Canadian Musician - May-June 2022 - Page 31

COLUMNS

The Challenge , Joy & Mission of a Woman in the Music Industry

By Colette Chand

Being a woman in the music industry , we face a lot of hurdles that make it difficult to move at the speed that we ’ d like to .

In a male-dominated industry , women are often being stereotyped or easily mistaken for either assistants , girlfriends , interns , or fresh faces when in fact a lot of us are the backbone to many of your favourite artists and have been here longer than most of the men in the room .
Some will agree that women get passed up on for opportunities because we ’ re considered “ emotional ,” but the flat-out fact is that there still is not enough women being put into professional positions . You often have to wonder if gender discrimination was at play here or was it merely due to a matter of qualifications ?
To be honest , the way I view the music industry is very different than the next woman . When I started out , I was welcomed by majority of the men around me who helped get me into positions that added value to my name and brand . I ’ m not saying I didn ’ t come across the one or two naysayers who tried to dim my light , because I did . Yes , the industry could be classified as a “ boys club ;” however , times are changing , and we are now seeing more women creating their own opportunities to shine without having to go through the hurdles myself and many others had to .
All things considered , I don ’ t believe that all men in the music industry are the cause of this issue , but more so the structure that has been built . Historically , men built the music industry before women were allowed to vote , and then went on to sign countless female ( and male ) musicians and singers to make billions of dollars off of them , but rarely ever let a female music industry professional into a position of actual power .
It ’ s sad , because women ( and men ) still face the same struggles now as we did then , and even since I first stepped into the music industry over a decade ago , little has changed in terms of gender equality when it comes to opportunities . The only difference is that now we ( women ) can create our own opportunities easier and there are more women in professional positions you can to look to for advice .
I started as a DJ and made my way to becoming an artist manager , all the while fully mentored by men . It was rare for me to see a woman who looked like me in the positions I wanted to be in . The fact that that many men were willing to mentor me and have my back goes to show that not all men are the problem in this industry .
However , there were instances from certain men in positions of power who at first doubted me when I was starting out , but I made sure that I knew what I was talking about and knew my craft with great detail , which helped me stand out and show people I wasn ’ t just all talk — I can actually DJ or manage an artist ’ s career . I made sure that I stayed up to date with every aspect of the industry and was always learning and asking questions . Staying curious and reminding myself not to take anything to heart .
The main advice I would give to women in the music industry is to always keep a good circle of people around you , from the friends you keep , the artists you manage , to family members . If the five people around you the most aren ’ t motivating you to do better on the regular , then it ’ s time to re-evaluate your circle — don ’ t let anyone take your joy or passion away .
As cliché as this is going to sound , us women must work twice , if not three times as hard . Always stay ready , ten toes down , and know your stuff . Keep pushing no matter what , especially when someone says no or closes the door on you . Don ’ t ever second guess yourself , let your light shine , and remember who you are and why you ’ re doing this in the first place . If something knocks you down , get up , adjust your crown , and carry on . Never doubt yourself .
Remember , when women are dedicated to a project or person , we tend to give our all no matter what the situation is . We ’ re able to put our pride aside a lot easier and get stuff done .
The best part about being a woman in this industry is being able to open doors for generations of women to come . It ’ s about supporting them , from attending their events , sharing it online , streaming their music , referring them for jobs – support them like you would support Beyoncé or Rihanna .
Colette Chand has worked in the music industry for over a decade and is the founder of 10 TH FLR , a conglomerate of artist managers , consultants , grant writers , social media content creators , and music lovers . With a “ for the artist , by the artist ” ethos , 10 TH FLR provides knowledge and services to assist artists with building their careers . www . 10thflr . com .
CANADIAN MUSICIAN 31