SoundGirls, an international group for women in audio and music production, recently found that women make up just 5% of UK sound engineers. The Music Producers Guild – a UK collective of producers, mixers, recording engineers, programmers and remixers – reckon that just 6% of its members are female. And in the US, women make up just 2.1% of producers – and up to 21% of artists and 12% of songwriters when compared to their male counterparts.
It’s a fact that there’s a lack of female representation in the music industry as a whole. But by raising awareness of these differences, change can happen. And that’s why our new series is about shining the spotlight on women in production. The women who are blazing a trail in a male-dominated industry and who are bound to empower future generations to follow their lead.
First up, we have Ylva Brandtsegg. Originally hailing from Inderøy – a beautiful peninsula in central Norway – she is now studying music production at BIMM Institute Berlin. Here, she tells us why she chose to study music production and how she believes it’s so important to have strong female producers visible for others studying at BIMM.
Why did you choose to study music production?
I had been drumming for many years and also tried studying it. However, I felt like it wasn’t enough and wanted to try something that was not only musical, but wider and more creative.
I discovered music production as a side module at my drumming course in Norway and loved the creative freedom it gave me. I also realised I was able to write songs, which is something I really like to do.
When being faced with the choice between studying drums and music production, I chose music production because I wanted to explore what a course like this could do for me both creatively and professionally. It also gave me a larger platform to work from as a musician.
Where do you want to take your production career going forward?
I want to keep producing songs and exploring different ways of creating music and songwriting. Every year, I become more and more confident in my production role. And, I’d like to keep going to see where I end up.
Up until now, I have been producing my own songs. It’s something that I love and want to continue. I’ve recently started producing for others as well, which is very different but super interesting.
In the future, I see myself co-writing songs with others, producing songs for people and making my own music as a solo artist.
Who are your favourite female producers and why?
I really like Tokimonsta and FKA Twigs. They each have a distinct way of creating sounds and interesting ways of making tracks. I also like the Norwegian artist and producer ARY, especially her songwriting and how she makes her music sound.
The world of music production is seen as male-dominated. In what way does having a Female Head of Production at BIMM Institute inspire you?
I think it’s very nice. It’s cool to see how she is working within the college, but also outside of it as she is working as a professional producer and artist.
She’s proof that it’s possible for us to reach that too – and that is very inspiring. I think she’s a role model for many girls here (not just the producers). It’s great to have a strong female character at the forefront.
What’s your advice for other students or artists who might be gearing up to enter the studio for the first time?
Give yourself time, have fun and explore. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand how things work right away – it can be a slow process. It’s hard to do but try to not judge yourself in the creative process either – that’s counterproductive. Instead, just make music and enjoy!
Listen to Ylva’s new single here.