No Girls Allowed- The Boys Club of the Music Industry.

As a woman you have to explain every single move you make. You were assaulted? Well what were you wearing? He hit you? Why didn’t you just leave then? You don’t want children? Won’t you be unfulfilled? You slept with how many people? Don’t you think that’s a little whore-ish? In the music industry they are all the more scrutinized. When Miley Cyrus released Wrecking Ball Sinéad O’Conner took to her personal blog to express her concern, “I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying f*** about you. They’re there for the money … we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.” To which the embattled pop star responded via social media with a screen grab of O’Conner’s Twitter feed in 2012 where the Irish performer is seeking psychiatric care.

Tanya Rad, of On Air with Ryan Seacrest works with many women and many stars and frequently posts photos with them on her personal Instagram using the hashtag ’empowered women, empower women.’ A mantra I have personally adopted. The music industry, the entertainment industry more accurately, however is a little less progressed. Male artists with large female followings are notoriously written off as some how less than. But why? Why is having me, an educated, young female as a fan a negative? And why is it that I am expected to be a fan of Arianna Grande and Demi Lovato but when I say I know every word to 85% of Eminem’s discography people think I’m kidding. Why is the fact that I host a pop-punk format radio show some how laughable?

As the traditional music industry is collapsing it’s becoming more realistic for women to be able to create and own their ideas, but it’s still a boys club. Women who hang out with artists are groupies while men must be involved in the industry. If I had a dime for every time an assistant, publicist, stylist or make up artist or any other female involved with a male artist’s career, got trashed in the tabloids and on social media as the “new fling” or “rumored girlfriend” I’d be able to pay off my student loans in a snap. While male artists have no privacy, females involved with them and female artists themselves have no self. Halsey has said it a thousand times, critiqued magazines and other interviews for naming the male artists she’s connected to before they name her, the person being interviewed. She becomes the act associated with Twenty One Pilots and Justin Bieber, hanging out with Matty of the 1975 and posing with Michael and Luke from 5 Seconds of Summer, instead of the artist who could, in my opinion, lead the next Riot Grrrl movement.

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called ‘The Punk Singer.’  The film was all about Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill a feminist motivated, 90% female, punk band from the time of Hole and Nirvana.  Angry, smart females took up arms in the form of music and literature and thus formed the Riot Grrrl movement, fronted by bands like Bikini Kill. In an early zine released from the movement they explained the reasoning behind it “because I believe with my wholeheartmindbody [sic] that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will, change the world for real.”  And if we taught girls that instead of creating and sometimes encouraging the growing behavior of objectifying yourself before someone else can then girls absolutely would change the world for real.

While male artists joke and are written with ‘devilish grins’ in magazine articles as they divulge the secrets of post show antics with multiple girls a night, Taylor Swift is called a slut for her dating habits. Calum Hood of 5 Seconds of Summer gained infamy and publicity for his band when a snapchat video of him fully exposed, which he’d taken himself, leaked but Jennifer Lawrence and Vanessa Hudgens? They should not have ever taken photos like that and what were they thinking!? We need more Kathleen Hanna’s, we need to stop making women in music second class citizens, my gender has nothing to do with my value as a fan or as an artist. We need to stop allowing the music industry to pimp out female artists only to slut shame them for what they’ve been asked to do. And we need to stop applauding the objectification of women in the media, in the songs we hear on the radio and in the interviews done with our favorite bands. I am a well versed music junkie and if the opportunity presented itself you can bet I would gladly be the name next to Harry Styles’ in the headlines, but I am also smart, and driven, and plan on making my name as known as anyone else’s in this industry and I won’t compromise for that because I am a female. I shouldn’t have to, and we shouldn’t be asking that. Women in this industry, at all levels, in all facets are incredibly smart and strong and talented. There is so much more to talk about with us than bust sizes and who’s slept with who. It’s nearly 2016 and it’s time for a real change.

[Image from The Odyssey Online]

Song of the Week: Unhinged- Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas FINALLY released his follow up to his self- titled 2015 release and let me tell you it is a doozy! Raw, real and deserving of ANY iota of praise it is getting. I chose Unhinged for SOTW for a very specific reason, one that will be explained more in depth in Wednesday’s post, so stay tuned and be sure to check out Last Year Was Complicated ASAP!

