In a new guest blog feature, Angela from Maidstone-based, alternative band Grapefruit writes about what it means to take claim of being women in the music industry.
Sometimes I have mixed feelings about describing Grapefruit as a “female fronted band”. As someone who thinks of gender as a needless and suffocating concept, it can feel like we’re highlighting something irrelevant.
But, we can’t escape the fact that the music we create is intrinsically tied to and is product of our identities. And when that identity is female or femme or non-binary, I do think it’s important to highlight in an industry that continues to be dominated by cis-male identities.
You might not be fazed that our band is female-fronted but some young girl interested in the music magazines in the men’s section of the newsagents might be. Growing up I certainly clung to female-fronted bands; Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine was an idol; my girlfriend and our lead guitarist first picked up a guitar and spent hours learning and mastering it so she could play music like Kate Nash, PJ Harvey and Siouxsie Sioux did.
The point is that whilst inspiring female talent certainly exists in the industry, we’re still often the only female-featuring band on the setlist. We still have to assure some sound engineers that we know how to set up our own mic-stands, and have had to shrug it off when they make sex jokes whilst we’re focusing on getting the levels right. We still look at each other confused when we are compared to a bunch of (talented) bands we sound nothing alike except for that rare female voice.
Until it’s not so rare to see a woman in a band at your local pub, we’ll continue to proudly announce our female-ness and to get excited when we get to play alongside other female, femme, and non-binary musicians. It is our responsibility to make ourselves a space and to fill it to the point of overflow; your ownership of your identity and musical mastery is an important “fuck-you” to the “music has gotten too girly” types (thanks for the words of wisdom, Bono).
A massive thank you to Grapefruit for this piece. Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.