FEATURE: X-Why? The Issues Faced by Female Producers in a Male-Dominated Industry





IN THIS PHOTO: Producer/songwriter Abra/PHOTO CREDIT: Alex Cretey-Systermans

The Issues Faced by Female Producers in a Male-Dominated Industry


SINCE I started this blog; I have become more interested…


IN THIS PHOTO: Grimes is one of the most respected producers in the music industry

in and angered by the gender imbalance in music. In front of the microphone; there seems like an even disruption between the boys and girls. Various genres see men or women taking the majority share but, when one listens to the songs we all enjoy, you have to ask the question: how many of them were produced by women?! I will end the piece by looking at a selection of upcoming female producers who have to fight against stereotypes and poor practices in the industry. I want to bring in articles that help back up my argument: there are many who feel women have no place in the recording studio – mixing, engineering or producing, that is. The same way there are few women being given headline slots at festivals: there are very few being encouraged into studios to do what, even today, are considered ‘men’s jobs’. There are perceptions that women are more vulnerable to taking time off – maternity leave being a concern for studio bosses. If a potential employee is going to take a few months-a year away from the studio: how reliable are there going to be?



It is a criminally sexist idealogy but one that, to many, is holding them back from applying. Not every woman on the planet wants to reproduce: there are many who already have children or are capable of balancing the demands of professional record production with being a mother. In any case; there are prejudices that are present in all areas of the workplace – not only the music industry. Women, as we know, are paid less and, when looking at music, they are still being seen as inferior and less capable. If a woman, say, is more emotional and sensitive than a man – can they handle the stress and demands of a headline slot? Seeing more women become producers, defying limitations, is very pleasing to see. Even as recently as a few years ago; shocking statistics outlined how widespread and alarming the issue is – very few women being recruited and encouraged to produce.



A 2012-article by the BBC outlined the issue:

In the UK the situation is the same. The Music Producers' Guild says less than 4% of its members are women. And the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts says only 6% of the students enrolled on its sound technology course are female. That figure hasn't changed for three years.

Yet the problem seems to be restricted to rock and pop. In the theatre, in Hollywood, in radio there are dozens of female sound engineers. Roughly one-quarter of the BBC's sound mixers are women.

"There are no social barriers to a woman becoming a record producer," says Prof Rogers.

"The more stringent and insurmountable constraint is the biological one. A man can, technically speaking, reproduce on his coffee break. It doesn't take all that long, and biologically it doesn't take much of a toll. For a woman, the opposite is true.

"The typical lifestyle of a record producer is very intensive, very competitive, all-consuming. In order to be able to maintain that level of focus and attention and dedication to your craft, it has to come at the expense of reproduction."

"The women who do get into it will do really well... until they reach that point in their late 20s where they say, 'Now its time to have a family'. I tell my female students it's going to come for them. It came for me, and I opted not to have children, to not get married."

Influential women like Cordell Jackson – founding her own label, Moon Records (in 1956) - produced early Rock ‘n’ Roll songs. Sylvia Robinson produced the Hip-Hop classic Rapper’s Delight; Susan Rogers engineered Prince’s Purple Rain and Sign o’ the Times – working with Barenaked Ladies and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Leanne Unger produced and engineered albums for the likes of Leonard Cohen whilst Sally ‘Louder’ Browder emerged from California’s Punk scene to produce records alongside artists like Dwight Yokam.


IN THIS PHOTO: Legendary producer and engineer Trina Shoemaker

Trina Shoemaker, who I shall mention later, has won three Grammys and worked with Sheryl Crow, Queens of the Stone Age and Emmylou Harris. Shoemaker, when talking with BBC in 2012, offered encouraging observations:

"Women are entering the field in drives now. There's maybe a 20-year curve before they're fully recognised. But look at doctors - they're pretty much equal now.

"I don't know about pay scales, but if a surgeon walks in and it's a woman on her 800th cardiac surgery, I want her, not the young dude who just walked out of medical school.

"So I think about the time I retire, we'll see a very level playing field."


IN THIS PHOTO: Grammy-nominated, engineering pioneer Emily Lazar

In the years since that article; more courses have been set up and more women are pursuing careers as producers. Every year, mind, a new article emerges that questions why producing and engineering is a male-heavy sector. One would be forgiven to jumping to conclusions but the simple reason is this: there is not enough positive recruitment and proactive effort from the men who currently own the studio landscape. I will come to my own interpretations and views but, reading a 2016-article - from Cuepoint - noticed how, since 1974, only six women have been nominated for a producer gong at the Grammys.

