“I think things for women in music have always been difficult in a way that most of their listeners won’t even realize,” senior Posey Bischoff said about her experience with sexism in the music industry.
March is not only Women’s History Month, but also Music In Our Schools Month.
“I wrote my first song in sixth grade, and that’s around the time that I started playing ukulele too, but before that, I always liked to sing and listen to music,” Bischoff said.
After keeping up with something for so long it can be hard not to lose interest. “There are so many parts of music that keeps me interested. The main thing though is just that song ideas are always appearing in my head, and I can’t just ignore them! I also love performing, and being able to share what I create also keeps me motivated,” Bischoff said.
According to Zippia, the average age for singer-songwriters is 45 years old, and 77.7% of song writers are male. Bischoff doesn’t fit in either of those statistics being an 18 year-old female singer-songwriter. Not fitting in these statistics has its setbacks.
“I have experienced sexism in the industry. People that hire me to play will sometimes mainly talk to my dad, even though I’m the one performing, setting up my own equipment, and the one that booked the gig in the first place. They will frequently give any payment or tips to my dad, which makes me feel like I’m not being taken seriously,” Bischoff said.
In addition to doing all of that by herself, Bischoff also writes her own songs. “My first step to writing a song is to think of a hook for a song, or the punchiest line of the chorus I can base the rest of the song on. After that, I kind of just do it all at the same time. I write the words, and add melody and chords as I go, so by the last verse I write, I have a rough draft of a song with all of its parts. I get my ideas from all over. Sometimes it’ll be something I overhear someone say, something I see on TV, or just my current environment or situation,” Bischoff said.
“My biggest inspiration by far is Joni Mitchell. I am in awe of every single one of her songs. They are beautifully written and her use of seemingly random alternate tunings both astounds and intrigues me. I play some of her songs during most of my shows, and I like to think my songs are reminiscent of hers,” Bischoff said.
In addition to Mitchell, “I like to listen to all types of music, but I draw inspiration for my own songs mainly from folk or indie music. I’m pretty much your classic singer-songwriter, and the genre of songs I write reflects that,” Bischoff said.
After writing and performing her music Bischoff hears, “People describe my songs as ‘cute,’ which feels like they are belittling my accomplishments. I have the sense that some people are not actually listening to my music, but just like seeing me on stage. Sometimes I get more comments on how I look than my music after I perform. I’ll get men that frequently tell me I look more beautiful than the last time they saw me, or that if I smile more while singing, I’ll be better to watch,” Bischoff said.
“In my experience, it’s hard to find the right balance between standing up for myself concerning these things, and having to just deal with some of it so I don’t lose those connections and opportunities. I can realize the reality that in order to make it in the music industry, I might have to take a certain level of b***s*** from people, which is unfortunate and unfair. I also find it difficult to even use some of the opportunities I’m presented. I’ve had to turn down musicians that want to collaborate because I don’t want to put myself in an unsafe situation. I guess I’m just tired of feeling like I have to take my parents everywhere I go,” Bischoff said.
This will be Izzy Poole’s second year on ECHO staff. They were Business Manager their junior year and made several contributions while taking journalism class their sophomore year.