This is a call for all cute (or twee or adorkable or whatever the kids are saying these days) girls who make heartfelt music to join together and give a collective middle finger to everyone who says we are not “serious” musicians. Has anyone ever called your music “chick music?" Has anyone recommended you become a children’s performer, even though your songs featuring content for mature audiences only? I want to talk to you. Have you ever felt like you should maybe change your name to something sexy and talk in a low voice, or maybe not talk at all? Have you ever felt like there is no place for you in the music industry because you are too cute to be an alternative artists but too weird to be a main stream artist? I need to hear your stories. Please send them to me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a theory. It’s a working theory, but here’s what I have so far. There are spaces for three types of women in music.
First, there’s the etherial folk goddess, who has a soft, sweet voice and plays the guitar or the violin or maybe something even more magical, like a harp. The etherial folk goddess is feminine in a way that seems effortless, and they always have the essence of a bride on Pinterest, in love with the world and quirky in a delightful way. Even if they’re just wearing a sweatshirt and its tuesday.
The next type is obvious: sexy pop boss. You may be immediately thinking of Beyonce. But I know sexy pop bosses in the indie scene too. This woman is sexy in a mysterious yet powerful way. You have no idea what she is really thinking, but she knows exactly what you are thinking. She has a big voice, and she may play various instruments mostly she performs bouncing around the stage without getting out of breath or breaking a sweat. She is conventionally beautiful and can wear really tight clothes without looking pregnant. Even when she is pregnant.
And of course, there is the rock badass. She is the kind of music who does not want to be called a female musician because she identifies first as a musician, and doesn’t even think of herself as a woman most of the time. She often plays distorted guitar, and guys feel obligated to tell you that she can actually shred. Can you believe it? A lady can shred. It’s a miracle. The rock badass doesn’t wear dresses.
If you fit into one of these three categories, there is space for you in the music industry. Of course, nobody fits these descriptions exactly. The theory is not perfect. But in order to be a “serious” musician, fitting one of these descriptions loosely really helps. People know what to do with these musicians. They know where to put them. And I love these musicians, but I cannot make myself become one. I cannot chop off parts of my personality and tape on new parts just to fit into a space. I’m over here, being cute and a girl, and I’m okay with that, but I’m lonely. If you know a cute girl musician, let me know. And also, take a minute to think about if anyone over the age of seventeen would admit to being their fan? And if they did admit it, would they say it’s a guilty pleasure? I don’t want to be someone’s guilty pleasure.
A record exec once said I was “not artsy enough to be Grimes, not badass enough to be Halsey, and too cute to be Lorde.” What he really meant was too cute to be Grimes, too cute to be Halsey and too cute to be Lorde. If I was more artsy, I would be less cute. If I was more badass, I would be less cute. Of course, I’m grateful I’m not in the eighties. My mentor had a rejection letter that said “I won't be signing any more (girls) at this time.” So we are allowed to be women now, just certain types of women. And certainly not cute women. Remember when people used to say “girly girl” in elementary school and it was an insult? I’m still a girly girl. I identify first as a woman, and then as a musician. My voice is high and I smile all the time (because otherwise I look scared). I wear sparkles. I write pop music that is full of specific personal details, the complete opposite of mysterious! Do you identify with any of this? Please let me know.