Grimes Talks About the Best Advice From Jay-Z, Music Industry Sexism
Grimes is not #sorrynotsorry. The alt-pop artist and producer (a.k.a. Claire Boucher), who is signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation management company, told Rolling Stone the the best advice she ever received from the juggernaut rapper.
"He told me to stop apologizing so much," Boucher shared, linking her tendency to say "sorry" to her being from Canada. "It was very difficult. Canadians have to say 'sorry' all the time. That's actually really good advice."
The advice may also apply to a similar phenomena women experience in society at large: In a social research study published in 2010, data concluded that women often apologize more frequently than men, and typically for trivial or non-offensive behaviors ("sorry to bother you but..."). And in the music industry, a culture which often sees female creators struggling to be taken as seriously as their male counterparts, the deeply socially-conditioned response to quickly apologize — or "be a little less," as Madonna once sang — is a major internalized hurdle for many artists.
Fortunately, in recent years more and more female artists — from Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches to Lady Gaga to Kesha — are stepping forward to challenge gender imbalance in the industry, speaking out when they or their peers have been treated inappropriately, unfairly, or even sexually harassed.
Grimes, of course, is another warrior on the forefront of this battle, having been critical of the staggeringly male-dominated network found in modern music production, a system she hopes to break down. "I don't think there are few female producers because women aren't interested," the "Kill V. Maim" singer-songwriter-producer told Rolling Stone. "It's difficult for women to get in. It's a pretty hostile environment."
When asked about Kesha's lawsuit against Dr. Luke, the artist — who previously tweeted her support back in February — empathized with the "Die Young" singer, revealing that she, too, has been on the receiving end of inappropriate or threatening interactions from men in the music industry.
"I don't know enough about the specifics of that situation, because it seems very complicated," she said, adding, "but I will say that I've been in numerous situations where male producers would literally be like, 'We won't finish the song unless you come back to my hotel room.' If I was younger or in a more financially desperate situation, maybe I would have done that."
Hopefully Boucher, who produced the entirety of her Art Angels album and is already "halfway done with another record," will never again find herself in a situation like the one she described. However, the fact that this behavior seems to be a repetitive norm in the industry is wherein lies the problem — one which music-creating women definitely shouldn't be apologizing for.
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