. Perhaps they were accustomed to allowing the men their ""space,"" I don't know. It has seemed to me that my mother's generation seems to maintain a ""don't make any waves"" perspective, while I can't seem to hold my tongue when I see something as wrong.

I also know that my 25 year old, brilliant writing student, who also plays alto and flut, experiences an steady ""attitude"" from her male peers and that the men still make snide locker room comments amongst themselves about their female peers. She has told me about overhearing such comments from musicians who I consider my peers, not hers. While this sort of thing bothers her personally, this specific behavior doesn't phase me much. It's the stuff I mentioned before that makes the social aspect of following one's calling as a woman in music, specifically jazz, a challenging endeavor.

I probably said too much..."
All the men keep telling me to keep doing what I'm doing and eventually it will pay off. Trombonist Luis Bonilla took me aside once when I was distraught over feeling as though I had not been treated with appropriate respect. He said, "Screw them! You're Anita Brown! You have to stop giving them so much respect and give them some of their own crap!"
I think my great aunt bought me a 2-octave tiny, white grand piano for my first birthday. Can't remember ever being introduced to the piano keyboard. My mother, grandmother, great aunt, great uncle in an extended household all played piano.

Anne Mette Iversen

I am the bandleader, mostly; I am in charge of all musical and business moves/decisions. Apart from when we are playing of course!
5/8 size Austrian upright bass from around 1870.
Being a musician is a long journey, so don't give up and keep working on it through periods where you might be less active musically. And don't pay too much attention to you being a woman playing jazz, vs a male jazz musician.
I started out on the piano when I was little and later on transferred to the bass. It just felt right. Like coming home.

Jan Leder

Leader, except in my drummer's big band.. only two CDs so not much time in the studio. Always ran my own business.
Sankyo flute, Roland amp
I've always felt a bit outside of the mainstream and had to make my own way. Most of the time it was the employers and not so much the musicians who made me aware of the discrepancies.
Yes, I think there are many more opportunities with each generation.
I studied with two great masters and so I would say find a great teacher and never give up, find your own road and enjoy the journey~
my mom suggested it when i started 7th grade because it's "easy to carry" and I could always switch

Lisa Sokolov

I am the leader. I produce my own CD's Hire a press pr and radio promo person on each release but I run the whole shebang.
Vocals, real piano and if there isn't one then a yamaha P80
Absolutely. There is a certain boy club involved in the music business. There is also the gender difference that has to do with an attitude and comfort around self promotion that I don't think many of the woman musicians I know have to the same degree that their male counterparts have. I think there is also a cultural bias around fear of the fierce expressive feminine power.
Not really. You had Laura Nyro, Betty Carter. These were powerful woman, who I believe because of their gender wereignored or scorned by the press far more than their male counterparts.
Stay true to your voice and just keep on doing it. Keep on doing it. Make relationship. Long term relationship with players, producers, engineers.
Been singing and playing since I was tiny

Sharman Duran

I have my own trio so since I hold down two instruments I really have the freedom to do whatever material I want in any way I want. That's really freeing, since I've done and continue to do a lot of gigs (mostly singles) where the type of material I do is dictated by the venue, e.g. hotels and restaurants.
Casio Privia 88 key keyboard, Alesis Nano Piano module, Yamaha Stagepas 300 P.A., Shure SM58 mic
It used to be. When I was young the message I got was that women musicians (other than vocalists) were a novelty, and not always a welcome one, that jazz was a language spoken among men and that women were outsiders. In the last 20 years or so solid women jazz musicians have become more visible and attitudes have changed for the better.
My mother sang and played piano and wrote tunes which she performed. My parents were both jazz musicians, so growing up I heard a lot of good piano players (both live and recorded) in my house.

Cady Finlayson

"For the band, I am the bandleader responsible for all business/marketing decisions (with input from everyone). Artistic decisions are made more from a group perspective.

For the duo, we are equal in artistic decisions and my partner handles some aspects of the business work (i.e. making station ids for radio) while I handle the booking and marketing aspects.

In the studio,(duo) we come in with a basic arrangement worked out, and often work through our different ideas during the mixing, as we often like different sounds. UlTImately we come up with something that is satisfying to both of us (sometimes with a lot of debate!)"
"I play on a 5-string fiddle made by Eric Aceto, who is a maker from Ithaca New York.It is an electric-acoustic (can sound completely acoustic when amplified) I also have a wireless system for the shows I do with the Police Dept. and that is a Sennheiser wireless system. For band shows I have a pa system EV speakers and powermate board. "
"I have never felt what I hear some people talk about , i.e. a separate struggle as a woman. I work with a lot of men (i.e. in the police group I am the only woman) and I work in a genre (Irish music) that more than anything else is about the music (as compared to pop music that can be more about the dress). The only thing I have noticed is that women and girls do come up and say how nice it is to see a woman onstage. ...and sometimes they give me a hard time at music stores if I want to match my cables (color)!"
I see that in rock it is much more common now to have women in the band, and also organizations such as GoGirlsmusic and "Women in Music" that are there to support women in music.
"I think the one thing to remember is that every path is different and what is right for you may not be right for someone else. It is important to have a strong sense of who you are as a musician (and this may change over time) and to choose projects that reflect that and that excite you. If you hang on to ""what is music"" for you and what makes you want to jump up in the morning and play, then all the tough aspects of the music industry are just challenges that you will find a way to navigate with your soul intact.

-Cady Finlayson Spirited Irish fiddle with a Global Twist"
I fell in love with the violin hearing it as a child and I have had that feeling ever since!

Jane Stuart

I am the leader. That means, my name is on the contract,I negotiate the pay, I contract the musicians that I need for any given gig,deal with the management of our venues, organize rehearsals (always a challenge), am responsible that the needed equipment is there and on time and in tune, make sure that the music (written) is in order and bring it! In the studio it is more of a collabrative effort, except the decisions are all mine. Selection of material and how to arrange it, style, what instruments, and which instumentalists. In the studio, always eager and open for interaction and contributions of ideas and interplay. Marketing...all me.
I carry a PA head/amp, 2 speakers, speaker stands, cables, Mic, mic stand, music stand, promo materials, huge book of sheet music, huge book of lyrics and song lists
I think it's a little different for singers verses instrumentalists. Generally, more so in the past than now,female musicians were thought to be lesser than males. The answer in general is, yes, woman being downgraded, but it's getting better. There are many woman musicians that are so incredibly talented, skilled, wonderful, that no one could deny it. What I'm trying to say is that it's changing and for the good. I work with, sing with many female musicians,not BECAUSE they are female, but because they are great musicians. As a vocalist, there are a whole bunch of other stereotypes to overcome. Most of all the premise of being dumb. But I don't think male vocalists are considered to be any different. Perhaps the vocalists have it in reverse.
Yes. The younger musicians and singers don't seem to have any notions of the stereotypes. Ah! sweet bliss.
I did get a lot of support from many people over the years. Thad Jones was a friend back in the 70's and used to tell me to just keep singing. Plan on living a long life, in music...PLAN ON IT. Along the way, just observing and learning from the many truly great musicians I worked with, I learned thhat it's always got to be about the music. Not the money, personalities, the "getting ahead", it's about the music. Oh, and save your money. Hah!
I was a 'show biz kid'. I started at 5 yrs. old singing "Me And My Teddy Bear" on a local (NYC) TV show called the Moser Starlites. I was always putting on little shows on my street, just like in Our Gang Comedies. I really was training to be a dancer and became a very good tap dancer (alongside Christopher Walken) at Charlie Lowe's School of Tap and Personality (NYC). One day they had me sing The Trolley Song and it came easy to me. That was that!

Susan Krebs

"Leader in all areas. Although I work with a co-producer in the studio."
amp, speakers, microphone
yes - the music business tends to be more male dominated -- especially in Jazz - although, that seems to be changing.
Make the music from your heart.
I just always loved to sing!

Submitted Anonymously

I like to be in control of situations. Though this is not necessarily possible when working in chamber groups.
Absolutely. As in any field of endeavor, there is a societal structure in place that favors men over women. For example, when I was a student, the majority of piano students were women, and yet when it came to forging a career, it seems to be a majority of men who succeed. I have also experienced situations (e.g. music festivals) where I was either talked down to by younger male students or my views were dismissed or not taken seriously.
Yes. The younger generation seems to be more confident. They also perhaps have a false sense of equality. In terms of performers, younger musicians who are women seem to have to market themselves in a more overtly sexual manner.
Yes. Perseverance and dedication. It's also all about making the right connections.
My first grade teacher used to play while we sang in class and I was fascinated by watching her fingers and the keys. I went home and told my parents I wanted to play.

Mary Louise Knutson

I'm the leader in my own band, I write the music, arrange it, look for gigs, get the gigs, write and send contracts and invoices, send copy and photos to presenters for programs, hire the other players, perform the lead part, talk to the audience between tunes, schmooze during intermission, sell CDs, pay the players, collect fans, send a monthly newsletter to fans, connect and communicate with fans daily through social networking websites, update my own website, design posters, post posters, design postcards, send postcards, assemble wardrobe, and the list goes on. I make all the decisions.Basically, most small businesses would have a staff of fifteen people to do all the jobs that I do!
I own a Kawaii grand piano 5'10". I use whatever piano a venue has, though I bring a Kurzweil PC 2X (88 weighted keys) keyboard if no piano is available. With that, I lug a Roland KC-350 amplifier, a keyboard stand, a music stand, a bench, and a bag of chords.
"Yes. Being a women in the field of jazz is very difficult as 99.9% of the musicians are men. What is difficult is finding your way into the clique. Guys like to hang with guys, so they'll invite each other over to have a beer and play and listen to music - to bond. Then these guys end up having a band together or they end up hiring each other for gigs because they're comfortable with each other. And they get lots of experience playing together at these bonding sessions, whereas a woman might get her experience by playing along with records at home.

Also, I think sometimes men are uncomfortable hiring women as they're afraid of the sexual energy they may feel from playing music together. Or they may not want to deal with the jealousy their spouse may feel when they see him enjoying something with another woman. So, many don't invite women to connect musically or socially with them. "
I see that there are more women in the field of jazz today, though the numbers are still amazingly low.
A few people warned me not to go into the business, but other than that I don't recall ever receiving any valuable advice about making my way in the music business. I always wished I had had a mentor. My advice for young women musicians would be to only go into the music business if you can't imagine living your life without the act of performing music. And only if you can still enjoy playing if no one is listening....since much of the time you will be playing for a room full of people talking to each other. Also, 90% of the biz is biz, not music. Can you imagine doing business all day, sometimes foregoing your art to get through the business? Do not go into the biz for money or fame. These are the wrong reasons. Also, when men (in the band and/or from the audience) want to get together with you for coffee, it's not about business or friendship. It's about their romantic interest in you. This took me forever to learn!
I don't know. My family had a piano in the house when I was growing up and I just gravitated to it.

Christiana Drapkin Jazz Group

I'm the leader when it comes to getting bookings and doing business. The buck stops with me. However, developing our artistic material, we're in a very collaborative and supportive working mode.
Mackie 808S head, EV speakers, my old trusty Bayer mic, a Sennheiser mic for backup. Also a smaller, one-unit head and speaker that I take for small-room gigs and duo concerts, was sold by Sam Ash, a no-name Chinese product that serves me well.
"I've been raised by my single Mom to always feel confident and to know that I can do anything that any guy could do. However, I had to find out the hard way and to negotiate for myself, that being a young woman in the performing arts field comes with its special set of hazards and stumbling stones. ""Baby, I'm gonna make you a star...""

As a woman vocalist in the field of Jazz, I feel blessed by the fact that I can grow older and better, and nobody is going to hold it against me if I don't have the youthful looks of a Britney Spears -- or that I refuse to wear such wardrobe. Thank goodness, we have the great old dames of Jazz as role models throughout a whole century!

I still find it difficult, though, making initial contacts with (almost always) male club owners and bookers. The sexism that's inherent in these unequal negotiation situations always seeps through.

Also, I think a lot of instrumental Jazz groups, even the young turks coming out of the college scene have a ""dude kingdom"" aura about them that makes it difficult for women (instrumentalists even more so) to operate on equal terms, artistically and economically."
Not that I'm aware of. I think, women always had to be fighters in the entertainment world. But I also experience a deeper sense of sharing and mutual support amont women musicians.
"Yes, I liked the newsletters, blogs and publications by Dave Hooper. My advice: be consistent; organize your business end of your art; spend regular time on promotion and follow up. You'll be learning on the job and you'll be more in tune with what a venue needs from you, how to match your pull with your audience with the right-size venue; how to grow a following, how to establish good relationships and get repeat gigs, and grow and prosper with your music. Most important: I'm very much hoping for the long-awaited breakthroughs in health insurance reform. We artists need affordable health insurance for ourselves and our families. If we're no longer yoked to a day job for the sake of health insurance, we can free up more time for our artistic growth, and leave the existential dread of being ruined by an accident or illness, behind. "
I've sung all my life, remembering songs from all the way back when I was in diapers.

Jessie Reagen Mann

I often contract groups for artists big and small, so I guess that would make me the leader and often decisionmaker.
"cellos (3) - 200 year old French cello, modern amplified cello and baroque cello peavy amp, although I usually go direct into the system if amplified, and if so often: baggs DI, boss DD3 delay, fatal tube distortion, T-Rex roommate reverb..."
Definitely, but this is true in any field. Sometimes it's an advantage, as there is a certain "look" someone is going for, although I usually pick my fellow performers by their ability rather than their sex. Some situations I play with almost all men, whereas others are mostly women.
Some, not all. Younger women seem to be more 'hip' or into the idea that they don't need to pigeon hole themselves in one area. (ie orchestra job)
"Yes! Dr. Kaufman at Mannes in Intro to Undergrad studies. The class in a nutshell was an outline of what you need if you're gonna make it. From knowing your industry to taking head shots. I think most people weren't ready for it mentally as freshman, but I still think about that class, and am still in touch with Dr. K. "
Initially it was my mom's choice, I then decided I couldn't live without it.

Catherine Dupuis

In my group, I'm the leader. I handle all my own business decisions, booking, contracting, marketing, preparation, scheduling, personnel hiring including arrangers. With the Russ Kassoff Big Band, I'm a sideman.
Mike and stand, chords, speaker and stand, extension chords, music stand and stand lights. I'm also my own librarian and handle all the music for my group.
Yes - in both the big band and small group formats, jazz traditionally requires a pretty tough demeanor, especially where business is concerned. This isn't something that comes to women easily or automatically. But we develop it over time. There's a glass ceiling however, and it's hard to penetrate that, unless you go for glam, which isn't guaranteed to work either.
Yes, my generation has much more opportunity than the generations behind me. For those younger than I am, the opportunities are even more endless. Having jazz taught in universities and conservatories now makes it more accessible for women; the old boys' network spent alot of energy keeping women out of the game, only a few really talented ones could get thru, unless they were vocalists. Male musicians still rarely believe that vocalists are musicians.
Keep true to your self and your soul. Know what you want to say. Take care of your own business, don't expect anyone to do it for you. Grab what you do by the gonads and have all the fun you can with it.
It chose me at a very early age. I also studied piano extensively as well as 6 years of violin.

Nicole Pasternak

On the bandstand, if I book the gig I lead it. I also work as a freelance vocalist, anything from duo to big bands. In the studio, I sometimes lead my own projects, but the ideal is to have a producer who can take me and my sound and point us in the best direction for the music. It's sometimes overwhelming to try and figure out what works and what doesn't, looking from the inside, out. Having a producer with good ears and a vision makes all the difference. As far as business and marketing is concerned, since I manage my own business and marketing, I make all the decisions. It oftentimes is just a matter of what one can afford.
I have two p.a. systems: the small one is a Gallien-Krueger Vocal Monitor that I use as a speaker and also as an amp to drive a small external speaker. The large one is a Mackie 808 Stereo 8-channel head, with two Bose 402 speakers. I currently use an EV microphone. I prefer a Shure BG-58 Condenser mic, but alas mine was lost on a Delta airlines flight, along with all my luggage!
I think it's different for women singers and women musicians. It seems to me that the role of female singer was always more or less accepted as the appropriate place for a female in music. I think in the past the female musician had tougher hurdles to cross, but that has changed over the past generation or so, and it's less of a concern these days. This is attributable to the determination of women musicians and the respect they have earned from the men musicians, the audience and the music industry. The reality on the ground is, when you're good, you're good and musicians just appreciate that. They want the best for the music - never mind what gender you are.
No, apart from social and racial discrimination that weighed heavily on earlier generations I don't really see a difference in the generations of women musicians themselves. Lil Hardin (Louis Armstrong's wife) just did her thing. Mary Lou Williams was a pioneer in jazz; she answered the call to music and left a legacy behind. The same can be said for artists like Nina Simone and Shirley Horn. Today you have bands like the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Diva (led by Shari Maricle) and new artists like Anat Cohen who are here to stay. There are so many more amazing women artists: Carla Bley, Tokiko Akiyoshi, Anita Brown, the list goes on and on. I think there is more a common thread between these generations, than differences.
A valuable piece of advice I received early on was to never turn down an opportunity, even if you think it doesn't fit into your "career plan," because you never know where it might lead you. This has proven to be invaluable to me. I think it's important to own your own material. And lastly, ignore the critics, respect the musicians.
I grew up in a family where music and singing was a part of everyday life, and certainly all family gatherings. I received a scholarship at age nine to study violin. I did that for several years, along with some piano and guitar. In high school I had an accident that injured my left hand and prevented me from playing violin. I still managed to play mandolin and guitar and would accompany myself. On one occasion I was playing and singing and my friend said, "You know, you should get out from behind that instrument and just sing." So that's what I did. I was lead singer in a nine-piece band, and also the school jazz band. I found I could improvise better through singing than with an instrument. So that's where I went with it. I feel most comfortable out in front of a band in live performance. I'm a live performer, not so much a "recording artist." That's an art in and of itself.

Gale Cruz

Leader most of the time
I have a PA
Yes, mostly because very few men don't get gigs they want due to age, ethnicity, or weight. Looks matter so much more if you're a female.
Yes, but way to long to get into. I will say some better and some not.
No one told me this but I would say, always keep an open mind. Learn many things, don't be elitist.
Natural ability

Hailey Wojcik

I am the singer and songwriter... I played most of the instruments on the record, and found other musicians I play with now afterward. As for business/marketing decisions these are all made by me and my manager.
I play a Gibson SG (which I love!), through an Ampeg Jet II amp. I only have a few pedals so far (until about a year and a half ago I was all acoustic), but I currently use a Way Huge Swollen Pickle fuzz pedal, a Digitech Whammy pedal, and I am currently trying to master the Boss Loop station well enough to use at live shows. I also sometimes play ukulele (mine is in a sad state right now, after having been partly smashed on tour, I'm guessing by someone's foot or hindquarters. Its intonation is...charming). I also play a strumstick, which is one of the most fun instruments I've ever played. I encourage everyone to try one out.
I know a lot of people are tired of hearing about this, but I definitely think it (obviously) needs to be addressed. While I think the situation is getting better, there are still many subtle (and not-so-subtle) reminders of inequity--little comments people make all the time, etc. You don't see many female guitarists or drummers featured in mainstream Guitar and Drum magazines. And growing up in a small town I never even KNEW any girls in rock bands; it was always guys getting up there and playing classic rock covers while their girlfriends took pictures or clapped or something. There is a really amazing book called Cinderella's Big Score about this subject, and namely the issue of women's discrimination even in the "progressive" indie scene.
Yes, although I must admit I'm pretty insulated in a world of fellow musicians my own age. But I do think girls who are in high school now, seeing people like MIA and St. Vincent and Marnie Stern... it will hopefully have an effect on them. It is less ghettoized now than it was in the Riot Grrrl days.
People love to give advice; I'm not sure what has been valuable and what hasn't really, but if I were to advise a woman embarking on a musical career, I would say to try and surround yourself with people who are not going to be too negatively critical at the is really important to be willing to make mistakes and take risks, and not be shot down too early. I think a lot of women are afraid of this (more afraid than men), which is probably also why less girls raise their hands in class when they're not 100% sure of an answer, for instance. Be willing to write some terrible music and play some terrible shows while you're on your way to writing/playing good ones.
I played piano before guitar, and I still do, but somehow it never clicked with me the way the guitar does. I find the guitar really lends itself to songwriting for me. Plus, not to state the obvious here, but there is just something really inherently cool about guitars... especially when you watch someone like Jack White or Annie Clark (two of my favorites) play--who wouldn't want to play guitar?

Amy London

"I am the leader of my groups in general, both onstage and in the studio. I have worked many years at my solo jazz career, and with the recent acquisition of the long awaited 'record deal', I now have the support behind me to pursue my career at the level of which I have always dreamed. I make my own business decisions, but now also have the help of the wonderful staff at Motema, headed by Jana Herzen, the hardest working gal in show biz!

On the other hand, in the course of my career, I have been a 'sideman' or 'sidewoman', as the case may be, with groups led by other people. I have sung with many big bands, including touring internationally with Larry Elgart in the late 80's as the featured vocalist, and with Charles Aznavour as a back-up singer. I am also an accomplished vocal group singer, which won me the part of the lead singer in the vocal jazz quartet in City of Angels on Broadway, which won 6 Tonys and was nominated for a Grammy. I also was hired as the 5th singer in a recording called 'Ancient Tower' with the Grammy winning New York Voices."
I travel with a small sound system, a four channel Sunn amp with PeeVee speakers, plus I have used Electro Voice microphones since my senior year in college, 32 years ago.
"As a female vocalist, I am probably in the most expected role for women in the music world. I see many of my friends who are female instrumentalists, and I know that some of their struggles have been different than mine. Trying to make it in a 'man's world,' and jazz is that, is definitely hardest for female instrumentalists. As a jazz educator at the New School BFA program in NYC for more than 25 years, I have seen many female instrumentalist students gain more and more appreciation and respect, and graduate into successful careers. It is definitely more commonplace to see female players now than it was twenty years ago.

As a jazz educator, I have been on the warpath for 25 years to conquer the 'chick singer mentality'. When I arrived in NYC as a very young singer, thanks to my piano and choral singing background, my musicianship skills were at a very high level, and I immediately gained respect on the bandstand from my fellow male bandmates, and fellow singers as well. On the same hand, I sometimes observed these same very talented and highly regarded musicians frown upon other female vocalists who didn't have musicianship skills, and treat them with disrespect because of their lack of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. It was at this point that I decided to become a jazz educator, in order to help other singers, both male and female, prepare themselves for lives as respected professionals. I have taught hundreds of singers by now.

I am also the mother of two tweenaged girls, 12 and 14 years old. I always wanted to marry and have children and make a home, and this has certainly eaten into my career, for many years, but I don't regret a second of it. It has definitely taken longer for me to achieve some of my goals, such as a record deal, than other people, but I have also lived a balanced life, and all of life's experiences feed into one's art. Now that my children are older and gaining independence, I am enjoying a newfound freedom and a little more time to pursue my career. It has been a long haul, though! My husband is also a jazz musician and educator, renowned jazz guitarist Roni Ben-Hur. The juggling act of two freelance artists trying to both 'make it' and raise a family can sometimes be daunting."
"Absolutely! Speaking for myself, my parents were very 1950's/60's, kind of the Jewish version of Mad Men, minus the affairs. My Dad was a businessman, and my Mom was a real character, a talented pianist and actress, but as a role model was that of the happy housewife, who lived to take care of other people, so I have struggled all of my adult life to truly feel like a professional, and at times I tend to hide in my house, cook dinner and decorate a little bit too much!

For at least the last ten years of teaching, I see young women raised by Baby Boomer moms, the first results of the feminist movement, who had to struggle and make their way in the business and working world, and created a new role model for their daughters. So many of these young women have no problem with assertiveness or taking care of business. And certainly, they do not place accomodating others as their priority in life as I was raised to do."
"Nobody ever really gave me advice, I figured most of my career out on my own, learning through successes and failures. I had a wonderful voice teacher at SU, operatic bass baritone Donald Miller, who warned me about the 'K-mart-ization' of our culture. I have always set my sights artistically at a high level, which can sometimes lead to disappointment, but is the best place that I know of to live one's life as artist. It is the way I am, and I'm happy with that.

Please feel free to contact me for more information, I LOVE NPR, I've been listening daily for decades, and regularly contribute to my local station, WNYC. Thank you for so many years of the best information available in the media."
"I have played the piano since I was a toddler. I have a picture of myself in diapers at the piano in our home. My Mom played, I was always drawn to it, and I took lessons all throughout my childhood and teen years. I always sang along with the radio, I was weaned on girl groups and Motown. My sister played guitar, and at a very young age (I was 6, she was 12) We were harmonizing together. When I was 12, I heard Laura Nyro for the first time and fell in love with her music. I bought the Laura Nyro songbook in my teen years, and spent many years playing and singing her material. I discovered jazz in high school, through the excellent big band at my high school, and also at local jazz clubs. I studied opera in college, but really wanted to sing jazz. I listened to lots of Ella Fitzgerald at that time, got the gig as the Syracuse University Big Band vocalist for three years, and sang in other bands in college as well. I also studied musical theatre, had a few roles in college, and after graduating from college, played Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof at an Equity dinner theatre for four months, worked in Florida singing at a night club for 6 months, then moved to New York to begin pursuing my dreams in the Big Apple. I found work as a singer immediately, and have worked in a large variety of setting ever since, from church choirs to cantorial work in synagogue to jazz clubs to TV commercials to film scores to Broadway.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent! I love to sing, I always have and always will. It is the ultimate expression of freedom and individuality, and when you sing with a group and the music works as a whole, it is an exhilarating experience."

Elli Fordyce, The Elli Fordyce Jazz Quartet

Leader in all categories with a good team of people I hire.
GK vocal amp, amped JBL speaker, Roland vocal cube, several mics.
There's an old prejudice on the part of male jazz players against female vocalists for vocalists being disorganized, under-informed and under-skilled musically and performance-wise; too much attention on the part of bookers is sometimes payed to looks/sexuality/personality which can work in the favor of and against some female vocalists, depending on who's booking. Both are a long-time part of my experience.
There is often more influence on jazz vocal styles of R&B, gospel and pop in various singers which is often generational. There is more imitation the younger the vocalist is, due to the vocalist being farther from the point of the original creativity, whereas I was listening on the radio as a teenager to the new records of singers I still most admire all these years later.
No. Making your way in the music industry is rife with unknown factors. (I have had great advice about evolving my own creativity, a completely different question.)
It chose me and has chosen me the numerous times I tried to quit over the years, the most recent being 4 years ago.

Libby York

Band Leader, Record producer, CEO,CFO, Marketing director, Costume designer,booking agent.
Shure SM58 Mike, Audio Technica Artist Elite 3300 Mike
"Absolutely. Being a band leader in the heavily male dominated world of jazz is a challenge every time I'm on the bandstand. I must attempt to be clear, direct and friendly while always being mindful of the tender male artistic ego, under a variety of conditions depending on the venue. (My husband's my drummer..lots of stories there!)

Overcoming the stereotype of being a ""chic singer"" demands that I be even more on top of things than other band members. Since I'm also their employer, there's a balancing act to be fair, even tempered, and still deliver the goods musically to the audience."
Not sure things have improved all that much.Still a tough business for a woman.
"Pianist Dollar Brand(Abdullah Ibrahim) told me early on that ""if you just keep doing what you're doing long enough, sooner or later someone's gonna take notice."" Also the great Abbey Lincoln encouraged me to give the lyric its due and don't worry about scatting. ""Why should I try to sound like a horn....the horns are trying to sound like me."" For woman musicians starting out, I would say be as versatile as possible to increase your chances of working, keep a tough skin, and only do it if you can't not do it."
I feel my voice is a gift I was given. I've worked hard to develop it and learn my craft, but the instrument was given to me.

Holli Ross, String Of Pearls

I am the co-founder and musical director of the group. In the studio I am either hired for various projects or I am the leader of my own recording. In business and marketing I both promote and network in order to book my group and create performing and recording opportunities. I rely on my partners to take on as discussed and explored other responsibilities that present themselves in this complex business. I always confer with them when major decisions are made.
I have an Electrovoice microphone (also some old Shure 58's). I have a 400 watt sound system (Yorkville head, Bose speakers), GK 100 watt amp for small rooms that I also use as a monitor. I have a classical guitar, hollow-body jazz guitar (custom made) and a travel guitar.
I believe being a woman musician matters until you've established your skill at which time you've earned the respect of the other musicians (male and female). Often in the past, many women have not held a leader position and seemed to have earned a lack of respect. Maybe they were in a partnership with a instrumentalists and simply took a back seat. The Mary Lou Williams of the jazz world not withstanding, women seem to have to prove themselves and I have found that male musicians have been surprised by my skills that I do not necessarily exhibit right away. I write my own charts so that always gets a nod of approval from my accompanists.
I can't really say how it was when all the "chirps" were working in the 40's and 50's. I have found that the singers that I have come to know and who have become my peers, are very open, welcoming, and generous with their "stuff" meaning that they'll lay a tune on you if you ask for a copy, they'll share some valuable knowledge about something or someone if they think they can help, and they show their support for one another. The singers I've meet from older generations have also been very supportive and generous with their mentoring or they let you sit in. Every now and again you come up against someone who is not open or receptive but I think that's just a personality thing and indigenous to all professions. I believe we're all a team, the team of jazz.
"I have been given advice about recordings, business, networking, ""making nice"", but I think I learned some of the most valuable things from my father, who was a Juilliard graduate himself. He said, ""don't just be prepared, be better than prepared."" In my own way I've taken that to heart to mean, have it all together, no holes allowed. I wish I can say that I've always lived up to that standard but there's not a day that goes by I don't try.

I'd say to any musician, but especially to women who are singers, be independent. Don't depend on others to write your charts or decide how you'll sing a song. Educate and arm yourself with listening to the masters, and not just singers. Learn various styles of music and what distinguishes those styles from one another. Know how to talk to a drummer, a bass player, pianist and guitarist since you'll mostly be accompanied by that instrumentation. I don't think this is really ""women"" specific advice. It's for all musicians which I hope in the end has no real distinction in quality. "
I grew up in a musical family and although I studied bassoon for which I hold a bachelor of music degree, singing was the most accessible and I loved vocal groups. I took up guitar to accompany myself.

Teri Roiger

I am in charge of all of my decisions at the moment.
I use the new compact Bose sound system and have a Yamaha electric full-size keyboard. We also have a recording studio on our property and have a beautiful Baldwin grand piano and work with Pro Tools.
Yes, but not as much as it used to be. When I was learning jazz piano when I first fell in love with jazz when I was in my 20s, I used to play piano for some of the musicians I would sing with, and they would say "you're not supposed to be able to do that!" They were saying this because I was a "chick singer" and wasn't supposed to really know what was going on! I have always been very involved in music and very talented, and I make it very clear to my jazz vocal students that they are a musician as well as a vocalist, and make sure they know the ins and outs of being a musician, know the language, how to talk jazz, and always teach them basic theory as well as singing technique and history.
I know in the early days women wrote a lot of songs. Men were away at war and there were all-female bands. Women have always written great blues tunes, starting way back in the beginning. I feel there is much less of a gap now between men and women musicians. I am happy for this time, and I am now beginning to nurture my piano playing. For a long time I would just sing and not play, but now I am playing more and more, and am determined to fulfill my deep desire to be a jazz piano player as well as a singer. This is just the way things have evolved for me. I have always been encouraged in my piano playing (as well as singing) by such jazz luminaries as Jack DeJohnette and most other people who hear me play.
"Be true to yourself and follow your own path. Don't be afraid to tell people what you want or expect out of them as musicians and collaborators. I have found that other musicians appreciate direction, and it took me a long time to learn that.

Thank you for this opportunity! Peace and Blessings! TERI"
I started piano when I was five, and eventually became a church organist at age 13. I fell in love with jazz when I heard it in my late teens/early twenties, and never looked back. I started singing jazz when the legendary pianist (of the Garrison Keillor show) Butch Thompson heard me sing and told me I had something special. We worked together for awhile, and even toured Europe when I was in my 20s. I became a singer then and now I play and sing and record and write, and teach also!

Regina Harris Baiocchi

I am not in a band.
I own a Technics keyboard (and a trumpet from my college days).
Since I've never been a man, I don't know. Women tend to be paid less than men are paid for the same job and receive less respect and accolades for the same--or greater--accomplishments.
Some younger musicians seem to have less stringent work ethics.
"Let you music be its own reward."
My first instrument was guitar, which I played for liturgies since I was 9 years old. Trumpet was chosen since it was the instrument that remained when attendance was taken. I later played French Horn also. In college piano performance was mandatory.

Judy Niemack

Leader, producer, manager
Neumann 105 microphone, Lexicon jam-man
It's different for every individual. Perhaps it is easier in some ways as a woman because most of the people in power positions in the industry are men, who basically want to impress, protect or exploit women rather than compete with them. This can be an initial advantage, but it always has to be followed up with genuine talent and skill. The disadvantages are in dealing with occasional assumptions that you won't be as skilled as a man, or that if you try to lead a group or take control that you're not feminine, but that old stuff comes up in any job. In a big band, there is a bus-full of men, and one or two women, and there you'll see the difference in the jokes, card-playing, and drinking habits, but fellow musicians in jazz respect the most important thing: musical skill.
due to being a woman. And in the last 20 years I've seen a big change taking place in jazz big bands. Women don't have the same doubts and fears that were there in my generation, they're educated (thanks to programs at the university level which are now available, because of teachers like me who developed them), and many more are playing sax, drums, trumpet (Ingrid Jensen is a great role model) and the traditionally male instruments. In the vocal jazz world the development of singers as composers and improvisers is also strong. It's exciting!
Study hard and practice so that you are on an equal level with any male musician, be prepared to prove yourself, and enjoy it, and take your talent seriously.
I was gifted musically, and always sang. I decided to focus on singing professionally at age 17, and studied to be a classical singer before focusing on jazz and improvisation.

Judi Silvano

My role in my band is as an equal partner with the other instrumentalists, and flexible between being the lead line and being the accompanying color to another lead part. In the studio, the musical collaboration continues so that we can capture the spontaneous interrelationships that emerge, but I make the decisions as to repertoire, usually. Regarding business and marketing, since I am an independent artist with a small Indie Label, I make most of the decisions and am responsible for follow through of my ideas.
Beyer mic and a healthy set of vocal cords
Being a woman is of course different than being a man. While both men and women are musicians, sometimes the gender and emotional diffferences in communication make it more or less comfortable. There are many enlightened folks of both genders to whom the difference is minimal, yet there are still many prejudices and expectations that abound within the community. Sometimes it is the club owners and bookers that have the bigger problem in dealing respectfully with musicians, particularly women. But it is also audiences that seem to have higher expectations from women musicians, and are more open and accepting of male musicians and their expression.
Yes, i do see differences. The level of support that women musicians give to each other has been much greater, as there are more and more young women coming into the field. In previous generations, there were much fewer women musicians that were able to overcome the roadblocks to being a professional player. Since there was a lack of support and agreement in society and in families that the women should or even could be professional musicians of a serious sort, most of the jobs available to womenrequired them to dress and act as show-girls, for instance. Or they had to play in an all-women novelty band. That is still true to some extent today, but it is starting to change in that you see many women playing in mixed male and female bands. Yay!
I have gotten many pieces of encouragement from musicians. Mostly, I was encouraged to continue studying and focus on the music and improving my craft. The musicians that I played with in the jazz world early on, like Kenny Werner and Joe Lovano, told me not to worry about the public's or critics' responses and to just keep on working to get better at what I did. They appreciated my contributions to the music and were generous to me and accepting. My advice to any musician, male or female is to focus on the music and keep that love in your heart by continually studying and being open to growing in new ways. That way you find yourself and can express your own personal "voice" and while you may incorporate much of the work of generations before you, you will find a way to express your own way if you are courageous enough and persistant enough. Go for it. That's the real joy of being an artist.
I chose my voice as my main instrument because I have the most variety of tone and textures and the most control technically and dynamically.

Jody Sandhaus

"In a group I choose the songs I want to sing and count the tempo off. In the studio I choose songs, which cut, balance, everything along side the engineer. I decide where to spend money..if to spend money. Actually my husband (also a jazz musician) and I discuss what to do. It seems its becoming an area where the people hired to promote are making more money than the artists themselves."
"For a gig if I need my own equipment: EV microphone, yamaha self powered monitor, EV speakers, Mackie mixer, power amp, speaker stands, fold up music stand, cart (at times), music bag with charts, Alessis reverb unit, assorted cords and power strips, stand for monitor"
"I do think in my area (jazz) men are more dominant. They are suspicious of women musicians and their abilities. Perhaps some women got where they are because they wear low cut necklines, and shorter hems on album overs/magazine pages. I think that is true too. My personal experience has been one that has been fair. I don't expect special treatment, I am a team (ensemble) player. I am not a diva. "
Yes, I think the younger women are better educated.
"I wasn't given any helpful advice. The one thing I tell musicians starting out is that they have to be honest-musically speaking. As long as one is honest, they will find people who appreciate it and are swept into the music because it is heartfelt. I think that's what makes one artist different from another."
"I loved singing and love lyrics. I played piano through college as well. I sang and played the guitar for a summer during college."

Submitted Anonymously

I am an un-managed classical vocalist, so I make all my business decisions (send out press materials, follow up, plan concerts, write for grants, etc). My company--the Maria Antonia Project--is a sole-proprietorship. I bring in other musicians to collaborate on concerts.
African-American woman, boyish build & youthful appearance (perfect for playing young men and boys on stage, which I do frequently); also have a MacBook Pro, Finale and a Roland Digital Piano for transcribing music [a research specialty of mine is operas composed by women, so I am in the process of making vocal/keyboard transcriptions of arias from some 18th-century composers]
"Growing up listening to rock and roll, I was keenly aware of the lack of role models. Most female musicians were singers, but not instrumentalists. Many traded on a very specific sort of (hetero)sexuality. When I became interested in opera, I also noticed how few roles on the stage gave women a chance to be anything other than victims of some male's shenanigans. Luckily for me, as a mezzo interested in ""early music"", I get to play men and boys (who definitely have more fun).

I've also noticed that the classical world is very conservative: female singers are still called ""Miss"", not ""Ms"", for example. It may be fine to use music to advance progressive social change in folk music or rock, but that seems to be anathema to classical music. "
I am not sure. I do think that society had much more of an interest in classical music and so there were more opportunities for singers to get heard and grow over time. Certainly there was more music education in the schools 40+ years ago.
I have received valuable advice from my voice teacher, from vocal coaches and others. The important thing is to keep asking questions and to keep developing one's style/voice.
I've been singing since at least age 4.

Cassandra Douglas

I like to think of my self as a politician. I am in charge of my own talent. (A singer is not called a soloist for nothing.) It is my job to be focused in regards how I'm doing vocally or how much work I'll have in the coming months. Like all singers I have help. I ask for feedback sometimes on a daily basis from my voice teacher, my vocal coach, my accompanist, conductors, and colleagues. It is my job to take in all this information and sift through what works and what doesn't work without offending anyone. It is a delicate balancing act that every singer goes through.
That can range from opera costumes to gowns for a recital performance. I always envy a man. He can just wear a suit and he looks great for a recital event. Where as a woman has to find the perfect dress that's not too tight around the waist so that you can breathe comfortably without anyone seeing how much your working. Then there are shows to consider, makeup, hair, nails, the list could go on and on. For opera I feel that the costumes always require so much more work for women than for men. However, in the end I personally enjoy the process of getting that dressed up. I guess it is the equivalent of getting dressed for one's wedding day. One wants to look perfect because everyone will be focused on just you.
Yes!!! Being a woman specifically a soprano voice is extremely competitive. The men don't nearly have to work as hard simply because their men. Males don't have to be fabulous in every area of singing in order to gain lead roles in operas simply because there are fewer men to compete with. I will say that the Tenors have a more difficult time as the tenor parts are coveted and widely appreciated almost as much as the Soprano voice. However, I cannot count the number of times I've heard an awful tenor singing in a lead role. I can't help but wonder how they managed to get the part. A female singer would never be hired if she didn't sing her languages with perfect diction with full understanding of the style, or have beautiful phrasing, or even just stage presence. Whereas, I've seen men perform with inadequately and they think they can get away with certain things because their charismatic. I'll close with a something a wonderful Baritone colleague of mine said to me after we found out that I didn't get cast for an opera that he did get cast for, "Don't feel bad Cassandra, you know they only cast me because I'm a man."
In my profession I would have to say no. The world of music that I live in is based in old traditions that continue to recycle themselves. It's rather like Comedia dell'Arte's characters where the archetypes are recreated in a different medium. They are still the same personalities but with a different setting. The generations of musicians in opera have not changed much. We've only been updated with better access to resources and connections with other people. Otherwise it's all the same.
"Yes!!! Every week I sift through advice about what to do next. I am my own manager and I like to think of myself as a private company of one! I have my own best interests at heart. It is essential to surround myself with people who believe in my ability and have the tools to help me attain my goals. The sooner a young singer does this the better. Classical music is a hard profession and one needs really strong people along the way to help embolden a singer. Ultimately, it is up to the singer to really come to terms with whether or not singing is something they really want to do. It is truly the life of a starving artist and the rewards come in the actualization of a performance where you bear all the pain, love, or joys you've ever had to a group of people who are paying you to move them into an emotional state of ecstasy. Being that vulnerable is not for everyone. There are also too few people available to support singers financially. The idea of a patron is a thing of the past and the money to pay for all the coachings, voice lessons, accompanist fees, audition fees, headshots, audition and performance attire, and music scores has to come from somewhere if ever one wants to come close to actualizing their dreams of performing professionally. The real joy for me in singing is that it actually feels wonderful to sing and sing well. I also love the drama of opera and the chance to connect with an audience. After 14 years of study under my belt, it wasn't until last year that I felt I must sing because there is nothing else that I love to do more! Being a singer is one of the most personal journeys one can make. For me, I've come to discover that it is worth the struggle to be able to share so much of my self with others. "
I would say my voice choose me. I never woke up one morning and decided to be an opera singer. It was something that I came into gradually. One main reason is that my voice simply felt more comfortable singing the beautiful melodic lines in opera and art songs. I was never able to really sing musical theater or pop song with any sort of ease. I also was very moved by some of the profoundly beautiful poetry with which inspired the composers to set the music in the first place. I also fell in love with this art form over time because as I gained my own plethora of life experiences I realized that I could offer more in my own performances. It is a demanding task to draw on emotions so that one can express an emotion without being drawn up in the emotion itself. In other words, I can't sing if I'm crying. Art songs gives a singer a chance to draw on those personal experiences and in turn offer the chance for an audience member to recall their own life experiences. For a moment in time, music allows one to look on their intangible emotions as the music and the words recall all sorts of memories. Opera, on the other hand, is about an emotion felt in a period of time by the character(s). It can be funny, sad, devastating, love-filled, or any emotion that man-kind can feel in a given moment. It is the culmination of the human emotion in the form of theater and drama. When watching a great performance I feel as the character feels and when the music is added to it I feel that my soul opens up and it soars.

