Future leaders – Nina Longfellow
Nina Longfellow WILL be a leader in the music industry. She is smart, passionate, capable, hugely talented and with an amazing set of ears. In this piece she wrote, produced and recorded for International Women’s Day she tells us where’s she’s come from; where she’s current at, and where she’s going.
Dear listener (and reader) – she also tells us what she needs to get her further.
Because here’s the thing – International Women’s Day is fantastic as a first step. But that’s all it will be (and stay) if we don’t back it up with action.
So let’s take the advice of our future leaders.
You can find the transcript for Nina’s piece below and can find her band, one of many irons she has in the fire, at https://sudo60s.bandcamp.com/community
“My name is Nina and I’m a student at UTS studying a Bachelor of Music and Sound Design. I’ve always loved music, I started playing drums when I was in a car seat, and I’ve sung for a long time. And I’ve also picked up a bit of guitar and bass. I’ve kind of always known that is what I wanted to spend my life doing, and pursue a career in the music industry. I love listening to music, and one of my favourite albums has got to be Somersault by Beach Fossils. It is something that I never get tired of. I also love listening to podcasts, and one of my favourites has got to be Reply All.
Currently I live at home with my mum and my younger brother, who’s 17. And our fluffy dog named Doogie. My Mum actually has early onset Alzheimer’s and me my brother care for her. So this means we have a lot of responsibility at home. looking after my family takes a really large chunk of my time, but I love them. So it’s my goal to have a career in the music industry. I’m definitely going to make it happen. And over the years, I have gained a broad range of experiences. When I was 17. I was a music journalist for a small online Australian publication called Amplify, and I reviewed lots of festivals and concerts – and it totally wasn’t for the free concert tickets! I also attended media releases. I even went on the red carpet of the ARIAs in 2018 interviewing people I interviewed Alex the Astronaut, and Vera Blue and Dave from Gang of Youths. And it was a pretty cool experience to meet some of my favourite artists. I have played in many, many bands.
Over the years. I’ve played in people’s bedrooms and garages, I played weddings and corporate events and private functions. And I’ve played in theatres and pubs and stages. I’ve played covers and originals with my best friends, my ex boyfriend, co-workers, I love performing. It’s one of my favourite things to do.
I’ve also worked as a session musician, and a music tutor for a couple of years. I’ve just gotten into radio presenting at FBI radio, I love talking about music and artists and what’s happening in the music industry and listening to new releases. And I love sharing my thoughts with the rest of Sydney and whoever’s tuning in. I’ve met a bunch of amazing people, and great new friends and people that I want to work with in the future.
So that’s kind of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. But it is my goal to have a career in music business. I want to run a record label or work for a publisher or an association like a APRA/AMCOS or be a manager. I love working with people. I love music, but I also love working with people. I’m also really interested in music copyright law, I would definitely consider being a copyright lawyer. Maybe in like 10 years time. I care really deeply about protecting the interests of artists and composers.
So today, Monday, Eighth of March is International Women’s Day. And for me today is more than just about celebrating incredible women. It’s about starting the conversation about how we can make changes. The music industry is really tough for women, and we are chronically under represented. There is a huge imbalance across so many areas. You know what I find crazy? That women earn 62% of performing and Fine Arts degrees in the US, but it’s the men who are the performers. It’s the men who are recipients of Grammys, the audio technical staff, the composes the session musicians, the board members and the music executives.
Women in the music industry are paid less than men and female artists are nearly always outnumbered on festival lineups. We hold less industry roles and we’re underrepresented across boards of all peak industry bodies. Women in the music industry are constantly dismissed and talked over. We have our skills discounted. And we get stereotyped and sexualized all the time.
And I see the inequality. I see it when I’m doing work experience. I worked on a live broadcast with the BBC and the entire sound team was made up of men. I read it in my textbooks when they say “the music industry is really tough for women, but it’s not as bad as it was. It’s getting better”. I hear it when I’m working as a session musician, I’m dismissed or I’m told that I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to play drums. Honey, I’ve been playing drums for 13 years- I think I know how to do my job! I feel it when I’m leading in a student record label and I’m trying my best to balance being assertive and intelligent with being nice and warm.
Women are constantly subject to intense scrutiny that transcend our performance. And when judged on our appearance and communication style. Men can be so much more assertive while maintaining their likability. It’s frustrating when people perceive you as a bitch for just leading and trying to get stuff done. If I was a man, this wouldn’t be a problem, people would just listen.
It really sucks to not see yourself represented in an industry that you’re so desperate to be a part of. And I recognize that I hold a privileged position, I’m a white woman. The odds would be so much more stacked against me if I was black, indigenous or a person of colour, or trans or non binary, and there’d be many more barriers that I’d have to overcome.
As I mentioned before, I am a carer for my mum who has early onset Alzheimer’s, and women are statistically far more likely to be carers than men. This really impacts our careers. I love my Mum so much. But looking after her is a full time job in itself, I have so much responsibility at home, and so little support from the government. I don’t live a normal life of a young adult.
Research indicates that female carers experience higher rates of depression, anxiety and distress and male carers, I report lower overall quality of life. I constantly am putting the needs of my Mum and my brother above the needs of my own. And it just means I have less time to focus on my career, less time to write music, less time to network and make new connections.
Women need more support to improve their health and well-being and to have successful careers.
That being said, I’m determined to have a career in the music industry.
So if you’re listening and you’re from our record label, a publisher and Association and management company, an agency…
Hi, my name is Nina. I’m, I’m ready to work. I’m ready to intern.
I don’t really know any other way to say this, except …
Give us jobs. Provide more opportunities for women in your workplaces. Employ more women. We’re here. We want to work, we’re ready to go. Let us in the studios. Let us in the boardrooms. Let us in the meetings. Hire me!
But seriously, you can contact me at Nina Longfellow AT Optus net.com. au. Thanks”