Stephanie Phillips is a London-based freelance journalist and content writer, specialising in music, race and feminism.
The human voice has always been an enthralling and powerful instrument to me. The sound that escapes through parted lips can tell the deepest truths in a world where honesty is sorely needed. It can also open up the singer to a world of criticism when the truth becomes too much for the listener.
The insidious trope of a band of average white dudes fronted by a prop-like, traditionally pretty, female singer pervades the music industry. Despite the many calls for the music industry to take female musicians seriously, old-fashioned ideas about female performers, such as them lacking in technical skill, still persist in every crack and crease of this business.
So many female artists have experienced this demoralising treatment that it has almost become a grotesque routine. Former Joanna Gruesome vocalist, Alanna McArdle, wrote a brilliant article on the perils of being “just” a female vocalist in a world that lessens the validity of your role. Vocalists rarely get the full praise they deserve. The power and pressure that comes with being “the singer” is something Raphaelle Standell, from Montreal-based band Braids, knows all too well.
I don’t always get paid for my work, so if you’ve liked my pieces and want me to write more you can donate a couple pennies to keep me going in between paid work.