WHO RUN THE WORLD? HOW TO SUPPORT THE TRAILBLAZING WOMEN IN AUSTRALIAN MUSIC

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To celebrate Women’s History Month this March, AUD’$ Guest Contributor Mabelle Hanna caught up with a handful of trailblazing women and femme-identifying artists. Read on as they discuss the importance of respectfully showing up for, listening to and celebrating the contributions of women in our society and culture – specifically within the Australian music space!

As today’s women in music continue to lead the way forward through their creative expression, it’s imperative that we collectively amplify their voices and foster safe, comfortable spaces year-round. On International Women’s Day (March 8th), we spoke to artists who are actively using their music as a powerful tool to bring light to social challenges, uplifting other women and acting as a driving force to empower future generations of young girls and femme-identifying individuals. 

Mabelle Hanna is the founder of Corre Digital, a Melbourne-based women-led agency that specialises in brand strategy, digital marketing, artist management and PR. With clients across Australia, USA, UK and Canada, Corre Digital aims to provide business owners, artists and their teams with resources and tailored strategies to develop and sustain longevity within their brand. 

MAINA DOE

My name is Maina Doe, an alt-R&B artist from Sydney Australia.

What does it mean to be a woman in music today?

I think being a woman in music today means taking up space and doing whatever you feel like doing and ignoring the naggy, self-deprecating voice of a wounded feminine in your brain telling you that you are undeserving. It also means letting men think you’re dumb if that’s how they see you and using that to your advantage. It also means supporting women in music in a real, everyday practical way like mentioning their names in important rooms, not just reposting people’s work and calling it a day. It also means working to make sure that your spiritual, metaphorical d**k is bigger than any man’s ego – respectfully.

At what moment in your career have you felt most unapologetically empowered in your definition of womanhood? 

I feel really empowered, generally speaking, when I’m able to continually choose my judgement and gut over the sometimes-loud voices of influential men in the industry.

Dream collaboration with 2 or 3 femme-identifying artists:

Tia Corine, Rosalia & Billymaree.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Embracing Equity’. The term equity recognises that each person has unique circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. 

With this theme in mind, how can we – both as supporters and fellow industry members – better show up for and support women in the Australian music scene?

This is a big question. Despite the evident abundance of support I see women have for each other within the industry, I do think we gotta be more practical and fearless in the way we create opportunities for other women. We gotta drop women’s names in important rooms. We gotta pay women a fair wage for the creative input and work. We gotta credit women for their contributions in every way we can. This is all stuff that will actually feed the right machine instead of superficially oiling it from time to time. In terms of equity – on a more direct, ground level – I think cis and non-WOC women in the industry have to think about how they create opportunities and share space with women who are socially othered. We all know there’s big intersectional factors at play that disadvantage some women more than others, but as individuals, the more we have power and influence, the more we should be sharing the spotlight and contributing to the creation of opportunities for other women. 

SOPHIYA 

I go by the name of Sophiya and I’m a bilingual, gender fluid artist living in Sydney/Eora.

What does it mean to be a woman in music today?

Being a femme creative makes me feel powerful and magical, kind of like a dominatrix with a sprinkle of pixie dust. Shout out to all the female/femme identifying producers, DJ’s, dancers, designers, directors, HMUAs and stylists!

At what moment in your career have you felt most unapologetically empowered in your definition of womanhood? 

When I started to notice recently that my body was changing and becoming more “womanly”- I chose to embrace my curves and dress for my body shape. I hadn’t worn makeup, a skirt or heels in about 7 years… Stepping into an unapologetic and empowered version of me through creative expression, has pushed my own boundaries of womanhood.

Dream collaboration with 2 or 3 femme-identifying artists:

Coucou Chloe, Zheani & Madonna.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Embracing Equity’. The term equity recognizes that each person has unique circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. 

With this theme in mind, how can we – both as supporters and fellow industry members – better show up for and support women in the Australian music scene?

Women deserve to feel respected and understood. Don’t talk over them, let them finish, their ideas are iconic. It’s already hard enough being an artist, we’re sensitive and too often criticised. As female/femme creatives, we need to support one another and lead from the heart space. There’s a lane for everybody!

