Title

“Write My Own Checks Like I Write What I Sing”: The Authorship and Independence of Female Singer-Songwriters in the Pop Music Industry

Lead Author Major

English

Lead Author Status

Junior

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jeffrey Hole

Faculty Mentor Email

jhole@pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

English

Abstract/Artist Statement

This research project examines how, in the male-dominated structures of the popular music industry, narratives about women have been marginalized, ignored, and undervalued. While female pop artists have been understood and appreciated primarily for vocal ability and sexual appeal of the feminine body, men have traditionally occupied the positions of songwriter or producer, further solidifying their authorial role. These patriarchal structures, moreover, wittingly or unwittingly reinforce ideas about women as passive objects or instruments (Green 1994). The category of female singer-songwriter, my research suggests, is, by definition, a contradiction and subversion of traditional gender roles, and this position has been claimed by recent female musicians as a form of rebellion and resistance. In the scope of my research, I focus on how female pop artists have embraced songwriting as a medium for authentic self- expression, and how female authorship within pop music contests the male- dominated structures of the music industry. I examine the compositions and career trajectories of commercially successful women artists of contemporary popular music, starting within popular folk music of the 1960s such as the radically feminine storytelling of Joni Mitchell. I also explore current artists, such as Beyoncé and Ariana Grande, whose music and music videos have not only allowed them to reclaim their personal narratives as women in the entertainment industry, but function auto-ethnographically as social commentaries that represent the frustrations and collective experiences of women within the era of #MeToo.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

27-4-2018 11:00 AM

End Date

27-4-2018 11:19 AM

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Apr 27th, 11:00 AM Apr 27th, 11:19 AM

“Write My Own Checks Like I Write What I Sing”: The Authorship and Independence of Female Singer-Songwriters in the Pop Music Industry

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

This research project examines how, in the male-dominated structures of the popular music industry, narratives about women have been marginalized, ignored, and undervalued. While female pop artists have been understood and appreciated primarily for vocal ability and sexual appeal of the feminine body, men have traditionally occupied the positions of songwriter or producer, further solidifying their authorial role. These patriarchal structures, moreover, wittingly or unwittingly reinforce ideas about women as passive objects or instruments (Green 1994). The category of female singer-songwriter, my research suggests, is, by definition, a contradiction and subversion of traditional gender roles, and this position has been claimed by recent female musicians as a form of rebellion and resistance. In the scope of my research, I focus on how female pop artists have embraced songwriting as a medium for authentic self- expression, and how female authorship within pop music contests the male- dominated structures of the music industry. I examine the compositions and career trajectories of commercially successful women artists of contemporary popular music, starting within popular folk music of the 1960s such as the radically feminine storytelling of Joni Mitchell. I also explore current artists, such as Beyoncé and Ariana Grande, whose music and music videos have not only allowed them to reclaim their personal narratives as women in the entertainment industry, but function auto-ethnographically as social commentaries that represent the frustrations and collective experiences of women within the era of #MeToo.