Good Question: Where Are All the Female Record Producers?

For the most part, the world of music producers is an old boys’ club. Why is that? Cuepoint takes a look.

It would be easy to mistake the music industry as anything other than a man’s world. Indeed, the sheer domination of artists like Beyoncé, Adele, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus—not only on the charts but in the news cycle—is nothing to sneeze at. The front-facing side of the music business finally looks like a place where women can not only thrive, but also lead and, possibly, earn as much (and sometimes more!) than their male counterparts.

Based on the prevalence of female chart-topping superstars, you’d think that the music industry — traditionally the domain of men — is increasingly being shaped by powerful women. But behind the scenes it’s a different story. Female producers, mixers, engineers, designers, and editors are few and far between, and the ones who do exist are consistently overlooked and discounted.

In this year’s GRAMMY Awards, no female producer has made the cut for a Producer of the Year, Non-Classical nomination. That, unfortunately, is nothing new. Since it was introduced in 1974, only six women have been nominated in the category. Past female nominees include Janet Jackson (the first female nominee ever, in 1989, who was nominated with her team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for her album Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814), Mariah Carey (nominated as a pair with Walter Afanasieff for her album Emotions in 1991), Paula Cole (the first woman to be nominated solo, for her album This Fire in 1997), Sheryl Crow (for her album The Globe Sessions in 1998), Lauryn Hill (for her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hillin 1998), and Lauren Christy (as one half of the production team The Matrix, for their work with Liz Phair and Hilary Duff in 2003).

Keep reading. This is important.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Good Question: Where Are All the Female Record Producers?

  • January 14, 2016 at 2:13 pm
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    The only one I know of off-hand is Jessica Corcoran … partially because she produced Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’s first album … but mostly because she also did the EP for some friends here in Toronto heh.

    Reply

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