5 women who have made their career in music

How difficult is it for women to break in to the music industry?

Analysis by the BBC suggests only 8% of the artists headlining the UK's major festivals this summer are female.

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis has said the festival is working towards a balanced bill of performers, "Our future has to be 50/50," she said.

"It's a challenge. Everyone's finding it hard - but the acts are there".

Five women who have reached the top of the music profession explain the challenges they faced and offer advice for young women wanting to make a career in music.

DJs and the club scene

"There have been occasions where I’ve been treated differently or even sexualised for being a female DJ, but with campaigns like #MeToo and a wealth of labels and brands in music tackling sexism issues head on, the awareness is huge," Nikki Crowley who is DJ Euphonique said.

Specialising in drum and bass and jungle music, Nikki said that when she began DJing "women in electronic music were a bit of a novelty."

"Although sexism still exists, and the ratio of male to females in music is still very out, it’s a million times better than it’s been in the past."

"It’s easy to focus on the likes, comments, engagement and forget why you’re really in music as it’s quite competitive.

"Anyone who is fighting for equality is a hero and we’ve all just got to keep pushing for it."

Her advice for young women starting out in music is to not "compare yourself to others" and be aware "there are going to be a lot of hurdles in music, and in life too."

Nikki Crowley is DJ Euphonique and has performed at various venues around the world.

Performers and producers in music

"I’m not going to pretend that being female and an ethnic minority doesn’t have an impact," Musician Nabihah Iqbal said.

Nabihah, who is also a DJ, producer and broadcaster said she thinks the challenges are the "same for every industry."

A barrister for Human Rights before her music career, Nabihah said "It’s really important not to dwell too much on the negative...it’s not very productive to do that.

"There’s a lot of work to be done but I feel like we’re moving in the right direction.

"It’s really important to stay positive, that’s what I would stress to any young people who want to do music."

Nabihah released her first album, Weighing Of The Heart in December 2017, which she says was her "biggest achievement" and "felt really special".

She is currently working on her second album due to be released later this year.

Nabihah Iqbal is a musician, producer, DJ and broadcaster. She currently has her own show on BBC World Service.

Women in classical music

"I think every industry has had its challenges as far as gender is concerned," said Chi-chi Nwanoku the founder of classical musical company, Chineke! Foundation, which champions musicians from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

"If anyone’s got the energy and the passion, there’s nothing that you can’t do," she said.

She explained how orchestral music has a different set of challenges when it comes to the "underrepresented" and said the "gender gap" is actually "ahead of the ethnic minority issue."

"A lot of the orchestras are 50-50 with women, although you won’t see many women in the double bass, timpani or percussion sections," she explained.

"But for me being five feet tall, double bass player, of colour and female - I’ve broken through all of those minorities and the unrepresented areas."

Regardless of your background, Chi-chi, who was awarded the OBE for services to music in 2017, said she believes that to succeed "you have to work with an air of belief in yourself."

Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE is a principal bass player and founder of the Chineke! Foundation orchestra.

Game music, DJing and remixing

Aliina Atkinson, better known as DJ Missrepresent, has been producing and DJing for two decades.

She said that there were "many barriers" when she "first started out 19 years ago".

"There were not many of us about and I was that 'wicked female DJ'," she said.

Aliina played the tenor horn as a child before moving into jungle and drum and bass.

"I may have done all this but there are lots of people in the background and our music scene is one big team of people supporting and pushing each other," she said.

She has remixed with Snoop Dogg and Charlotte Devaney and said that in music you "keep learning" and "you never, ever know it all".

"Women in music should be recognised as good artists rather than good female artists," she said.

Aliina Atkinson is a producer and DJ Missrepresent and has been in the music industry for almost 20 years.

Composers, arrangers and academics in music

"What I’ve learnt as a woman, is that you have to work your way up and help another woman up," Katie Chatburn, who founded a classical, garage, rock and pop project called Ignition Orchestra said.

Katie, who has worked on feature films Labyrinth, This Beautiful Fantastic and Guy Ritchie's The Man From UNCLE, said there have been times where she was frustrated at "things not being fair...but you just have to be brilliant and get on with it."

"Role modelling is important in music," Katie said drawing on her own experience of working with a female composer when she was 18-years-old, when "it didn’t really enter my head" that music could be a career choice.

"I thought, wow, I’ve never met a woman composer before and thought how cool that was," she said.

"I found it really inspiring...it’s really important that in music education kids are encouraged to compose."

The arranger and composer works to inspire young musicians by telling them "they have a responsibility to be creating opportunities for themselves and others in music".

Katie Chatburn is a composer, arranger, orchestrator and an academic.

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