From the Outside: Women in EDM
In my last installment of “From the Outside”, I took on the perennial question of why EDM seems to be dominated by men. There’s no simple answer to that question, but the fact remains that men consistently get more attention, respect, and opportunities than women do in the world of electronic music. There’s no simple solution either, but I think an active role needs to be taken by all of us, from making efforts to book more female artists to writing about women succeeding in EDM (and not just “EDM’s Sexiest Ladies” or whatever; we all know those articles are bullshit). So this week, I’m taking my own advice and talking about some women who are making electronic music great right now.
The truth is, there are far too many women in EDM to discuss in a single article. It’s not that ladies aren’t out there doing just as much great stuff as the guys; it’s that they don’t get as many opportunities to succeed, and when they do, the press often doesn’t give them the attention they deserve. So this article is by no means a comprehensive guide. Instead, let it be an introduction and an inspiration to find out more about the ladies of EDM that you may not have heard of yet. (Paris Hilton still doesn’t count.)
Out of L.A. comes my first featured female artist, Ana Sia. She’s played major festivals like Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival, so she’s already well into a full-blown career, even though her first full-length compilation was released relatively recently, in 2012. Though she keeps a steady core of bass-heavy beats, her music is inspired by a range of genres, so you’ll never get bored with her tracks. Like many talented electronic artists, her style is hard to describe—she’s got a dark but fun vibe, influenced by hip-hop and other more mainstream genres of dance music. Curious? You should be. Check her out.
Canadian artist ill-esha is another name you may or may not have heard before. Carrying the impressive title of artist, producer, singer and DJ, she’s best-known for her work with glitch hop and dubstep, two genres which seem polarizing among fans of electronic music but which I personally love. Oh, and she sings and DJs at the same time! Her vocals along with her DJ talent gives her tracks a unique sense of raw emotion, from hopeful to darkly brooding. This is an artist at the forefront of defining just what electronic music, and music itself, is, with her groundbreaking approach to what are, let’s face it, groundbreaking genres.
It’s not just about the performers and artists, either. EDM has a lot of women working behind the scenes, such as at Gravitas, an Austin, Texas-based record label that has three female producers (plus they’ve got ill-esha on their artists list). In fact, there are more women behind the scenes in electronic music than there are on the stage: “the biggest agents and managers in EDM are women — there’s no shortage of women running things,” said Pasquale Rotella of Insomniac Events in an interview with USA Today.
Here at Sensible Reason, we have loads of female editors, photographers, and writers (including me!). Our manager/co-owner is a woman, as is our artist/media relations guru. So is the editor who suggested that I follow up my last post with a post celebrating women in EDM, and suggested the women featured here. We have a diverse and ever-growing team, and it’s exciting to work with so much female talent when the world of journalism and publishing has for so long been dominated by men.
So it’s not that there’s a lack of female talent or effort in the EDM world; it’s just that women aren’t always given the attention they deserve. But with so many women out there doing so much good for electronic music, we’re becoming hard to ignore. And why would you want to? Women now make up some of EDM’s top talent, both on the stage and off it.