In this year’s GRAMMY Awards, no female producer has made the cut for a Producer of the Year, Non-Classical nomination. That, unfortunately, is nothing new. Since it was introduced in 1974, only six women have been nominated in the category. Past female nominees include Janet Jackson (the first female nominee ever, in 1989, who was nominated with her team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for her album Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814), Mariah Carey (nominated as a pair with Walter Afanasieff for her album Emotions in 1991), Paula Cole (the first woman to be nominated solo, for her album This Fire in 1997), Sheryl Crow (for her album The Globe Sessions in 1998), Lauryn Hill (for her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hillin 1998), and Lauren Christy (as one half of the production team The Matrix, for their work with Liz Phair and Hilary Duff in 2003)”.


IN THIS PHOTO: Music student Nyasha spoke with The Fader as to why she took up producing

The article highlighted how the studio can be quite an antisocial and dank environment. I have been in a few rather small and modest studios – it is a very quiet and serious atmosphere that does not encourage sociability and conversation. Even the high-end studio facilities are male-led and rather clique-driven. There is boys’ talk and it can be quite hard for women to naturally assimilate into that dynamic:

Given that less than 5% of music producers and engineers are female, there isn’t much room for social growth for women in the industry, going hand in hand with an equally limiting professional growth trajectory wherein men traditionally work with, answer to, and promote other men. KK Proffitt, owner and chief engineer at JamSync, a small studio in Nashville, says the imbalanced gender dichotomy can be intimidating for women, especially when it gives men carte blanche to act unprofessionally”.

It seems, even in 2017, music production/engineering is a parochial industry where women are assigned specific roles – the same sexist secretarial sub-duties that see them subversively resigned to the shadows. The high-end equipment is bought, largely, by men and there is that impossible cobweb: how do we untangle ourselves from the current malaise?! There are positive signs, yes, that women are becoming more determined to overcome the odds and get into the studio. I do wonder whether they are likely to be met with the same respect as men and, when they do become producers, they will receive the same pay?! Music courses in Production are open to men and women, but it is attitudes that are holding many women back. If a woman looks at the statistics - and feels she would not stand a chance of being accepted into a modern recording facility – how likely is she to take up production and follow that career-path?! I wanted to dedicate the second-half to positive and celebratory concerns so, before moving on, a few new angles that query why there are so few female producers. The Fader, back in 2014, asked new female producers why they have been hesitant. Caroline Polachek, a New York-based producer, laid down some truths:

There are plenty of female artists out there now who are self-produced and doing cutting-edge productions to surround their own vocals or compositions, which is vital part of the musical landscape right now, but the resulting message is that the female producer is an aesthetically presented vocalist who only produces her own songs”.


IN THIS PHOTO: Producer and songwriter Caroline Polachek

It is true there are a lot of new artists coming through that are producing their own songs – women, I mean. So many of the female artists I feature produce their own material and do so in a D.I.Y. manner. Maybe a lot of the issue comes in the big studios: there is evidence to suggest a lot of underground artists are taking control of their own music and producing their own stuff. There are many female artists learning production via apps., technology and YouTube tutorials. This is a way to navigate the sexism of the studio and prove they are as worthy and talented as their male peers. Toronto’s WondaGurl offered a practical solution to the issue of few female producers:

I feel women should enter more beat battle competitions, that would be the first step in getting noticed by people from all over. There are many industry people that attend those events and that I feel would be a good place to promote yourself”.

What is evident is there is little room for new archetypes and progressions. Music is a stubborn industry that prefers the ‘old way’ and not amending the Constitution. The sacred and rigid decades-old decelerations have not been met with adequate rebellion and protest. Many women are speaking out but how fruitful is that when few men are adding their voices to the debate?! Sydney producer, Anna Lunoe, offered more (sage) advice:

The more there are in the public space, the more young girls will see it as a option for them from a young age and find the confidence to start learning. That means we need women not only to be producing but—and this is important—to stimulate meaningful change we need them to actually rise to the top and become visible. Producers by nature aren't always visible, so that means to create most change, she must not only be a producer but also potentially have what it takes to be a performer—publicly seen and embraced. We all are aware of the standards expected of women in this area so I'll just leave that there.


