I did indicate a bit of a grumpy mood at how we were handled on our first gig this year, and I thought I’d explain that a bit more, I’m not worried about being portrayed as the picture perfect happy artist in this case.
First of all, let me make it perfectly clear. We were tighter than ever, we played brilliantly, and the audience and most of the arrangers full on got my thing and approached me when giving the compliments and asking the questions. So the gig itself I am perfectly content with.
The events surrounding it sucked monkey balls though. We had this big meeting with all the bands, all the personel gathered, and the presenter made his case to us. “I’ve played this and this band and I’m a brilliant contact to have.” Oh! Fair enough. I’m no good at talking and I’d gladly hand the torch over a lot of the time, but I’ll do my job when needed, and this seemed like a good time. So he approached us. “How long have you been playing?”
Me, after Robin the drummer pointed at me: “Oh, I’ve been writing since 14!” … “Uh, yeah, but how long have you been playing together?” “Uhm, since about 2012, that’s when I really felt I’ve got the right gang. You see, I’m the artist. I write the songs, I run the show, I’ve just happened to play with a crew/posse I like since 2012, so I’ll play with them whenever I can. Like Patti Smith and the Patti Smith group, or Tori Amos and her Matt Chamberlain/Jon Evans combo”.
“Yeaaah, I don’t know who they are.”… Oh? An experienced musician, serious about his work? No clue about Patti Smith or Tori Amos? Well… OK. “Awright then, I’m the artist, it’s my sh*t, put it simply, and I work with some awesome people!”
“I dunno how to write that…” And then he ignored me, listening only to Robin, the only male member of the posse. I tried to get some points across, and Robin tried to ball the questions over to me everytime, but he wouldn’t listen.
The gig came and we got presented: “They want you to try different instruments, in the band Maria Bohm.” (And no, it’s not a sloppy typo, the purpose of my music is to get people to try instruments :P) Me, clearly in the mic and speakers: “Uh, yeah, I’m the artist, it’s all my stuff, and I just play with some brilliant people, it’s NOT a band” Presenter, sourly; “That’s not how I perceived it, I thought you were a band!”. … Uh, really? I mean… really?!! After all the attempts to clarify?
Anyway, the gig was brilliant, but it looked almost painful for him to take my hand and shake it afterwards, no problem with Robin’s though! Well, OK, as long as the rest of the bunch got it?
But no… this article was fed to me afterwards;
I am basically reduced to the singer of a band with my name on it. And my musical style is almost depicted as pretend. And while I saw the photographer struggling to get good angles of men twice my size, my photo wasn’t a big concern. I won’t dive into this too much, but no wonder the news publish more unflattering pics of women. Apparently they’re not even supposed to try with us, we should look good no matter what angle…
This may all look like small potato to you, but several small things add upp to a lot of big things, allowing us women to be scrutinized in a totally different way in this business, and I’m not playing along.
Ed Sheeran always have musicians on stage, yet it’s never the band “Ed Sheeran”. I am not a project. I am not a band. I even wrote most of the harmonies, notes, lines, instruments and drums on this albums without having the musicians having to “translate” from the demos, and that shouldn’t even matter. It’s my sh*t. And it apparently seemed so inconcievable that a woman was running the show that my show got reduced to being a band with me as a singer in it. “No one” could get it otherwise.
I will clarify, even though I shouldn’t have to; I love it when my musicians talk my music. I’d trust them to the end of the world to talk about it when I just feel like getting ready for the show. But when you ignore the friggin source when she TRIES to answer the questions? Like talking to Matt Chamberlain and Jon Evans all about Tori and not listening to her when she’s present at the interview? So friggin off!
And I KNOW this happens to men and men suffer from the industry but the dimensions are nowhere near how women encounter this. I’ll leave you to this article, which will hopefully make you understand my quiet boil, which I used to defend friends this weekend on feminist pages since I couldn’t let it out on the gig…