Women in Music, Where Are They Today?

Music holds an incredible amount of influence— from the catchy melody, and the expressive lyrics, all leading to the person who pens the song.  A songwriter can create a lasting impression with words, change someone’s life with a chord, or change someone’s state of mind in the span of just 3 minutes.

Less Than 5% of Music Producers and Engineers Are Female.*

I remember being the only girl in my undergraduate music composition program. With a strong passion for composing music and writing songs, I found inspiration in the conservatory with its abundant male musical influences (ranging from the classical to the modern).  However, everything fell to silence at the question of women.  The rests suddenly became noise that I couldn’t ignore. I recall wondering,  “where are the women in music?”  I couldn’t possibly be the only woman who loved writing music so much that I had decided to pursue it as a career.  It was then that I realized I would need to discover my own influences, to gain a support system in my headphones that reminded me that I belonged here, that my voice mattered.

Finding Inspiration In Other Female Songwriters…

I found inspiration in the music of Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. Both Bareilles and Michaelson have something beautiful in common; the wonderfully empowering message they transmit.  They write in a modest, mature, and sometimes outspoken way that  I find truly inspiring – their songs dare me to develop my own voice as a fellow female songwriter.

I’m confident that somewhere right now, someone else is being empowered by these and many other artists as well.  As Bareilles lyrics state in her song Brave, “Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out.  Honestly, I want to see you be brave.”  Every composer and every songwriter has the power to speak their mind, to influence others.  All they need is a little support, and a little courage.

Now that I have found these women songwriters – the ones that I turn to in times of needed inspiration – I look forward to discovering so many more.   I’m assured that in the future when someone asks me “where are the women in music?” I can tell them, “They are all around you, you just have to listen”.

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