The 61st Grammy Awards are coming up this Sunday in Los Angeles and this year, expect to see better female representation.
This comes after last year’s awards was heavily criticized for being very male heavy in nominees and winners. But it’s not just the artists who are demanding inclusion. The biggest gender disparity in music is behind the scenes.
CGTN’s May Lee reports.
Sound and its nuances are what Jett Galindo thrives on. She is a music mastering engineer at The Bakery Studio in Los Angeles where she works on everything from digital tracks to cutting old school vinyl records.
Jett’s road to becoming a sound engineer hasn’t been easy, especially as a woman in a heavily male-dominated field. That’s why she and fellow sound mixer and editor April Tucker are part of Sound Girls, a non-profit with a mission to inspire and empower the next generation of women in audio.
“Part of what Sound Girls is trying to do is just show that, ‘Hey there’s other women out here doing what we’re doing. We exist and we’re doing the job well,'” Tucker said.
“It’s a matter of representation,” Jett Galindo said. “Just seeing themselves on these websites, on the Academy Awards, on the Grammys, succeeding…it reminds them that it’s doable.”
Doable, but still not easy. A recent study by the University of Southern California’s Inclusion Initiative found that women make up only 3 percent of all music engineers and producers just 2 percent.
The disappointing findings inspired the Recording Academy to launch an initiative on February 1st, which asks to include at least two women on the slate of viable candidates during the hiring process for a producer or engineer.
The initiative is being led by the Recording Academy’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which was launched after last year’s very male-dominated Grammy Awards.
Chair of the task force Tina Tchen has no doubt that the 400 plus artists, producers, studios and labels that have signed on so far will follow through on their commitment towards change.
“Here’s the reason why they’re going to follow through, it’s good for business, it’s good for business, having more women, more talent, more diversity in the mix is going to lead to better music, it’s going to lead to better business, it’s going to lead to better decisions being made so that’s the reason why it’s going to be sustained,” Tchen said.
“It’s not just a win for women in the music industry,” Tucker said. “it’s a win for women in the sound industry.”
Jett Galindo adds, “It’s heartwarming how there’s a lot of men who are very encouraging and are also doing their part to change the discrepancy.”
Since the launch of the diversity and inclusion task force last year, there have been improvements for women in music…at least when it comes to the Grammy awards, which are coming up this Sunday here in Los Angeles. Last year, only 25% of the nominees in the big four categories…were women. But this year, nearly 63% are women.
For female producers and engineers who are behind the scenes, that’s the kind of improvement that’s truly music to their ears.
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