More Gender Amplified Performers and Speakers

Share This:

To prepare for the Gender Amplified Music Festival (this Saturday!), we are featuring a few of the event’s accomplished performers and speakers in an effort to get the word out about the advice, influence, and inspiration they have to offer young women interested in music production. In our last round of introductions (read the first three posts here, here, and here), we wish to highlight the diverse talents of three such music performers and producers.

Michele Darling is a sound designer, recording engineer, electronic musician, and educator in the field of music production. Her company Audio FX Lab is an online royalty-free sound effects library which provides audio content to sound designers worldwide. Michele composes and designs audio environments with composer Terry Golob under the name Aerostatic, and she is the founder and music producer of Girls Like Bass, a funk/house/electro performance collective based in NYC. Formerly an Associate Professor of Audio at Long Island University Brooklyn, Michele is currently the Director of Education at Dubspot. Michele will lead the workshop “Music Production and Composition for Moving Image in Children’s Media” at the festival.

Invincible, an emcee, activist, and music producer based in Detroit, is an artist dedicated to progressive social change. As a co-founder of EMERGENCE Media, they released their debut album ShapeShifters (2008), and produced accompanying videos that explore the topics of women in hip-hop and displacement and gentrification in Detroit. For the past decade Invincible has worked with Detroit Summer, a multi-racial, inter-generational collective in Detroit that facilitates youth leadership, creativity and collective action to change communities. They were also the co-coordinator and co-founder of the Detroit Future Youth network which supports social justice and media-based youth projects throughout the city. Invincible is currently working on Complex Movements, an interactive, multimedia, installation-based hip-hop collective exploring the relationship between complex sciences and social justice movements. Invincible will speak about their experiences during the panel discussion “Producing Music and Media, Producing Culture: Gender Justice and the Artist/Producer Relationship in Hip-Hop.” Follow Invincible on twitter @invincibleDET, and check out their music video “Sledgehammer,” here:

Maureen Mahon is an associate professor in the Department of Music at New York University. A cultural anthropologist, she teaches courses on the history of rock and roll, music and the construction of race, fieldwork methods, and African American women and music. She is the author of Right To Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and the Cultural Politics of Race, an inquiry into the ways African American rock musicians in the 1990s used music and activism to challenge prevailing ideas about black music and identity. Her articles on African-American cultural studies have appeared in academic venues such as American Ethnologist, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, as well as online at EbonyJet.com and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum website. She has received a 2013-14 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for her work on her research on the contribution of African American women such as Big Mama Thornton, the Shirelles, Tina Turner, Darlene Love, Betty Davis, and Labelle to rock. Her book on the subject, Beyond Brown Sugar: Voices of African American Women in Rock and Roll, 1953-1984, is under contract with Duke University Press. Maureen will join the discussion for the “Virginia C. Gildersleeve Panel: Exploring the Impact of Women in Music Production.”

More Contributors to Gender Amplified Music Festival

Share This:

BCRW has created several blog posts (read them here and here) introducing Gender Amplified Music Festival contributors, performers, and speakers. In this installation of introductions, we are happy to present five such contributors who will engage and educate festival attendees on topics related to the future of women in music production at the festival on September 28.

THEESatisfaction, composed of Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White, are Gender Amplified’s headlining performers. Stas was born and raised in Tacoma, Cat in Seattle and Hawaii. The pair met at the University of Washington and are currently based in Seattle. They write, produce and perform their own material: “funk-psychedelic feminista sci-fi epics with the warmth and depth of Black Jazz and Sunday morning soul, frosted with icy raps that evoke equal parts Elaine Brown, Ursula Rucker and Q-Tip.” THEESatisfaction was immediately embraced for their singular sound, unflinching commentary, and “immortal groove”; a combo of sharp digital hustle and self-booked, self-financed tours that connected them to like minds everywhere. THEESatisfaction came upon the scene with their self-released albums, the first of which was 2008’s That’s Weird. All has been in preparation for the album they’ve envisioned for years, their debut full-length on Sub Pop Records, awE NaturalE (check out the official music video for “Queens” above). Follow them on twitter @STASandCAT and check out their blog.

