Behind The Beat | Galasound and the Issue of Womens Rights in EDM and Music

In our EDM world, we preach and stand by the motto of P.L.U.R (Peace Love Unity and Respect). This simple acronym has become the rallying cry for an entire generation of individuals who believe love, equality and unity through music can change the world and bring us all closer together. Although the people who believe in P.L.U.R have made it their mission to bring everyone closer together, it would seem that there is a major issue that is avoided and ignored that needs to be addressed for real change and true P.L.U.R to take place. When truly examining the state and condition of the EDM scene from the producers, vocalists and DJ’s all the way to us the fans, the simple truth begins to emerge that woman are not equally treated and represented. Many of us have never really taken the time to think about this issue or even realize it exists, but if we took one minute to think about it we would all realize this issue is right under our noses.

Galasound is an artist, photographer, singer-songwriter and self-made woman who has had a lot of success in the electronic pop and dance music world. With her very unique European style sound, Gala has had Gold, Diamond and Platinum tracks in France and the UK and was previously voted the Best Female Singer of the Year in Italy. One of her newer songs “Lose yourself in me” has enjoyed success in Europe and the Middle East charting at the #2 position in only two weeks in Lebanon and very soon her newest single “Taste of Me” will be coming out.  Always strong and passionate about her craft, Gala has started her own label “Matriarchy Records” and has made herself successful relatively on her own. In an unique and exclusive interview with Only the beat, Galasound shows us the path of a Woman in the electronic music world and sheds some light on the issues that woman face in the world today.

 

OTB: Lets us start from the beginning. How did you come to New York and get your music career started?

GalaSound: I first left Italy to come to New York at the age of 16. I always had a passion for art and photography and while I was here I attended the New York University Tisch School of the Arts for photography. Back than there were crazy clubs like The Tunnel and Limelight in New York City and I would go to these clubs and photograph the DJ’s, club-goers and just the whole scene. Once day I took a photo of a European DJ and in exchange for the photo, I was able to record my first demo.

 

OTB: Once your music career started, how did you begin building your career and yourself?

GS: Well I started with my demo and continued to do everything for myself. I would take photos and do a cover CD or ask to sing on someone’s CD or song and finally I had my big break when one of the songs I did “Freed from Desire” went to #1 in Europe. After that I enjoyed some success, but you have to understand it is very hard for a female to make it in this industry without support. However most managers, booking agents, label presidents, A&Rs , djs, producers, are male, so I guess you could say that male support is needed (Even if people don’t like to hear that). In the late 90’s, I was lucky enough to meet and be managed by Steve Fargnoli, who happened to also be “Prince’s” manager. Prince was my idol and being managed by Steve who produced “Purple Rain” was a dream come true! I a little girl from Italy, who without any connections was able on my own to get to my idol’s manager! Unfortunately, he passed away; after that it had been very hard to find someone else to trust, in the following years I lost everything, fell all the way down and then I had to build myself back up again. One of the things that I did to build myself back up is to start my own record label Matriarchy Records. That is the Label that I now release my music under. The vision behind Matriarchy Records was to create a label that hired and collaborated with women! But I must say it hasn’t been easy. Now I am proud to say that my online team for the promotion of my new single “Taste of Me” is mainly female and that I am working on a collaboration with a woman DJ, finally!

OTB: What do you enjoy the most about being a singer/song writer?

GS: I love the stage and the live shows. I’ve been lucky enough to perform all around the world and do what I love in front of thousands of people.

But I didn’t do it enough, my dream was to be a female Iggy Pop, but once again, where do you see women with wrinkles like Iggy or Mike Jagger taking off their t-shirt and rolling on the stage floor? Rare. I would love to do that! That would be a really revolutionary image.

 

OTB: Going back to something you said before why do you believe it is difficult for a female to make it in this industry?

GS: In the entertainment industry males control the outcome, especially white males and there is no level of equality between the genders. In the beginning I have booked my own shows around the world under a male name. Also, when it comes to males there is no real social perception of what they need to look like or how old they must be, but for woman there is a ticking clock that once you hit a certain age that is it. I want to be making music for years, but once a woman hits a certain age, like 30 their careers are done. Think about how many women are truly performing in the Pop genre after forty, maybe Madonna, or Cher, and few others. I just bought Rolling Stone magazine for over a year and in each issue in 2011-2012 there were at least roughly 70% male and 30% female, of which most males were over 30 and most women in their 20’s /30’s. With males controlling the outcome of your career and having certain time constraints obviously it’s hard for woman.

If you are really interested in the subject check the Geena Davis Institute for gender in media.

OTB: Did you find it different for woman coming here to America vs. in Europe?

GS: In America woman are straighter forward and much ahead of the woman in Europe where it is much harder, but it’s still not even close to being equal.  If you look at DJMAG.com, since 2007 I believe only 3 women DJ’s have made it to the DJ Mag Top 100 poll, and the same goes for people of minority groups. If you go up and down the list it’s white male after white male showing again how things are not equal. People say and think that things have changed, but they have not at all.

However I believe things are changing. I hope so. More women djs are coming out now.

 

OTB: Why do you believe that this is issue is ignored or not as noticeable as it should be?

GS: There is a lack of woman in positions of influence and power and that is why people can turn a blind eye to the issue. My hope and wish is that woman soon will have higher positions of power and influence so things can change.

 

OTB: What advice would you like to give to woman trying to be in the music industry in general?

GS: Well I have two pieces of advice. The first is to have a skill down like nobody else, be super skilled at whatever it is. If you want to be a DJ, a drummer, or anything make sure you are better than anyone so no one will doubt your skills. The second is to focus on yourself,  as the great Geena Davis says : I don’t want my daughter to be the drummer’s girlfriend, I want my daughter to be the drummer.

Recently, a certain photo was released and spread around the internet depicting the new CDJ-for Woman. It was very refreshing to see many people speak up about the sexist and despicable nature of the photo, but there is more that needs to be done. Gala is an amazing singer and songwriter, who has taken it upon herself to try to educate all of us, with the hopes of change occurring. Hopefully more women will begin to do this because a dialogue needs to begin about these issues in order for EDM to truly thrive.

Our EDM community has a very unique opportunity to make a profound impact on this issue. Electronic Music increasingly seems to be the music and voice of our generation and it has united us all under the banner of peace.love.unity and respect.  Under this mantra it is our duty to educate ourselves about the issues one another faces and make sure that we really are treating each other with care and respect. If we claim to truly love this scene and what it represents we can no longer afford to be ignorant when we face important issues like women equality. We must stand together and make a difference because we have a chance to change the world through our music.

 

P.L.U.R

Let’s change the World through EDM

Sam Storch

A recent grad from Rutgers University, Sam has been involved with DJing and music production since the age of 16!
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