IN THIS PHOTO: Music student Alex spoke with The Fader as to why she took up producing

Every example and testimony I see; it seems to say the same thing: there is not enough will and determination to change things. Every female producer in this article, I am finding, says they hesitated because the top-bods were not being sufficiently gender-fluid in their promotional campaigns. The way to override and subvert the male-led hierarchy and hegemony is to revise the mission statement: producing is fit and open to everyone! Established New York-based producer Emily Reo, explained ways we can encourage more women into the field:

But since that takes more time and effort and equality doesn't seem to be much of a concern to the industry higher-ups, we need to keep having this conversation and having it loud. If pop music's audience is vocal about a change needing to happen, maybe we can shake the structure from the bottom. Profiling talented female producers and engineers more frequently is a start”.

These arguments are all quite impressive and give the men at the top much food for thought. It seems the Pop market is the most monetised and profitable side of music. Why, in an industry where so many of its players are female, are there so many female producers? It seems it is not only reserved for the production side of things: many of the writers, who appear in the top-forty, are men. The statistic in this 2016-piece lay it out bare:

A look at the charts tells us 74 people produced the songs in the Top 40 this week, but only 3 of them were women. Three. Those women were: Bebe Rexha for G Eazy's "Me Myself & I," Meghan Trainor for "Like I'm Gonna Lose You," and Wondagurl for Travis Scott's "Antidote."

And none of them produced a song on their own without a man. 37 of the Top 40 songs this week were produced by an all-male team. That's 92.5%.

And this is not a number exclusive to February of 2016. In our data for the Top 40 for 2015, we found that only 3.8% of Top 40 producers were women last year.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Marcella Araica

Even though this week, Rihanna and Drake's "Work" is sitting high at the top of the charts, only 17.5% of Top 40 songs were performed by only women. And 67.5% of songs were performed by men without any appearances by a female performer. Just for comparison, women performing alone have 7 songs in the Top 40. Drake and the Weeknd alone have 6 songs.

Things are no better than they were last year. For all of 2015, women only made up 25.8% of the 178 performances that hit the Top 40.That number—25%—manages to hold steady despite how many songs come and go in the Top 40. This week, women make up 30% of songs in the Top 10, but only 15% of the Top 20.

It’s almost like there’s a cap on how many women are allowed to succeed on the charts.

And when one of America's Top 40 performers is accusing her producer of rape and emotional abuse, it's hard not to wonder if the barrier to enter the Top 40 is built out of a lot more than just how good of a hook you can sing.

In addition, again this month, women make up an even smaller percentage of the songwriters on the Top 40. Only 15 of the 143 writers it took to make the 40 most popular songs in America were women. That’s 10.4%”.

A lot of the famous and high-profile female producers are inspiring others to get into the industry. One only need look at the credit-sheet of Linda Perry, Marcella Araica; Emily Lazar and Sylvia Robinson, between them, have produced everyone from Duran Duran, Gwen Stefani; David Bowie and The Dixie Chicks. Taylor Swift and Britney Spears have produced a lot of their music; so too have Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and P!nk; throw in Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj – M.I.A., Lauryn Hill and Shura. A lot of those names are mainstream and established but there are so many, away from the bright lights, laying down and producing their own sounds. Perhaps; the issue is with the mainstream and setting a great example.


IN THIS PHOTO: Producer/songwriter HANA/PHOTO CREDIT: Jasmine Safaeian

In addition, again this month, women make up an even smaller percentage of the songwriters on the Top 40. Only 15 of the 143 writers it took to make the 40 most popular songs in America were women. That’s 10.4%”.

A lot of the famous and high-profile female producers are inspiring others to get into the industry. One only need look at the credit-sheet of Linda Perry, Marcella Araica; Emily Lazar and Sylvia Robinson, between them, have produced everyone from Duran Duran, Gwen Stefani; David Bowie and The Dixie Chicks. Taylor Swift and Britney Spears have produced a lot of their music; so too have Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and P!nk; throw in Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj – M.I.A., Lauryn Hill and Shura. A lot of those names are mainstream and established but there are so many, away from the bright lights, laying down and producing their own sounds. Perhaps, the issue is with the mainstream and setting a great example.