Ebonie Smith is a music producer, songwriter and entrepreneur based in New York City (check out her music video “Boy Named Ray” below). She is the founder and producer of Gender Amplified. While an undergraduate student at Barnard College, she began making beats for aspiring artists and establishing herself as an up-and-coming producer/engineer. Ebonie went on to discover new and interesting ways of merging her love for music production with a sincere desire to impact social consciousness through musical exploration and education. Ebonie currently works as an audio engineer and producer for Atlantic Records. She also owns and operates Eudora House, an independent, boutique music production and publishing company. Ebonie holds a master’s degree in Music Technology from New York University. Follow Ebonie on twitter @eboniesmith and check out her tumblr.

Brian K. Smith is Professor of Learning Technologies in the School of Education at Drexel University. His research involves the use of computation to support and augment human performance and learning, especially in contexts outside of formal education, as well as bringing creativity to the core of educational practices. Brian moved to Drexel after 3.5 years as Dean of Continuing Education at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD); he was a co-investigator of RISD’s “STEM to STEAM” initiative, an effort to introduce art and design thinking into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and research. Brian will be a contributing speaker for the Virginia C. Gildersleeve Panel: Exploring the Impact of Women in Music Production at the festival.

Kallie Marie is a music producer based in New York City. After spending high school and college enamored with rock & roll and recording technologies, she moved to England and earned her Masters in Music Production/ Composition from the Leeds College of Music. Kallie produces music for various artists such as Natalie Mishell, (e)motion Picture, as well as Ashley Hicklin and others. She produces her own band Explosives For Her Majesty (check out some of their music here). She works as a freelance composer for film, TV, and dance. Kallie also teaches Audio for Multimedia at New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Kallie will lead the “What is Sound?” workshop at Gender Amplified. Follow Kallie on twitter @DoomGolly.

Pri the Honeydark is an MC and music producer based in Queens, New York. She is the founder of The Female Producers Association, a networking organization for creative women worldwide. She is a member of the underground Hip Hop collective, The Anomolies. She also produces and licenses music for television, with some of her recent work featured on MTV. Pri will speak for the panel Producing Music and Media, Producing Culture: Gender Justice and the Artist/Producer Relationship in Hip-Hop. Follow her on twitter @prithehoneydark.

More Gender Amplified Contributors

Share This:

In less than two weeks, a bevy of speakers, artists, producers, and industry professionals will come together at Barnard College for the Gender Amplified Music Festival. The brainchild of Ebonie Smith, Gender Amplified seeks to provide a platform for the promotion and advancement of women in music production and identify and motivate the next generation of women music producers. On September 28, 2013, this mission will be activated through a day of free workshops, panels, and performances that connect women in music-making. This is the second installment of posts highlighting Gender Amplified contributors (see the first one here).

Genesis Be is the founder of entertainment company Open Sky Artworks, a radio personality, a graduate of NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, an activist, and one of three artists taking the stage at Gender Amplified. Raised in Mississippi, she discovered her penchant for writing and rapping at the age of 13, and has since recorded five projects. Genesis comes from a legacy of activism and has organized around various social justice issues since she was a young girl. Now focusing on her artistry and voice, Genesis continues to make change as a woman making and producing music. She currently resides in Brooklyn and just released her fifth studio album GENESEQUA this summer. Give her most recent single, “Tampons & Tylenol,” a play (above).

Barb Morrison is a New York-based  musician, songwriter, composer, and producer who has worked with numerous artists including Blondie, Rufus Wainwright, L.P., and The Cliks. Morrison started out pursuing a music career, touring with Sonic Youth, Hole, and Patti Smith among other musicians, but has since been involved in the production side of things. Her work has been featured in the Top 5 Billboard dance chart and includes film scores. Morrison will be speaking at Gender Amplified on the Virginia C. Gildersleeve Panel: Exploring the Impact of Women in Music Production.

Leading the Turntablism 101 workshop at the Festival is DJ Reborn, who has spun for clubs, concerts, museums, artists, and fashion houses all over the world. He DJ sets have provided dynamic soundscapes for clients including the Sydney Opera House, the Whitney Museum, Lauryn Hill, and Calvin Klein. The New York-via-Chicago DJ mentors and educates youth at Urban Word NYC, where she has created a space for young women to explore DJing and creative writing and critically reflect on images of women in media culture. DJ Reborn is also a lead instructor at Dubspot, New York’s premier DJing and music production school. Watch “DJ Reborn, DJ + Educator :: 120 Seconds,” below.

Check out Gender Amplified’s full schedule of events here!

Gender Amplified Speakers and Performers

Share This:

The Gender Amplified Music Festival is fast approaching, and we are thrilled to highlight a few of the talented and accomplished performers and contributors who will be entertaining, educating, and inspiring the festival’s attendees. The music festival is an event of the Gender Amplified movement which aims to celebrate women in music production, raise their visibility, and develop a pipeline for girls and young women to get involved behind the scenes as music producers. Today, we’re featuring three such contributors to the festival.

Alluxe, aka Laura Escudé, leads the movement in the contemporary electronic music and technology realms. A former award-winning concerto and symphony violinist, Laura produces “some of the most growling, banging and gritty electronic beats in the game” under her new monicker, Alluxe (check out her brand-new video, “Rytmus,” for her recently released “Nomad” EP above). She has done programming and designing shows for the likes of Kanye West, Jay Z, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Herbie Hancock, Cat Power, Bon Iver, Drake, Silversun Pickups, Garbage, Childish Gambino and M83. She’s also front-and-center in the world of music technology, becoming one the first internationally certified Ableton Live Trainers in 2008, and founding Electronic Creatives, an Ableton Certified Training Center. With Alluxe, Laura puts focus on her craft as a producer, composer and performer. Laura will perform her “big-room and cinematic” Alluxe sound at Gender Amplified. Follow her on twitter @alluxemusic.

Abhita Austin is the founder and chief creative officer of Hidden Chapel Studios on Long Island. With over 10 years of experience, the New York University’s Music Technology program alumna has worked with artists like Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot, and Common. In addition to her work at Hidden Chapel Studios, Abhita serves as the Technical Instructor for the Future Music Moguls program at the NYU Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music. Abhita will lead the workshop “Studio Ownership” on constructing a recording studio, creating a sustainable business model and working with some of biggest clients in the music business. Follow her on twitter @HiddenChapel and check out this mash-up of her studio’s work:

Erica Glyn is a New York City based artist/producer. She produces a “unique and intriguing sound, mixing elements of trip-hop, rocktronica and a splash of psychedelic rock” with her own vocals and lyrics. Erica “leans towards the unconventional,” and is compared to artists like Florence Welch and Fiona Apple. She has been featured by NYC-area magazines and blogs on the local music beat, like The Deli and Sonicscoop.com, and did an interview earlier this summer with Gender Amplified. STATIC, her latest release, was recorded and produced solely by Erica. Erica will lead the workshop “The Artist/Producer: Working on Both Sides of the Console,” which will discuss the journey from working as a singer/songwriter to producing for yourself and for other artists. Follow Erica on twitter @EricaGlyn and check out one of her latest music videos from STATIC:

Stay tuned for more updates and highlights on Gender Amplified!

Summer Updates

Share This:

The Gender Amplified Music Festival is a little over a month away on September 28! Check out these summer updates as things heat up:

Brooklyn Radio highlighted Gender Amplifed in June and asked founder Ebonie Smith to list her top 5 female music producers. As Ebonie remarks in the profile, “It’s difficult to list my favorite women in music production because there are so few of them who are well known!” Still, Ebonie goes beyond “Where are all the female music producers?” to showcase some incredibly talented women. While many are known primarily as musicians, Ebonie makes note of the technical skills that have also contributed to their success.

PolicyMic screenshot

Policy Mic joined in on the conversation with an article on Gender Amplified and the lack of women producers in the music industry. Editor Julianne Ross notes, “some of the few women who have made it in the industry say contributing factors include a lack of recognition for their achievements along with the perception that women are either not interested or simply incapable of the work required. The problem is exacerbated by frequent industry assumptions that … [misattribute] the production of an album to a man.”

