With depressingly familiar line-ups like Leeds and Reading Festival still being announced – at which only 20 female-identifying acts are due to perform, out of the 90+ that have been announced – and studies like last year’s ‘Inclusion in the Recording Studio’ reporting that women make up 21.7% of artists, 12.3% of songwriters and 2. of producers, it’s clear the music industry has a long way to go when it comes to gender equality.
With this in mind, Clash asked North London producer Melle Brown – also DJ and radio host on London’s Reprezent Radio – who’s carved a niche for herself blurring the lines between neo-soul, jazz and mid-tempo house, to put together a mix for International Women’s Day, as well as enlisting other upcoming female producers she rates to do the same.
“First and foremost we are music producers who happen to be female. The music comes first,” says Melle. “There is an air of support and encouragement between us as women in this field, hence why I was so passionate about doing this International Women’s Day mix series with Clash. In a male dominated field such as production, when asked, most people’s top music producers are men. Seeing more women in production leads to having role models - who are proving it is totally possible to be a music producer or sound engineer and be female – rejecting the male stereotype. It's still not the easiest path to walk and we have a way to go, but I do feel the mist is clearing and attitudes are changing.
“International Women’s Day, to, me means a celebration of not only women, but our talents and successes in all their forms. The producers and DJs I've chosen for this mix series represent unmatched talent across their genres, and it's important to me that we showcase this diversity, as these women – Emmavie, KG, Bamz and Jesley – are not only producing and playing incredible music, they are all at different stages in their careers, planting their seeds and paving a way for those to come.”
When it comes to her own mix, Melle’s demonstrating this diversity: “I've brought you some of my favourite tracks at the moment across the soulful, deep and Afro house scene. These are also the ones I'm hammering on my Reprezent Radio show (Sunday Bi Weekly 10AM-12), with a sprinkling of my own tracks. Thirty minutes of head nodders leaving you in a pretty good mood for International Women’s Day!”
Meanwhile Emmavie – an R&B lover and maker – has mixed tracks and edits that feature her favourite women across the R&B, soul and futurebeats spectrum. “I aimed to cover as many vibes in this realm as I could. From Rihanna and H.E.R, to Solange and Amerie,” she says. “From hip-hop and trap, soul to dancehall and even a little future baile funk. I sprinkled some of my own music in there for good measure.”
KG has turned up the tempo for her International Women’s Day mix. “It's my energy in the club, high impact Afro electronica bangers for all the boss womxn out there!” she says. “This mix features some of my favourite house, gqom and Afro bass tracks as well as my own. There's a couple of unexpected surprises in there too.”
Bamz – who speaks about how creativity can also act as an ally to women from all walks of life, “black and brown women, queer, trans and gender non-conforming” – has selected a mix to uplift the spirit, with an element of warm nostalgia. “A recent break prompted me to listen to certain mixes and songs from particular DJ's, artists and producers I would listen to in my early days of production and Djing,” she says. “I made a note of how they would make me feel and by doing that, I found an element of joy and happiness! In this mix I have included tunes I used to listen to, tracks that I have created myself and songs from ‘new school’ producers/artists/DJ's whose tracks give me that old school, nostalgic feel.”
Jesley’s gone for a mix that reflects her musical taste, a mix of UK and US hip-hop and trap. “Those genres have become multifaceted over the years and it’s been amazing to see the change in the songwriting and production of rappers and producers,” she says. “I chose the first and last tracks of the mix from my own pool of edits, as I thought they best represented my current direction of production style at the moment, it’s more of 140BPM which a lot of people consider the ‘grime’ sound due to the sound design and effects used. There aren’t a lot of female grime producers that I know, so I hope to meet more!”
Tune in now for the perfect soundtrack to International Women's Day...
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