Top female music producers

To celebrate International Women's Day, ICMP's Scott Colcombe selects six amazing female music producers...

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Female music producers are certainly in the minority in the music industry.

Currently, only five percent of behind the scene roles in the music industry such as production, engineering, mixing and mastering are taken by women. When asked how many female producers she knows of, TRAKGIRL (Timbaland, Omarion) said: “I can count on my hand, actually - probably five.”

Female producers and engineers might be in short supply. But on International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating six woman who are currently making big waves in the industry...

Emily Lazar

Grammy nominated Emily Lazar has worked on a number of notable albums of late, including Sia’s huge releases ‘This is Acting’ and ‘1000 Forms of Fear’, Haim’s ‘Days Are Gone’ and ‘Something To Tell You’. Lazar is well aware of the gap in the industry and she’s doing her part to change that. She told Elle Magazine

I'm always trying to mentor young women. I speak on college campuses and I have events in my own studio where I open it up to women's groups to learn. I feel really strongly about it."

Listen to 'Dreams' by Beck.

Grimes

Claire Elise Bouche (better known by her alias Grimes) is a self-taught producer, songwriter and performer. She has been facing prejudices as a woman working behind the scenes in the industry. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she said: 

I don’t think there are few female producers because women aren’t interested. It’s difficult for women to get in. It’s a pretty hostile environment. Going into studios, there’s all these engineers there, and they don’t let you touch the equipment. They’d be like ‘No, just tell us what to do, and we’ll do it’. And then a male producer would come in, and he’d be allowed to do it.”

Listen to 'Genesis' by Grimes.

Wondagurl

​Producer and beat maker Wondagurl started out in Canada, competing in and winning beat making competitions. She went on to work on beats for massive albums including Drake’s I'f You’re Reading This It’s Too Late' and Jay-Z’s 'Magna Carter Holy Grail'. She’s happily encouraging more female producers to get themselves in the field. She told Fader

I thought there were a lot of female producers. Now that I am in the industry, I see that there are none. It would be great to see more females in the game. You are never too young to just do it."

Listen to 'Lady in Yellow' by Lil Yachty. 

Laura Sisk 

Working on some of biggest albums of last few years including Lorde’s 'Melodrama', Taylor Swift’s '1989' and cult favourites Carly Rae Jepson’s 'EM-O-TION' and St. Vincent’s ‘MASSEDUCATION’, Laura Sisk is a studio engineer tied closely with Jack Antonoff, who has explicitly talked about the importance of her role, commending her as "a big part of why his music works". She’s spoken about the lack of diversity behind the scenes with Noisey

The music industry as a whole, and especially on the technical side, is predominantly male. However, the consumers and fans, including me, are much more diverse. I'm not sure why it's so skewed, but I hope that as more attention is brought to this issue, more women will feel encouraged to join the ranks. Making an album requires a whole team and you can be deeply involved with that process through a number of different jobs. There's a lot of room for much more diversity.”

Listen to 'All That' by Carly Rae Jepsen.

Catherine Marks 

Producer and mixing engineer Catherine Marks is responsible for some big indie hits of the last year including The Big Moon’s debut album 'Love In The 4th Dimension', St. Vincent’s 'Masseduction' and The Wombat’s new album: 'Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life'. And on the other side of the scale, producing and mixing Manchester Orchestra’s 'A Black Mile To The Surface'. She took some more drastic measures to be treated equally according to an article with Culture Trip:

I cut off all my hair because I didn’t want people to look at me in a certain way. The fact that I thought I had to do that - that’s ridiculous. Or I’d wear really drab, boyish clothing. No one said that. I don’t know whether that made a difference, but it definitely made me more determined." 

Listen to 'Cupid'  by The Big Moon.

Mandy Parnell

Mastering engineer extraordinaire and London-based Mandy Parnell has her name lining the credits of much beloved electronic albums including Bjork’s 'Biophilia', Aphex Twin’s 'Syro'  and Jamie xx’s 'In Colour'. She visited ICMP for a masterclass last year and talked about the prejudices she’s faced as a woman in music with the Guardian

I’ve found that I needed to understand technology a lot more than some of my peers. I’d get a producer really challenging me on a technical level, yet they’d want to talk about the football [with the male engineers]."

Listen to 'Loud Places' by Jamie xx. 

Study Music Production in London 

If you’re looking to follow in the footsteps of these exceptional female producers, or turn heads with your own unique production style, ICMP’s pioneering approach to music education will provide everything you need. Our Music Production students all benefit from fully equipped recording studios, Mac Labs, world-class gear, an exceptional team of tutors, masterclasses, exclusive events, collaborative opportunities, and a curriculum that covers studio and live work, engineering, composition, advanced skills, business, and professional development.

You can even book our facilities for personal use outside of class hours, seven days a week, free of charge.

We also offer full-time music production degree courses and also part-time courses starting throughout the year too. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email (enquiries@icmp.ac.uk) or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

Music Production Courses

by Scott Colcombe
March 7, 2018
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