IN THIS PHOTO: Alicia Keys is among a number of high-profile musicians who have produced their own music 

In addition, again this month, women make up an even smaller percentage of the songwriters on the Top 40. Only 15 of the 143 writers it took to make the 40 most popular songs in America were women. That’s 10.4%”.

A lot of the famous and high-profile female producers are inspiring others to get into the industry. One only need look at the credit-sheet of Linda Perry, Marcella Araica; Emily Lazar and Sylvia Robinson, between them, have produced everyone from Duran Duran, Gwen Stefani; David Bowie and The Dixie Chicks. Taylor Swift and Britney Spears have produced a lot of their music; so too have Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and P!nk; throw in Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj – M.I.A., Lauryn Hill and Shura. A lot of those names are mainstream and established but there are so many, away from the bright lights, laying down and producing their own sounds. Perhaps, the issue is with the mainstream and setting a great example.


We all know about those Pop/mainstream female producers: they are doing their best to encourage fellow women to produce and swim against expectation. That poverty of expectation is only being fuelled by male producers who have a duty to encourage balance and equity. The issue does not lie solely with them: those label bosses, established industry heads and their ilk need to do a lot more than they are right now. Courses, run by the likes of London Academy of Music Production are great places to start.


IN THIS PHOTO: Australian-born, London-based producers/artists NERVO

They are gender-blind and are excited to welcome talent from all around the country. We need to make these courses and institutions more visible. The government is not expending adequate finance and awareness to the problem at hand. Sexism is not confined to music production: festivals are culpable of restriction female headliners; mainstream management and record labels sexualise and exploit their female talent. There are a lot of female D.J.s coming through but, speaking with many in the industry, they still get paid less and are afforded few opportunities. There is that insinuation (women) are less capable of packing a room or handling the demands of the job. Many are promoted because of their looks at physical assets – many are quitting the industry because they are not being taken seriously. Dani Deahl; speaking with EDM in 2014, gave a perfect argument/solution:

I think it's cultural and societal. Women are still brought up surrounded by influences that steer them towards certain careers, certain mindsets, certain pathways. It's a lot of learned behavior - I found while researching for my talk that almost all the female producers I interviewed were brought up in households similar to mine - ones where parents didn't differentiate between 'boy' activities and 'girl' activities. We get so wrapped up in gender roles.” Navigating her path into the male-dominated business, Dani said, “As far as music, I just do what feels right. Lately that's been incorporating bits of riddim and lots of drum work into tracks, because that ignites a visceral feeling for me when I make it and play it. At the end of the day, it's just about feeling like I'm being honest with myself and all the fans, who are like friends. You wouldn't lie to your friends.” Dani’s success includes producing a Billboard charted track, three performances at Lollapalooza, and running a successful blog. For aspiring female producers, Dani is open to discussing and sharing her thoughts with others. “People can go ahead and tweet me questions, I'm always more than happy to answer.”


PHOTO CREDIT: Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry has spoken out against sexism in the music industry

I will end with a selection of the female producers, established and rising, that are worth your time and respect. Women in the industry, such as Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry (above); have spoken out against sexism and revealed the discrimination she has encountered. There are wonderful articles such as this, and this - that highlight women making a stand – and how we can challenge ill-advised conventions. That latter example, by The Conversation, asked how to fight the cannon and queried why women in Rock, especially, are being marginalized. It went on to discuss why women in Pop are objectified and belittled – bringing the recent case of Ke$ha and the trial with former producer Dr. Luke. Backing up my argument; this was said:

For women, questions of representation become important here – if you don’t see anyone like yourself being presented in the canon, it is harder to imagine you can make good music. Thus a male-dominated canon works to exclude potential future women musicians.

Those women who are successful are more often in the pop genre. Pop success often entails having a highly sexualised image, and is generally not taken seriously by critics.

Young women trying to break into music also have to deal with the way social spaces connected with music are often marked as masculine and policed by men in various ways.

Many women musicians have reported belittling and dismissive attitudes by men in live music venues, music stores and when learning music. It seems few female musicians have not been asked at one time or another whether they’re “with the band”, or if they’re just there to watch their boyfriend, or had their technical or musical abilities called into question”.