Cristie Strongman

"I am not in a band nor do I do studio recordings nor do I deal with business of music.

Nor sure if this is relevant but I am often the organizer of the ensembles for various pieces, I find the venues, etc."
I am an opera singer.
"I don't know what it's like to be a man so I don't really know how to answer this question.

But I think that as a (classical) singer it's easier for a woman to express one self in song in this society than a man because men are taught to be interested in other things not dealing with feelings. You always find many women and few male classical singers almost anywhere.

Also, it's harder to train tenors because their voices change at puberty and not women's and this is a very delicate type of voice, a more exposed instrument and it's often difficult for a man to want to deal with the training of allowing the voice to crack at first. Just what I have heard men say and what I have heard in practice rooms myself while they perfect their craft."
Yes. In classical music I think women opera singers had less school training and got more of their knowledge at home and with private teachers. I think now it's sort of a mass comsumtion type of thing of turning out generic material in classical music because it lacks individuality and the attention that one teacher would give a person, now it's multiple students per one teacher and not enough time to perform and get the real experience classical singers need.
"I never had any real support for my craft, probably why I'm working a day job that is non music related. However, I still take my craft very seriously and work hard at getting better and performing any chance I get.

Advice for a woman musician starting out, let's say she is young: learn piano and solfeg so that you can sigh reade very well, learn to improvise musically, take dance classes for physical coordination and intergration, learn as many languages as you can but consentrate on German, Italian, French, English and some other romance language like Spanish, Portuguese. Learn now to study an operative role on your own and learn to KNOW when you are ready to seek out a voice techer, a vocal coach, repetituer for help and when you can still do the work yourself to save time, effort and money. Get as many full roles under your belt that are right for your voice type. Lean what you sound like objectively. Always record yourself when you can and listen to it afterwards privately and then after maybe with a teacher or very good friend. Have a network of supporters (singer and non singer friends). Learn now to network with everyone! Keep business cards and always have some of your own with you. Always carry a pen. Last but not least - remember that it's supposed to be FUN for you too! :)"
My grandmother taught me how to sing since I was 3 years old (she was a pianist and singer herself). Always loved the sound of the human voice.

Marni Nixon

What band? I am a singer and I have agents and representatives who present me in concert and I provid them with notes, translations, programming, advice about venues, timing, PR and tyr to get advice from the best there is to help me--as any manager should.
Gear for what? Appearing on stage, concert, cabaret, personal appearances? It souds like whoever wrote this is 24 years old with NO background into music of any kind other than rock....Sorry to be so persnickety, but if you want "class" better get into the terminlology of a performing, theatrical, concert, operatic soloist.
I think gender plays a part differently in many people. Some just "are" the way they are. Some flaut it when they prepare what they are going to perform, some just are comfortable with themselves and just are. In classical music there are first-person poems sung by a man and sung by a woman. One presents them in different ways to make it personable to the performer. When you perform one picks songs that fit personally, and integrally. Sometimes that in itself is a statement--but art and music is more universal and breaks down more barriers than that. Sometimes the barriers have to be spoiken of, or be aware of, or sometimes, one ignores and just proceeds and "is." Depends on the marketing of yourself, and your material and the venue and timing of presentation, right?
All of the above are similiaities and differences to some people. I think you mean to ask, if "younger" people are more aware of the depth and position of themselves in the bigger scheme and broader scope of things, and are aware of the past and where they fit into it. Of course if one is to be successful one has to know the past, good and bad, to be entiirely yourself and unique. Otherwise one can dillude onsself into thinking you are unique, when its been done and said long ago and maybe by better people...maybe not, in which case be AWARE of it all and where you stand in the midst of it, creatively and actively.
"A woman musician, is a musician who may happen to be a woman. That doesn't mean there is a sexual-bending nature of it necessarily, or a lesbian ""slant."" any more than there is a homosexual slant to to male musicians. Music is music, musicians are musicians, each according to their own talent and perception and profesionalism and skill..creative or performing-wise those are all divisions that don't need to be divisive, nor even dwelt upon. We are HUMAN BEINGS, male and female with all the diferenes we have inherent and all the similiariities inherent in our particular human soul,with possiblily different points of view and slants. Some are things we would want and find it worthwhile to program on one given program and sometimes we don't need to dwell on that aspect of programming at all. One chooses to market those possiblities to whatever audience one chooses. Sometimes there is no difference in marketing ""female material"" than there is ""male material"" at all.

Above all I do not want to see Androgenous. And a muddied outlook of the material I choose to sing or hear. That goes for keys, subject matter, presentaion, and so much more, right?

I like to choose material on its own merit and to suit the theme of the program.

Anyway, advice? Be as deeply routed in the appreciations and techniques of the past and present that or any matierial as deeply insightfully as you can. Have fun with it. If you truly apreciate it and comprehend the music you are performing you will find a way to make it be heard in the best way..whether it's you own music or someone else's.

Practical advice, make sure you can proceed constantly, even if it is stop and go at times. Just keep at it and don't cut yourself off from loiving you life. Music is a refletion of LIFE for heaen's sake It's also to be a part of each other and to heal ourselves and others by being the way you are and letting and helping it to SHINE, for heavens' sakes.

Do the making of it all your life."
I am a singer..that is my instrument. I studied instrumentally, but my instrument has me by the throat....

Laurie Rogers

No band or studio. For years I also worked in administration, identifying emerging young singer talent and assisting in casting and season planning, as well as assembling estimates of future seasonal needs. I coach singers, accompany rehearsals, take notes at orchestra sessions, play in the orchestra pit, conduct backstage and cover the conductor in case of illness. I accompany recitals and auditions.
Gear? I'm a professional pianist, working with national opera companies as an assistant conductor preparing opera productions and coaching singers. Gear is piano, music, pencil, and metronome. Plus opera scores, recordings, dictionaries, highliters, post-its
"I run up against the family issue quite a lot. Some companies and organizations are understanding of family needs; some aren't. Had I not had children I probably would have moved into conducting in my 30s. No regrets, btw. Also being a straight woman in my profession has had some glass ceilings, but I'm loathe to speak publicly about that.

I was told once by a male supervisor that women could never be as good pianists as men, because ""they lack the requisite upper body strength"". Word. Also was told by gay colleague that ""once you have children, your career is over."" Have proved him wrong. Heard once that I was turned down for a job because of my family, although of course that wasn't the official reason, since it is highly illegal.

Have to do an inordinate amount of travel between opera companies, which strains my time with my kids. Mercifully they understand and are opera fans and because of my travel they have been able to visit me in places we might never have gone. A gig in Arizona last fall led to a family visit to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, for example. Trying to make the best of it.

Have also seen that to object or complain to things is handled differently when it is done by a woman - there is still a tendency to label women ""difficult"" or ""oversensitive"", which is less frequently applied to men who take strong positions on issues."
There were virtually no female conductors until recently, led by the late Sarah Caldwell. The Berlin Philharmonic until relatively recently was all-male. Now "blind" orchestra auditions have taken away gender as a hiring issue. For opera singers, size is back to being an issue again. The Fat Lady doesn't get as many jobs as the buff one, thanks in part to the HD broadcasts that now show every last detail. You have people like Miuccia Prada designing opera costumes for svelte figures; never mind how those figures can actually sing.
Be as well prepared as you possibly can be. Your competition is hard on your heels. Every day that you don't hone your knowledge and skills is a day you backslide in some way. Stay strong and develop a thick skin. Be persistent - much of success depends on sheer tenacity. If you really love what you do, make it happen somehow, in some way. Don't let ANYBODY tell you that choosing to have a family is the end of your career.
Started studying piano when I was 4. Don't even remember choosing to study. Has just always been part of my life.

Michelle Trovato

I am the CPO of my company. I handle all marketing and business decisions.
Make-up and hair. Occasionally wigs. Costumes ranging from very simple to very elaborate. Performance gowns and clothing for less formal affairs.
Being a soprano, there are at least twice as many of us as any other voice type. There are not nearly as many mezzo-sopranos, and very few truly high-quality male singers (by comparison with the number of sopranos). This makes the business exceedingly more competitive.
The most successful female opera singers look like Hollywood stars. Even a video I watched recently of a mid-90s Pavarotti and Friends concert featured a rather unattractive woman in the role of Musetta in La Boheme. Today, that role is only sung by the most beautiful of sopranos.
The advice I've been given is to give 'em what they want. Be thin, be a great actress, and sing as well as you can, (possibly in that order) because that's the only way you're going to stand out in the crowd.
I was encouraged to take voice lessons when I was in middle school.

Jennifer Peterson, operamission

conductor, director of the organization
"Yes. Very different. Being in a leadership position, I feel I am treated quite differently than than my male counterparts. People often expect me to be accommodating, and then when they realize I have strong leadership capabilities, they are sometimes confused or tend behave as if they are uncomfortable.

Also as a female musician it seems to be quite difficult to command equal fees to my male counterparts."
Perhaps. No specific examples in my experience.
"More than one successful women musician have told me they don't think about the differences, they just do their work.

A female role model (undergraduate teacher) told me that women have to work more than four times as hard as their male counterpart to attain equal recognition, and I see that as true and also good advice to live by."

Deborah Karpel

In my band I make all the decisions, hiring and scheduling. In the studio I hire a producer to make certain artistic/sound decisions.
Just a Fender portable amp and mike if needed (and cable) Lots of music books! Lyrics! I guess I am my gear.
I think being a vocalist is profoundly different than an instrumentalist. And a woman vocalist has to work with the kinds of projections an audience requires from any woman they are staring at. They want beauty and grace or a reason why you aren't these things. When I am a vocalist with a band - I feel often like the interface - between instrumentalists and the audience - because the singing feels less abstract than straight out instrumental music. Also - singing can be emotionally evocative, and people do associate that with a woman's role too. So, you have to hold your own above all those associations and go beyond that. I feel like I don't avoid the associations but build on them.
I think women musicians are being trusted more than before. But it's still an uphill climb, particularly in jazz.
Tenacity. Practice (seriously), keep a light heart about judgments and learn from every gig you do. It's about connection to music and people, not just impressing someone who has more power and status in the music industry. I hope you like to travel and creative lifestyles!
People responded to my voice. I began to study. Actually, I believe I was making fun of an opera singer at the time and someone told me I should join the school chorus.

Sharon Azrieli

"Lead roles is Verdi and Puccini Operas. Lead parts in SYmphonies and other works for SOlo SOprano and Orchestra"
"lives in my body the voice I was born with the body that houses it"
"Absolutely First of all there are less men so they get more work and are better paid. I don't know for sure but I bet they are not as harassed about their body weight, and I bet they are not as upset about getting older as women. Especially with the advent of opera on Tv and film; the hd factor is really upsetting women who now feel the need for all kinds of facial procedures and gariatric bypasses. The industry has gotten much harder on women Even requiring us to perform nude, this was never in opera!"
"well of course the great 50's was the era of the tru diva who didn't have to worry about being perceived as a diva! Maria Callas Renata Tebaldi etc etc There were at least 12 great divas up until the 80's even Now there are only 2 or 3 I think the recroding industry is to blame, as they have cut back on new recordings and rely on reissuing old an dlive recordings it is harder to get a recordnign and harder to be made into a star"
"I got great advice on how to be great singer, almost none on how to make a career. I wish i had been given some! Now I wouldn't know what to tell a young singer because there is so much that is different; for example I believe one has to publish oneself on youtube and do everything one can to self promote these days... look at obama girl, that is the way of fame now..."
"Because it is the most challenging thing I could do with my body mind and soul. And there is such beautiful music out there, like the monks who believe that thier prayers matter to the world, I believe that putting beautiful music out there matters too. SO if I can do it, then it is my spiritual obligation to do it to the best of my ability."

Submitted Anonymously

Drummer or percussionist
Drum sets of various sizes and woods, cymbals, Marimba, Chudaiko, congas, timbales, etc... things that make interesting sounds when hit, shaken or scraped
Of course. Fraternity. Sexual harassment. Expectations.
Yes. Many more doors open to them. They have more role models and less expectation that they 'can't' play whatever instrument - fill in the blank
"Not really. Just the - ""you have to be twice as good as a man"" - and ""play with more balls"" male teachers really said those things to me

A couple of key people treated me as a fellow musician, which is the most valuable.

To women starting out: Play what you love. Seek out those who support you. practice, stay healthy. It's not that easy, - for men or women - so just accept the challenges."
It chose me.

Joan Crowe, Jesters of Jive

I'm the leader so most all of the business and marketing fall to me
I own a Makie 16 channel mixer, and full PA
Yes, there are a lot fewer female leaders
"If you are the type of personality that needs security like to make plans for the future than this is not the business for you. But If you thrive on the adventure of not knowing what is around the next corner than go for it. Just know what you need to be happy and understand the reality of the business and its built in ups and downs."

Julie Rohwein

I'm a one-woman operation.
My home studio currently is PC-based, with quad Genelec monitors, outboard effects processing and lots of software of various types. Field recordings use a Marantz digital recorder for external Mics and a Zoom H2 when I need something small.
Yes, if for no other reason than "woman" is a common modifier to musician whereas "man" is not. Even more so for composers. I really got this the time I was asked if the lack of a singular climax in a particular piece of mine might be explained by my gender. In a seminar discussion that was entirely male, excepting myself.
In my area, woman are still far less common than men. But the younger women I meet in composition are much less prone to talk about themselves as "women composers". At least until they have a child -- being a mother and a composer is a whole different ball of wax.
Keep going. Don't let the naysayers win.
Composing sort of chose me. I was trying to learn to play jazz and ended up here instead.

Sunny Zank

Violins and bows. . pianos
Not at the level I work in - it is based on how well you play.
Yes, the young women move around even more freely than my generation did.
Practice - all the time.
It was available

Karen P. Thomas

Artistic director and conductor.
Conducting baton
Women conductors are still bumping up against a "glass ceiling".
Nothing in the world is more fun than conducting!

Susan Borwick

Composer, arranger, promoter, performer sometimes--small operation.
I am primarily a composer of religious and classical music for choir, solo voice, or 5-10 instrument ensembles, and also perform as a pianist sometimes when my music is performed.
Absolutely. The difference is in having to prove to venues and sponsors that this is good to sponsor--that we'll draw good crowds, be popular. Sponsors don't have confidence in women musicians from the get-go.
Love the young adults nowadays. We older folks seem to them to have been "the pioneers." Maybe we are.
As a college professor, I influence women musicians just starting out all the time. I encourage them not to lose their dreams in the discouraging world of music.
I could take lessons from someone my sister studied with.

Susan Cohn Lackman

I also have an MBA and consult with non-profit organizations. I have a Ph.D., which is good for a professor (it's in theory, composition, and musicology).
Finale 2008. Dell D630. Steinway D Grand.
Yes! There was not one moment, but there were things like: **"We didn't recommend you for that job at X College because you once taught in high schools and thought that's what you wanted to do." (Said as I finished Ph.D.) **A young composer who said, "I can't marry and have children. That's really a disadvantage for my career." **Noticed that many of the successful male composers are gay. (Sorry, but it's true.) **Professor: "Too pretty to get more than a C." (I'd been marked down for silly flaws on my papers.) **Walking out on stage to applause for my symphony, and several audience members said, "It's a girl!" even though my very feminine name was printed in the program. **And on it goes . . .
The younger musicians are rarely in to melody, harmony, and communication. There's a lot of electronic and pseudo-electronic effects.
I was not mentored AT ALL. I was not taken seriously by any males. Fortunately, I have done all right, but my way is not good for mental health. Many women who could mentor nowadays are still quite competitive - there is insecurity among women composers.
I started as a pianist at age 3. Discovered I was a composer at age 8. Went to undergrad school as music ed major so I play all.

Elizabeth Vrenios

Artistic director of the Redwoods Opera Workshop and Associate Director of Crittenden Opera. Make all personnel and artistic decisions.
No. Music is the one venue in which I believe both male and female are needed equally. The only criteria is excellence.
The women musicians in this generation are better trained and more savvy about the business of music.
Have a goal, strategy, and work harder than you ever have to make it. Make friends with everyone, because that is where your next job will come from.
The love of it.

Anna Maria Manalo

composer & performer, occasional producer
Roland digital piano
Yes. The key figures in the development of modern pianism are predominantly male, and composed music closer to their masculine inclination.
Yes, the 'gap' is closing
Let your Music and musicianship guide your career, not vice versa
My Mom got me a toy piano when I was 4

Jennifer Higdon

I run my own publishing-am president of my company, therefore I do the licensing.
computer (Mac), Xerox printer, Finale Software
I don't know...I'm asked this often. As a composer, I've had real success, more so than some of my colleagues who are male, so I'm not sure I can say one way or the other.
yes...I think it has been affected by the generation that raised each group. I've never encountered a family member who ever said I couldn't be a freelance composer.
Keep as many of your rights as you can (copyright, master recordings). Never let anyone tell you that you can't do it, whatever your art form. Always work to make the very best art and performance that you can.
I started on flute, which was sitting unused in our household; then became interested in composition

Lana Mountford

"No band -- I do more ""classical"" music. I sing with a 40-voice chamber choir in which I also serve as assistant conductor; and a 28 voice women's choir (plus a 20-voice church choir).

As a composer, I write music for a cappella choir, as well as accompanied choir, usually for voices plus one or two other instruments.

As far as decisions regarding my music -- I have total control over the stuff I write until I turn it over to a publisher. I serve on the boards of the two non-church vocal ensembles, so I have *some* influence over business and marketing decisions."
?? I sing -- so I suppose my voice would be my "gear." I also compose using a MacBook Pro and an M-Audio midi keyboard with Finale notation software.
My voice is higher than most men's, and there are usually more women than men who want to sing in an ensemble. Other than that, I've seen no difference in how I've been treated. My music is taken just as seriously, my conducting is respected just as much, and my singing is likewise appreciated.
Only small difference -- some younger women just starting school seem to assume they can bypass all the hard work and be a "star" immediately (a la "American Idol"). The business doesn't exactly work the way they want it to work.
Learn as much as you can about ALL aspects of your chosen craft, apprentice if you have the opportunity, and don't expect to "make it big" until you've paid SOME dues.
I started on piano -- switched to voice when I learned I could sing


As a freelance music, my marketing challenge is gettingmy name out there. Fortunately, because I have permanent job in a couple of symphony orchestras, I don't have to try too hard. My main job is tokeep my skills in tip top shape and come prepared to any job I take on.
My "gear" is a very nice 100 year old violin which I use to perform in a variety of venues: symphony orchestras, chamber music, back-up orchestras for singers who come to town. I am also a private violin teacher.
In the music world it is about how well one can play. If you can hold your own, then they can't do much to you. There is a "good old boys" club" in some symphony circles but it is rapidly disappearing because women can play just as well as men. I went into this business with the assumption that there was going to be a difference but the more I became aware of my own power, the less it mattered what others were doing.
Yes. The younger generation knows less about how hard it was for the older generation to break into symphony circles. It wasn't too long ago that the Berlin philharmonic had no women in it--not because women couldn't play but because women weren't allowed. The younger generation doesn't remember that time and I barely remember it.
"My initial training as a musician was horrible in terms of how to get started in the business. No one gave me any advice until I was much older.

My advice to young musicians these days is to just stay with it. Don't give up. It is hard to get established as a musician. Sometimes it takes years but you must do whatever it takes to survive. Have plans laid out about how you expect to make money while you build-up your music career. Be willing to take on students and give back what you know to them. "
I started out on piano as a child but my hands couldn't reach a tenth. My piano teacher recommended I try the violin.

Terri Sandys

I'm the Manager- owner- violist of the Swan String Quartet and make all of the business and marketing decisions. As a member of the group I make music decisions with the rest of the members.
"Italian Violin made in 1794, maker unknown Modern Italian Viola made in 1967, maker Umberto Lenaro"
Less than when I started.
Not among the strongest performers.
Come prepared. Arrive early. Be gracious. Don't gossip. Be friendly. Be a team player even if you are the headliner or leader.
The violin I chose in high school after trying many instruments and the final approval of my violin teacher, Edward Seferian, (a Julliard graduate teaching at the Univ. of Puget Sound). The viola I chose post graduate while studying with Alan Iglitzen, the original violist of the Philadelphia String Quartet. He had brought a number of instruments back from the East Coast and this is the one I chose.

Emma Lou Diemer

I've been a published composer since 1957.
gear? I have no gear. If you mean musical instruments, I have a Steinway piano model D (concert grand), clavinova, synthesizers, organs at church.
Well, yes--we have to use the women's room.
Yes. Women composers a bit more accepted now, as are women conductors. Not too much of a change with women performers--much earlier accepted.
Learn to play an instrument well, learn to sing, learn to conduct, develop an outgoing personality, don't give up.
We had a piano at home.

Judith Shatin

IMac computer, Mackie 16-track mixer, metric halo, steinway grand piano
"There is lingering prejudice against female composers, despite the fact that it is slowly getting better. It's especially bad for older women. In general, very few orchestras or operas play music by women. It's somewhat better for chamber music and electronic music.

When I first went to Tanglewood as a Composition Fellow, the first thing I was greeted with was ""oo, a lady composer."" It was not meant as a welcoming remark!"
I think there are many more role models for younger women, and much more acceptance of women as musicians now.
"No! Advice - find mentors! "
Enjoyed the timbres of piano and flute.

J. Michele Edwards

conductor and musicologist
"Yes, absolutely. My experience as a woman is different because the culture recognizes a difference. I was at times steered in different paths because I was a woman and not a man; expectations of my educational level & working career were different.

No simgle moment, but many different ones."
Yes, today many women seem to think they will be treated equally with men and that decisions will be made on just they skill/talent/achievement, but unfortunately I do not think that is yet the case. Progress and more opportunities for women has occurred during my lifetime. Still bias is present, virtually everywhere.
"Minimal concrete advice about the practical realities.

Work with other women; don't see them so much as competition. As Gerda Lerner said: ""Take someone with you."""
"was a pianist & trombone player. Piano = ?. Trb = probably because it was a ""boy's instrument."" also played a bit of cello in high school when there were no trb parts in orchestral pieces

Conducting - probably as I liked to be in charge (smile)."

Jenn Cristy

I'm the lead singer, pianist, songwriter, main arranger, manager, booking agent, band mom, travel agent, etc. Too many roles for one person, but it's taught me a lot.
I perform on a Yamaha p90 Keyboard.
"I definitely think there is a huge difference! Unfortunately, it seems as if it is almost always necessary for women to look a certain way and act a certain way to be accepted in this industry. It's not very often that you find a heavier woman making it big. And I can't think of a single woman in the spotlight right now that you could say is 'unattractive'. Men on the other hand: I am constantly amazed how ragged a male lead singer can look. A lot of them today look as if they just rolled out of bed and the industry doesn't blink an eye. It's frustrating to me that when trying to book a show or be accepted, I have to attach my best pictures in order to usually get that first glance. I play the role I don't like playing, but it is ALWAYS about the music to me.

I've kind of known that's how the industry is, but it's always been interesting to see how live engineers and venue owners approach me when they first meet me. ""Great, another girl with a piano"" type of attitude. But when we soundcheck and perform, they become our best friends and I become 'just one of the guys'. Quite silly to me, but for now it's worth it if I get to do what I love at the end of the day. "
Women in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s seemed much more empowered, especially the 70s! They were also much more respected for their talents rather than their bodies. Women have always pushed a sexual edge, so I guess the argument can swing either way. But, I think women today take it to a whole new level by showing everything they've got physically and fake their way through the actual vocal/musicianship side of things. With pitch correctors and such, it feels as if a majority of the female artists out there are focused on image more than the art of music. Back in the day it was about the art, sweat, tears, and heart of the show/song.
I've basically learned everything by experience. I wish someone had told me early how things would effect my career. My advice, and it's the advice I give my students, has always been 'Be you'. If you start to give up pieces of yourself to please others, you are just a step closer to losing yourself. I always do my best to play the role without losing my integrity. I love my job, I love performing, I love writing. If I can do those things and keep the love, while making the music world a better place, then I don't think I'm really losing anything by not conforming to what I see on Mtv, Vh1, or the internet! My fans are my fans for the pure fact that I have never been false, I have never lost the drive or passion, and it's obvious that I love what I do. I believe I will live longer in the industry by staying true to myself and to my fans!
I'm classically trained in piano. Have played since I was 4 years old. Was accepted in the Indiana University Music school for classical piano performance. It's what I know best!

Nicole J. McPherson

performer, artistic leader
Flute, piccolo, alto flute, tuner and microphone, metronome, music, pencil
Yes, in orchestra in grad school. Males where seen as better leaders for the principal parts and I tried to change that.
I think I have more opportunities to become successful if I take advantage of the opportunities and that more women are being rewarded for their work.
Joan Tower, Libby Larsen, Shulamit Ran and Cynthia Folio have. You have to be very passionate about what you want and what you after and go for it. Don't let anything or anyone get in your way.
I had heard a recording of Doriot Dwyer play Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy

Beth Anderson

"This survey is about women in music, not women in bands.

I write the music. Sometimes I hire musicians and sometimes musicians hire me. In the studio I try to get the best performance and mix possible but I am only an advisor regarding my own compositions. I make all my own business and marketing decisions."
I write music using Finale on my computer and send it to people who perform it.
Yes. I don't have a wife. On many music festivals and concerts there are fewer than 5% women composers. There are still professors in music schools telling their students that "only the male bird sings." Men often network and help each other. Women mostly don't have the power to help themselves, much less other women and when they do, they often seem to go in the other direction so that the men will see them as even-handed. I talked to the agent for a woman conductor who had recently gotten a significant orchestral position and asked if she would consider performing my music. I was told that it would ruin the conductor's career if she started conducting women's music!
Yes. The young ones are very optimistic and unaware of barriers. The older ones remember the past vividly and see the barriers quite clearly.
Yes I was told to either marry money, inherit money, write commercial music or learn to type/teach/nurse so that I could afford to be a composer. I would tell them the same thing. Then persist. And don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it if you really must compose.
My grandmother had a piano and I used to try to play it when I was 4 and my mother and grandmother decided to give me lessons. I played flute in band because my mother thought it was a nice light instrument for a girl. I sing because that's what I do. I play recorder because I enjoy playing chamber music. I learned to play recorder because when I was in graduate school one of my teachers thought it would be useful to introduce young people to basic musical reading and ideas.

Vivian Adelberg Rudow

I am a freelance composer & make all decisions
"Gear? I'm a composer. I compose music from solo electronic to full orchestra.

I also do performance art music in electronic (electroacoustic)music and in that use 4 portable CD players, on music stands and remote controllers. I move around the stage using the Vivian method."
"No, we all suffer a lack of performances. I was the founder director of a successful new music group, Res Musica Baltimore/Res MusicAmerica in the 1980s-early1990s. We had full houses and audiences loved our concerts!

What I saw was that other organizers of concerts chose their friends to have performances because they knew them and trusted them. Also because of POWER, not race or gender.

As the director of a performing group & I conducted sometimes, others were very interested in performing my music..."
"Yes. We old timers are much more timid. The newer generations are much more self assured and aggressive. I LOVE to be with them!

I learn from the younger women!"
"Start your own group of any kind. Or join a group and work your way up to be a leader in the group. Always pitch in and help, move the stands chairs, run the boards, just like the men. But do let the men be men! Be upbeat! Smile a lot.

If orchestra music double check your instrumental parts!!!!

Never whine & complain that you're a women. If you're good and your music excellent, you'll get somewhere.

Most of us don't get as far as we like. It's a ""Have to"" field."
"I have been playing piano since I was 6 years old but don't perform. Love the electroacoustic music performance art thing, The Vivian. Why because it's fun."

Pro Arte String Quartet

equal partner in music decisions, artistic and business decisions
old italian viola circa 1680; old french viola bow
"definitely women in the arts are today equal the generation before me had much to ignore different countries lag behind in equality - (Austria a few years ago)"
"i was told it might not be possible for a woman to be in a major string quartet; that changed just as i finished my studies. go after your artistic dream because dreams come true. "
public school progra

Gabriela Lena Frank

I'm primarily a composer of acoustic live concert music. My stuff has been recorded, but studio time is a small percentage of my work life.
Classical instruments, Chinese instruments, folkloric instruments of Latin America
In the classical music world, composers (and conductors, too) are generally men. Things have changed a lot but we still have a ways to go, from within the profession and from the point of view of public perception. I have been blessed that any skepticism about my work because I was a woman was subtle.
Yes -- There is much less fear nowadays among the younger women, which is awesome. The generation of women before me said the same thing about my generation.
Yes, I had incredible mentors, both male and female. I would tell women musicians nowadays that they are very much needed, and they are needed at their most excellent. They must work hard, grab every opportunity to learn, be merciless in their self-scrutiny, and keep a sense of humor.
I'm mainly a composer, so while I concertize as a pianist, composing is my main gig. The piano was what we had in the house, and I took to it quite well.

Sarah Mattox

As a freelance opera singer, I need to establish and maintain contacts, line up lessons, coachings, auditions, update and maintain my website, keep my materials current (including recordings) to best reflect what I have to offer. It is frequently up to me to create my own opportunities, whether by recording a CD and marketing it at live performances, or offering my abilities to a new project, or just keeping my name in the minds of people doing the casting. I'm usually contracted as an independent contractor, which means I also need to keep track of my expenses and how much tax I'll owe.
The vitals: water bottle, tiny child's toy keyboard, my laptop, pencil and paper, cell phone
"Oh yes! The opera world has ratios much like ballet. MANY more women than men, but the number of available roles for each is about equal, so it is much more competitive for the women. You frequently end up with situations where there may be 10 tenors going for a role, but 100 sopranos. With the scarcity of qualified men, there is often competition to hire the best singers. Because of this, men can often expect a higher fee for an equivalent role. This was clear to me when a male friend of mine received a fee that was five times what mine was, even though his part was about one tenth the size. (We were in different productions, but the same company.) He happened to be a very rare voice type, and could demand a higher fee, while there was a long line of women ready and willing to sing my part!

Classical music is also still very much a male dominated field at the top. Male conductors still vastly outnumber female conductors. I had a friend who wanted to be a conductor, but she was repeatedly told ""Oh no, dear, you can't do that. You're a woman! You should be an organist."" And so she was, for many years. I'm happy to say, she went back to school, finished her doctorate in conducting, and is now a well-regarded professional in the field!"
Yes and no. To succeed in the field, there are still some essential qualities that trancend generation. An adaptable personality and a willingness to work quickly and intimately with relative strangers, as well as the need to be someone who travels well, makes for certain commonalities. In the opera world, I'm fortunate to work with older established artists, as well as up and coming singers. I find I learn a great deal from both.
Always approach the work humbly and with an open mind. The joy in this field is that you never know everything, and at any moment you may stumble upon a life-altering realization about your art. Also remember that live performance is at its heart a collaboration...First with yourself and the (usually dead) composer, then with the other musicians, and most importantly, with your audience. I think today, most audiences don't realize just how big a part they actually play in the performance they attend. There is a breath, a connection, an energy that only exists once you add an audience, and each audience is unique. Art is communication. Until there is an audience, the work is incomplete.
Voice is the most personal and communicative instrument, and offers unique challenges. It also offers the most opportunity to incorporate a whole body performance, from facial expression, to costumes, to cartwheels on-stage!

Hasu Patel

Barbara Case, Free Range Chix

"Singer, composer, arranger. In the studio: singer. In the business: everything."
Piano, organ, banjo, mics, amp, cd's.
"Absolutely. There has been and still is a clear difference in classical and popular performance opportunities. In classical, the majority of concerts still feature mostly men's compositions. More women are allowed to play in orchestras (except in Austria) these days but auditions take place behind a screen to hide the gender. Most conductors are still male, and women, as in every field, earn less. In popular field: most of the groups hired are male groups. If you look at line-up for county fairs, weekly summer evening series, folk concerts,seasonal celebrations...the majority hired are male groups. I think every aspect of the business of music is still controlled by men. Strides have been made, especially by independent musicians. "
"There are more women bravely pursuing musical careers,as composers, conductors and recording artists, in part because of support organizations like the International Alliance For Women in Music, and, in spite of (unequal) domestic expectations. We only have to be brave because of discrimination and discouragement. I believe the most successful financially are the ones controlling their careers. "
"The advice I got was not to go there because of my gender. My advice to women of any age and field: make your own opportunities.

Thank you!!"
"Natural singing voice, no choice. Mother chose piano, which I now appreciate. It led to organ. I chose banjo because it is a nice bright,fun instrument, and felt it would be easier than guitarfor my small hands. "

Anna Rubin

Tho this is geared to popular music, I hope you'll consider including writing about ALL genres of music and how women figure in them. I compose computer music using various software and often using source material from everyday sounds and speech). I synthesize sounds at the computer. I compose for acoustic instruments in a chamber music setting and I compose for instruments with computer music. My latest DVD listed above published by Everglade is a compilation with 6 women composers on it entitled Sounding Out. All the composers are lesbians. It's a typical format for classical music to have several composers on one CD or DVD.
Sure. There is an established tradition that men just assume is theirs to draw from and react to. Women of my generation had to knock down the doors to get in. We've created some of our own institutions, publications and outlets to get our voices heard. I avoided professors and other musicians who were clearly biased against women.
Young classical women composers seem to be more at ease and don't assume their work is not valid though this can vary widely from institution to institution.
Get a good support system, know something about other women in music, and know that you'll need as much creativity in the business side of music as in the making of it.
I would answer this with the answer -- the computer -- because of its flexibility and range of possibilies.

Jennifer Elowitch, Portland Chamber Music Festival

There has been a huge change in orchestral settings -- MANY more women than there used to be, particularly violinists. In fact, probably more women than men violinists in orchestras today.
My own initiative in first grade after hearing some kids play violin in my calss

Hasu Patel

I am a Solo Sitar concert musician. Tabla (Pair of Drums) player accompanies me. I am the main performer.

I am a COmposer, Performer and Educator of Music of India on SITAR. It is my vision to bring this ancient artform to all in the world."
NO; Only difference is the style of the performing where Women musicians are more appealing the men
Yes, I am from India and as I am playing Sitar in a vocal style where sitar replicated human voice which was not present 30+ years.
Please find a music agent which can present you properly. I am still looking for myself.
"My father chose this instrument when I was only 6 years old. I was trained for 15 years -- 6-8 hours a day under the Sitar Maestros. Today, I arise @ 4:00 am and practice in the early silent hours to be with Divine.

Recently, I have composed two different Sitar Concertos for Western Orchestras. I also played with them. This was the firt time in the history of indain music that a Indain music composer has composed for the Western orchestra. I am so blessed to be the first."


Melody! Bossy.
One old school violin. 1850s era German. That's it.
If I'm busking I make a lot more money than my male counterparts. I'm less likely to be chosen as the leader of a group.
Women must be cute, charming, drink with the boys, hang with the boys, make crude jokes, and are very competitive with each other.
I was 3yrs old. I'm not sure how much thought went into that choice.

Joanna Messer, Madison Symphony Orchestra (WI), Wisconsin Philharmonic, International Chamber Artists (Chicago)

"In my chamber group, I handle a large part of the rehearsal scheduling burden. We are all freelance musicians with day jobs, whether it is teaching private lessons, rehearsing with the Chicago Symphony, or a more traditional ""day job"" like my own. Also, we come together in Chicago from all over the world. It can be tricky.

As for my orchestra work, I learn my parts, attend rehearsals and work to become a part of the ensemble. I don't handle any business aspects."
"2 flutes: Altus flute (14K gold instrument); Miyazawa flute (sterling silver instrument) 1 piccolo: Emerson Ultimo (grenadilla wood)"
"I do. Flutists in most school programs are female, but many of the more famous flutists out in the professional world are male. However, I have seen this tide turn even in my short career - more women are winning positions in orchestras, for example - but there is still a lot of work to be done to encourage women to pursue careers in classical music. For that matter, there is a lot of work to be done to encourage young people in general to study classical music in the first place!

Where I have seen trouble: many of my friends and colleagues are now in the part of their lives where they are having families. My closest friend has a daughter who is just six months old; the child-care issues surrounding her freelance work (rehearsals for her chamber ensemble are unpaid) and how it conflicts with her husband's more standard work hours are so, so difficult. They're essentially ""swing-shift parenting"", like many. It has affected what sorts of gigs she takes and has been an additional burden on her marriage. They're making it work, but I ache for her when she has turned things down. My male musical colleagues with young children, unless their spouse is also a musician, don't seem to feel this quite so much."
Yes. I am well aware that I am standing on the shoulders of giants. I grew up in the post-Title IX era, and there is much that I can take for granted that my mother's generation and my grandmother's generation could not. They endured relentless sexism from the podium, from colleagues within the orchestra, and from audiences and patrons as well. I have benefited from the strides made to make audition processes fair and arbitrary (screens between the committee and the applicant, for example). This can be a more global generalization about the difference between my generation and my mother's generation, however, so your mileage may vary.
"Yes! Jeanne Baxtresser, my teacher for my graduate study, told me that I must always think of the music first, to be in service to it and to trust in it, to remove my ego and my self from the process. Ms. Baxtresser would know; she is one of the pioneers in my field, having spent 35 years as principal flutist in the main symphony orchestras of Montreal, Toronto, and finally New York. She has given me much more advice than that over the years.

I also received valuable advice from my undergraduate teacher, Ernestine Whitman (professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI). ""If you quit, you'll never win."" I took more than two dozen orchestral auditions before winning my first position. This is not unusual; statistically speaking, finding orchestral work in the US is like trying to be a linebacker in the NFL, and it's only getting harder. If I had given up after audition five or six, I wouldn't have the career I have today.

I also love that I have a hybrid career. I grew up in a library, thanks to my mom's work as a librarian and library director, and I am happiest and most balanced when I have all of my work together: teacher (I teach online for the City Colleges of Chicago and give masterclasses), librarian, performer. I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

As for young women in music just starting:

Take charge of your decisions and own them. Say ""no"" to things you really can't do, but still say ""yes"" far more often than you say ""no"".

Make good friends with people who play your instrument; while you may see them in the green room at an audition as your competition, if you are a good colleague and a trustworthy friend, s/he will remember that and give you opportunities later when s/he can. Also, no one is going to understand you better than someone else who struggles with the same things as you do (this is another gem from Ms. Baxtresser). My closest colleagues in music have come through for me personally as well, and I can't discount the working relationships that have enriched my life deeply, particularly from my years in the training ground of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

Finally, if this is going to be your life's work, be kind to everyone you meet. You will see these people and work with them for the rest of your life, even after your so-called ""retirement"". Memories are long, and you want to be your best self, always in service to your music and your art. "
"On my tenth birthday, we had trials for instruments for band. I wanted to play the oboe, but the double reed was difficult to vibrate. Flute was next on my list. It became my voice in many, many ways.

But why I became a professional is more complicated than that.

When I was almost 15 and a sophomore in high school, I moved away from home to attend a public, state-wide math and science high school. I didn't take private flute lessons for much of my sophomore year because I couldn't afford them, but I saved my money from part-time summer jobs to pay for lessons for as long as I could during my junior year. That fall, for my 16th birthday, a number of my close friends in school pooled their resources to pay for flute lessons for me for the balance of my junior year. There was enough money left over to purchase some music for me that I needed, too. I wept then, and every time I tell this story, I cry again. That gift of support and love that I received to me at such a tender age from such young and mature people led me to the work I do now. I will never, ever forget it. Though it was a gift, I feel like I became responsible--in the best way possible--to others for my opportunity to play. To that end, I have pursued music ventures that aim in particular to give back to those who cannot always afford a concert experience."

