English bass rocker Emma Hughes shares her views on women and music.
Electric Pyramid –Emma Hughes’ newest musical project- has had a busy 2017. In the middle of touring the country and with a new single just released (“All or nothing”, out now), this Londoner found some time to chat about being a woman musician and what are the challenges ahead for the girls in the business.
“As a teenager playing bass I was told a lot by guy mates that girls can’t play” she says about her first approach to her instrument, “luckily I had thick skin and carried on doing it”. Now, with more experience under her belt, she identifies the problems women must face to become successful musicians: “Gender shouldn’t have any relation to musical ability” she tells us, “and one of the main difficulties is instantly being judged by appearance rather than musical ability”.
That kind of issues manifest on daily basis. “I have had some sexist encounters and comments which I always confront and then laugh off” she says, and anecdotes are varied: “Once I was told, on my way to a dressing room ‘Sorry, dressing rooms as for bands only, no groupies allowed’ and I had already been in the venue for 2 hours loading in and sound checking”.
The problem, for her, goes well beyond the music world. “It’s down to education and the very beginning of a girl’s musical adventure” she says “I’ve work with a lot of young girls in after school clubs or workshops and sadly a HUGE issue is a lot of young girls don’t take up music due to self confidence issues”. In that matter, big names in the industry have are relevant role models: “I think keeping an element of reality in their performances and in the public eye is important” Emma tells us, “forget the image, lifestyle and pressure of beauty for a second and just focus on the music”.
And even though social media has been important to showcase new female talents, Emma thinks there’s still a lot to do: “I feel that main stream media only show female musicians in an overly sexual way” she says, “Girls like to rock out and get sweaty just as much as the boys – why isn’t this covered as much?”. Nevertheless, there are some signs of change. “I love that female musicians such as Beyoncé, Kate Nash and Charli XCX have all female backing bands” she says, “hopefully it will inspire more girls to take up music”.