AKOSIA

My name is AKOSIA I am a songwriter, a poet and a shape-shifter. I believe in collaboration and pushing my artistic boundaries in multi dimensional ways.

What does it mean to be a woman in music today?

To be a woman is to be a dreamer and to defy the odds. It’s still a heavily male dominated space and there are so many of us creating phenomenal work which deserves to be showcased and amplified with the same energy that male artists get.

At what moment in your career have you felt most unapologetically empowered in your definition of womanhood? 

I’ve always felt unapologetically empowered within my womanhood. Being a Black woman means that I face challenges daily and this ironically inspires me to push back artistically with my words, my voice and my fashion. 

Dream collaboration with 2 or 3 femme-identifying artists:

Oooh shooting straight for the stars I’d love to work with Missy Elliot, Jazmine Sullivan and Kylie Minogue. All of these women are icons, giants in their own unique way and I’d learn so much from them!

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Embracing Equity’. The term equity recognizes that each person has unique circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. 

With this theme in mind, how can we – both as supporters and fellow industry members – better show up for and support women in the Australian music scene?

Come see us perform live, follow us on Spotify, buy our music and our merch.

CHANEL LOREN

I am a Chanel Loren – Black British singer songwriter with Caribbean descent, who resides in Sydney, Australia. I create music in the genres of alt R&B and Indie Soul.

What does it mean to be a woman in music today?

Being a woman in this industry has its ups and downs, but I am happy to be a voice for those who have been silenced. It means a lot to be a representation for young black girls.

At what moment in your career have you felt most unapologetically empowered in your definition of womanhood? 

In a male dominant industry, I feel empowered when I work with other females and build a community with other musicians, who understand and support me.

Dream collaboration with 2 or 3 femme-identifying artists:

Missy Elliot & Pania.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Embracing Equity’. The term equity recognizes that each person has unique circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. 

With this theme in mind, how can we – both as supporters and fellow industry members – better show up for and support women in the Australian music scene?

Stream our music, buy tickets to our shows. Share, comment and publicly support social media posts to help us reach a wider audience. Give local acts the same love and support you give to international acts.

LARA ANDALLO

​​Ayo I’m Lara Andallo, I’m an RnB/Pop artist from Sydney!​​

What does it mean to be a woman in music today?

​​To be a woman in the music industry means you definitely need to have resilience. We almost always have to work harder to be taken seriously or be treated with the same level of respect as men, in business and within our artistry too. Being a woman in this industry, it’s crucial to gain a deep understanding of who you are & your capabilities, because with the lack of support & push for POC females in particular, you have to remain confident & stand up for what you believe in artistically, to even have a chance to be able to progress and break barriers.

At what moment in your career have you felt most unapologetically empowered in your definition of womanhood? 

​​Conceptualising the visuals for my single  ‘What U Want’ from my debut EP DIAMONDS & DEJAVU, was such an empowering experience! The song itself is generally about how women are always perceived through the male gaze, or put in a box, but how we can be and are more than the one thing society labels us. ​​Getting a powerful group of diverse women together for the music video was such a beautifully empowering experience, to showcase our different sides & strengths as women, but also our bond & womanhood.

​​​​Dream collaboration with 2 or 3 femme-identifying artists:​​

​​Kehlani, ​​Tkay Maidza & Janet Jackson​​​​.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Embracing Equity’. The term equity recognizes that each person has unique circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. 

With this theme in mind, how can we – both as supporters and fellow industry members – better show up for and support women in the Australian music scene?

​​​​1. Listening & amplify female voices & needs.

2. More access to opportunities such as radio & festival slots for female acts.

3. ​​More females in executive positions within the industry.

This Women’s History Month, we implore you to consciously assess how you’re showing up for and supporting the women in your life, and within the Australian music scene, all year ‘round. Stream their music, buy tickets to their shows, rock their merch or simply use social media to ensure their voices are always heard! 

Are you an artist or entrepreneur looking to level up your brand strategy in 2023? Book a complimentary consultation with Mabelle here.

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