There are several articles stating that audio engineering is and has been a male-dominated industry. However, that premise seems to be changing. The idea of having to interact with a group of males in a room filled with testosterone might not intimidate the gals anymore. More and more women are conquering the audio production studios in the work-force.
And there are organizations promoting women in audio like the Producer Guild of America which has created the Women Impact Network (WIN). WIN promotes gender equity by examining and addressing gender barriers that women face in the audio production industry.
Nowadays, more female artists are determined to have control of not only the writing and singing of their material but recording, editing, mixing and mastering it as well.
The British singer-songwriter, producer and DJ, Ronika, agree on multitasking when it comes to dealing with her creation. She says, “I wanted to be able to be completely self-sufficient and make the whole track myself.” Source: (http://bit.ly/2JPuwLs).
Another well-known and recognized urban music producer is Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde, aka WondaGurl, from Brampton, Ontario, who has successfully paved her path in the hip-hop genre at only 22 years old. She has under her music production belt SZA – Teen Spirit, Rihanna – Bitch Better Have My Money, Jay Z – Crown, and Travis Scott – Antidote, just to mention a few.
There are other women in the industry empowering others to jump in the entertainment world and prove their talents. Among those are Susan Rogers whose “first sound engineering gig was with none other than Prince in 1983.” Ms. Rogers worked for the Jacksons, Barenaked Ladies, and David Byrne. Source: (http://bit.ly/2WjByim)
Another pioneer in music production is Mandy Parnell, the British mastering engineer who has worked for the Chemical Brothers, Max Richter, and Brian Eno.
Lenise Bent was one of the first women recording engineers and has worked on many iconic records including “Aja” by Steely Dan, “Breakfast in America” by Supertramp and “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac. She was also the first woman to receive a platinum album for engineering on Blondie’s “AutoAmerican”. Source: SoundGirls.
Furthermore, Ms. Bent provides lectures and speeches to motivate young girls to be part of the industry. She is a regular acquaintance at the NAMM show, the globe’s largest annual gathering of music, sound and event technology industries in the world that takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.
There are many more well-known and recognized women in the industry like Sound Engineer Karrie Keyes. She has worked with famous bands such as Pearl Jam and the Red-Hot Chili Peppers. Ms. Keyes is the co-founder of SoundGirls, an organization that “gives women (and those who identify as women) a platform to support working in professional audio and music production by highlighting their success and providing a place for them to connect, network, and share advice.” Source: (http://bit.ly/2LXXR9v)
In the post-production side is Sherry Klein, another pioneer and expert Re-Recording Mixer for
Television and Film. Ms. Klein started her career as a musician but she became “aware” of audio while recording a 3rd-semester project in the 2-track studio at Berklee. She said, “This was the start of my journey from musician to recording engineer to post-production mixing.”
Currently, Sherry works with Smart Post Sound and some of the credits include Queen of the South, The Passage, Burn Notice, New Amsterdam, Arrested Development, Sons of Anarchy, and The Shield. Furthermore, she is on the Board of Directors for both the Cinema Audio Society (CAS) and the Entertainment Industry Professionals Mentoring Alliance (EIMPMA).
It is impossible to leave behind Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) out of San Francisco. WAM is a non-profit organization directed by its founder Ms. Terri Winston. What WAM does is to use “music and media
and an incredible ‘carrot’ of a training environment – the only professional recording studio in the world built and run by women – to attract over two thousand underserved women and girls every year to STEM and creative technology studies that inspire them to amplify their voices and become the innovators of tomorrow.” Source: (https://www.womensaudiomission.org/about/)
And, last but not least, there is AudioGraph International (AGI), an AVID Learning Partner Professional based in Santa Monica, CA, where students and professionals from all around the world, many of whom are women, come to study and hone their skills under the expert tutelage of José “Chilitos” Valenzuela, author, musician, recording/mixing engineer, educator, and certified Pro Tools Instructor who has an extensive background as a collaborative designer of the “once industry-standard ADAT technology”, as well as the “now” industry-standard Pro Tools hardware”.
“Chilitos”, as people call him in the industry, has been paving the path
and opening doors for young aspiring engineers/producers, including women, for over 25 years.
Is there a Producer in You?
So, if you feel that you have a producer hidden inside you, like music and/or post-production and are entertaining the idea of making the incursion in sound, think no more! Make your genre present in everything that has to do with audio technology production. Show off your creation and ability to stay focused and organized. Recent studies corroborate that men are slower and less organized than women and if so “it could have serious implications for how workplaces are organized,” says co-author Dr. Gijsbert Stoet, of the University of Glasgow. Source: (https://bbc.in/2HvDHzg)
This article is the first of the Empowering Women in Audio series! So, if your name did not show up, keep an-eye-open for the upcoming articles! You will be surprised.
Go for it and break a leg!