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Why I Love... Change

ChangePhoto: Matt Licari

When Catherine Marks asked me to be a part of this special issue of Sound On Sound, I was honoured to be included among this awesome community of women, and also grateful for an opportunity to reflect.

When I started, as an artist and songwriter, there was a distinct line between the different roles involved in making a recording — and if you were a woman, that line was considerably harder to cross. Without the jargon to properly communicate what I wanted to achieve sonically, choices were made for me. Pretty quickly I made the decision to cross over onto the other side of the glass and learn as much as I could, so I’d be in control of my own choices.

For me, making those choices is about listening to my gut. It’s not calculation, it’s instinct. It’s not science, it’s art. That’s what my studio The Lodge has always been about. I wanted an environment where producers and engineers feel comfortable. A place with good food, art on the walls, instruments to pick up and play, and windows... definitely windows. I followed my instincts and took the risky choice to build it the way I envisioned it.

I’ve learned over the years that being a great engineer/producer is to be a disrupter.

I never saw myself as an innovator, and I didn’t set out to be an industry change maker. It all started by identifying necessary problems to solve. We were the first to provide extra rooms where last‑minute overdubs and mix tweaks could happen during the session. We were the first to provide stem mastering, a powerful new technique that would change industry standards for mastering. I’ve learned over the years that being a great engineer/producer is to be a disrupter. Every project has different problems, and you need to make choices about how you address them. When necessary, you have to be prepared to disrupt a mix, to tinker with it until it allows the song to tell the story it needs to tell.

Remaining tuned in to my instincts led me to founding We Are Moving The Needle to address gender disparities in the industry. WAMTN amplifies the voices that have always been out there but haven’t always been heard. We build community, with more than 75 industry leaders, artists, producers and engineers on our soundBoard. We published our first Fix The Mix report this year, shedding light on the disparities facing women and non‑binary professionals in the field. I wanted to disrupt the narrative and highlight for industry decision makers that they have the power to make positive choices, and their choices matter.

It’s a beautiful time for our industry right now. The technology is more powerful than ever, and the lines have blurred so that the roles are not as rigid. No two paths are the same in this industry. Each new artist, engineer and producer embarks on a personal journey filled with choices. Keep making them. Moments that feel like roadblocks may actually be doors if you let them be. There will be hard choices, weird choices, and laughable “how did I get here” choices. Trust your instincts and enjoy the ride, wrong turns, bumps and all.