According to a 2018 report, only 2% of Grammy-nominated and Billboard Hot 100 producers are women. In celebration of International Women's Day, Reason Studios set out to highlight these underrepresented producers. Let us introduce you to Theodora Flygt, a Swedish sound designer renowned for her film music.
What has the experience of being a female music producer been like for you?
It has been very mixed. Most of the time, I feel appreciated for being a woman. I do meet a lot of men in the music and sound industry that want to have a more equal business and work actively with hiring or recruiting more women to the team, and are therefore very helpful on the way. Sometimes it has been an advantage for me being a woman. But even though people around are very positive, I do have this pressure on myself that I have to succeed twice as good as a man to be accepted. That I have to prove myself somehow, that I am good enough as well. And to reach that feeling I would have to be a lot better than the men around me. I don ́t judge them. This is the effect of a long long time of a non equality society. For example if I produce a techno track, I feel like I have to make it double as hard as the male producers, because then maybe I would get a wow.
Why do you think there are so few women who are music producers?
I think it is only a matter of time until we see a different pattern. Already today is a lot better than 15 years ago. I think it is coming from our old way of living. Maybe that women were more singers and dancers before and a bit sexually objectified. Being a producer was back then technical and something for men. I am happy to see a change. All these changes in society need a lot of time, a change does not come overnight sadly. But I think we are going in the right direction, if even a bit slow.
What needs to change before we see gender equality in the industry?
Everyone in this industry has to truly believe that it does not matter what gender you are. It is about a feeling and a talent. The industry also has to try to open up more: book more women, make sure a club night or a festival has 50/50 bookings of men and women. And of course pay them the same amount of money, because that is not always the case today. I would love to see us women cooperate more and help each other. It is sad to admit this, but my experience has sometimes been that there is only space for one woman in one room. So that women can get hard on each other, instead of helping out and being happy that there are two or more women in the room. Stop competing and start cooperating!
What are some day-to-day changes or actionable steps we can make towards fairer representation?
Front more women. Like you on Reason are doing, working constantly on trying to get more female producers in the business and then fronting them. And like I mentioned above, make sure the club nights or festival bookings are booked with 50 % men and 50 % women. Even at labels, make sure to sign more women.
What advice would you give younger women who aspire to be music producers?
Believe in yourself and your feeling of production. Don ́t compare yourself with anyone else, it will be your unique style and feeling that will bring you somewhere in the end.