Elena Ruehr

I produce my records in conjunction with performing organizations like the Washington Chorus, or the Cypress Quartet, sometimes I manage all the fund raising and production myself, sometimes I work with groups. We receive government funds (like NEA) and private fundation funds, including university funding. I have recorded in large concert halls and sometimes Skywalker studio. I don't play in a "band", professional musicians play what I write.
Boston Baby grand piano, pencil, paper. mac.
Yes. It is much harder to be recognized, but women are actually better musicians. Seriously. Also, classical music is unique in that orchestras hold "blind" auditions, where the players play behind a screen. Since that was instituted about 30 years ago, American professional orchestras have reached incredible integration, both in gender and race. In fact, businesses use the classical orchestral music world as an example for a better model for hiring decisions. Unfortunately, conductors and composers (who are like management in some ways) are far less likely to be women.
Yes. Fewer young women are going into classical composing, and are instead going into popular music. Those women who go into classical music and are younger than I am are more confident and less afraid of being seen as pushy. Women older than I am who are in the business have a tendency to be rewarded more for their administrative abilities than their musicianship.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Wait to deal with the business until you are really good. Then get better. Make friends with other musicians who like your music. Be prepared for rejection. The jobs you don't get don't matter, only the ones you do.
My parents had a piano and they both played.

Oberta Stephen, classical musician

I own a publishing company which publishes my music and music by other Canadian classical composers.
"I am a classical composer, singing teacher. In my studio I have a grand piano, simple recording equipment, sheet music."
Yes. My first composition teacher did not treat me as a serious composer, especially when I compared the opportunities given to a colleague and not to me.
Yes. There are more opportunities for performances of composer's music. I notice in Western Canada that women composer's music is chosen just as often as men's for the limited performances available.
"No. Net work with performers and presentors. Find out what they need and wnat, offer to write music especially for them. Try for a commission."
I love to sing.

Linda Swope

I don't have a group so this does not pertain to me. However, I spend a certain amount of time marketing myself as a composer and performer, though not as much as I would like to, since I am busy. The decisions in marketing are limited, as I am married with a family and cannot just go anywhere and do anything. I look for local opportunities.
oboe, English horn, full consort of recorders, desk top pc computer for composing, amplifier, mic, effects pedal for composing and performing electro-acoustic works, and also lots of music, books, and a music stand and metronome, and reed-making equipment, of course.
Yes, there is a difference. Not in production or creativity, but in ability to reach out, market myself and make decisions for my own career and future. There are moments every day that make this difference clear to me.
I am not sure. I am sure the basic social aspects are the same - better for some, not as good for others, depending on their environments. However, as far as the way music influences women and what they write and perform, well, that changes with the times, and probably always has. Times change, and musical tastes and styles change with it. Therefore I am not sure if things are different this generation than they were from the last generation.
Just advice in making your way at all is good. It pertains to all facets of life, and in this case, music...not just music industry. The best advice is positive advice - it keeps you going and keeps your self-esteem up. Follow your heart, make your dreams come true. That's all.
love the sound of it

Marcia Bellamy

I remember noticing how my male colleagues at the Deutsche Oper Berlin were paid more than me or the other women. There does seem to be a higher premium placed on men who sing. The implication seems to be "You girls are all lined up and waiting, so don't expect any special treatment."
Women have made huge in-roads in European orchestras where they once only appeared as harpists or second violins.
I would say, be open to everything, but don't stick around where you're not appreciated.
It was in the house (piano) and I was born with it (voice).

Rosa Avila

I lead with the drums
Pearl Drums , Zildjian Cymbals , Evans drumheads , Vic Firth Sticks , Impact cases .... I am endorsed by all these companies ;-)
I never really thought about it until it was made aware to me that for example the drums are supposed to be a "male " instrument .... I really have no idea why , I just don't see it , never did , and as I said I was always a rebel I guess, so I just didn't care ;-) I started playing in Mexico and well in the 80's especially I guess it was extremely male oriented and yes I had to prove myself I guess much more than maybe here in the US .... But I really don't see the difference especially now a days. But still in some circles , if I walk in , some people still think , oh she must be the singer , or the dancer or whatever, some people never guess , the drummer . But now a days nobody questions you if you are a woman or man , it's all about , can you play? .... the end....of course this is especially here in NY ;-) We really don't get the "Oh look its a girl , I wonder if she can play" thing anymore at all .
Yeah I guess so ..... maybe 20 or 30 years ago , we maybe got questioned , but not now at all .... And I guess we are still a minority , especially in terms of playing drums.
I say go for it , whatever your dream is ..... don't let anyone tell you , you 're not supposed to play that or that instrument ;-)
My parents are both classical musicians , my father is a symphony conductor and my mother is a classical concert pianist , so there was always music around and I wanted to be a musician , I kinda didn't have a choice haha but i didn't want to do what my parents did , so call it rebellion but I had a chance encounter with drumsticks at age 11 or so , and fell in love , I tried playing all the instruments at home , and never felt comfortable with any of them , so I knew that I was very happy with sticks in my hands , and i thought , ooohhh that'll piss the parents off hahahahaa and it did for a while , but once they realized I was in it for real , they understood and are my biggest fans ;-)

Lisa Lorenzino

My participation as a female jazz musician is my secondary job. My role in any band that I play in is organizer of all events, as not a lot of people call on jazz flute players: you as the flutist have to find your own audience. I make all business and marketing decisions myself. The same goes for the studio.
My gear! As a jazz flute and sometimes classical player, my gear is myself, my Sankyo flute, that I have had for 30 years, and that is about it. My addition gear includes a great bass player, and a wonderful piano player.
This is something that I really want to look into in my research here at McGill University. In fact, I have applied for research money from the Canadian government to get started on pursuing this task further. I think that being a woman is very different in the music business. But I really rather enjoy it. I have learned to navigate the male dominated world of jazz at a relatively later age in life. I personally would have found it very difficult to do this as a young girl. I therefore want to be involved in research and programs that encourage girls to be involved in jazz. Specifically, I want to assist music teachers so that they can learn to encourage the girls. So many factors in society, in families, amongst peers, are working against women. In my role, as a teacher of music teachers, I hopefully can make a difference in helping to break down gender barriers for women in music.
"Yes and no. I saw Marian McPartland (spelling?) talk about being a woman in jazz at a semi-professional jazz camp on the West Coast one year. It was a panel discussion about women in jazz. Frankly, I found the entire thing to be very very interesting. She said something profound, that really affected me positively. The day that we don't need forums for women in jazz is the day that we have achieved equality. Also, she said that the music speaks for itself. I agree with this. That said, I have not felt discriminated against in the field. I have spent 15 years of my life also as a high school band conductor, often considered to be a male oriented profession. The men I worked with were wonderful. I think however that the previous generation of female musicians set the groundwork for me regarding this zone of comfort however and I thank them for this. Each generation, it gets easier; that said gender biases I believe still do exist. I am thrilled however to see more orchestra conductors on the podium who are female. This is excellent.

The young girls today are so much stronger and sure of themselves. I find the gender issues getting smaller each year. I am proud of the female jazz musicians at our school and the women working in our community. That said, I find the men, in general as well, excellent to work with. As a teacher, I love educating other and anything that I can do to educate about gender equality and music, be it through my classes or through my writing, I feel is important. "
"This is exactly what I want to look at with my research as well. Valuable advice however can be either positive or negative. I think one of the best pieces of advice I was ever given, and this is not just about the music industry, but about life in general, was just to go out and do what you love; because you love it,you will do it well. This is my general life philosophy and I have been fortunate enough to be able to do so. My advice to women just starting out in the music field is the same- just do it. It won't be easy, and neither is it easy for the men in the field. Find supportive people, find wonderful role models, play with the best musicians, practice, play what you love to play, look to all things in life for inspiration and just keep on doing it.

PS I would love to know more information at to what prompted this survey as it is an area that I am very very interested in. Please also inform me when this information will be broadcast, Lisa"
Honestly and truthfully: because I thought it was the neatest band instrument because of the way it looked. It was shiny and you got to hold it sideways. That was very appealing to me. It had nothing to do with the sound, the size, the repertoire or anything like that. All visuals.

Sarah Stiles

In the Cardew Choir, we are essentially socialists, so we are all putting in our own contributions. In terms of my own work, my role is to be myself, and do my creative work. I'm not so much of a business or marketing person at this time, if ever, but I do make sure to send out emails about my concerts.
MacBook Pro, Sibelius, Korg keyboard, Yamaha piano, pencils, manuscript paper.
At this time, yes. I have seen and experienced much conscious and unconscious, overt and covert sexism. At the conservatory I attended I experienced some explicit sexism. I've heard about cases at Julliard, NY Phil, Vienna Philharmonic. There's still a bias for the privileged white man. Fortunately this does not occur everywhere, and we're seeing more advantage and inclusion of women, people of color, disabilities, you name it. But it's going slow, and music, classical in particular, is definitely behind the other arts.
I think there are definite differences, as there are always differences between generations. As for women in particular, I'm not sure what the differences are yet.
"No one has ever given me USEFUL advice. I did hear that there was sexism, and found that true. I have been warned that composers can be scathing and prejudiced of each other, and have found that true. I have also found the opposite to be true. So the advice has been, ""watch out, be ready, don't be surprised, expect it,"" but that advice has not been useful. In terms of giving advice, I think each person is different, and no sure formula will work for getting into the music industry. I myself have not found a sure path, so I don't have any strong advice. However, the usual MUSTS are hard work, dedication, diligence. I also encourage artistic integrity, but have seen that's not always the most important thing for ""making it."" In fact, sometimes ""selling out"" is hoe people are ""making it."" Sad."
My parents put me into piano lessons as a kid, and I chose everything else from there on. The music of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Debussy, and Satie inspired me to become a composer when I was 18.

Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio

I'm now in a classical chamber music trio and I do most of our marketing myself with the help of the university where I am employed.
I've never experienced any prejudism as a woman except for when I asked for a raise when I was Assistant Principal Second Violin of The Cleveland Orchestra and the ED refused me. I think it was because I was a single woman.
I think that it's increasingly easier for women now than it was 2 generations ago. When my Dad joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra, there was only 1 women in the orchestra. That was difficult, I'm sure.
Having good people skills is the most important element to a successful career.
I love it and I'm good at it.

Hsiao-Lan Wang

I am the director of the Electric Monster Laptop Ensemble, from Montana State University. I am a music professor teaching a variety of courses.
computer and MBox
The older generation are more aware of the difficulties women faced in the male-dominated classical music field. The younger generation are less aware of the difficulties, possibly because situation is indeed getting better. But if you look at the number of active female composers, there is still a large gap between male and female numbers.
My previous professors always encouraged me to be a better musician, and be myself. They did not particularly bring up the gender issue.
I learned the instruments when I was a child. It was not a personal choice.

Amy Zigler

"As a classical musician in an orchestra, this question doesn't really apply.

However, in chamber ensembles, I find myself leading rehearsals but also trying to get other players to work together. I am not very involved in the booking or marketing of the ensemble.

I own a Kimball baby grand piano that was passed down from an aunt, a Yamaha P-200 and a Yamaha P-85. As I largely perform art music, I don't require much gear.
I have not personally witnessed a difference. As a young woman in a music career, I think there may be less external pressure to get a "real job" than a man experiences, but I'm just speculating.
I think my generation is blessed with the ability to assume that we'll be able to succeed if we work hard, whereas previous generations fought for acceptance in music programs and concert halls.
No one specifically gave me advice about a music career, but I would encourage a young woman to work hard, have fun, and enjoy the roller coaster.
I actually don't know. As a young child, I loved to sing and dance to music, and I grew up listening to classic rock, but especially works with piano (Billy Joel, Elton John, Bob Seeger, Yes, etc.). A neighbor could play piano and offered to teach me. Although I picked up other instruments in the public school band program, I always gravitated to the piano and found the greatest solace in it. Ultimately, I gave up playing the other instruments and focused solely on piano in college. It was what I loved the most.

Joyce Hall Wolf

Linda Dusman

I am a composer. Also a college music professor.
Macbook Pro, Protools
Yes, being a woman has some major differences, mostly in the attitudes of young male musicians who are very connection oriented, sometimes more than they are music oriented.
In general, I think women believe in their 20's that there is no problem with sexism in music. As they get older, and particularly if they have children, they begin to see lots of sexism.
Don't quit. And find out who you can work with.
I chose to be a composer as it was the most creative involvement in music and felt like the right fit for me.

Sumitted Anonymously

Self-employed / free-lance
no gear
Yes, when I was in graduate school, I was clearly treated differently than the men. For example, one of my piano professors asked if I needed help with birth control. (I was pregnant at the time, maintaining a 4.0 average and giving concerts)
Be aggressive and promote yourself. Do not allow anyone to belittle or intimidate you.
I love piano.

Cathy Wilde, Cloigheann & Your Irish Pocket Companion, Three Scones of Boxty

"I'm the designated wearer of the cool shoes. One of our band members even wrote a jig about my shoes. (Though they're not that great, honest.)

OK, seriously -- I'm pretty opinionated and again, since I'm also about the only Irish flute player in the area (there are just a couple of us in the whole state), I get a fair amount of say in things. This is also because no one really understands how I do what I do or how my instruments work -- somewhere between a better mousetrap and rocket science are the uilleann pipes, heh-heh. My main band, Cloigheann, is very democratic. But I'm in kind of a nifty little niche and I think that helps my cred somewhat.

I also supply a certain amount of energy and good cheer, and I'm pretty good at arranging ""sets"" so I add value there as well."
"LOL! My instruments represent the best 1850 had to offer (they're all reproductions of 19th-century instruments):

1/2 set of irish uilleann pipes made by James Wenham, Roscrea, Ireland. Irish flute made by Sam Murray, Galway, Ireland. Irish flute made by Patrick Olwell, Massies Mill, VA. Too many tinwhistles to count, made by various and sundry people all over the world.

Classical flute: Mateki 9-Something Or Other (doesn't get played much anymore)"
"I think there is a difference -- especially if you're not 18 and skinny or into flowing hair and gauzy stuff. i.e., it seems there are certain expectations of the ""woman musician ethos."" {I do believe this is changing, however, especially for younger performers.} Me, I actually find the age factor a little more of a hurdle in the ""perceived expectations"" department -- I'm not cute, I'm not mysterious, and I'm not even young -- I'm just a chunky middle-aged librarian-looking woman wandering around on stage with a stick or sitting in a chair apparently torturing some strange bellows-driven apparatus, and it's my impression that audiences don't know what to make of that. Had I been a chunky middle-aged guy wandering around they probably wouldn't think twice!

On the flip side, while I play the flute which is often considered ""girly,"" in Irish music circles most of the strongest/recognized flute players are male. And most performing uilleann pipers are male, so I'm actually in a minority there, too. So here I am, a middle-aged woman doing a man's work -- but then again, that's sort of how my career seems to be, too. So I'm kind of used to being the odd woman out!"
"Yes and no. I mean, record companies have always pandered to the masses with certain ""prefab models"" of singers and performers, but there have also always been independent female musicians as long as I can remember, in virtually any genre I can think of. In any generation women have had to be brave and put themselves out there which sometimes requires ""not fitting in,"" but if they love the music enough and can't live without writing, singing, or performing it, then they find a way.

I think the younger generation has more opportunities now, somehow, and that younger women (at least singer/songwriter types) are a little more readily accepted. After all, it's now a known fact there's a VERY healthy market for what they do! I also think girls today are being raised to have a little more faith and confidence in themselves than my generation was. They seem to trust their abilities and creativity much more than we ever allowed ourselves to. Girls who daydreamed and wrote weird poems didn't have very good shots at marriage.

But again, I'm in a strange niche so have a little salt with that thought."
Get really, really good at what you do. Be twice as good as the average guy. Pay attention to technique, craft, nuance, and mastery of your instrument; your style will come out of that eventually -- and meanwhile, no one can argue with the fact that you kick ass. In other words, your looks and charm and cuteness will change, but if you're a great musician you'll get respect. And you'll just get better as time goes on. If your work's great and your music's great then people aren't going to care who made it.
My mom wouldn't let me play drums and wanted me to play the clarinet. To my fourth-grade mind, the flute was the only way out.

Adriana Figueroa-West jazz band

I play soprano sax in my jazz band, but tho most important activity in my musical life is composition
because I liked the sound

Antoinette Montague

I am the leader. I have also helped get people recorded. In the studio, the Singer. In Business...the marketing person.
Jazz Blues, Standards, with a jazz and blues twist on whatever I do.Vocal, Piano, Bass, Drums Sax(wflute and clarinet)
"Of course there is a difference. It is quite a bit harder. As a Singer who is a leader you pay dues extra. Negative people are everywhere, but you must fly over it. I watch the cats work for very little money with each other. But they want to have a higher tarrif emposed on the women."
Not really. They all have their challenges.
"Just go straight ahead. Keep yourself constructively busy in music. MARKET YOURSELF even in conjunction with other people so that you understand the process. The internet has leveled the playing field, take advantage of this amazing tool. AntoinetteMontague"
Came out of the womb using it. I love to sing to people and give them joy and my own spin on the story of the tune. Interpretation is important to our idiom.

Patsy Rogers

Music Director, conductor
no gear
how the hell would I know - I've never been a man!
I have nothing to do with the music industry. Why don't you take a REAL survey where the questions are open ended and intelligent!
I like it!

Michelle May of Musique Noire

I am the bandleader, manager and publicist. In the studio, I am executive producer and producer/arranger/writer. I make about 90% of the business and marketing decisions for the band.
Violin is a 100-year old "step-up" student instrument. Flute (which I don't play as often anymore) is an Armstrong 800B. I use Fishman pickups and pre amps and I have a Kustom brand acoustic amp.
Definitely. It became really clear when I started Musique Noire. I was noticing that men in the jazz/world genre seem to be less comfortable (not all of them, of course) working with women--particularly as leader. I've had some issues with men taking direction from me. I did not notice this as much when playing classical music.
No, I think each generation of women musicians are striving for the same goal. We all want our unique voice to be heard.
The advice I received would be the advice I would give: study your craft, learn about the music business, be open to others and ready for new opportunities. Be able to articulate your vision, but it's o.k. if that vision is flexible. Be a lifelong learner. Be careful to whom you give your trust because there are many, many people out there that are jealous and do not have your best interests at heart. Meditate and pray before making any decisions.
"Piano: I started taking lessons with my mother, Mary Walton, when I was very young. Violin: a teacher came to our classroom in elementary school and stated she was going to start string classes. I was intrigued. Flute: I had an intense love affair with the Jackson 5-- and in particular, Michael Jackson. Berry Gordy, then president of Motown records, lived exactly two blocks over on the same street that I did in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic neighborhood. I was determined I was going to meet my husband, Michael, some kind of way. I heard the song ""Never Can Say Goodbye"" and there was a flute on it. Somehow I thought I had my ticket to meeting the boy of my dreams. True story."

Laura Schwendinger

I am a composer, Professor, and Director of my School of music's Contemporary Chamber Ensemble.
Piano, flute, Apple computer
To be honest, I think men still dominate much of music administration in a way that can hamper the work of women composers and conductors.
Not really, although many younger women don't know yet the obstacles which they will face in the business.
My teachers were excellent at teaching me about the musical and technical aspects of composition but not so much the business end of things.
I heard a chamber group play at my primary school, and it had a flute player.

Geri Allen

I am a composer/pianist/bandleader/educator
My preference is a Fazioli Piano
"Yes! I believe that both women and men have the same expectation put upon them by the criteria of the field, however, as a woman having functioned in the field for some decades now, it is clear that my perspective/work/contribution, is most potent when it acknowledges my make up as a complete human being, and my womanhood is at the core of that."
"Yes, this present generation is in many ways dominating the field creatively. And women in the industry are also some of the most important movers and shakers, There is however much more room for improvement."
"Find a mentor, someone willing to spend quality time with them, male or female, an expert in the field, and be certain they love it enough to withstand the ever changing climates."
"The piano spoke to me, and I had many choices before I settled on it because of the Public Schools. The Public Schools are is crisis in most of our Urban centers, and we must make a strong collective effort for our children sake to keep the arts alive and active in the schools.

I would like to be involved in any national campaign you might organize in support of this."

