Adventures in A and R – Girls To The Front

Image courtesy of Daisy Catterall at Keep Brave zine.

Author: Melody Menu

When I was much younger and beginning to take interest in music, trashy music magazines were par for the course. I would be delighted flipping through them in newsagencies, at home, or reading through more copies at the local library. Cover after cover, all faces were male but for a very small percentage and, as a young’un, I had no reason to question it. Sure, there was no-one in there that looked like me – much less any other girls that I knew who were into ‘rock’ music – but that could have been for a number of reasons. And as is its way, my brain just filled in the gap for me and I naively supposed that there simply weren’t many – if any – women that made the kind of music I liked.

I could not have been more wrong.

Enter a year of employment in A&R. Through weekly ‘research’ (reading blogs and listening to tunes), I quickly discovered the error of my ways. Week after week, I found myself recommending a ridiculous amount of female talent to my employer. Not out of a concerted effort to hold up the sisters, but simply from discovering that these bands were the best quality of what I had heard that day. There weren’t a few bands showcasing female talent out there that I would have loved and worshipped as an early teen – there were thousands. And I couldn’t believe it. The fact that I was so surprised at the sheer volume of talent showed me just how inherent this belief of there not being many women in music was to me. Because there is so much out there and it just isn’t getting the attention it deserves in mainstream media. And as a young girl – with no musically-minded peers to point me in the right directions – I had no idea where to start, which led to an unfortunately oppressive and close-minded mindset.

So I hope that there are many more young people out there of every gender that look to their music magazines and other outlets and begin to question why they are seeing same photos of the same white male artists – especially big-name acts in their 60s whose photos of them in their prime are repeated again and again – because that space is precious. There is a time and a place to celebrate these ‘musical greats’ and instead of using the same tired old photos, that space can be used to promote music across a whole spectrum of gender and just plain talent.

With that in mind, I’m sharing a list of female talent that I came across during my year of A&R. By no means comprehensive, this is simply a reflection of the sheer scope and volume of female talent that rewired my brain. It all just goes to show that there is so much more out there, if you only dare to look a little closer, past the headlines and cover shots.


Read the full feature at Catalogue Magazine here.

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