Ahead of International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we have been talking to a select group about issues facing women in the music industry, to create the #WomenInMusic Series.
London-based Luna Cohen-Solal works across various spheres of the music industry, including Social Media and Digital Marketing for Kartel Music Group, DJing under the moniker Moonchild and also as Music Editor of Polyester Zine and Avenir. She is also a freelance writer for a number of other publications including i-D and Line of Best Fit.
We spoke to Luna Cohen-Solal following her recent Social Media Masterclass at Leeds College of Music, to get her perspective of the issues facing women in the music industry.
Q. Did you find it quite difficult to get into the music industry?
A. Yes and no. “Breaking into the music industry” is quite an abstract concept, but for me it’s all about the people you meet. Everything happens through meaningful connections – and success comes through getting out and meeting people, and becoming part of a community. That’s how I managed to get a job; luckily I’m very sociable so I just went up and talked to everyone!
Q. In your experience of the industry, what barriers do women come up against?
A. I’ve seen this most in my experience of being a DJ - it’s really hard to be taken seriously as a female DJ. I remember this particular time when I was setting up before a set and the sound engineer assumed that the male friend I was with was the DJ and I must be his girlfriend! It didn’t even seem to enter his head that I might be the artist when standing on the stage next to a man. I find it hard not to get too angry about it, but I just try to be as direct and precise as possible.
Within the music industry itself though, apart from being surrounded by men, I haven’t experienced any direct sexism. All of the women I know in this industry are really strong characters and have been really good role models.
Q. What does a good female role model look like?
A. A good role model is someone who has the strength to overcome obstacles, someone who is fearless and challenges any occurrence of sexism or discrimination, and someone who is an activist and takes time to support other women in the community. There are so few females in the music industry it can be hard to not see each other as competition, but it’s ridiculous really when we should be supporting each other!
Q. What role do you think social media plays as a vehicle for change?
A. I think it’s so important in changing people’s perceptions. It’s really useful for getting people to talk about similar issues which they are facing. Social media allows you to share experiences with people beyond your geographical location or group of friends. It’s good for building a sense of what’s going on in the world and knowing that you’re not alone. Secondly, you can use it as a vehicle for spreading the word and challenging opposing viewpoints. Social media can become a bit of a bubble though, and real change must happen in real life.
Q. What do you think needs to happen to make the music industry fairer?
A. This is a really tough subject. I think there is a need for platforms dedicated to showcasing the work and voices of women and minorities, as they haven’t had the platforms they needed in the past. We’ve had centuries of inequality and patriarchy is still culturally ingrained in most people's minds which means we need action - but it has to be done in a way that doesn’t alienate people, and doesn’t rule out any specific groups.
Q. Do you have some advice to fellow women looking to get into the music industry?
A. Don’t be afraid and just go for it – don’t let anyone make you feel small but also pick your battles. Do exactly what you want to do, and always keep in mind what you want and how you’re going to achieve that. Be strong and don’t take things personally. That’s the best advice I would give to anyone! Meet as many people as you can, make connections, and make friends with other women - they are your allies in this battle…
You can find out more about Luna Cohen-Solal via:
Mixcloud | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram