Haim attend Women In The Mix during GRAMMY Week 2021
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Women In The Mix 2021 Recap: How Female Powerhouses Convened To Close The Wage Gap And Amplify Women's Voices Across The Music Industry
What better way to kick off GRAMMY Week 2021 and International Women's Day than yesterday's inaugural Women In The Mix virtual celebration? The two-hour event, hosted by Rocsi Diaz, celebrated women's contributions to the music industry, seeking to amplify their voices. With moderated panels, performances, high-profile guests and interviews, Women In The Mix was informative and celebratory and exemplified the importance of women working with and supporting each other in the music industry.
Harvey Mason jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, and Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer of the Recording Academy, introduced the program. Mason jr., who ran for his position "on a platform of change and understanding," said closing the gender gap in the music industry is a top priority for the Recording Academy. Butterfield Jones then announced the Recording Academy's $25,000 donation to charities and organizations that support women’s growth in production and engineering.
Pumping up the festivities, classical pianist Chloe Flower, who blew everyone away in 2019 when she accompanied Cardi B at her GRAMMY performance that year, gave a stellar delivery of her song "No Limit." Seated at her mirrored piano adorned with vases of colorful flowers, Flower also appeared later in the program, with an exquisite performance of "Flower Through Concrete."
Chloe Flower performs at Women In The Mix during GRAMMY Week 2021 | Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Political activist and author Dr. Angela Davis introduced current GRAMMY-nominated jazz drummer Terry Lyne Carrington, founder of The Berklee Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice, whose motto is "Jazz Without Patriarchy." Carrington expressed gratitude to the Recording Academy for its donation and said she grew up with the desire to be a driving force behind the scenes to help young women reach their musical goals. With racial and gender justice comprising her initiative's guiding principles, Carrington said, "A cultural transformation is needed for the music itself to reach its potential."
Multi-GRAMMY nominated artist and percussionist Sheila E. had a lively chat with GRAMMY-nominated rapper MC Lyte. Referencing the gender gap in music, Sheila E. said, "I think it's getting better, but I think it should be way better than it is now."
Current three-time GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Ingrid Andress answered a series of questions about her career, revealing that her Best New Artist nomination is "pretty mindblowing to me because I definitely just started, and some of the people in that category are people I listen to all the time."
Current GRAMMY-nominated Emily Lazar (mastering engineer and founder of The Lodge) was introduced by current multiple GRAMMY-nominated rock trio HAIM, with whom she's worked on three albums. Lazar discussed "We Are Moving The Needle," the non-profit organization she recently launched to elevate the number of female audio engineers and producers in the music industry. Lazar thanked the Recording Academy for its donation and said, "I'm excited to go beyond just talking about this gender disparity and actually effectuating some real measurable change."
Maureen Droney (Senior Managing Director, Recording Academy Producers and Engineers wing) led an informative panel comprised of Ebonie Smith (producer, engineer, singer-songwriter and founder of Gender Amplified), Piper Payne (mastering engineer) and EveAnna Manley (President of Manley Laboratories), each of whom passionately discussed their careers.
Elaine Welteroth and Saweetie attend Women In The Mix during GRAMMY Week 2021 | Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
New York Times best-selling author and journalist Elaine Welteroth interviewed rapper and songwriter Saweetie, who said her wishlist for 2021 consists of her desire to collaborate with both Missy Elliott and Rihanna.
Tina Tchen (Time's Up CEO and President) and former Chair of the Recording Academy's Task Force of Diversity and Inclusion expressed gratitude for the Recording Academy's donation to Time's Up, emphasizing the necessity of female engineers and producers in the studio. "It makes a difference who's in the booth, who's in charge of the atmosphere in the studio who will say no when there's unacceptable behavior that's exclusionary or bullying or belittling that happens," she said.
Lanre Gaba (Atlantic Records General Manager/SVP A&R) moderated a fascinating conversation with current three-time GRAMMY-nominated record producer and songwriting duo Nova Wav (Brittany "Chi" Coney and Denisia "Blue June" Andrews) and R&B singer/songwriter IV Jay.
Cyndi Lauper attends Women In The Mix during GRAMMY Week 2021 | Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
The queen of girls who want to have fun, two-time GRAMMY-winner Cyndi Lauper talked about what it meant to win her Best New Artist GRAMMY in 1985. "Usually what they used to say that is if you won the best new artist, 'Oh my god, the second album was going to be a problem,' Looking back now, I think it was a blessing because my career spans forty years."
Current GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds closed out "Women in the Mix" performing a stunning acoustic rendition of her appropriately titled song "All The Ladies."
Here are five things we learned about making it in the music business as a woman.
Don't Be Discouraged By Rejection
Sheila E.: "You're going to get a lot of nos, but no doesn't mean you can't do it or you're not able. Maybe this opportunity wasn't for you. However, it opens the door for something else that you probably didn't even imagine you were going to go that way… Don't be discouraged when a door shuts because sometimes that door may be shut as protection. Maybe you're not ready or prepared yet."
MC Lyte: "I'm a firm believer in [the idea that] if a door shuts or doesn't remain open it's just not for you. All it means is go back to home base and practice, rehearse, create, do all of the things you need to do to better your craft, and this way when that next door opens, you're ready… don't get discouraged."
Believe In And Stay True To Yourself
Ingrid Andress: "You need to be your biggest cheerleader. At the end of the day, if you don't believe in what you're doing, nobody else will… We, as women, are programmed to think we have to compare ourselves to one another. Don't do that. Just believe in what you do separate from what everybody else is doing. You have to be the one to show people that what you have to say matters...Keep after it and stay true to yourself."
Saweetie: "You shouldn't try to be like me. You should try to be like you. Hopefully, I can inspire you to be the best version of you because I know what it feels like to be a little girl wanting to be something else. It takes away the focus from the true prize which is yourself, so earn your strengths, perfect your weaknesses and be you because that's the only person you can be."
Self-Care Is Essential
Saweetie: "I really encourage the go-getters who want to be in music to really take care of their body and their health because if your body isn't working, your music's not working. I'm grateful to have time to recharge, breathe, and get my body right."
MC Lyte: "It's resting, it's water, it's working out, it's getting in touch with nature and taking walks for no good reason at all except I want my feet to hit the pavement, or walking in nature to be in the grass… It's understanding that there's more to life than just entertainment or more to life than just what it is that I do."
Sheila E.: "I'm so much older, so what I have to do for self-care is constant just to even maintain what I want to do. Right now, it is just drinking water, nature, taking the time to rest, really eating the right foods, and taking care of myself, so I can do what I love to do."
Don't Let Fear Stop You
Brittany "Chi" Coney: "When I used to be personally fearful, there's something I used to do. I used to go into the bathroom, and you hold up your hands and hold your head up high for two minutes and it raises testosterone levels by twenty percent."
IV Jay: "I started meditating and I did therapy and there's nothing wrong with that. I feel like a lot of women feel ashamed of getting help but I just think it's worth it. If you need it, you need it so I personally feel like that helped me grow. I feel a lot better now."
Lanre Gaba: "I always dealt with it by being as prepared as possible so there's not even a moment of 'I don't belong here' because I've done the work, I've put in the time, I've done my research."
It's A Blessing To Have Female Mentors and Inspiration
Ingrid Andress: "I am fortunate because I met Kara DioGuardi, an iconic songwriter when I was in college… Kara was the first woman I met who really encouraged me to get better at songwriting. She was a huge inspiration. As a young songwriter, having women like that to look after each other is important because I don't think I would have had the courage or enthusiasm to try and get better at what I did if she hadn't been so encouraging to me."