IN THIS PHOTO: Courtney Barnett remains one of the only Australian, female Rock musicians making a mark on the international stage

There is a wider dialogue that deals with female artists and songwriters. They are not being represented and it seems a larger epidemic needs medicinal and aggressive exorcism. I am buoyed, on the one hand, there are so many hungry and talented female producers emerging. The mainstream best and underground treasures show there are plenty of female producers that warrant respect and investigation. The problem we have still lies with those decision-makers at the top of music’s pyramid: the men, whose influence and patronage, trickles down to their fellow MAN. There are few male journalists joining the discussion and speaking out against their gender. Maybe there are fears revolving around accusation and repercussions. I feel there is a general passiveness and hesitancy that needs to stumped-out. I will finish my portion by bringing in a producer I will name-check down below. Laura Marling, and her Reversal of the Muse series, chatted with various women in music – their experiences and problems faced in the industry. Two particularly worthwhile editions are her chat with songwriter Karen Elson and producer Jonathan Wilson. They discussed how women can become more interwoven and collaborative with male producers:

Another, rather interesting podcast, is with engineer Olga Fitzroy - who was distilled on the website, thus:

Together they discuss whether women are able to meet the demands of working in a studio and still have children, or if the two are mutually exclusive which has consequently lead to the male dominated environment. Laura also notes that women scientifically hear differently to men, which sparks the question: Have we been creating records for the male ear, as most of our studio mixers are male? Olga and Laura consider if we’re missing a feminine part to everything behind music and the way it’s created.”


IN THIS PHOTO: Engineer and producer Olga FitzRoy

Lauren Deakin Davies spoke with me earlier this year - and I asked her the following:

"I know a lot of female P.R. bosses but few women based in studios. Why do you think there are so few behind mixing desks, producing artists? What can we do to change this?

This is the million-dollar-question I get all the time. It’s definitely not down to one thing. I believe it’s a hangover from an older way of thinking and a subconscious thought process where girls are encouraged to be singers before they are encouraged to be engineers. It doesn’t necessarily come from a place of malice. I just think it’s not directly encouraged.

There are so few role models and seeing a woman in the studio behind the desk is so rare (I have been given the tea orders more than once when I have been behind the desk!). It’s usually men who are featured and photographed in the industry magazines.

Although, there is a definite desire to change this which I’ve noticed especially within the Music Producers Guild – of which I am a full member (and for sure, there’s not that many women members yet: but we hope to change this!)".

As you will hear form the interview below - from 08:24, then, a minute later - Deakin Davies talks about her musical'/producing teaching - and why it is important to keep learning:

This morning, at around 9:30; she spoke with BBC Three Counties (about forty-five minutes in) to discuss the issue of women in the studio – and what can be done to tackle the problem. It is, literally, the freshest argument I can bring in so seems, as I give you a guide to the great female producers around, a perfect place to end...



Catherine Marks

Website: http://www.catherinejmarks.com/

Location: London, U.K.


Having worked closely with legendary producers Alan Moulder and Flood in the past, she now has over 10 years of experience working in studios all over the world. Her production, mixing and engineering credits include Wolf Alice, Sunset Sons,  Foals,  Alex Winston,  PJ Harvey, Champs, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes, Howling Bells, Kanye West, Ian Brown, MIA, Placebo, Ride, Killers and Mr Hudson.Collaborating with new bands and established artists alike, Catherine is always endeavouring to get the best out of those she works with. Completely in tune with the mechanics of the studio environment, Catherine is calm, devoted and passionate about each project she works on making the artists feel relaxed and positive about creating and experimenting in the studio”.

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM44gjbavfM


Crystal Caines

Website: https://twitter.com/CrystalCaines

Location: Harlem, U.S.A.

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fin6ZBVY3MA


PHOTO CREDIT: Cassy Paris Bellanova Photography

Lauren Deakin Davies

Website: http://www.laurendeakindavies.com/

Location: Hertfordshire, U.K.


I honestly don't think I could've made Songbirds without Lauren.  Her openness and willingness to try things differently meant that we created a very unique sound.  A very  unusual mix of quiet confidence with a youthful/fresh perspective makes her a particularly strong producer to work with”- Kate Dimbleby (four plays on BBC Radio 2 and four on BBC 6 Music)

“Lauren's relaxed and friendly personality brought out the best in all of the guests at the recent London Red Bull #Normal Not Novelty workshop she ran. She tailored the content to make sure that everyone would learn something useful, and she asked all the right questions of the guests to get them engaged and involved. Lauren is extremely talented in many areas, and she used her many skills to give guests invaluable information - thanks for speaking at Normal Not Novelty Lauren!’ - Katie Tavini (Mastering Engineer/Host at Red Bull Studios).