[Image From Nick Jonas VEVO]

#FreeKesha: An Update and a Saddening Double Standard

I love the entertainment industry. I have spent my entire life planning on being involved in it, whether that was as the next Mimi in the RENT remake I’m still hoping will happen in my lifetime, striving for a career like Giuliana Rancic’s, or spending my weekends planning publicity releases for local artists in Iowa as I’m working with my first label. This arena is the only one I’ve wanted to work in. But today, I’m heartsick and a little disgusted by the industry I’ve spent my life in a love affair with.

Months ago I brought you information about Kesha’s legal battle with her label Sony and her producer Dr. Luke, this past week a judge ruled that Kesha cannot get out of her contract and must continue working with Dr. Luke to fulfill said contract, providing Sony 6 more albums. I’m so disappointed in this ruling, and the implications for victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. However, I believe that mass media has done it’s part to cover this story and the reactions of the entertainment community, in articles like this one, this one and this one.

This post however will be my reaction specifically to the behavior of fans surrounding Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift’s responses to the verdict and the situation at hand.

demi-lovato-taylor-swift-donation

Demi Lovato has been incredibly vocal on issues like the ones surrounding the Kesha case. Taylor Swift on the other hand opted for a more silent approach, donating 250K to Kesha’s cause, which prompted an unprecedented wave of definitions of feminism, determined solely by how Taylor Swift supports Kesha and how Demi does not. And rather than ramble on for 500 more words let me get to my point. This issue, Kesha’s assault and the legal case surrounding it, is not Taylor Swift or Demi Lovato’s platform to decide what a “real” feminist is. This is not an arena for fans of one or the other to decide what the “right” support for Kesha looks like. This is not the time to pit woman against woman in the most cliched ways.

This is not about any one besides Kesha. This is about the fact that Chris Brown beat Rihanna, and the entire world knew about it and his career has not suffered. This is about the fact that Kesha, a young woman who was likely taken advantage of by a male in an authority position, having her livelihood stripped away and her reputation pummeled in the press as this trial wages on. This is about the ugly double standard that we’re all coming face to face with. This is NOT yours, mine or ours to make about our political or personal definitions of feminism, support or righteousness, and the sooner we figure that out, the sooner we as human beings capable of compassion and empathy can come together and find a way to support victims of assault; to hold perpetrators of crime accountable for their actions.

I stand with Kesha because this isn’t about who can write the biggest check. This is about power used to take advantage vulnerable women trying to make it in a historically male dominated industry.

 

 

“B**** Is An Endearing Term” [Explicit Content]

Yes, you read that title correctly. That would be the excuse mr. Kanye West gave for why his Taylor Swift lyric in new song ‘Famous’ is not a diss at all. After releasing the name of his forthcoming album (for the third time) Kanye graced the ears of all the world with Famous, which includes the lyric ‘I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.’ Which, unsurprisingly was met with a lot of negative reactions. T. Swizzle’s brother Austin taped himself throwing away his Yeezy’s, and several members of Taylor Swifts girl squad made their opinions known as well. Even Katy Perry is being reported as calling the lyric ‘low class.’ So, Yeezus has done what he seems to do best; go on a Twitter rant in which he explained that, 1. he’s an artist so he gets to do what he wants. 2. Kim said it was okay, okay?! 3. It was Taylor’s idea…. obviously. and of course, 4. “Bitch is an endearing term in hip hop….”

Kanye, Kanye, Kanye what are we going to do with you? No comment as of the time of this writing from Taylor herself, who knows maybe it is all her idea and this is her hype up for a Grammy’s knock out [update, there was a knock out and I hope Kanye is icing those burns, check out Taylor’s acceptance speech for Album of the Year here.] Either way, with everyone around her reacting so negatively it’s hard to believe Kanye’s story. We’ll wait for Queen Swifty to respond, or to throw her own jabs on stage as she has done so well in the past.