Dina Tyson ’13 echoes Ross’ observations in her blog post, “To the Beat of My Own Drum: Why Gender Amplified Matters to Me.” Her own experience as a woman drummer has been that there is a common misconception that women are simply not interested in music or incapable of the skills that the industry requires. Dina’s post just one story about the need to support women to find their voice in this often male-dominated industry.

While focused on music, Gender Amplified also hopes to encourage a conversation about women’s participation in the STEM fields more widely, starting a discussion about industries of science, technology, engineering, and math through the lens of the art and science of music production. A recent segment of NPR’s All Things Considered mentions new research that demonstrates the power of role models: in communities where more women were in STEM careers, “girls were as likely as boys to take physics, or even more likely.”

If September 28 can’t come soon enough for you, we invite you to check out all the other great feminist music festivals happening this summer! We are also adding new workshops to the Gender Amplified schedule, with music industry professionals such as Abhita Austin, Future Music Moguls Production Instructor at NYU and Founder of Hidden Chapel Studios; Michele Darling, Director of Education at DubSpot; and Erica Glyn, a NYC-based singer, songwriter, and producer.

Finally, Gender Amplified successfully raised over $1,500 in our Indiegogo campaign earlier this summer. A big thanks goes out to everyone who has supported the movement, and to our great donors:

Anonymous
Joe Adams
Geri Armine-Klein
Sarah Cane
Elizabeth A Castelli
Taja Cheek
Caroline P Churchill
Talya Cooper
Cristina Crosby
Rebecca Eisenberg
Kim F. Hall
Satya Hinduja
Anne Jonas
Andrea Martin
Erin Mathews
David Mullins
Martín Perna
Jeane Reveendran
Martin Rozenblum
Kathryn Tobin

Mix Sessions: Erin Tonkon

Share This:

One of the goals of Gender Amplified is to generate exposure for young women producers who are on the verge of greatness. When I sent a mass email to the Clive Davis Institute (New York University) in search of female students interested in being a part of the Gender Amplified movement, it took Erin all of ten minutes to respond. Her hustle, passion for production and enthusiasm for her craft are refreshing and extremely impressive for someone only 22 years old. She is a skilled producer/engineer and knows her way around the recording studio. Check out this interview as Erin talks about her music, her gear, and her plans for her future.

Erin Tonkon

Erin’s Bio
Erin Tonkon is an audio engineer and producer based in Manhattan. Erin has vast experience in the music industry which has included work at KPRI 102.1 FM in San Diego and Sony Music Entertainment. Following her experience as an on-air DJ and PA at WERS 88.9 FM in Boston, Erin began her career as an audio engineer at Signature Sound Studios and Studio West in San Diego, CA. Erin moved to New York City in the fall of 2012 and currently attends The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University where she studies Production. Currently, Erin is working on an upcoming album from New York based band Run Luca, a band which she also manages. Erin’s future plans include working on various projects with up and coming artists and saving rock n’ roll.

Event Recap – Dubspot Inspiring Women – Jan. 23

Share This:

Inspiring Women in Music Technology event image

The snow fell fiercely on the frigid winter night. I was partially nervous about the turnout for the first Inspiring Women in Music Technology mixer event that I helped organize at Dubspot, a New York based music production and dj school where I work. A few months prior, a female student approached our student affairs coordinator and expressed that she felt alone in her classes. A student in an introductory music production class, she found that she was the only girl. She did not have the best rapport with the guys in her cohort, and she found that she was often making music in isolation. She wanted to know if there were other women who were making beats. She wanted a space where she could belong. Her concerns inspired my colleagues and me to create the Inspiring Women initiative.

