Eve Horne 23rd Jul 2021

'Women have to work so hard just to do something that they love'

A singer, songwriter, producer, mentor and founder of Peak Music UK, Eve Horne has seen the music industry from an array of different angles. Here she tells us about her 'We Are The Unheard' campaign, which aims to give women a bigger voice and better choices in the music biz...

I often ask myself, ‘Is it worth all the effort?’

Nearly 20 years ago, I studied sound engineering at university and was only one of six women in the whole year. I was the only one of colour.

I wrote my dissertation on the lack of female sound engineers in the music industry. Fast forward 20 years later and hardly anything has changed.

Structural sexism in the music business is undeniable when you look at the stats on the under representation of womxn in all areas. It is a shocking testament to inequality in 2021.

Only last year did the percentage of female produces go up to 3%. Only 17% of the Top 100 singers are female, and 13% of songwriters are female.

Being a woman in the music business is hard enough, being a woman of colour adds to that hardship and struggle.

So I launched a campaign. We Are The Unheard is a T-shirt campaign that aims to make us visible as women and get our voices heard. Every woman who buys a T-shirt can upload a photo to their socials and use the hashtag ‘#iamoneoftheunheard’. Likewise, supporters of the campaign can buy a support T-shirt and use the hashtag ‘#isupporttheunheard’.

I hope this can be a way for all the small businesses and organisations that are working tirelessly to raise awareness for the same cause to link arms under one banner so that our voices can be even louder.

Every woman that buys a T-shirt will be interviewed and have their story told in a beautiful coffee table portrait book. All proceeds from both the T-shirts and the book will go towards training young women in music production and songwriting. Each young woman who goes through that training will get the opportunity to thank an individual who purchased a T-shirt and gave them the opportunity.

"Young women today need to be shown there are choices for them in the music industry beyond being an artist."

Part of the problem is that women don’t realise that they can be an engineer, a producer, a radio DJ, a manager, an accountant at a record label… Young women today need to be shown there are choices for them in the music industry beyond being an artist.

I hope to be a role model for young women of colour, shouting as loud as I can for those who follow behind me. It’s my purpose and my duty to make sure the women of our future understand they have a choice and, when they make that choice, they feel comfortable and confident in the environment that they are passionate about working in.

Why are there so few women in the studio environment? Why do females not feel they can be sound engineers? Why do they not feel comfortable? Is it because of society? Or is it because of male behaviour?  This conversation has to continue. Men have to be responsible for their actions in these environments. Women have to be able to feel they can wear what they want without feeling intimidated or looked down upon. If they want to rock up in heels, they should be able to rock up in heels!

Too many times we have heard that women engineers are looked past when a male band walks into the recording studio. “Where’s the engineer” or “I’m looking for the owner”. It’s something we have to deal with again and again.

Women have to work so hard just to do something that they love. Then they have to work even harder to make it a career because of the closed mindedness and behaviour of men in the industry.

It’s a daily struggle. Although we are slowly making progress, it is not happening quickly enough.

What can we do to change the situation? Ask yourself, ‘How can I help?’ Look at your behaviour, look at whether or not you let those comments slip. Have conversations with other men in the industry. Ask them, ‘Why didn’t you hire a woman? Why aren’t you hiring women of colour?’ Help us by being allies and not enemies. We need to work together to make change. Music should be about music, not gender.

Is it worth all the effort? Of course it is.

It’s time to hear us and let us in.

Eve Horne

Eve Horne is an award winning creative mentor and advisor. She has over 20 years experience in the music industry as a singer songwriter, producer, founder of PeakMusicUK and the 'We Are The Unheard' campaign - a campaign to promote equality for women in the music industry. Horne's journey started at the BRIT School. She signed to Polydor, then EMI and toured internationally. Horne is a qualified sound engineer, co-founder of M@LO & The Magpie, and a Native Instruments Certified Specialist. She is passionate about promoting womxn, Black and minority ethnic womxn and LGBTQ+ communities in music. She uses her YouTube channel to be visible and provide fun, easy to follow walkthroughs on production hardware and software.