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Women in music have always been associated with pop - with prettiness, theatricality, melodic hooks and dance beats.
A lot of artists feel it's not worth it to sign with a major label, because if you don't have a giganto hit, then you're not going to get a video made. You're not going to probably get much tour support. You're not going to get promotion. You're certainly not going to get a publicist who's going to pay much attention to you.
Hip-hop has survived as a sonic practice more than anything else. It's an approach to music-making based in sampling and rhyming over beats, that's proven far more versatile than its detractors thought it would.
I enjoyed singing and playing guitar but didn't have the stamina to make music-making a career. In reality, writing was my real gift, and as soon as I figured that out I never looked back.
I got the writing bug in the fourth grade when a poem of mine was published in the school newspaper. Music criticism came a little later, when I was in high school.
MTV definitely has the effect of narrowing the range of music that hits the mainstream. On the other hand, isn't that the effect of television in general?
Personally, I've realized that the tradition I thought of as too safe, too pretty, and too conventional is the space where women have been able to gain some practical ground. The area of music where we thought the status quo was really being upset - specifically hard rock - has actually remained the most male-dominated.
To some extent, the idea that rock 'n roll used to have this sort of free antediluvian identity, frolicking in the 1950s with Elvis or something, is totally wrong. It's insane. Elvis' relationship with Colonel Parker, his manager, was one of the most possibly corrupt, certainly lucrative, and intense business partnerships ever in rock n' roll.
We have to ask ourselves why younger women don't feel the need to be right up front with their politics. Is that going to set us back or is that itself a sign of progress? I don't know the answer.
You can't fool yourself anymore that your art is your art. When you're not getting paid for that song that's being traded back and forth among millions of people on the Internet, you have to think like a businessperson.
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