"Lauren came to our music collective in Bristol to deliver a workshop about production and recording in a home studio environment. She kept the group engaged from start to finish and many of the participants commented on how much she covered in a short space of time. Lauren is able to bring a great range of information together in a way that is accessible, easy to understand and well pitched to the group in front of her. What she delivers is hands on and practical as well as technically informative. We are looking forward to working with her again soon" - Anna Kissell, Bare Bones Collective.


Caroline Polachek

Website: https://twitter.com/carolineplz?lang=en

Location: Brooklyn, U.S.A.


Do you imagine that people will recognize you more as a producer now?

My hope is that people will sort of realize that I’ve been in there the whole time. And also that it might make people look at what I do next a little bit differently”.

Source: https://thecreativeindependent.com/people/caroline-polachek-on-making-work-thats-useful/

Cooly G.jpg


Cooly G

Website: https://soundcloud.com/coolyg

Location: London, U.K.


At what point did your love of music turn into a desire to make it? 

The first time I felt like wanted to make something for real was when I was DJ-ing when I was around 7 or 8 years old. When I first mixed a tune properly together and I heard something else from that track I thought, oh my god, that could be another track. I didn't know you could actually produce tracks, I didn't even know how people made tracks really. I didn't know that I could have a computer in my house, and a keyboard, and the software, and just make beats. So when I got the chance to go into the studio, that's when I started to make tunes. I wasn't taught anything. I just learned everything myself”.

Source: http://www.thefader.com/2014/10/28/beat-construction-cooly-g-interview


Sydney Blu

Website: https://soundcloud.com/sydneyblu

Location: Toronto, Canada


I taught myself to write music over along period of time, I took private classes, went to audio engineering school, took piano lessons, and took online courses. I consistently try to get better and I do my best.” Sydney believes one of the most challenging aspects of a producing career is uncertainty. “Being a DJ is an emotional roller coaster. A lot of women like stability. It's a lot of work and you need to put your life into it if you want to be successful at it.”

Source: http://edm.com/articles/2014/11/25/five-women-producers




Location: Vancouver, Canada

Website: http://www.grimesmusic.com/


There is no conversation about female producers in 2016 without ecstatic mention of Claire Boucher — the singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist behind some of contemporary music's most exciting compositions. Boucher's 2012 breakout record Visionscollected ambient, dance, electronic, and pop influences to concoct bubblegum cyborg melodies. Nearly four years later, Boucher broke from the synth-pop sound she made so popular and gifted the world with Art Angels, an audacious and experimental album for which she learned guitar (her hero Dolly Parton's "Jolene" chords specifically), drums, ukulele, and violin to create. This excellently nerdy interview with Future Music magazine touches on all of her production preferences, from Ableton software for vocals to her data-rich files”.

Source: https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/qv8ymw/8-female-producers-behind-todays-most-innovative-sounds



Location: London, U.K.

Website: https://www.weareshura.com/


That questing tendency feeds into how the English singer creates music, including her much-anticipated debut album Nothing's Real (out July 8, via Polydor): "I just want to go on a fucking cool adventure. I want to explore my boundaries, I want to push myself and go right to the edge of what I am capable of. I don't want to ever be comfortable." Nothing's Real takes the listener on a sonic journey that ranges from highly produced, Madonna-like pop ballads to hazy, experimental tracks recorded on old-school tape decks. It's a 13-track soundscape that, when listened to in its entirety, proposes questions and sparks discussion about fear, identity, love, and loss”.

Source: http://www.elle.com/culture/music/interviews/a37713/shura-interview/



Location: Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Website: https://tokimonsta.com/

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0pAV5Fz48E


PHOTO CREDIT: Jasmine Safaeian 


Location: Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Website: https://twitter.com/hanatruly


What made you decide to close that chapter of your career and start recording your songs yourself?

