Sometime it feels like everyday needs to be International Women's Day in dance music
The lack of women in prominent positions on DJ lists and festival lineups has been a source of building frustration in recent years. In the past year alone we've seen the DJ Mag Top 100 poll feature only two females, reddit users vote no women into their top 100 and Resident Advisor rank only seven.
Probably the most bullshit argument used to account for this issue is that "there just aren't enough women in dance music". Well in aid of International Women's Day we set out to put that argument to bed once and for all.
We asked our pals from across the industry to give us just one female who they think is killing it in 2016 and put their picks together into the list of DJs, producers, artists, vocalists and radio hosts below.
This is a completely non exhaustive list, and the fact that some of the bigger names - NERVO, Krewella, Nina Kraviz, Helena Hauff, Ellen Allien, Alison Wonderland, The Black Madonna - are absent, just further proves the point that there are a huge amount of women who are bossing the industry.
The problem isn't a lack of women, it's a lack of recognition and, given the huge amount of talent in this small list alone, that's a criminal shortfall that shames the whole industry.
Emma Jay Marsh [Spiral Management]: "The queen of Bromance, and probably the biggest don when it comes to selecting music. She’s 100% a cut above the rest."
Jack Smith [Ninja Tune]: "The NTS presenter has never been afraid of pushing the music she believes in, and with a Degree from Cambridge and experience working in Human Rights law, she knows exactly how to call out the bullshit that surrounds peoples perceptions, as she did in this interview."
Riton: "My old dear friend Heidi - tougher and stronger than any man in the business!”
Matthew Francey [Editor, Ministry of Sound]: "The queen of Sunday afternoon. Rinse FM host, Yasmin has brought me back from the brink of countless horrible hangovers with her inimitable blends of soulful house, R&B classics and old skool hip hop. For my money one of the best selectors in the game and an incredible vocalist to boot. Criminally underrated, if you like smooth soulful vibes (and who the hell doesn't?) her weekly show is essential listening."
Todd Terry: "She has been putting out tracks for years now and I have been supporting her as her production and live DJ-ing has developed. I loved the tracks she put out on InHouse Records and have always been impressed and given her props for her business, marketing and hustling skills."
Digital Farm Animals: "Right from hearing her for the first time on Disclosure's "Boiling" I've been a big fan of Sinead's voice. And now having had the chance to work with her in the studio I can see why so many producers love working with her."
Jolly Mare: "Lena Willikens is my favourite. Love her production style and sober, but distinguished attitude at the console."
George Thomas [Talent Booker, Ministry of Sound]: "E.M.M.A is someone I’ve quietly rated for ages, I first stumbled on her playing at the Bussey Building by chance ages ago, absolutely killing it, so much so that I booked her for a DWNTHRD event we did at Boxpark. Her production speaks for itself, I really don’t know how to describe it, it’s just modern and so fun. She puts in the work on radio too and she’s also responsible for founding a workshop that encourages girls to get into producing music!"
Jessica Goodchild [ListenUp]: "Nastia is the underground's best female DJ. With an insane knowledge of minimal drum & bass, melodic techno and everything in between it's understandable how she's gained such a loyal cult following. This month she plays alongside Richie Hawtin at Fabric, which will no doubt be one of her best sets yet!"
Danny Ingham [Universal]: "A normal woman who found success slightly later in life, and she makes insanely psychedelic techno that makes me weak at the knees."
Marie-Charlotte Dapoigny [ListenUp]: "My pick would be a French artist I think deserves more exposure, she’s called Flore. She’s a gifted, forward-thinking producer, live act and label head (POLAAR). Key, veteran actor of the French underground."
DJ Fresh: "Annie manages to maintain her artistic integrity as a DJ representing the music she loves even while holding such an important and ultimately open minded role representing all kinds of music at Radio One. I think Annie is an ambassador for women in music and for UK music around the world."
Or:la: "Shanti Celeste" came to mind straight away for me, and is definitely someone whose music I look up to both in her sets and productions. Intelligently crafted electronica that still maintains a degree of ‘housey rawness' is something I’m big on, especially when breaks are involved - something to chill to and dance to at the same time."
Joel Saunders [Digital Assistant, Ministry of Sound]: "Flava D, because she’s consistently producing amazing garage, repping Butterz properly and killing it with her live shows."
Tamara Roper [Assistant Editor, Ministry of Sound]: "As the first ever trans performer to be nominated for an Oscar, Anohni came forward with an open letter than was frank and vital about why she was boycotting the event. Her performance had been cut from the ceremony, replaced by an un-nominated Dave Grohl. “I will not be lulled into submission with a few more well manufactured, feel-good ballads and a bit of good old fashioned T. and A” she wrote, comparing the bread crumb trail that led to the cancellation of her performance to the willfull ignoring of global warming by the corporations who sponsor the event
In the meantime, Anohni actively supports “feminism, eco-consciousness and trans advocacy”, all the while creating music with Antony and The Johnsons and most recently, with Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never. The spellbinding "4 Degrees" has been a going round and round in my head since last November, and hers is the work that I’m most looking forward to this year."
Lisbon Kid: "A multifaceted artist. On an average release, Maya will have written, produced, engineered, arranged, mixed and performed every element of the track including the topline and even designing the sleeve artwork."
JB [Radar Radio]: "Amy’s got an ear for a fucking banger. She can flip the vibe from bait student night to underground rave at the drop of a (PR provided) hat."
Barny B: "Grimes is endlessly inspiring. Her visuals are powerful and she makes records that give me goosebumps and heart palpitations at the same time. A formidable creative force!"
Nikki Gordon [Head of Talent, Ministry of Sound]: "I've watched Sam’s career take off from day one and it's amazing to witness such an incredible talent grow right before your eyes."
LOVRA: "I am sure she’s one of the future stars, because she has a great output of banging Tech House".
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