Honestly? I don’t know.
When I posted a throwaway message on Facebook asking if any women in music wanted to get together to talk over beers, I thought a handful of women would respond. Instead, 50 people said they were interested, and suddenly, instead of a casual conversation, we were starting something. People were ready to talk, ready to listen, and ready to work. The energy was incredible, and I knew that this was a bigger deal than I’d initially realized.
The next week, I created the Canadian Women in Music page on Facebook, and 100 people joined in 24 hours.
And the week after that, the Jian Ghomeshi story broke.
There is no better moment, I think, to talk about what it means to be a woman in music, especially in Canada. What it means to travel solo, to run sound, to write grants, to be a mom on the road, to come back to the music industry after taking time off to be a mom. To ask why so few bookers are women, so few women appear on festival stages, or behind sound boards, or at the heads of major music organizations. To question why, of the women that are present in those roles, so many are white and so few are women of colour, so many are young and so few are older.
To ask ourselves what we can do to support each other, to network, to give each other a helping hand. To ask how we can push ourselves forward, promote ourselves, and ensure that our voices are heard and our pay is equal.
I don’t know how to make change, necessarily, besides asking questions and setting achievable goals. I’m pretty good at both of those things, and I’m pretty good at bluffing my way through everything else.
Over the past month, I’ve often questioned myself – should I be the one doing this? Shouldn’t it be someone with more skill, more gravitas, more connections, more success, a bigger name in the industry? Surely it’s hubris for me, a white, straight, cisgendered woman born and bred in Ontario, to start an organization that claims to represent all of the women in music in Canada?
And the answer, inevitably, is yes. That’s hubris, Candace. Someone else should definitely be doing this. But they aren’t.
If not me, who?
And if not now, when?
Since my answer to both of those questions is “I don’t know,” and I think that this is something that we, the women in music, both need and want, I find myself here. Building a website for an organization that I hope will be so much bigger than me and my limited experience and vision. An organization that I hope will contribute so much more than I can offer on my own.
I offer my enthusiasm and ideas and ears, and whatever time I can carve out from my schedule. I hope that you will offer those things too, and more, and that we can work together to figure out what the hell we’re doing here.
Because honestly? I don’t know.