Female music executives and recording artists advised students on entering the music industry at CSUN Tuesday during the “Women in Music” event.
“Women in Music” was held in collaboration between Grammy U and the CSUN-based Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association, or MEISA.
The main focus of the event was to try to get rid of adversity within the music industry and promote successful women and show that women can be successful in a male dominated field, said Misty Gambino, executive secretary of MEISA.
Forming a panel with an eclectic range of jobs within the music industry, the audience was given information on different aspects and how they got their starts.
“They happened to be the perfect balance of people, a producer and a musician just an eclectic mix, they all do different things in the industry,” said Kristen Grey, Grammy U’s CSUN campus representative.
Consisting of Sheila E., a top percussionist, Qiana Conley, the founder of a creative development company, and Cheryl Pawelski, a three-time Grammy-nominated producer, they held a moderated discussion on relevant music industry topics for interested students.
Covering a broad range of topics from how they broke into the field, their hardships and the difficulty of being in a male dominated field.
The hardships suffered by all of them throughout their careers seemed to coincide on one topic, that the music industry is ever evolving and those that entering the field must understand it is a “series of starting over.”
Each of the women had been laid off from multi-year jobs at record labels and needed to start over at a new place, which led to Conley and Pawelski starting their own businesses.
For women, starting over is tougher in a male-dominated industry. Sheila E. felt as if though with men it was always a competition with her to prove who the better drummer was, but she did it because of her love of playing.
Sheila E., with her background in music and as one of the top drummers in the world, seemed to be the main draw for many of the students that attended, making up an even mixture of both male and female.
“I have always loved Sheila E., because I’m a drummer too, but to see women in business that are independent and forward thinking, they seem like great role models,” said Sarah Mori, a senior music therapy major.
The main message that all of the panelists could agree on was something that not just applied to the music industry, but transcends into everyday life. To succeed you must work harder than everyone else and maintain or establish new relationships that will be important for them both career and life wise.
“Not taking no for an answer and if you are really hungry for it it’s there if you want it really stuck out for me,” said Michael Ray Clark, a junior music industries studies major. “None of their advice was really exclusive to just women, it was really general for anyone.”