Whenever I watch EDM music festivals, girls are everywhere. They take up just as much time on camera as the headlining DJ. I also hear a fair amount of them too-with angelic vocals being looped over and over a DJ’s newest hit (Ellie Goulding anyone?). We see them, we hear them, so why aren’t they given the chance to actually make anything?
EDM lately has been a boys club of sorts and whether or not that’s incidental, it still needs to be addressed. Many female artists have used EDM as either a basis for their newest CD or employed a DJ or two. But it’s a rarity to see a girl either playing much less headlining a major festival (like Sensation, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival, Tomorrowland etc.) these days.
Don’t get me wrong, breaking into any industry-whether a guy or girl-is no easy feat. However, the internet has changed today’s EDM scene from its 1990’s predecessors. Outlets such as SoundCloud lets anyone-not just DJ’s signed to a label-get their music out to the public. Also, there’s no age minimum for being an EDM DJ, (i.e. Porter Robinson and Martin Garrix who catapulted to the music charts in their mid-teens) which shows you simply need the software and the skills of course.
So I’m a bit puzzled why no major female DJ has yet to take center stage. It’s not that female singers don’t use EDM-like beats in their songs. I’d argue that artists like Lady Gaga and Rihanna helped revitalize the genre for crowds beyond the rave scene. I was surprised and elated when EDM suddenly became more mainstream that it has been in the past. No more did EDM lovers have to hide in the shadows.
Here’s an article describing the 10 Top Female EDM DJ’s.
Another article discussing a female-only DJ lineup festival.
Artists such as David Guetta Calvin Harris, Avicii, Hardwell, Zedd, Knife Party, Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5, Michael Woods, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Benny Benassi etc. have produced for big name female singers, and their songs have resided at the top of the charts for weeks on end. They often use lesser-known female vocals on top of their tracks too.
Why is this an issue you may ask? Because whoever controls the charts also controls the money. Singers on songs don’t make a lot of money. Writers do and producers make even more. So by restricting women to just the vocals in EDM, then they’re not getting jack squat (but kudos to Ellie for writing “I Need Your Love” with Calvin Harris-a smart, smart move).
In order to make an impact, girls can’t just sing or appeal in videos. For you future female producing hit makers, now is your time. You’ve got an awesome formula (internet + personal drive + a potential audience) to create a masterpiece.
Nervo has pretty good collabs with other EDM artists, but sadly hasn’t been a mainstay.
Moving forward, I’d encourage not just the top names, but also listeners to be more open-minded. Don’t just restrict the girls to being on-camera or the side-kicks to a few hits and then leave them by the wayside. Motivate your EDM-loving girlfriends to actually pursue their hobby, rather than sitting on your shoulders at festivals. And once they do, don’t forget to send some free tickets my way