Editor’s Note: Hello, I’m Jen Miller. It’s not really that important to know who I am, but the context here is that I am a songwriter and activist with career experience in tech & politics. :o)
I moved to Washington, D.C. in June of 2014 — just 10 days after I walked across the stage to accept my Bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, a small liberal arts school in Springfield, Ohio. Truthfully, my move from the Buckeye state to the District was nothing but a great leap of faith that I would stumble onto something that both interested me and could *air quotes* MAYBE result in enough money for me to pay off my student loans. After spending the last four years going to school and touring as a singer/songwriter, I felt like it was time to take on a new town and career path.
Before I knew it, I found myself working in public affairs and strategic communications for some of the biggest names in the tech industry. How? I happened to meet the right people at the right time and get my foot in the door. And over time, I found that — like the entertainment industry — women within the tech and political spheres consistently endure gender bias and discrimination. But the weird thing that struck me about the tech and political spheres was the consensus was that a bias did exist. However, in the music industry, there are very few organizations and events working to combat gender discrimination, and very little discussion of what there is we can do beyond personal circles of friends within the industry. This is just my perception. I think we could do better across the board.
Misogyny is the music industry’s worst kept secret. In 2015, successful rapper and producer, Dr. Dre, finally apologized for a lifetime of physical and emotional abuse against women. Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry foraged a public battle against the misogynistic online trolls who have plagued the singer’s social media accounts with insults and rape threats. Lady Gaga came forward with her story of being raped at 19 by an older record executive. I wonder how many women I’ve met or looked up to in the music industry with similar stories, but never risked their safety or livelihood to go public.
And, today, that’s why I started Girl Gang Music: a curated community and network of women and gender nonconforming individuals within the music industry. We are musicians, songwriters, music professionals, writers, photographers, consumers, producers, etc. that promote tunes, trade tips + stories, and aim to uplift female artists. Our mission is to promote female inclusion in all aspects of the industry, to celebrate women who are already thriving in music, and, ultimately, to develop a pipeline for girls and young women to confidently get involved in music through mentorship and community. The blog will focus on exclusively female and GNC talent in the industry.
Women need to form a girl gang to support each other to successfully overcome gender bias within the music industry. Harnessing the power of the collective voices — through virtual and visual presence of women themselves — will allow us to amplify the important conversations.
About Jen Miller: Jen Miller is a Nashville-based indie recording artist, political activist, and the founder of Girl Gang Music — an online community and network of women + GNC folk within the music industry. An Ohio-native, Jen fostered her following online, with her tweets alone reaching nearly 25,000,000 people every month. In May 2014, her debut album “Overgrown” reached #8 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts, and her feminist anthem “Bullshit” is currently the theme song of Women’s Health podcast “Uninterrupted”. Miller’s most recent single “Down” dropped on January 16, 2017 worldwide, and will be on her upcoming EP this spring. Visit www.jenmillermusic.com.