About two years ago, I met Mike [Blood Diamonds], and he kind of made me stop and think about everything. He was like, "So you just go out on the road, endlessly? Do you want to do this forever? Is your music where you want it to be?" And it got me thinking, Well, no. It's not. I would never sit and listen to my own music, which I think is kind of a sad point to be at. So I took a break, sold my van, and basically my goal was to learn how to produce. To get my music to the point where it feels like me, recorded. That's kind of the point where I'm at right now: I'm making music that I really, really love. It's completely my own writing, no other co-writes. And I think that's why this stuff is so special to me: because it's 100% mine. I'm singing exactly what I want to sing on top of music that I made that I'm super proud of.

How would you describe the production aesthetic you’re going for?

I'm almost trying to take away the production. My previous stuff was very, very produced. Because I have been writing songs that mean a lot to me, I want the lyrics and the melody to be what shine. And I've definitely not mastered production, but at the same time, I feel really confident in what I can do. I used to write with my guitar, which I still do sometimes. But now I'm writing more with piano and over tracks I've done in Ableton”.

Source: http://www.thefader.com/2015/07/30/hana-grimes-interview


Gina Turner

Location: New York, U.S.A.

Website: https://soundcloud.com/djginaturner


Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up in a time when New York had legendary places open, like Sound Factory and Shelter. I quickly fell in love with house music and began to buy vinyl and play around. However, I was always geared to be more of a radio DJ. So becoming a club DJ happened organically in college when I was studying audio production and radio broadcasting.” With several releases planned for the upcoming year, Gina stays true to her identity. “I’m still finding myself everyday”.

Source: http://edm.com/articles/2014/11/25/five-women-producers



Website: https://www.facebook.com/ohronikagirl/

Location: Nottingham, U.K.


How did you get into production?

RS: I started getting interested as soon as I started listening to electronic music and hip-hop as a teenager - tunes where the production was just as important as the performers, if not more so. I'd listen to things on Warp like Squarepusher or Black Dog and wonder; how are they making that? How do you even do that with a drum machine? So, out of curiosity, I started to go to a studio in Notts to get learning. I'd already decided that it was important for me to be involved in all aspects of music making, that the beats and recordings were just as important as the songs themselves for me.

Was there a Eureka moment, where you realised you could actually do this?

RS: I'm still waiting for that! It's been a massive long journey for me and I'm still learning. With technology you're always learning because it's always changing. Making interesting music is always going to feel like a challenge. I don't think it should feel easy.

Did being female hinder your progress?

RS: When I was growing up, there really wasn't that many female producers I could be inspired by, and I didn't know why it was so male-dominated. There was a massive imbalance in my role models, and I felt that needed to change. And it has over the last few years. There's loads more of us now, which is great. But it was important to me to make sure that there was a solo female name on some of the production credits.

A lot of people in your shoes might have been happy to pass the hard work onto someone else.

RS: And I sometimes wish I'd done that, taken the easier route. There were definitely some big opportunities to work with important industry people, who wanted to take the production off my hands, that I've passed up along the way. But I didn't want to do that

Source: http://thequietus.com/articles/15908-ronika-interview-selectadisc


Emily Reo

Website: https://www.facebook.com/emilyreomusic/

Location: Brooklyn, U.S.A.


AF: Now you’re branching into producing other artists’ songs, like Yohuna’s excellent “Para True”. How did that collaboration come about, and is that a role you’d like to take on more in the future?

ER: After I finished recording Olive Juice, I started using midi to create sketches for future songs. In the process, I got really interested in making beats and learned more about production. When my good friend Johanne (Yohuna) asked me last year if I would add a beat to her song “Badges” I was so excited. Next I added a beat for “Para True” as well as mixing the track, which was a first for me and a great learning experience. I definitely see us working together more in the future, it’s something we’ve talked about for a really long time and we’ve sent things back and forth to each other for a few years now without much follow through. Her songs are indescribably gorgeous and it’s so rewarding to contribute something that can take them to the next level”.

Source: http://www.audiofemme.com/interview-emily-reo-basilica-soundscape/



Website: https://twitter.com/WondaGurlBeats

Location: Ontario, Canada

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkfgjgBStFQ



Location: London, U.K.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/thisiskito/


Q. Your music style has many diverse reaches that makes it hard to place it in one genre. How would you classify your music and do you have further intentions of experimenting even more?

Q. Leave us some inspirational words

I have all intentions to continue experimenting! I like that people find it hard to classify my music although I do wish I found it easier to describe it in interviews.. I think I’ll always be making electronic music. What I do with Reija I would almost call a pop project – it’s just influenced by a lot of underground electronic music and also R&B and hiphop.