Clare Shore

I am a one-person show. I do the grunt work and the creative work and make the financial decisions.
An acoustic piano (several other instruments including a soprano saxophone, violin, etc.), a MIDI keyboard, a MacBook Pro computer with Finale notation software and Digital Performer recording/sequencing software. Assorted mics, MIDI interfaces, mixers, etc. for acoustic recording.
In certain areas in music yes, it is very different. Being a composer or being a conductor is very different for men and women. It is painfully clear on a regular basis. One has to bury one's head in the sand and ignore it to a certain degree in order to keep on going.
Yes. The generation before me "had it really rough" and began breaking ground. There were few women that were receiving advanced degrees in music. My generation had it a bit easier; I am the second woman to earn a doctoral degree in composition from Juilliard; the first was Ellen Zwilich. There are many more women writing music these days, and many more are earning advanced degrees. The quality of the music is amazing.
Others have expressed confidence in me as a musician - that is better than any advice. I have tried to work very hard and be persistent and make and keep friends - that is very important. My advice would be to never give up.
I guess composing chose me. . .it is a compulsion really.

Submitted Anonymously

"hello! have you ever heard of anything outside of pop music? jazz? classical? the music formerly called classical? contemporary music written by people with a wide range of influences outside of pop??"
pencil, paper, computer, keyboard, cello
it's much easier for younger women to enter into composition now
"no no special advice for a young woman musician - it's really tough for everyone, and my advice isn't about the business side of music anyway, except for the obvious, which younger people seem to have no problem figuring out - get to know someone with power in the field.../my advice is strictly about how to work with musical ideas and performers/ "
"piano - mother started teaching me violin - they gave me one in grade school because they didn't have a small cello i became serious about violin but as an adult switched to cello, which i had fallen in love with when i was really young and saw a documentary on pablo casals/"

JoVia Armstrong

I'm a songwriter for the band. I help the band leader with hard decisions when she calls. I'm sometimes musical director.
Cajon, 13" Sabian Neil Peart Signature Hi-Hats, DW Remote Hi-Hat, Gretsch 6 piece drumset, Sabian 20" HHX Ozone Ride, Tree Works Wind Chimes, Hansenfutz Pedals, Meinl Conga, Tumba, and Quinto, Deagan Vibraphone, LP Bongos, Shakers, and other auxiliary percussion
"Yes. But, not necessarily musical differences. Men conduct their rehearsals kinda of randomly. At a woman's rehearsal, food and drink is usually offered. Maybe even tea or coffee. Men, are a little more relaxed about conducting their business...... start late and end late.

Personality-wise, women musician personalities are way more laid back than your typical woman."
No, we all are pretty cool.
I would give the same advice to a young man. Play hard and practice smart. If your sexuality gets you in the door without losing dignity, then oblige. For a long time, I was really hung up on men hiring me because they thought I was cute or pretty. I wanted them to hire me for my talent. After some time, I learned how to use my femininity to help my career....... without losing any dignity.
Its fun.... I picked it up easy...... it was challenging

Kate Vincent, Artistic Director of Firebird Ensemble

In addition to being a performing member of my ensemble am the Artistic Director of Firebird Ensemble which is a non-profit organization. In addition I am Executive Director and perform many roles including: administration, fund raising, board activities, grant writing, programming and general organization. I have administrative help from part time personnel.
Not exactly sure what you mean. If recording gear: we hire a professional recording engineer for all our recordings.
In the United States not really although I am aware that in Europe there are organizations which are still male dominated. I have not encountered gender in the classical field of music in my professional life since arriving in the US 12 years ago.
Perhaps younger generations of women are more ambitious in general than they once were. I see more women taking entrepreneurial roles in the arts now than before. It is also possible that I notice it more than I did previously, because I am now in one of these roles myself.
I was given wonderful advice from one of my teachers who said: If you can do something other than music, you probably should. If you can't live without it as your primary way of life then you will find a musical way to make a difference, to create something special to share with others.
I was very drawn to the timbre of the viola when I first tried playing it in my late teens. Prior to that I studied piano, violin and oboe.

Eva Kendrick, Anne's Cordial

I am the main composer for my band, and also do the publicity for the band. I contact some potential venues, and for my private voice studio and my career as a composer, I am the executive director.
I play a Yamaha YPG625 for my band.
The first time I realized it was when I was being interviewed while in college. Before then, even though i had listened to many composers and was familiar with classical literature, it didn't occur to me that I was pursuing an unusual career path as a woman.
I wasn't exposed to many young female composers my own age when I was growing up, and I believe it's a lot easier to belong to a network of composers these days. When I was an undergraduate, I was the only woman I knew who wrote music in a department of about 60. As a graduate student, I was pleased to see that there were almost an even number of graduate female and male composers. However, i went back to speak at the school three years after I graduated and discovered there was only one female composer and about 15 men. That was disappointing.
You are only ever in competition with yourself. No one else writes the music that you write. Don't second guess your instincts and don't try to guess what other people want to hear. Certain people will always get attention due to gimmicks, but if you are true to yourself, you will earn the respect of your colleagues and musicians. I have a whole list for Tips for Composers on my website at
I have always loved to sing. I actually started off on guitar because I wanted to be like Maria from "The Sound of Music" but didn't stay with it too long. I also liked piano because I thought it could tell stories very well.

Rebecca Rottsolk

choral directors choose all the music, figure out how to teach and present it and 'market' it
women have to be at least twice as good in choral conducting to be recognized
I was a singer who always sang in choirs and the role of conductor naturally evolved

Sibylle Johner, Damocles Trio

changes all the time: from enforcer to wreck to diva. I do the accounting.
yes. It's hard to combine a career and raising children. When I was pregnant with my first child....
where I teach, the older women musicians all stayed single and devoted themselves exclusively to music. Younger women seem to want to combine a more rich private life and a life in music.
can't think of any valuable advice, sorry....
I was 8 at the time, my mom suggested it.

Roma Calatayud-Stocks

I am the composer, producer, and president of Palladian Music Inc.
Yes, It is more difficult to be taken seriously as a woman composer, I think, than Men are, however, fortunately, in the end the music speaks for itself.
"Not sure, although I think that one must be perseverant in our goals if we want to accomplish them."
Don't worry about what others are doing, do your music because you love it, and continue on, do not let negative thoughts impede you from pursuing your dreams.
I love it since I first started playing at age ten

Annalisa Pappano, The Catacoustic Consort

Director, President of organization
a French Baroque bass viol by Judith Kraft, a six string bass viol by John Pringle, a French Baroque treble viol by Michael Heale, a Kessler treble viol, a lirone by John Pringle, and a pardessus de viole by Guersan (1754)
Yes. There are plenty of women musicians, but few women musical leaders (especially who are respected).
Yes. So much of music making is about interactions between musicians (and between the musicians and the audience). Behave professionally and practice! Always evaluate what it will take to make you happy. Being a musician is a big struggle. If it is too much of a struggle to provide fulfillment, look for other outlets that will contribute to that end...
I found my voice in this instrument.

Dena El Saffar, Salaam

I am the band leader for Salaam, I create all of the music. I share studio and business/marketing decisions.
Most of my gear is my instruments, though I do bring a condenser mic with me, and I own a PA. My house is crammed full of musical instruments from all over the world; Hammond M3 organ, 3 drum sets (my husbands) a harp, and lots of Hand drums.
I never felt different playing music and being a woman. However, many men (and some women) make a big deal out of it. When I was a classical player, I never experienced any sexism, but now that I am a freelancer and play in bands, I miss the company of other women performers, as I am often the only woman on stage.
Not really. Music performance gives women confidence. If I look back through the years, I can think of many confident, competent women who were making music as a profession, both in this country and in the Middle East.
I wish! I feel like I have learned everything the hard way. As a music major, all the instruction I received was for refining my performance, never about how to survive in the business of music. Luckily, I have been helped through by many musical comrades; we all learned the ropes together. My advice to a woman musician just starting out is to give it her best, practice alot, and be undeniably good; don't sell herself short, and PLEASE don't undercut the market by playing for cheap to free all the time!!!
I couldn't stop talking and thinking about the violin as a kid. Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to learn starting in 2nd grade.

Beth Nelson, aka Johanna Volkert-Nelson

In the most basic sense, I am a freelancer. To that end, I am responsible for all roles of a music making enterprise, including but not limited to: bandleader, programmer, public liaison, marketing, accounting, human resources, soloist, chamber musician, instructor, coach, visionary...
My "gear" is a 1995 cello by Thomas Schmidt and a 1989 bow by Greg Gohde. Occasionally, I also use the Realist brand acoustic transducer.
"ABSOLUTELY, being a female musician differs from being a male musician. Women are supposed to be modest and not stick out too much -- at least that's the programming I've received most of my life -- and that completely flies in the face of what is needed to be successful as a musician. Sometimes it seems a musician needs a confidence that borders on arrogance, which is behavior much more encouraged and/or tolerated in males than in females.

Still, let it not go unsaid, that these dynamics can change. Si, se puede! "
I would imagine the previous generation of women musicians was more geared toward teaching than performing, Luckily, as times goes on, there are more opportunities for women to be performers as well. (e.g. Vienna Philharmonic!)
"In graduate school, there was another cellist I considered to be my main competition within in the school. My professor observed how I deferred to her and basically told me that was totally unnecessary. I think it just taught me an important lesson about valuing your own point of view. So that's pretty much what I would tell other female musicians: Come, on girls! Know your Inner Goddess! Damnit! :-)

Hope this helps. "
I chose the cello because it was what my older brother *didn't* play. (He was a violinist.)

Andrienne Wilson

In all of my endeavors I have performed, written, arranged and produced. In Tropique I performed, wrote and arranged. I have been on the albums of other Jazz artists and they always perform my compositions and ask me to arrange and do the copy work for the project. My charts are clearer, and more easily readable than almost anyone's. For the most part I have done my own manging and business decisions, and have also managed several of the Jazz artists I have worked with - including doing the booking (although I use a pseudonym to book nationally). It doesn't help to have the venue think that no one else will put any effort into your career. It is easier to pretend that you are someone else, and then show up to the gig as yourself. It is very effective. I also get a lot of feedback that I would never get as the artist. Evidently I am much more organized than my musician friends, and they are always asking me to pick up the slack. There isn't enough money in Jazz to maintain outside management unless you have a deal on one of the larger labels. When I was on Arabesque I successfully toured the country, and also arranged two national tours for Tropique while playing with the band. Recently I have relocated to Richmond, VA and I am just getting the lay of the land in the Mid-Atlantic. There is a great deal of demand for my composing here, and I have not toured in a while. Touring will follow the next CD that gets major radio play - although the economy may take care of that for me for a while.
Sealos, Sterling Silver Open Hole C Flute (with B foot) - this is hand made by Goerge Karegalos in Oakland, CA. Sankyo Prima, Sterling Silver Open Hole C Flute (with B foot.) Gemeinhardt Alto Flute(this is a wonderful older instrument). Microphones, Full arrangements of original music (with as much music as I write it has become gear).
It is very different, and yet to be successful you have to pretend that it isn't. There is still a large stigma over female instrumentalists in Jazz, and you really have to bring it - especially in the studio. The guys are just convinced that you will not play with fire and they treat you very sceptically until you prove yourself. Once you have proven that you can stand toe to toe with them, then you are treated like one of the guys. In my case I have always been treated more graciously as I write a lot of the music and do the arranging, but even with that expertise they are surprised that I can cut it as a player. Then when I turn it on in front of a large audience and really command the stage, there is another layer of surprise. If you are not extremely famous people are a little shocked to find that you are at that level of accomplishment. For women the focus on youth and looks has become so severe that ability has very little to do with it. The best musicians are not given the focus on what limited Jazz radio there is, and that is just amplified by how young the new girls are comin' up. Unfortunately the bar has been lowered quite a bit by this focus, but labels don't seem to mind as long as they have their marketable commodity.
There are some younger musicians that are wonderful, but mostly I do not see the level of maturity that is really the cornerstone of great Jazz. The majority of the performances are quite derivative, and in Jazz that is very sad indeed. I'm in a weird age range. There were no videos when I was younger and quite cute. Now that I am the more mature Jazz Mama the look is what is important. There is a whole generation of us who had the criterion change right around us as we became very fluid at our art. There is a wellspring of great music coming out of us, but very few ways to get it out to the public at large. Hopefully the internet will change that, but Jazz is a little more problematic than Pop and R&B. The younger people, who don't listen to Jazz, are more adept at accepting music from alternate sources. The generally older Jazz audience is not as open to new ways of hearing music, and don't find their way to music unless it is getting a lot of radio play. These problems are endemic in Jazz, however, and are not limited to women. The focus on looks is definately a female problem. The fact of the matter is that if Sarah Vaughan or Ella Fitzgeral were coming up right now they wouldn't have a snow ball's chance in hell. They weren't cute enough.
Flora Purim gave me the best advice I ever got. Never make a record deal yourself. Let them think you are not savy enough to figure it out, and let the lawyers handle everything. The men in the music business are so intimidated by strong women that you have to back off somewhere, as not to immasculate them, and it's never a good idea to back off on the music! I would advise young women to become better musicians, and to write their own music. There is no reason to sell yourself short. Our perspective needs to be heard. This is being done in Pop, but I'm afraid most of the young singers coming up in Jazz are quite happy to do the same standards that everyone else has done a thousand times. They don't realize that it condemns the music to a historical reference which, for an extemporaneous art form, is death. Also, don't sleep with any of them. Let your music speak for you, not your sexuality.
I started flute when I was 9 years old, in public school - the 4th grade. I wanted to play violin, but my father had played violin in high school and said he would rather die than listen to me screech as I learned, and that I could play any other instrument. I chose flute which was next on the list. He made me a deal. If I could play "The Swingin' Shepard's Blues" in three months he would buy the rented flute. If not I had to quit and never mention an instrument again. So, of course, three months to the day I stood in front of him and played "The Swingin' Shepard's Blues." He was furious because he had to borrow the money to buy the flute. I was very happy, as I immediately loved the flute.

Suzanne Juniper

I am getting a PhD in early music performance.
not an issue for classical musicians
Not really, in the opera world, you have more luck as a female musician. However, I have a very low voice and sing in the Baritone range. I also sing Bass in an all-female choir, so I have faced some prejudice there. People are much more willing to accept higher voiced male singers, than they will low voice female ones.
It's hard to say...
I don't think my advice would be much different than that I would give to a young man, at this point.
It chose me : ) I came out of the womb singing, just about.

Carla Cook

Band leader. Also, I'm co-producer, chief cook and bottle washer.
Shure SM58 microphone
In Jazz, women have traditionally been more accepted as vocalists. Women instrumentalists seem to have a few more challenges, but I believe that the best in the business judge a person on their contributions to the music and not on gender.
The generation of women before us, paved a smoother road, making this career choice easier than they had it.
I'd let them know that while this career can be extremely satisfying, it is not without sacrifices, often personal ones like marraige, family. It's probably not impossible to "have it all', but it's certainly improbable.
Vocals are the best way to express myself. The use of lyrics and improvisation give me the best of all worlds.

Wendy Evans, Elgin Symphony

Violin Section, I am also the personnel manager of the Elgin Symphony. I hire the substitutes, payroll, details
"1981 Helmut Keller Violin, Tubbs Bow 1985 Whedbee Viola"
No, not really. I feel that there is almost no gender bias in my work, although there have been occasions where I have been hired to play in an all women orchestra. One such instance was for the drug company Merck, who was putting on a presentation about a new drug for women. I think they can get away with that, but if it were to be an all male orchestra people would complain big time.
Not so much, although I think there are many more women than there were a generation ago.
This is a very difficult career, especially if you want to have kids! The hours are tough, and if your spouse is also a musician the babysitting gets very expensive. It is very satisfying, though, if you can make it work.
From my earliest memory I wanted to play the violin.

Stephanie Jutt

i am a self employed freelance musician, and i play classical music, with small and large groups. Sometimes I make the decisions and sometimes I'm part of an orchestra that makes decisions through management
"flute piccolo alto flute"
"yes, in terms of family. i think that women bear much more of the responsibility and make many more sacrifices in terms of their career and work when they choose to become mothers. "
Don't wait for anyone to give you permission to do anything. Trends are set by leaders.
my parents chose it

Amy Rhodes

I am merely a performer, I have no say, in any way, in the decision making process for the organizations that I work for.
Benson Bell bassoon. Heckel bocal.
When I first started working I experienced a greater difference. I don't think that my "getting" work suffered in any way for being a woman, but I did have to put up with what would be now called a lot of "sexist" behavior. Jokes mostly, some teasing. That was in my 20's and 30's. Now I don't think anyone would dream of behaving that way. It might be my age, it might be the times. I don't know. I'm glad it's gone,though.
Not particularly. Young women that I work with don't act like I did when I was their age, they are more like I am now. They are very business-like, more mature.
"No one ever gave me advise in music that helped me. The best advice was from my dad. He said ""if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way"". He was a football coach. Advise for the newbies? Be really smart about your money."
yes, most certainly.

Lucille Field IAWM

I am the mistress of my fate.
My body and my soul, plus years of study and teaching.
"Men have a societal advantage. Their music is performed more often in classical venues. Having been born a soprano, I had performing opportunities, but it is still a man's world, even in music."
If young women will admit their feminism, they will make more progress. I see some movement.
Years of teaching gave me the opportunity to help women musicians. To young women I say perform, audition, apply, advertise yourself in every way possible. Develop your talent and perform perform perform -- everywhere possible.
I was born singing.

Alisa Ohri

lead vocalist - and as an "independent artist" - I have to wear many hats CEO, head of PR, secretary, chauffeur,!
... have mic - will travel! lol!
oh yes! in general, we still live in an age that can be sexist/gender biased. have I had challenging/negative experiences? yes of course, who hasn't? but at the end of the day, it's a privilege and a gift to be a musician! and I find that focusing on the joy/magic of my job eases tensions that might arise from situations that aren't so fun!
yes and no. ... yes we live in a more "modern" age. but, women are still faced with sexist challenges and gender biases. sometimes it just feels like we have "more freedom/rights" to march in the same place.
"oh yes!!! :) what a blessing to get advice from folks who have been in it for awhile!

Here's my humble advice: :) 1) ALWAYS be on time and prepared. ... never give anyone a reason to judge you except for the quality of your work! 2) Remember, at the end of the day - this is a job/business. There will be times that are challenging. Don't involve yourself with gossip and negative activity. ... ""Smile and get your paycheck"" 3) Follow your heart and you'll always make the best choice for yourself!

.... sending love and support! ~Alisa :) xox"
... there's nothing more joyful, and so completely fulfilling than feeling your voice resonate with a beautiful melody. - how cool is that .... and earn a living doing it? :)

Rika Seko

differs from job to job
the dress code for women often has a different standard than for men. It looks like due to the short history of women in the scene (as oppose to centuries of men playing classical music)
have not noticed.
start with the understanding that gender does not play any roll (negative or positive) as long as you are a good musician.
there was a violin in my house when I was a little girl.

Carol Lahti, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Lyra String Quartet, ESQ (the Elgin Symphony Quartet)

Being self-employed, I am solely responsible for marketing my business. With regards to the orchestras I play in, these organizations have marketing departments so I am not really involved in decisions for those groups.
I currently own two violins, the one I mainly use and a back-up. I also own three violin bows, again one I mainly use and a backup plus an extra. I own a few violin cases and a bow case, as well as several music stands, stand lights, and various other paraphanalia. My music cabinet, like most other classical musicians, is pretty full... :)
Yes, I think being a woman in this industry has not always been easy. I clearly remember one occasion when a male colleague tried to convince an orchestra to hire himself instead of me, telling the management that they should "hire a real man for the job." I also feel I am not as respected in some academic circles as a male teacher would be. When I was growing up, my (male) teacher clearly expected more from his male students, and to this day he is always a little surprised when I remind him that I make my living as a musician (i.e. I have a career in addition to being a wife).
I see some subtle differences, but those may be attributed to the attitudes of others, not the women themselves. My mother was a member of the Houston Symphony Orchestra for three seasons before resigning to move back north, get married and start a family. I'm not sure I (and my female colleagues) would make that same choice.
The best advice I've gotten is to learn your music ahead of time, show up early, be responsible and reliable, be pleasant to work with, and try not to be too high-maintenance. This is, of course, in addition to the most important piece of advice: Practice! This is what I tell all my students, regardless of gender.
My parents are both musicians, so I was exposed to instrumental music from an early age. My mother is a cellist and I suppose I saw her carrying around that big, heavy instrument and decided I would play something that was easier to carry!