On January 23rd, it seemed that this student’s longing was shared by a number of other women all around New York City. As a snow storm raged outside, women trickled in from various locations and backgrounds to unite in our cramped downtown meeting location to support the efforts of women in music technology. Nearly sixty women attempted to pile into quarters meant for twenty-five people; we eventually had to designate an overflow space. Running out of chairs, we apologetically reported to some that they would have to stand for the duration of our two-hour event. They weren’t the least affected by the news. They wanted the experience of being present and the community it afforded them.

Our panel of guests included an assortment of established women technologists: DJ Reborn, Jeannie Hopper, Michele Darling and Satya Hinduja. Each woman in attendance listened intently to the stories of these women as they discussed how they discovered the technical side of music creation. They talked about their careers, goals for the future, and of course, their gear. Yes, the technological dialogue was a highlight of the evening.

Inspiring Women in Music Technology event image

My suspicions had been confirmed: women yearned to connect with one another around the topic of music technology. I felt honored to take part in this evening. The success of this event further validated the work of Gender Amplified and similar initiatives. During the panel discussion, women asked questions like “How do I pursue a production career as a single mom?” and “How do I negotiate the issue of feeling physically unsafe in recording studios?” These were concerns that only women would have. I realized that gender adds an extra dimension to how women producers approach their careers and the decisions that shape them.

After the event, some of the women lingered around our facilities for another two hours. They didn’t want the evening to end. Neither did I. The event ended, but the movement continues on…

Gender Amplified

Share This:

ebonie-video-still

The Gender Amplified movement started in my dorm room. Six years ago, I found myself sitting in my cramped room, nearly crowded out by all of the music production equipment I’d accumulated during college. I would make noise for hours silently in my headphones. I was just another bedroom music producer with big dreams of becoming the next world-known, Top 40 “hit-maker”. Those were the days. But there was something very different about my goals. I realized it every time I went to Guitar Center to buy gear. I certainly noticed it every time I went to a local beat battle. It seemed that I was one of few women aspiring to be a professional music producer. This fact intrigued me. There was no shortage of women aspiring to become singers and songwriters, so it seemed unusual that there would be so few on the production path. I often felt alone on my journey toward my passion, so I wanted to know: Where were all the women producers?

I did what any inquisitive, college-educated person would do to get an answer. I Googled. My original query was ‘female music producer’. It produced some interesting results. In fact, I found that there were many women producers out there. They hailed from various parts of the world, worked in all different genres, and had impressive discographies. It quickly became apparent to me that the issue of women producers was one of visibility and not quantity. Once again, I wanted to know why. How was it that women producers could be excluded from the U.S. music industry? Unfortunately, this answer would prove more elusive than the previous, thus I focused much of my senior thesis research around the topic.

Through my desire to produce music, the will to see more women and girls exposed to music production, and through the help of some amazing friends and supporters, I spearheaded Gender Amplified: Women and Technological Innovation in Hip Hop my senior year at Barnard College. This day-long conference brought together hip hop producers, scholars, artists, activists, and music enthusiasts to assess the impact that gender has on the field of music technology and women’s participation in hip hop production culture. Special guests included Tricia Rose and DJ Spinderella. It was organized in collaboration with the Barnard Center for Research on Women, Barnard’s Africana Studies Program, and Femmixx.com.

This was only the beginning. The movement has expanded in mission and scope since then. I have realized that music production is bigger than making hit records and being a part of the music industry. For example, there is power and agency in giving women the tools, technical skill and knowledge to record, playback and transmit their own stories without male interference. Over the years, so many women artists have considered my recording space a “safe haven” for their intellectual and artistic ideas. Much of the business I get comes from women who desire a producer who will listen to them and encourage them to be themselves. They are women who have worked with their fare share of men producers who just want them to sing on cue or ignore them when they have questions about the technical process. Women’s voices and ideas can sometimes get lost in the gendered power dynamics of recording spaces. This is one of reasons why more women should be trained in music production and sound engineering.

Moreover, knowledge of advanced audio concepts such as digital signal theory, audio acoustics and sound design provides excellent applications for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It is my theory that music production can serve as a gateway toward igniting young girls’ interests in STEM professions. My own personal experience is the basis for my hypothesis. When I first began producing, I only wanted to make music. However, I eventually realized that if I wanted to truly be a threat in my field, I needed to dive further into the science of audio production and engineering. Eventually I chose to obtain a master’s degree in music technology. I was able to increase my earning power in the audio field as a result.