[Image from Billboard.com via Kanye West Twitter]

And the Grammy Goes To…

The 2016 Grammy nominee’s were released on Monday, December 7 bright and early. In a somewhat surprising turn of events it is not Taylor Swift leading the nominations but her Bad Blood collaborator Kendrick Lamar with 11 nominations. Swift and The Weeknd come in tied at 7. Best New Artist will be a tight category with Sam Hunt, Meghan Trainer, Tori Kelly, James Bay and Courtney Barnett going head to head. Uptown Funk, Blank Space, Can’t Feel My Face and Thinking Out Loud are the top 40 songs up for record of the year, as usual pitting BFF’s Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran head to head in the same category.

But, in order to make this post make sense for a New Music Friday post I have to talk about Kehlani. The 20 year-old is up for Best Urban-Contemporary Album alongside The Weeknd with Beauty Behind the Madness and Miguel’s Wild Heart with her album You Should Be Here. Kehlani Parrish, signed to Atlantic Records (with a deal to release projects on her own Tsunami Mob label) is an American Singer Songwriter from Oakland, California. Her album You Should Be Here was released in April, around the time of her 20th birthday. The New Music Friday song for this week comes from her Grammy Nominated album, this is The Letter. Check out the rest of the album right here. The Grammy’s will air on February 15, 2016!

[Photo from CBS This Morning Twitter via ETOnline]

[P.S. There will not be any Song of the Week or Wednesday post next week. I am in finals week at school but I will be back with a new music track for you on the 18th!]

Adele Not Streaming 25

We know the music business is changing. But Adele (and Taylor Swift) picking and choosing where they will stream their music (Apple Music for Swift, Pandora for Adele) is not an upcoming trend as some may think. For Adele, keeping her music off these more mainstream streaming sites was a strategy that paid off tenfold, according the The Motley Fool article “Adele’s “25” Isn’t on Spotify or Apple Music– Here’s Why It Doesn’t Matter.” by Daniel B. Kline. Adele outsold Taylor Swift and beat a record set by N’Synch more almost 16 years ago. Kline (and I) theorizes that withholding her album from streaming sites (excluding Pandora which operates slightly differently) pushed her sales to record heights.

Adele and Taylor Swift are still moving albums, other artists are not, plus streaming sites are really best put to use in the case of smaller artists who are gaining notice, and a jump in ticket sales and overall interest. Thus artists like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Adele, who have all withheld albums from streaming are not creating a trend. Neither album sales not streaming are going to top one another. It’s just not happening, both are necessary- album sales act (still) as revenue and streaming is promotion. If we could find a way in the industry to have these work in tandem then there may be a bigger change but as of right now both sides of the fence have points and are ‘right.’ Streaming services need to pay artists fairly, and artists need to look at the benefits of streaming (especially for smaller acts.)

Whether or not Adele eventually allows Spotify or Apple Music to stream 25 the outcome is the same. Not streaming would have to become the norm to make a real dent, and that won’t happen because for most artists streaming, though not necessarily the most rewarding income wise drives up exposure leading to more sponsorships, more attention socially and thus a better chance of building a successful career.

[Image from Spotify]

New Music Friday: Hell No’s and Headphones- Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld broke onto the music scene in Pitch Perfect 2. She then released Love Myself which is a high quality girl power anthem if I do say so myself. And now, after a fair amount of anticipation her first EP entitled Haiz has hit the web and we can put it in our ears and be all the happier because of it. (Was that weird? That was weird. I don’t even care, it’s that good. So good I’m willing to embarrass myself on the internet).

It’s a 4 song EP which includes Love Myself, You’re Such A, Rock Bottom and this week’s New Music song Hell No’s and Headphones. It’s a great entrance for her and definitely something that she can grow from into a full length album when that time comes. I saw some people who were questioning her strength as an artist and even more so as a performer, I for one am hopeful that she’ll gain some confidence with the reception of this EP and be the breakout hit I think she really could be. Plus, Taylor Swift is already backing her and that is not a bad way to start out!

This is Hell No’s and Headphones. I’ll meet you back here on Monday!

[Photo from Hailee Steinfeld Spotify]