History museum

MO History Museum hosts a “Women In Music” panel discussion | The living

The men mostly oversee the multi-billion dollar music industry, making decisions and making deals on the next biggest star. Outside of their positions of power as executives and A&R, they also dominate behind-the-scenes roles in engineering, production, and more.

The notable gap for women in the music industry shows that change is crucial to ending gender inequality.

In conjunction with its weekly Thursday Nights at the Museum series, the Missouri History Museum hosted a “Women In Music” panel discussion on March 10, focusing on gender disparities in the entertainment industry and needed improvements. .

An intimate crowd gathered in the museum’s Lee Auditorium for Kayla “KVtheWriter” Thompson’s moderated chat with producer Alexis “Lexxiiibeatz” Calhoun, Lydia Caesar, singer, songwriter and co-owner of Sauce Records; and Bethany “Beef” Gratz, sound engineer. They talked about the challenges they all face in a male-dominated industry and their hopes for the future.

Caesar, who got her start in music singing at her father’s church in their hometown of Queens, New York, said she knew she wanted a seat at the table when she saw a lack of female bosses in the company.

Almost 10 years ago she walked into the offices of Atlantic Records and Universal Records with A&R [artists and repertoire] representatives, to discuss songwriting opportunities.

“I noticed that there were hardly any women in positions of power in the labels,” Caesar said. “It was always young or old men. There were rarely black women. I always said I wanted to be in one of those seats because I wanted to be the person to give an artist a chance. . That day I said I was going to be the boss, and that’s who I am today.”

Lexxiiibeatz, a black producer, found her experience wasn’t too difficult, but she often feels snubbed or overlooked.

“I remember one time when I had just finished a session, and the person after me was getting up trying to tell me what to do,” Lexxiiibeatz said. “I was trying to tell him ‘hey, you gotta do this and that’, he was like, ‘you don’t know anything about this Lil mama.’ I’m like, I’m the one who just logged out before you. I set it up for you to come.

Women in entertainment often face harassment at work, especially with up-and-coming new artists. Caesar shared her story of an incident early in her career when she agreed to a meeting with a record label executive who invited her to dinner without her manager.

“I was about to sign a publishing deal, and the person who was going to sign me asked for a second meeting directed at me,” Caesar said. “The first meeting was with my manager and I at the label. He sent me some tracks, I wrote some records and I was like, ‘I’m going to do this deal.’ Then I get a message from him on social media asking me to meet him in town. I was like, okay, this is weird, but I want this deal. We met at a cafe, and once there, I realized it was just him and I. It was blatant, ‘are we going to do this to make the deal happen.’

She said no and chose to leave because her dignity meant more than opportunity.

“It was a learning experience for me, and it taught me that you can say no. I don’t want to attend the meeting, and if we have to meet, my manager will be there,” Caesar said. “It’s okay to be blunt, direct, assertive and vocal. Even if they call you the B-Word, so what? We have to put our backs up, hold our heads up high and say no, thank you; I’m not interested Let’s talk business and let’s talk numbers.

KVtheWriter asked if women feel pressured to be exceptional or perfect at work, because of their gender.

“As soon as you choose to be exceptional, they expect you to not want to be praised or to be more humble than they expect any man to be,” Beef said. . “They think it’s inappropriate for you to be proud of yourself, to push yourself and push your brand. If you’re going to make me do so much better than everyone else, then I’m going to honk your horn loudly because I think it’s is acceptable.”

Have there been any changes for women in the industry over the past 15 years?

While there hasn’t been much improvement in the gender pay gap, Caesar said more talk like the panel, women standing up for themselves, and more women targeting leadership positions. leadership can improve the representation of women in music.

What resources and programs are available for young children, especially girls interested in a music career?

Lexxiiibeatz said she was familiar with some programs, especially at the library, and had seen local artist and entrepreneur Aloha Mi’Sho help with music and arts programs in elementary schools.

She wishes these programs existed in her youth because she thought producing was impossible.

“I think there should be an option in school where there’s a creative space that teaches you how to practice music and make beats,” Lexxiiibeatz said. “These are good traits to have in general because you never know what career path you might follow. Having these basic skills can help you do anything as long as there is always a demand for it. “

Caesar recalls recently being part of an all-female panel for middle-aged girls. She said the number of young women interested in music who subsequently contacted her was overwhelming.

“To see someone who looks like you is powerful [for] maidens seeing you, said Caesar.

Is it difficult to find mentors or are women in the field interested?

Lexxiiibeatz found a mentor in Caesar after being introduced to him through her husband Wayne, her mixing instructor at the now-defunct Extreme Institute in Nelly.

“Being with Lydia exposes me to a lot because I’m her videographer,” Lexxiiibeatz said. “It’s really about how you market yourself and your vibe. I think that helps because you don’t know who you can [run] in or meet; you can get opportunities just by being a good person and a nice person.”

The panel concluded by asking what women hope to see for women in music in the future.

“More female producers in St. Louis because I don’t like that we’re not cutting edge like we should be,” Lexxiiibeatz said. “We are as good if not better than our male counterparts.”

Lexxiiibeatz is on YouTube, SoundCloud, Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Beef is on social media as Beef Gratz 110. More information about Caesar is on his website, https://www.everythinglydia.com/.

Look for KVtheWriter on social media.