WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC SERIES BLOG 2020
‘I Am Woman Watch Me Roar’ is a detour into the collective musical landscape, inviting the shared voice of my comrades to express on theme. The title of this blog hearkens back the powerful 70’s anthem by Helen Reddy, and also evokes a sense of a powerful lioness defending her children and pride (double meaning). Sadly Helen Reddy has just passed away, her work and this song in particular, inspired the blog interview focus, a powerful anthem for womens empowerment. Born during the tumultuous world war 2 years to a musical family, she lived and worked musically through the revolutionary social/ political times of the late 60’s and 70’s.
This song was a beautiful example of lyrical potency self acceptance and spiritual vigour. I chose it because of its anthemic nature and the fact that it is essentially a call to arms for women and an affirmation of womens unique power.
“Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman”
R.I.P HELEN REDDY thank you for your contribution to music, culture and the human journey. This week I will speak on theme, so far I have featured Zoe Ryan, Jenni Dagley, Seraya, Lacunae Glow, Taylar Paige, Melody Moon, Elaine Nolan, Bek Davis, Symmetrix, Elenor Rayner, Ivy Lucille, Becki Whitton (Aphir) and Anya Trybala (Ninoosh). More women have been invited to speak on theme and hopefully we will feature a few more before years end.
I also have blogs coming on various topics such as Musicians Mental health and creative therapies, the benefits of martial arts for women, and the power plays women endure regarding their sexuality/ sensuality and its abuse.
INTRODUCING CATHERINE MEESON
Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc)
I am an independent singer songwriter composer performance artist and producer, I take care of everything, music videos, promotion etc. I have been an avid student of all things music sound healing for 25 years and am developing a body of work to share with others in the form of practitioner training. I started studying audio engineering and sound production late last year, to refine my skills, fill in my gaps and get a firm acoustic and technical science foundation. At this time I am largely a studio recording artist, but I do love to do live stuff and can’t wait to rock out big time with my band. I have a band as well with my partner Sean and Mark called Symbols IN soundS
How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?
I started writing songs in high school, I had been writing poetry and was an avid pop lover growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, so had role models like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Annie Lennox, Whitney Houston, Heart and Abba.
My first music teacher put a guitar keyboard and a mic in my hand, put us into high school bands, we ran with it. I had a girls rock band called The Stormers that toured around Vic, we did Battle of the Bands, recorded made music videos etc. It was heaps of fun. I still have the tape of the recordings of the second song I ever wrote, a teen girls fantasies on the experiences of love and relationships.
THE STORMERS OF PRESTON GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL 1988
In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?
Unconscious bias comes from fear, from repressed projected self talk in many instances, from a superiority mindset and from a boys club mentality. Things that have been said to me, like if a woman wants to get anywhere in music, she needs to fuck her way to the top, which is just disgusting and makes me furious. There is lots of inference on skill and ability because women are not seen as having technical acumen or knowledge, even if they invest time and energy to acquire skill. I had many people beat me down tell me to stop wasting my time, get a real job etc, comments like “you call that music”. A lot of the affect for me has come from social values and negative experiences and internalised resistance that I have encountered. There is also this sense of the dumb blonde, that really annoys me.
What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?
Women need to be recognized for their uniqueness, as many of the women who have spoken so far have said. We need equal opportunities, for those who choose to work with us or other creative partners to team up with, there needs to be a fundamental respect of who and what we bring not a desire to shape and mold and bend us to anothers will or ideas, or to exploit our sexuality and sacral energy (the divine feminine creative force). We need platforms for our voice, and powerful leaders and mentors, and quite possibly organisations that advocate for women in music and womens issues. We need a safe space and honourable men to empower and enhance our capacity to offer amazing perspectives and musical works. We need brothers in arms who stand proudly by our side as equals.
What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?
Self doubt and my inner demons due to severe trauma. The belief that I am not good enough and don’t stand a chance. Also the safety issue, physical and psychological safety.
What is unique about a women’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?
Women are sensitive creatures, we are the deep feelers, intuitive, we bare sons and daughters and carry the future of the human race in our wombs. We carry the seeds for not only biological life but amazing creative vision. Women have always been likened to the muses, and the muses of Greek mythos are women. Many Goddesses of historical cultures are patrons for the arts, of beauty and music. It is not a new path to us, we have long been temple priestesses, healers, oracles, soothsayers, bards, minstrels, prophetesses that transmit culture, warning, story. Our words allow the people to feel, our musics echo the heart of the people, the unheard. Through our intuitive gifts we can express the things others struggle with, we can bring the Shekinah presence, the divine feminine to bare in all that we do. We are intimately connected to the earth and the heavens and understand the cyclic nature of all things. In music today we need this divine feminine goddess energy/ archetype in all her permutations; as creator, destroyer, mother etc to be a catalytic social force. The world, (excuse the French) is totally fucked. We can see what does not work and bring the transmutational archetypal force to change and shape culture. We can and will hold to account.
Why you are sharing this video?
I am sharing Come Back because Oma the central character is a powerful Goddess mother type figure who speaks not only for herself but on behalf of all life, calling us to remember and reconnect. It is off my last album The Call of Oma and was very well received. It also embodies everything I talk about doing for yourself, I made the costume, did the make up, scouted the location, paid for production, edited it, produced everything. I had my partner Seans help behind the lens and he did a friggin awesome job having never done anything like that before, working under my direction. This was done with my phone, use what ya got!
Do you have any advise for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?
Just do it, express what you want to express, the way you want to express it, nurture your own visionary/ revolutionary capacity, be yourself in all your glory, be fierce, be proud, back yourself, do what it takes whilst preserving your integrity and honour. Learn self defense to protect yourself against the sleeze bags and those that might seek to exploit you. Learn about human nature, learn how to read situations, empower yourself with knowledge. Remain humble, develop a strong core, listen more than you talk, take advise, accept rejection and criticism as normal and keep going no matter what. Don’t expect anyone to do anything for you, do it yourself fully exploit your resources and fund yourself, create the best work you can, so that when others do come along and like what you are doing you have a solid foundation you have a much clearer sense of everything involved in a musician/ engineers journey, and you can appreciate the many hours and varied skill sets it take to bring work to finished production and release. If you have done those things yourself you are also more able to understand and communicate with others in the creative industries who you may need to employ to help you, graphic designers, cinematographers, editors, make up artists, etc etc.
Love self no matter what, regret and self judgment are killers, assassins of thought. Develop potency and really look after body mind spirit, stay healthy so you can be the best you you can be.
Don’t worry about others notions of what success is or looks like, decide what it is for you and get to work. It’s a long haul to leave a legacy, but worth it. It is a great gift to create magic out of the aether and gift it to others who then receive its gifts. Music is Magic of the highest order. Good luck.
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