Q. Any upcoming projects before the end of the year?

I can’t actually believe we’re talking end of the year already.. That always happens! It always creeps up on you! September is studio month and then I’m doing an Australasian tour with Reija Lee for the whole of October. Then the Mad Decent Boat Party is in November, which is going to be mental. And besides that I’ll just be in the studio, as usual!

Q. Which artists have really inspired you throughout 2014?

I’ve been really inspired by the stuff SOPHIE has been doing this year. Also Redhino’s new album sounds amazing.

Q. Which artists would you like to collaborate with in the near future?

I’d love to work with Lido, The Dream and Switch!

Q. Leave us with some inspirational words..

My words of advice to anyone out there aspiring to be a music producer or artist: go as far as you can without signing a contract with anyone. Be as free and in control of your project as you can be! And never stop raving - go get wasted in a club and remember why you wanted to do this in the first place. I need to take my own advice more often.”

Source: http://www.scorpiojin.com/kito-interview


Nina Kraviz

Location: Russia/U.S.A./Worldwide

Website: https://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/ninakraviz

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gUmFJUpWvc


IN THIS PHOTO: Abra/PHOTO CREDIT: Alex Cretey-Systermans  


Location: Atlanta, U.S.A.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/darkwaveduchess/


Today, Abra is essentially self-sufficient: she writes and produces all of her music, though the closet in her parents’ house — where she used to record her earliest brushes with melancholic soul music — is now a thing of the past. Her new “studio” isn’t exactly more sophisticated: it’s a laundry hamper with a laptop and USB mic, located in the bedroom of her own Midtown Atlanta apartment. The rugged setup is as much a statement about accessibility as it is simply a comfort zone. “Production and recording yourself can seem like a monolith,” she says. “ [But] you don’t have to have all this crazy stuff to make cool music.

Source: http://www.thefader.com/2016/07/27/abra-princess-awful-records-interview



Location: London, U.K.

Website: http://nervomusic.com/


The Nocturnal Times: Did your upbringing influence your decision to pursue music and did you always know you wanted to work together?

NERVO: We have always had a passion for music and it was solidified at an early age when we learned to play the piano. From teenagers onwards though we started going to music festivals seeing the performers play was a great inspiration as well.  We will never forget seeing prodigy live and deciding right there that we wanted to be part of this.  Working together was a natural move for us as we have similar tastes, love to be together and are each other’s biggest supporters.

The Nocturnal Times: At what point did you realize you wanted to make the shift over from songwriters and producers to singers and producers of your own material?

NERVO: Well, we got our big break as songwriters and after our song for David Guetta and Kelly Rowland on “When Love Takes Over” won a Grammy, and we needed other challenges. Plus we had so many ideas and a lot of music on our hard drive so it just made sense to put it out ourselves, as NERVO.

Source: http://www.thenocturnaltimes.com/the-nocturnal-times-exclusive-interview-nervo/


PHOTO CREDIT: Robbie Lawrence

Fatima Al Qadiri

Location: New York, U.S.A.

Website: http://fatimaalqadiri.com/


I've been consciously and unconsciously writing an internal soundtrack for that car journey ever since, attempting to capture the range of emotions I felt. Something about Gregorian chant and 8-bit video game choirs converged in me in that moment. An epiphany that the human choir is the greatest sound on earth, and all its manifestations—real, artificial, and distorted—are all equally beautiful, illuminating every edge of our past and current realities. A fragile reality that could be extinguished at any moment. In the years that followed, I’ve attempted to recreate choral music, using an array of virtual instrument choir pads or my own voice. For during that car journey out of Hell, my grandmother's spell was finally broken. My love of music was fully restored”.

Source: http://www.thefader.com/2016/03/17/fatima-al-qadiri-personal-history-brute



Location: Detroit, U.S.A.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/unmagda


Could you describe your creative process – how do you usually go about making a track?

It really depends on my mood. One day I might make something fast and busy and another day I might just work with one sound. Usually though, I come into the studio with a basic idea and start messing around with gear. Once I have a sequence or sound I like, I’ll jam for a while and record everything. Once I have all the parts recorded this way, I edit them down to make a track. I also like using found sounds and run them through various effects. This adds a certain richness that I like”.

Source: https://aiaiai.dk/blog/interview-magda