Sally Reid

I am a composer. I use my project studio primarily for sequencing and manipulating digital audio. The term "band" really doesn't apply to what I do. It seems to presuppose a particular musical style or genre.
"I have a small project studio. computers: Mac G5 & Mac G4 & rackmount PC 2 MOTU firewire audio interfaces and a MOTU MIDI patchbay 1 Digidesign audio interface Mackie 1604 mixer Mackie Controller six Glyph drives Roland D series speakers I use primarily Digital Performer, but also have Pro Tools, Logic, Waves plug-ins and a number of orchestral libraries, including the Vienna Symphonic Library. I use Finale for music notation of scores and parts."
"I suppose it is different. I know things are getting easier, but when I began there was an assumption out there that women don't composer. I had a teacher in graduate school who explained that if women could be great composers we would know them, but the fact there are none proved his case, according to him. I know that there are social, economic and societal issues that have prevented women from excelling in composition in the past, and that when women do achieve, history often fails to document and perpetuate the knowledge of that achievement.

I remember one poignant story - composer Nancy Van de Vate had submitted a score and it had been chosen for performance by an orchestra. On the score she listed her name as ""N. Van de Vate."" When she arrived at the hall for rehearsal she introduced herself to the conductor, who said he was pleased to meet her, but where was her husband? This was in the 1970s. The assumptions may be changing, but much of the old ways of thinking and doing still remain. "
I think younger women musicians, including composers, do not fully understand the history and so do not appreciate how different things are now than from when I was a young musician. Those were the days when a woman's only choices were limited to becoming a teacher, a nurse or a secretary. There are still orchestras that exclude women performers (for all practical purposes) and women conductors often still receive more press about what they wear than about their music.
This survey seems to be very weighted toward pop music and live performance. I have tried to fit my information into your categories although they seem very narrow in their focus.
I switched from alto saxophone to oboe in high school. Although I continue to perform, my instrument has very little to do with how I spend my days as a composer of music for chamber venues and historical documentaries.

AnnMarie Sandy

Soloist, classical singer
In everyday living, I would describe my look as classic-casual, with a twist of sophisticated funk. My performance wear is sometimes formal (i.e. dress or gown), or in constume if I am participating in a staged opera production.
The technical training of male and female musicians is the same. The state of how we both are treated is different, in that men have a certain advantage (financially, image, etc.) in the music business simply because they run the majority of organizations. Also, women use sex to their advantage, since it sells well in the business.
Public images have changed, levels of musicianship and skills have changed, and sexual imagery is more prominent.
Yes, my former voice teacher back in Texas said "The ones who are successful are the ones who stick with it." That is what I've lived by, through the rejections and successes I've experienced. I keep working on my craft as a musician, a singer, and never limit myself from my potential.
I love what singing does for my mind, soul, and body. I also like that being a performing artist gives me the freedom of now, of being in the moment.

Tia Imani Hanna

Leader/ CEO
two acoustic violins with and without Baggs pick up / Musicary carbon fiber bows and D'Addario Heliocore strings. Trace Elliott acoustic guitar amplifier.
Usually there is a stigma with the older purist of jazz that a woman on a violin can't play especially if they have never heard of you before. So at least to meI always have to prove yourself. I don't know if that is because I am a woman or because of my choice of instrument. This may be true for men as well. I just try to give it all I have in every situation
Not really
The best advice I ever received was in public: Play what I want and how I want to and make sure I was very confident about it. In private keep working and perfecting and experimenting with sounds and styles. Ask questions from mentors and listen like crazy when given the opportunity to work with those who have more knowledge than I do.
I heard some kids playing in elementary school and decided that was a great sound to make.

Deborah Burton

solo act or accompanist
I play whatever piano is in the room.
I don't think women are taken as seriously.
not really - that is, no improvement.
Don't listen to what anyone tells you.
I loved it.

Becca, War Tapes

I am a co-writer, musician, and we all split business/creative decisions equally
"1967 Fender Mustang Bass 2009 Fender Mustang Bass Reissue Ashdown Amp"
I do think that people assume you won't be good at your instrument when you are a female. I get a lot of guys coming up to me after shows saying "wow you really know how to play bass" like they were shocked or something. I think it's funny.
Music should be fun.
It choose me

Jennifer O'Connor

I write the songs and sing and play guitar. I pretty much make the business and marketing decisions for now too as I am not with a label at the moment!
I have a Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar. A Guild T-100 electric guitar, and a small Fender princeton amp.
Yes definitely. You are represented as a woman in the press first and a musician second. Men don't have to deal with that. I think that is the biggest difference that still exists today and probably always will.
I think it has gotten a bit easier for younger women musicians to make their way in the industry because I think there are more opportunities for women. But I think women of all generations still face sexism in the way they are marketed and promoted.
"No, not really.

The same advice I would give to anyone - make or female. Just do what you do and be who you are and keep going. "
I think because most of my favorite music was guitar based.

Elizabeth R Austin

I am only a free-lance composer=President of Connecticut Composers, Inc. emerita
don't understand this..
Yes..but I need a whole lot more time to tell you about this. I'm always writing music!
Yes, gloriously so!
I started public school piano lessons at age 7-I play the piano (organ)


songwriter and the sparkle.Besides I look better than the boys in the band lol.
"yamaha Clavinove Pioneer - Pro DJ Division Logic Pro [and all the plugins within] Ableton Live All Spectrasonics Plugins Native Instruments PSP Audio Waves and a few random other companies/plugs/gear... but these are the big/main ones"
I was the first female dj to play in the main room with the boys and get equal pay, I did not know that and I was surprised no other woman had been as persistent as I. After all if we are all good we should get the same money as the guys.
Yes, it is more accepted now and woman have embraced technology now more than ever
All the guys around me were the ones I watched, I learned from the best and am proud to be considered on of the team players. That is my advice be a team player but always give 101 percent.
My mother taught me and was my inspiration

Kelly Irene Corson, The Art Of Shooting

I am the songwriter, lead singer, guitar player, booker, and so much more.
I play a Gretsch Electromatic guitar, a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier, and an assortment of effects pedals.
Yes, of course! I get people who tell me regularly that they wont come see me because I'm a "chick" in a band. That I hold the guitar like a "chick". "Girls can't really rock"...e.t.c. I get people screaming at me to show them my tits, that we should shut up and play Hole. We're harder to book with similar sounding artists on a larger scale, as there are just fewer female fronted bands that compare. I also get blatantly ignored at big chain guitar shops....and untimately, I once went into Sam Ash to buy an egg shaker. When the person behind the counter asked me which color I'd like I said "Hmmmm,I dunnow...purple." to which he quickly replied "Oh, right...I get it. Purple like your uterus. Totally!" I was so stunned I said nothing and left. But it made for a good story.
I'd say yes, but I see so many styles whirl back around and become en vogue again that I can't honestly say that I've noticed alot of truth in that.
"Yes, they said to me "" Don't say you're a girl band"", you are a woman who happens to be in a band, you are no different than any other band aout there trying to do the same thing you are. They've also said ""Don't give up before the miracle"" which has been one of the best pieces of advice I hold to when I'm frustrated.

The advice I regularly give to young women musicians is after usually hearing a bevvy of excuses.... ""Shush up and play anyways!Play no matter what."""
I play the guitar becasue I was a bad drummer, and pianos weren't a practical instrument for me once I moved to NY. I also play guitar because my first instrument is my voice, second is pianos, and the best way I've found to form songs is to pluck them out on the guitar, and then find ways to sing around what I've created.

Kathy Leisen "Glass Rock"

"I am the primary songwriter. After I write demos that include basic guitar and vocal melody and lyrics, we arrange the song as a band and all members write parts. In the studio I have opinions, but no technical ability. I don't have strong opinions or strategies about business or marketing decisions, and don't contribute. I have a low expectation of commercial success and its not in my primary reasons why I make music. That doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy it!"
I play an acoustic Takamine guitar, and play whatever keyboards, synth or rhythm is around the studio or practice space.
Yes I think so. I mean I know so. But its difficult for me to illustrate.
I don't have any direct experience with that.
My advice would be do it because you love it. and that there's a lot of assholes out there, but there's also a lot of amazing people out there too. So be patient and be persistent and have a good sense of humor. Success is personal.
After playing simple casio keyboards for years, my close friend and music collaborator bought me an acoustic guitar for my 23rd birthday. It felt right and it just stuck. I still play the same guitar. I like the way it sounds with my voice.

Alex Marvar, Common Prayer

I share the front of the stage with the frontman, but don't play anything particularly crucial to the songs. In the studio, my main role is back-up vocals. In business decisions, 50%, and in marketing decisions, I am pretty much the ringleader. I take or orchestrate the promo photos and videos, maintain twitter & myspace, built the web site, and I write the press releases. We recently hired a girl to do press for us so now I work in tandem with her. That's the part of being in a band I feel really good at.
Two NPR SxSW tote bags from different years, one containing a tambourine, a trash can lid, and a clarinet case; the other containing a metal bucket, in which I keep drumsticks, an antique cowbell from a junk store, two flour-sifter-looking percussion instruments from the Dominican Republic. And my omnichord.
It was joked about at the outset that my main role in the band would be to make the promo photos look good. Always can't help but wonder, when I feel uncertain about what to do musically at a certain point in a song, or I feel like a show didn't go well, whether everyone around me secretly knows that is actually my role. It's a little defeating. I'm just the girl in the band. I pick out a great outfit and stand near the front of the stage, so I feel particularly embarrassed when I'm not doing something really useful.
Marketing is a big difference. A marketing approach (twitter, facebook, blogs, etc.). That may be age more than gender. I bet there is a difference in booking—I will have to remember to ask some friends about it.
A friend's aunt advised me to have a drink before I sing in front of people. My dad recommends drinking lemon juice "like Frank Sinatra did" (?). A lot of folks have stressed the value of not taking oneself too seriously. Since I'm not a *solo* woman musician, I don't know that I'm necessarily in a position to give advice, but, in my experience I'd say 'be confident and you'll go far.' If anything compromises my performance / my role in the band I guess it's a lack of confidence / fear I don't know what I'm doing as much as the older people in my band, the guy who writes the songs (probably true but they seem not to mind), and I don't want to give my opinion or participate any more than people ask me to. Sing when sung to.
Because I could play it, and it was useful to my band.

Leslie Keffer

" I make the decisions fir my solo act but with the squelchers rat bastard makes those choices I just get to rock!

" 3 radio/tape walkmans, micro korg, drum machine/sampler, kaoss pad 2, mic....I make tons of cassette tapes with loops and make a composition with them by playing up to three at a time with my synth and live vocal loops"
" I don't like to separate it. However there are fewer women then men in the noise scene but we are all tale ted and ambitious so we are even more noticed. I don't think any of us want to be known just for that though. We also are extremely supportive of each other maybe bc we are women or maybe bc we are just decent humans. "
I've never really thought abou it. The woman older and younger than me all treat me the same with love and support. We look out for each other on may different levels.
" Carly ptak told me to go by my real advice would be: stay ambitious work hard tour and record your music. Party but don't black out. Don't do it for money or fame that will come if you are pure at heart and dedicated to your music."
" I started my solo stuff by tuning into different static stations on am and fm radios. I just though it sounded cool with all the textures when I layered it. Got the idea in the woods. I realized I couldn't play guitar or piano so I started this experimental stuff "

Sabrina Pena Young

"I compose and create my own scores, computer animation, and electronic music in my humble studio as my infant daughter crawls around my feet. I teach Music Synthesis and composition lessons at Murray State University, write articles for various websites and music journals, and pick up commissions and music projects. Right now I am working on an album with Easy Ear for possible use for an i-Phones app. Life is complicated and exciting and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I manage my own business. And while I don't make much money, my music has been heard throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia and I am respected in my field of experimental electroacoustic music. Did I mention that I love what I do?"
"Modest project studio for music production, graphic design, and animation.

i-Mac Intel, Malletkat, Logic Express, Animation/Film Studio (Final Cut, Poser, Bryce, Photoshop), Yamaha and M-Audio keyboard MIDI controllers, video game controllers"
"The fact that this survey has to label me as a ""Woman Musician"" as if the default is male already says something about society.

I think the primary difference has been for teaching posts at the university level. I have been mistaken for a student several times and even been denied access to equipment because I don't ""look the part"" of a university professor. I dealt with a lot of sexism as a percussionist, but I don't see the purpose of dwelling on the past.

Thankfully, most of my contacts are electronic and most of my opportunities are gained through my website and reputation. In other words, I don't need to worry about someone looking down on me because I am a proud young Latina who composes experimental classical music. Many times I contact using the gender-neutral ""S. Peña Young"", which frees up everyone from worrying about gender issues."
I think Gen Xers and Ys are less likely to abandon balancing the family and making some concessions for having a life outside of music. In other words, having a family is no longer considered a weakness.
Persevere. And remember that you can't just be good. You have to be the best.
"I chose the drums because I thought that drumming would be my life. Later in college I got involved with the experimental electronic music studios SYCOM at the University of South Florida and discovered that the insanity in my head could better be expressed by insane sounds.

Got my masters in Music Technology at Florida International U. and went back to school for a little while to study video and film.

I compose because I have to compose. There is too much music inside of me to keep bottled up."

Automatic Loveletter

Lead singer,writer for the band,in the studio the whole time to insert all my ideas and what i want. Im in on all final decisions and with coming up with ideas.
"Fender Tele,Acoustic Electric Taylor,Albert Lee HH,Fender Hot Rod amp, sennheiser wireless mic,in-ears,Silhouette Special White music man."
I do think theres a difference. There's less of us..which i believe gives you more attention. But that being said theres a lot of great Male musicians out there so keeping up and proving yourself is key. Its something i've fought with ALL my was tough trying to get the boys growing up to play with me,trying to put a band together,getting on all male tours etc. I've had to battle being a girl, always. It wasn't until i got a deal by myself when it became easier.
Yes. I think originality and aw factor have decreased. Since women like Janis,Stevie,Ann and Nancy Wilson,Joan Jett,Pat Benatar,Sheryl Crow,Alanis,Jewel,Tori Amos, just to name a few..I feel copy-catting has increased and the general skill level to be a star these days is made up for in auto tune,theatrics,a poppy hit and how much money your label is willing to put behind you.
"Allison Hagendorf (the first A&R i had at Epic Records) told gotta tour tour tour,earn your stripes,learn it and earn it the hard way, make it real and organic...then people will believe you. I would tell them, to be themselves,dont let people tell you its too hard or impossible. And that there's only one of 'them' on the planet, so they have something new to offer. I would also tell them to listen to the classics, The beatles,zeppelin,bowie,simon and garfunkel,bob dylan,jimi hendrex,rolling stones,billy joel, the list goes on!! Its like musicians Bible Study. You can't become a priest or a preacher, if you dont know who God is."
because i wanted to Rock'n Roll really because most of my idols all played and i wanted to be able to play shows by myself and not have to depend on others to perform.

Carolyn Keddy, Dog Rats

I write songs, book shows, release records, make album covers, do publicity, whatever we need.
"gibson SG, marshall amp no-name fretless bass, peavey amp whatever drums I can borrow"
Yes. People seem to judge your musical ability more harshly. I always hear comments like not bad for a girl, they are a good girl band, etc. Just the general attitude.
It is better (and now easier) to do things yourself. These days the music industry as such is inconsequential to playing music. Practice a lot and play out as much as possible.
because I thought it would be fun.


I am a solo artist and I record all of my lead and background vocals. That is very important to me and I never hire someone to sing my backgrounds for me. I am involved in all of the business decisions, though I trust my incredible manager, Gary Salzman of BIG Management, with the final say.
I currently am rehearsing for shows this summer! I also use a cordless mic and my own TV tracks for live performance. I always have my male dancers with me, usually atleast two, and we perform anywhere from one to three songs!
"Yes, I do feel that there are distinct differences between being a female musician and a male musician. In my experience, women have to work harder to prove themselves whereas men often feel that they will automatically get a gig. When I was younger and participated in classical piano competitions, I always felt that my male counterparts were taken more seriously, even if they had fewer years under their belt. "
Yes I do see differences between generations of women musicians. When I think back on the pieces I studied while taking classical piano, I cannot remember studying one female musician's work. Now, I am pleasantly surprised when I go to concerts and see all female orchestras, songwriters, bands, and conductors.
My vocal teacher always tells me to respect myself and my values. She always reminds me that this industry is very challenging and I cannot lose myself or my goals while climbing my way to the top. I give every female musician the same advice whenever I have the opportunity. Every woman is so unique and deserves to have an equal chance in this record business! I always envisioned myself becoming the first female artist to own my own record label, make my own decisions, and create my own side businesses. I am so lucky to say that I am living my dream! I am so thankful for my incredible team and my supportive family. I would love to speak to NPR even further about being a woman musician in 2010. Please feel free to contact me at any time and I thank you for inviting female artists to reflect on this business.
The piano is so expressive. It allows me to accompany myself in live performances. It is also a great instrument for me as a songwriter.

Alicia Jo Rabins, Girls in Trouble

I'm the bandleader, and I produced our first record (with some help from the engineer). I head the business and marketing decisions. I wish I had someone to help me.
the same violin i've played since i was 15; an array of pedals (loop, octave, delay); Kay acoustic guitars (i have an abiding love for them); an old Martin soprano uke; a few electric guitars (fender bronco, most recently); a red amp a friend built for me; a little vox amp my sister gave me.
I can't tell, since I've never been a man. I like to think it's not so different, but I don't know. I do know that the idea of having a kid feels pretty different in terms of the ability to tour. We shall see.
Hard to say. I'm glad there's more intellectual and compositional presence of women now - still not enough, but more - as opposed to just vocalists or pop songwriters.
"I guess I'd say to trust your instinct and not sell yourself short. Don't trust record labels. And know that everyone always says what they think you want to hear. It's a weird, speculative business and it's OK, probably imperative, to learn how to do that (estimate on the larger end of the draw you think you'll get, etc.)

I heard an interview (on NPR, actually - WNYC) recently about how women are less likely to brag, to promote themselves, to be pushy. Learning to do this has been really crucial for me, even though I still find it kind of painful. But for any artist it's really important, because you are running your own business. And if women are naturally or culturally less inclined to trumpet our talents and abilities, it puts us at a disadvantage - we have to really consciously make sure we promote ourselves and don't be afraid to take up space and go get what you want, to say ""I'm what you need, and this is why."" Of course, some women are naturals at being pushy, and to them I tip my hat. I kinda wish I were one of them. "
my mom was watching the phil donahue show when i was 3 and saw a special on suzuki violin! so she brought me down to the local suzuki school, and that was that. i dont think she intended it to be a career....oops.

Jessie, Public Radio

My role in the band is to play my instrument and sing my heart out. When on tour in the past my husband (the main singer/songwriter of Public Radio) has joked for me to take my wedding rings off when I sit at the merch table, but he's only half joking. I'd like to think a lot of the other things I offer the band are important, but the guys would probably disagree. Like I'm really good with directions, I try and keep the van clean and the merch organized, I have cooked a ridiculous amount of meals for the band over the past 4 years, and I'd say I'm the peace-maker of the group. In the studio we have an amazing producer who works primarily with Mark (the main songwriter). They get things done and call us in when they need our skills. As far as business and marketing go, I may start taking more of a managerial role here in the next few months. I am expecting our second baby in August and will need a few months off to keep up with her. But while I do that, I am going to dabble in managing Public Radio, which is exciting to me.
I play a Nord Electro 3 and an Alesis Micron
Haha! Yea, I do think there's a difference, but it's not really a big deal to me. I think there's an assumption that ALL women are high-maintenance, and therefore don't make the best band-mate or road tripper. Which I must disagree with completely. We have had several different MALE fill-in band members over the past few years and they were way more maintenance than I ever am! I have a lot of respect for women musicians, actually. Especially ones that can also juggle having a family. One of my heros is Kori Gardner of the band Mates of State. She has 2 kids, an amazing band with her husband, goes on tour a lot and keeps making hit records! I am so impressed and inspired. I think being a woman in any kind of constantly changing career - like music - is harder and more different than being a man. When I found out I was pregnant with our second child (BIG surprise), the rest of the guys in the band automatically assumed I was out. I'm sure in their minds they were thinking "There's no way she can come to practice and play shows let alone go on tour with 2 young kids!". It feels a lot like discrimination, to be honest. It felt like just because I'm the baby-carrier (being pregnant) it suddenly exiles me from playing my instrument and being on stage. My husband will have 2 kids as well but no one thinks of kicking him out of the band. If there's ever a babysitter problem (like we can't find one), I'm naturally the one who has to find a fill-in for a show. I get tired of it, but I'm an overcomer and I'll find a way to be a good Mom and maintain my position in a band that I love and believe in with all my heart. I have done a lot of shows pregnant and even traveled across the country very close to my due date. When I play a show pregnant, I get pumped by watching a video of the artist M.I.A. who performed at the Grammy's while 9 months pregnant. Now that's an unstoppable woman.
In some ways I do, like there are definitely way more women in the music industry than there were several generations ago. I also know for a lot of women to "make it" they are given some pretty strict rules from their labels or managers so they can "sell the artist" better. For instance the industry wants thin, attractive, single women. I guess this applies to men as well, but I feel like the talent of a woman can get overlooked by trying to make her look like a pop star - to sell her as a sex image. I don't necessarily feel like women had to jump through these kinds of hoops to have success in the 60's and 70's.
No, no one has personally ever given me any advice about making my own way. Although, I'd have to say I am inspired by the women artists who are going after it and doing a fine job like Regina Spektor, Kori Gardner, Chan Marshall, Karin Bergquist, and so many more of my heros. My advice is to not be "the angry girl", and try not to use your body to sell your music. Let the music sell itself.
I took some lessons playing bass a few years ago, but the band already had a bass player so I warmed up my piano fingers and gave it a shot. I'm definitely not the most talented musician in the band, but I love playing keys and singing.