As I embark upon the next phase of the Gender Amplified movement, I am very proud of the progress it has made. This movement is about celebrating the individual efforts and accomplishments of women producers in an attempt to construct a collective voice. The increased visibility of women music producers must begin with women affirming one another, producing our own voices, and collectively creating archives of our stories.

The Beginning: Gender Amplified 2007

Share This:

Gender Amplified event 2007

In the fall of 2006, I was a rising senior at Barnard College. I had just returned to the States after a semester of studying abroad in Cameroon and working in recording studios in Africa. I was jaded to say the least. I was not looking forward to yet another year of academic rigor and the 100-page senior thesis requirement that was waiting for me.

I purchased some music production equipment, and I found myself locked away for hours in my dorm room between classes learning how to produce music and recording my friends. I thought, ‘If only I could just do this. I wish that I could produce music for my coursework requirements.’ In the wake of my frustration, what followed was a bright idea: I could write my senior thesis on music production. I immediately enrolled in the only two music production classes I could find at Columbia. My enthusiasm for my classes was instantly re-established, and I was off to learn as much history about music production as I could. I focused on hip hop to further truncate my research, and I started to learn much about the cultural significance of music technologies and their influence on the development of hip hop music. I identified the names of several key male producers over and over again as I gathered sources. I never came across any names of female music producers. This seemed odd to me.

I consulted Kim Hall, my thesis advisor, about this issue, and I proposed that we create a conference called Gender Amplified: Women and Technological Innovation in Hip Hop. I felt that women’s lack of visibility in hip hop music production was both an academic and a feminist discourse. Given this, Barnard College seemed to be the perfect place to spearhead the Gender Amplified movement.

Gender Amplified event 2007

Planning an academic conference, producing music and writing a senior thesis simultaneous was no walk in the park, but so many wonderful partners came on board to help bring my vision to fruition. Tachelle Wilks (founder, Femmixx.com), The Barnard Center for Research on Women, The Africana Studies Program, and Dean Vivian Taylor (campus coordinator, The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship) all provided a tremendous support system.

On April 14, 2007, the day of the event, my mother flew in. I was too excited to eat anything. It was a beautiful day outside and women from all around the New York City metro area came to take part. The day’s events included the following segments:

Gender Amplified: Women & Technological Innovation in Hip Hop
April 14, 2007 – Event Schedule

10-11AM
Push Up The Faders (Meet and Greet)

Networking Brunch
Members/collectives of the hip hop community coming together, dialoguing, and forming new ties.

11:30AM-1PM
Keynote Address by Tricia Rose
Tweaking the Levels: A Lecture Addressing Women in Hip Hop and Technology

1:45-2:15PM
Screening: Lady Beat Makers, Vol 1
Where are the female hip hop producers? Through a collection of interviews with underground female record producers, this documentary assesses the relative absence of women from the recording industry and speculates about the future of women in the game.

2:30-3:30PM
Three Generations of Hip Hop
Conversation with DJ Spinderella conducted by Imani Perry, Rutgers University

4-6PM
Gender in Real-Time: Tracking Women and Technology
Panel discussion moderated by Barnard senior, Ebonie Smith, with audience segment.
Tachelle “Shamash” Wilkes, founder of Femmixx.com
Max Perez, BET Music Producer
Steven G. Fullwood, The Hip Hop Archives (The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture)

8-10PM
Gender Amplified Showcase
DJ Showcase Featuring:
DJ Rheka
DJ Sparkles
DJ Ayana Soyini

We accomplished much with this initial event in 2007. However, the movement continues on. Gender Amplified is much bigger than hip hop. The forthcoming Gender Amplified Music Festival will do more than ask questions about women in music production. It intends to create a platform for women in music production to help them advance and meet like-minded collaborators. Gender Amplified 2013 is a launching pad for women and girls who may become interested in music production. We are building a legacy.