#MusicMadeUs

Ellie Ashford: How Music Made Me

30th November 2020

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For our Music Made Us campaign, Ellie Ashford, studying Vocals at BIMM Institute Birmingham, explains how she is influenced by rock/metal artists – and the effect of female artists on her own material. 

As a female that is mainly interested in the alternative and rock scene of music, I’ve always found myself relating more to female artists and female-fronted bands. I love going to gigs, watching bands like Pvris and Pale Waves perform, and seeing how Lynn and Heather both control a crowd so well has definitely had an influence on how I try to hold myself on stage.

I love the idea of being a female “rockstar”, as when people think of bands within that scene of music it’s very rare to associate females within that category, which is a massive shame. There’s so many up and coming female artists like Beabadoobee, who is currently smashing it with the releases of her debut album Fake it Flowers. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Phoebe Bridgers. Those two artists have inspired me to work on my songwriting and lyricism as they both know how to tell a story through their songs and make you feel exactly how the song wants you to feel.

“We have to work a lot harder to get to the top; I think that can be shown a lot through the lack of representation in the alternative scene and festival lineups.”

I don’t think there are enough females being given the credit they deserve. I feel as though a lot of these artists get overlooked by the majority. We have to work a lot harder to get to the top; I think that can be shown a lot through the lack of representation in the alternative scene and festival lineups. It’s always been a case that female artists get over-sexualised and their image is always valued more over their music and their art.

“‘Your femininity is your power, don’t let people knock you for it’ and I think that’s a very important thing for young girls starting out in music to hear.”

This is changing very slowly, but is still happening, making it seem like they can’t be taken seriously. I’ve been told myself in the past by people that I’m not going to succeed as the artist I want to be because “women in bands don’t do well”. That comment has stayed with me for years and has always pushed me to prove others wrong. I had the pleasure a couple of years ago of meeting PVRIS when they played in Birmingham and I told singer, Lynn Gunn, about that story and she wrote me a note that said “your femininity is your power, don’t let people knock you for it” and I think that’s a very important thing for young girls starting out in music to hear.

What inspires me about seeing my gender succeed?

“Girls in bands are cool! Seeing them on stage, playing their instruments just makes me think: well, if they can do it then so can I.”

It’s all about representation. Growing up, aspiring to be something, or to work in a certain field, you want to be able to look at people that are like yourself doing it and learn from them. Also, girls in bands are cool! Seeing them on stage, playing their instruments just makes me think: well, if they can do it then so can I. I have so many female friends now that are out there doing music and playing in bands. Watching them do well is such a good feeling because it just shows how capable we all are to succeed.

I would like to see more diverse lineups in bands and on festivals. I want there to be some sort of representation for everybody. Normalise girls in music. It would be great to see more female acts breaking through the scene and also seeing more female producers working on tracks.

“I hope that one day people will look at what we’ve created and will be inspired to do the same.”

I’d love to see lots of different people from all kinds of backgrounds coming together to work on making the music scene more inclusive for everyone. I’ve been very lucky to work alongside some amazing lads in my band Stay at Home and Die, who continue to let me create the music that I want and who give me endless encouragement. I hope that one day people will look at what we’ve created and will be inspired to do the same.

Our Music Made Us campaign is told through the students, graduates, journalists, experts and passionate people who have been shaped by music. Discover their stories here

Author

Ellie Ashford

Ellie Ashford is about to graduate from the Vocals undergraduate course at BIMM Institute Birmingham. She is a solo performer and part of Stay At Home and Die. She is influenced by female artists such as Beabadoobee, Phoebe Bridgers, PVRIS and Pale Waves.