I do make decisions as a leader.
"Yamaha Concert Grand Piano CFIIIS. Nord Lead 2. Nord Electro 2. Microkorg"
There are less female musicians than male musicians (all the festival artist T-shirts are Men's size).
Don't think too much and just play. Man, woman, we are all human, doesn't matter. Important thing is, when you close your eyes and listen to the artist, gender, color,does not matter, only important thing is if you like what you are hearing to, if you feel something special for what you are given, so play the music you feel that you need to express, then you will be fine.
My mom took me to the piano lesson and I instantly fell in love with it.

Jude Johnstone

I am the act and different musicians play with me according to who's available or who is right for a certain project. I produce my own records. I have a manager, Bob Burton, who has been with me my whole career who helps me make all business and marketing decisions.
I take a piano with me unless the venue has one (especially and acoustic), upright bass, trumpet, guitar, and usually violin or cello or both.
I don't think there is any negative difference, in my experience, at least. I think that male musicians are always noticeably pleased that I am so clear on what I want from them in the studio (or on stage).... that they are surprised in a good way and treat me with even more respect.
If I understand the question, I would say that older female musicians like Bonnie Raitt and those that came before her, who may have had to work very hard to achieve prominence in a more male dominated musical era, have helped me to understand the important place I hold as a member of a very fortunate group of women who have been able to carve out a living making music. Myself, more as a songwriter than a recording artist. But that all the possibilities have been available to me, I am very aware of and grateful for. I think that younger artists may take that for granted a little more, but that is just evident of how far we've really come!
"Too many people to name. My advice to women just starting out in the music biz, might be to NOT forget your love for music with or without success...if you become weary and disenchanted, then take a step back and try and remember again why you chose this path and start again. Just do good work. Love the process. Don't be lazy and don't underestimate yourself to justify a means to an end. Excel and you won't go unnoticed."
It chose me.

Cynthia G. Mason

"I've mostly been the primary songwriter for lyrics, vocals, and my guitar part. My musical collaborators would come up with the rest of the instrumentation.

On my self-titled album, the producer had other musicians come into the studio to improvise on my voice/guitar part. On ""Quitter's Claim,"" my musical partner Larry Brown came up with his guitar part, to play along with my vocals/guitar. We recorded most of that one live into a four-track.

I made the business/marketing decisions on my earlier recordings and Dan from the High Two label made the business/marketing decisions for ""Quitter's Claim."" "
Martin acoustic guitar with Sunrise pick-up.
I think it is so much better for women now. Young girls are forming bands and being introduced to the mechanics of making pop music at a younger age. When I was in high school, I was one of the only girls playing in a band, and I didn't know anyone else who played electric guitar. I liked being "one of the guys," but it was sometimes lonely. There was also more pressure for the women in bands to be attractive, to be the lead vocalist, to be the token whatever. In the nineties, it seemed like every indie rock band wanted a girl to play the bass, even if she sucked. These days, it seems that there are more women who are in bands who can play their instruments, and if they can't play all that well, they are not afraid to be punk rock about it and take risks onstage. However, I still think there is more pressure for women musicians to be attractive and flaunt their sexuality as part of their act.
"See above.

I got a lot of encouragement along the way from friends and the local music community. I wish I had gotten more advice, though. The music business is brutal. Showcasing for labels is brutal. Schmoozing is brutal, and I'm not good at it. My advice is that it takes a lot of determination as well as a whole lot of luck to do well. So, practice, play shows, "network", etc. I think networking is probably the most important thing if you want to make your way through the music industry. Most of us have to keep our day jobs along the way, so try to find a day job you like so you're not completely miserable. Unless being miserable fuels your creativity. : )
My uncle would come in from Santa Cruz to visit the family. He would walk around the house in the morning, with his acoustic guitar, improvising the most wonderful finger-style tunes. I would wake up to his music. I couldn't take my eyes off of the guitar. My parents bought me my first classical guitar when I was seven.

Georgia Muldrow (G&D)


Betty Widerski, Ginger Ibex, Las Aboricuás, The Gobshites

Ginger Ibex and Las Aboricuás are primarily women-run (GI has a male drummer, but he doesn't have business/financial input). So I co-write and arrange, co-produce in the studio, come up with funds sometimes since I have a well-paying day job, and share PR and booking contact duties. In The Gobshites (where I am now a part-time player after 4 yrs of 70+ shows yearly) I just show up and play.
"Depends on band, and if acoustic or electric gig.

Ginger Ibex (Rock/Classical crossover original instrumentals - - 6 string acoustic mezzo viola with electric pickup - Codabow Joule bow - tube preamp, Boss RV-3 reverb/delay pedal - Fishman Loudbox 100 amp - Shure wireless in-ear monitor

Las Aboricuás (Latin singer/guitarist & violin - - standard 4 string acoustic violin with electric pickup, Codabow diamond GX box - Fishman preamp & Loudbox 100 amp - LP Aspire Jr Cajon

The Gobshites (Irish Punk - - Skyinbow 5-string electric violin with onboard powered preamp, Incredibow holographic (i.e. shiny!) bow - Shure PGX wireless instrument transmitter/receiver - Shure wireless in-ear monitor "
"Yes, but sometimes it's subtle. For instance, as a lesbian playing in a mostly male, Guinness drinking Irish Punk band I was treated as ""one of the guys"" mostly - which was better than being treated as a ""girl"", but assumptions that I was as interested as a guy in oogling ""girls"" were weird.

Mostly it's the ""I told you so"" moments, where my input has been ignored as being less valid, though later turns out to be correct."
Since I missed being an active musician in my 20s and 30s, I don't know that I can evaluate younger women now.
"The most down-to-earth advice came from my rock violin teacher, who warned me that ""guys in bands will just fart all the time and unapologetically"", which I found to be true!

To anyone starting out, I'd say: pay attention to the details, get agreements in writing, follow up with bookers regularly, show up with all the gear you need in working order, and learn to let all that go on stage because the audience wants to see you having a good time!"
My public school offered in-school lessons (for extra $) starting in 4th grade. I wanted to play trombone because my father said he had, but was told "girls don't play trombone". So I picked violin because my mother had once played it as a child. I was strictly classical until college, burned out on it and stopped playing for 20 yrs. Realized I still missed it but didn't want to go back to classical, so started lessons in how to improvise with a woman who played in a rock band. I realized I LIKED being in a grungy room being blasted by amps, and my rock etc career took off!

Cat Hartwell

I am the cofounder of the band. We all contribute to the creation of songs (I mostly help with lyrics and melody). In the studio I like to be there for the whole process and add percussion, bass, and little extras where needed. We all collaborate and discuss business/marketing decisions together.
I sing with my voice going through a Memory Man guitar pedal. At home I also have two electric guitars (both of which I let my boyfriend use), one acoustic guitar and an electric bass.
I definitely think that being a woman in music is different from being a man. Subconsciously it is still a surprise to the people who work in music when women are playing in a heavy and loud band. I say this because of the number of times that I have been presumed to be "with the band" as opposed to in it- mistaken as merch girl, tour manager, girlfriend of the band, etc.
I think that it is way easier to be a female musician/performer today than it was even ten or fifteen years ago. There are a lot of ballsy women singers, guitarists, drummers, bassists, etc that have paved the way for girls today and we have a lot of thanks to give for that. I think of ladies from Bessie Smith to Kim Deal and Kim Gordon.
I feel like as a girl in music sometimes you might have to work twice as hard as the boys to prove yourself but once you do the rewards will be twice as gratifying.
Initially I tried to play guitar and sing in Holy Hail, but I still haven't figured out how to do both and the rest of my band sort of nudged me to concentrate on vocals and performing (I share the vocals in HH with a guy).


I play a very strong role in my band, I am my band, In the studio its me and whomever else Im writing with, as far as business and marketing decisions I play a part along with two other ppl in my team.
Microphone, and My vocal Chords :-)
I do, but I think as a woman it gives you more options, your open to do alot more as a woman entertainer. Just watching the industry and how consumers take to women over men, lets me know that theres a difference.
I do, I see the differences in the way we perform, what we talk about, our dress, everything. We're actually circling back around and doing the same thing that we used to do in the 60s and the 70s, certain artist are recreating, which i feel is fun, just has to be done correctly.
"Ive had a few women in the industry give me sound advice about how to move in this industry, being in a man dominated industry. I would tell women to be mindful of how they carry themselves, how they're spending they're time, and stay focused on the goal. "
It was natural, something that came effortless, so it was nothing for me to start doing music.

Rene' Ormae-Jarmer, Here Comes Everybody

I am the main music writer, manager, booker, PR person, backup singer, keyboardist/piano player and occasionally play drums (but since my husband is also a drummer and lead singer, he does the main drumming). When there are two drummers, someone (ME) has to write the songs. In the studio, Michael does the engineering. We make decisions together since we're married, but I do the lion's share of the business part.
Keys: Korg Triton, Alesis QS8 keyboard, Kohler & Campbell 5'3" baby grand. Drumsets: (2) DW 5-piece drum kits, one is a cocktail kit, (1) Ludwig 4-piece kit, several snares (Tama, Yamaha, DW, Ludwig). (1) Djembe and a whole boatload of small percussion. Studio: Protools and an assortments of high end microphones. We record ourselves and others (Funny Farm Studios). Little Martin Guitar. I teach full time private lessons as well as do clinics in the schools, so I have a full drum studio. We rehearse a band so we have a complete mid-size PA.
"I hate to say it but yes. It's much more common now to see women in the music biz. In the 70's and 80's when I was young, it was much more competitive. I got alot of recognition for actually being good AND being a girl. Gender shouldn't have mattered, but it did. I've won contests by not only being good and being able to play, but it helped that I was a cute girl. Males used to and sometimes still seems surprised that I was a good drummer, because drumming is typically a more male arena. It's physical demanding and very outgoing.

When I was in high school, the guys in the drum section always went off to get stoned in the ""scrounge lounge"" behind the school and left the work of putting away the drum set to me. I also was clearly better than one of the drummers who made it into Jazz Band in High School. There was an outcry from the rest of the females in the Jazz Band and I was let in. It shouldn't have been necessary, but the other guy did really suck. So, I had to be better than all the boys in order to ensure I didn't get left behind or left out. I think the earliest I noticed the ""novelty"" of being a girl drummer was in grade school. I was better than most of the boys to begin with, but seemed receive alot of extra attention because of it. I liked the attention, but I also just loved drumming.

Still, though, when I tell people I'm in a band they perk up and ask ""Oh, do you sing?""."
Definitely. In the 70's and 80's ya gotta remember that only recently the ERA movement happened and women could finally vote. So females were encouraged to branch out and be more brave. Burning bras was only the first step. Women in the 80's and beyond had to constantly challenge the norm. I guess we could technically go much farther back of course, but women as musicians are definitely having more opportunities to get good and get heard. But true musicianship isn't limited to gender. If you have the chops, you have the chops.
"Well, we paid dues and continue to pay dues and learn. Along my career, there have been too many experiences, too many different people to name who've helped (and disappointed) me. I think the most valuable lesson I've learned wasn't any one thing that someone said to me, but a continual learning experience.

Advice to a woman starting out: Sometimes being a woman will work for you, but not all the time. Don't play the gender game. Become a really great musician, practice. Don't rely on being a girl and being simply ""OK"" to carry you. I get so tired of hearing how someone heard a fabulous female drummer (for example) and then finding out that she is not really that good. It gives us a bad name! But people seemed charmed by the fact that she was a she. Do you homework and BE NICE to people. Be professional....don't be a diva or princess. That shit gets around and you'll find that no one wants to do shows with you.

More advice: If you take anything too seriously, especially music, it can eat you up. Find some balance. Don't lead the ""pain-is-good-for-art"" musician's life. I know both men and women who live in a studio apartment hovel and have no dental/health insurance or even a signficant relationship and are sad and bitter their more mature years because they didn't have something else besides music to keep them healthy and balanced.

Last but not least advance: Enjoy music. Have fun. Make good music and make it the best you can in the moment. "
When I was in 5th grade (back when the music programs were actually strong) they came around the class and asked what we wanted to play. I spoke right up and said "Drums!". I have a degree from Lewis & Clark College and have studied with some of Oregon's top teachers (Don Worth Sr, Alan Jones, Mark Goodenberger, and Brett Paschal). For piano, I've always played and experimented since I was 4. Studied with Arlene Zeller and Lee Fricke (LC College). Drums are visceral. Piano is a melodic way to be percussive, only you have the entire orchestra right there so you can write songs! They go hand in hand. I still take advanced lessons in percussion.

Tierney Sutton

"My band, The Tierney Sutton Band, has been for the last 5 years an incorporated unit. I am the ""CEO"" or our corporation ""Hollow Reed Inc."" All decisions are made by the 4 partners. One of my bandmates serves as our CFO and does the bookkeeping, writes us checks etc. Our model is highly unusual, but then again, it's highly unusual to have a band of this caliber together for 17 years. This type of relationship also applies to the musical decisions of the band. We do all our arranging collaboratively as well. In fact, that process had been in place for almost a decade before we incorporated."
Neumann KMS 105 mic.
"For many years I didn't feel sexism per se and honestly, it's been a rare sense. A few times, when dealing with large university systems, or decision-making with male musicians, I have sensed that I was undervalued---but again, that has been fairly rare in an institutional sense. But I think there are many many many subtle and sometimes corrosive ways that men and women interact inefficiently (to say it in a balanced and unincendiary way...) Sometimes this is just personality types. In my experience, I'm a very expressive person so often male musicians who are having a conflict with one another will voice it to me rather that directly to one another. They are more comfortable entering into conflict with a woman---that gets a bit tiresome. One HUGE difference I see between women and men musicians is that, of the serious ones, I would submit a far higher percentage of the women are childless. This says a lot about where we are still at in our culture. In my case, I have a son, but if not for my music career, I would, I think, have had more children. This is a very big deal and we don't talk about it---virtually ever."
I'm really not sure about this...
"I tell my students : 1. don't sleep with him if you want him (or her) long term in your band and 2. don't forget to have kids"

Kip McCLoud in Lucky 57

songwriter, producer, manager -- I DO IT ALL, the rest of the band just plays the gigs!
"70s Fender Deluxe reverb (modded) 1960 Airline electric guitar multiple acoustic guitars and accordions including a Hoehner and Giulietti recording gear, microphones, live sound gear, misc musical instruments"
"ABSOLUTELY! Girls go out to hear guys in bands and it becomes a boy-girl attraction thing, and often has nothing to do with the music.

By the same token there is also a large difference between how older women performers are perceived compared to young ones. Also being blonde and young helps...."
"WOW - yes! It's a lot more accpetable now for a woman to be more than just a singer in the band.

However - some things never change. The music business is eternally SEXIST!"
Follow you heart - don't let them make you feel like your an idiot -- don;'t be afraid to turn up your electric guitar and ROCK OUT - don't be intimidated by technology and don't fall into the trap that more is better! In music LESS IS ALWAYS MORE! don't fall for guys technobabble when it comes to the studio or equipment -- they love to make it a "mine is bigger than yours thing."
My father was a trumpet player. He wanted me to play an instrument from an early age and I was fascinated with radio and siging along to it. I also liked to perform. He signed me up for accordion lessons at age 7. At age 13 I finally got an acoustic guitar -- it was a lot easier to sing along to than accordion.

Kay Stanton, Casper & the Cookies, Supercluster

I have a very active role in the Cookies. I am one of the primary songwriters, and I do a lot of management/tour management. I deal with all financial aspects. My husband and I started this band together in 1999, and it is a true partnership for us. I have also helped produce and engineer all of our albums.
1982 Gibson Grabber bass, 1976 Fender Musicmaster bass with original contact paper artwork by Bill Doss, MicroKorg keyboard, Gretsch Corvette guitar, Ampeg 450 bass amp, SWR Megoliath 810 cabinet. I play on Sonor drums, but they belong to someone else. I also have a Harmony guitar my parents bought from the Sears catalog, and a Norma bass from the '60s.
"YES!!!! There are pros and cons to being a woman in music. There are so many sterotypes that I struggled with early on: women can't play as well as men, they don't understand YES!!!!People (men AND women) often assume I'm not in the band or that I'm the merch girl. Then, there's this stereotype that women can't play as well as men, and they don't know about gear or technical issues. It seems that you need to look and act a certain way, etc. Sometimes I've been belittled. As I've gotten to be a stronger musician over the years, I get more compliments. The compliments are nice, but I think there are many folks who are stll surprised to see competent female musicians. And there are a lot out there. If I was a man, I think It wouldn't come as such a surprise to see my stage antics and balls-to-the wall moments. I do think things are changing, but equality is a long way off. It just makes me want to do it even more!!! "
Yes, though I see many more similarities. I am fortunate enough to play in one band with a woman 15 years my elder, and another with a woman who is 15 years younger than me! The older female musicians I've known seem to be a little more laid back. They aren't as concerned if a man helps out with things. There's a different kind of confidence. Younger women often seem to be a little more aggresive, not necessarily musically, but to prove their worth as good musicians. I definitely fall somewhere in the middle. My age is a good one to be in rock and roll.
"I can't think of any specific advice I've been given in the past, though I'm sure there was some. My advice would be to not let your gender overly define you, but you also shouldnt try to squelch what is naturally there. There are a million obstac, but ultimately, the music is the reason for doing what you do. Be strong, be secure, have fun.

Ps. Sorry for any typos. I'm writing this from the back of the tour van! "
Bass was my first instrument, and It was the one I could afford at the time. Also, my friend needed a bassist. I've picked up other instruments to vary my writing style and out if necessity. Everyone in the Cookies is a multiinstrumentalist. We switch up a lot.

Haley Fohr, Circuit des Yeux

It is a solo project, myself only. I write and compose and play all songs as well as record.
I have my own mixing board, 2 amplifiers, vocals, guitar, pedals, 4 track when playing live. I also use violin, bass, drums, and other instruments for sampling when recording.
I believe being a woman is much harder than being a man in music. I went on tour for a month by myself this past summer. During that time and anytime with my music, I have to be very careful about preying men. I have been sexually harassed more when in a music environment as Circuit des Yeux then any other time in my life. It is hard to decipher when opportunities in music are given to me for the sake of my music, or for alliterative motives. Both my gender and age have made making music a dangerous hobby at times, and I feel that the music business is still one facet of the world in which men and women are not treated as equal.
I do not see many differences between generations of women musicians
Keep your music honest, and even though there will be obstacles when pursuing music as a women, it is worth fighting for equality.
I was classically trained in voice since the age of 12. In my final year of high school I fell into depression. Instead of going to school, I picked up the guitar and taught myself to play. All instruments are self taught except voice.

Jennifer Glass, Starling Crush

I despise the business aspect, so I let my partner do that. I schedule all rehearsals, pay for the band space, and book gigs. I write the songs ( with an assist here and there ). I run rehearsals for the most part, with lots of input from my band.
Gibson J-185, Takamine acoustic, Fender '52 re-issue electric, Delux Twin reverb amp, Matchless amp, Hoehner harps, Steinway M class baby grand
Yes , it is. You are expected to know less about gear and studio knobs ( guilty ). People are shocked to hear I write the songs myself, as my band is made up of males ( although at one point I had an all-female rhythm section). I do have a band of male musicians who are better instumentalists than I am ( fairly typical, Im ashamed to say)The boys see me as talented and competent, but talk bands and gear and basically leave me out of the conversation. I hump the majority of the gear to gigs on my own ( even theirs ) and pay for all expenses, but that's a function of trying to maintain control of my band, and my music. I notice it the most in the studio, where I know very little about the recording/production process. I would behoove me and other female musicians to learn more- you want to have that knowledge in the studio to get what you want. Knowledge is power.
well, certainly the trailblazors made it easier on the rest of us. And now, aside from what I describe above, it seems to be a fairly level playing field, in terms of being able to achieve notoriety and success.
"yes, many. Mostly misguided, and mostly people in the business.

Just be authentic. Trust your instincts. Be honest and who you are, and your audience will