I think one of the most frustrating things about being an independent female musician is that you can get misrepresented, and some will try to put you into a box without really knowing anything about you, what you are about or where you’ve come from.
I have always found it confusing that when male solo artists tour with a male band, that it isn’t assumed they are a boy band, but when I tour with a female line up, people infer we are actually a girl band. Don’t get me wrong, we are a girl band… in the same way that 50 Cent and his touring comrades are a boy band - well there are major differences too. I’d take a bullet for most of the people I’ve toured with. That’s why I formed a collective, because it means no one gets left behind.
Also, many will dig deeper - but others will assume success is because you have “big money” behind your project, but that’s good because it shows that you have been resourceful with what you had. Recording my debut album I worked six jobs and when it hit the charts I lost everything through the closure of PledgeMusic. My cards defaulted buying food that week and it took a long time to recover. Yes it sucked, but I paid it off thanks to Team Razors on going support and now I’ve even broken even, with thanks to GRIT. I don’t mean the album, I mean GRIT, the concept of getting back up when you fall. It is everything in this industry and the message of my latest record.
Sometimes people will downplay huge achievements while knowing that they fully deserve their merits, or worse not realising the impact of their actions on the whole extended artist crew or that those achievements offer a lot and potential growth or in the less concrete sense, hope to many people and projects, not just the one in question.
As an independent, you have to realise that statements about you come from a place of interpretation - an assumption or even directly from incorrect information - but when it’s wrong, it’s not a required part of your role to change how someone views you as a person. You are a musician. You make music. That’s the best use of your energy.
You just have to rise above, believe in yourself, believe everyone is capable of being their best self and give them the opportunity to show it. After all, they don’t always know the facts, don’t know where you’ve been and they don’t understand who you are or what you are capable of. The people who do are already with you, and you will find them when you look and open your heart and travel, tour and connect.
Music is a healing force, but the industry itself is damaged. Session musicians, like writers, struggle for fair renumeration in an industry that is obsessed with fads over the cultivation of the grass roots talent sector - the vibrant scene that has been bypassed by generation upon generation of major label corporations that could have nurtured it. Meanwhile, those same corporate entities are stealing content from the grassroots, all that hard work at ground level to create, inspire and challenge.
The industry is nothing more than a #brokenrecord but it doesn’t mean that we won’t keep playing it. If nothing else, our relentless existence, and the emergence of independent labels like Criminal Records, shows the big guns that they have to keep watching that dial. We aren’t going away. We’re unified in independence, we’re the generation the industry forgot and we have nothing to lose. But suddenly we aren’t losing, we are winning. I say it now just as loud as ever - if industry isn’t careful, the new wave of independents rising right now are going to overthrow them and re-write their whole system from scratch. In fact, we are already doing it.
True change doesn’t come from infighting - it comes from a unified scene. Stepping back, questioning the assumptions and identifying the barriers holding the grassroots down, working together and believing in our heart of hearts that the change is coming.