June 15, 2016
How old are you?
I was about to say I’m 29 but I’m 30 now.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in this area. I’m from Metairie.
Why are you still here?
I spent a little time in Los Angeles and one of my biggest regrets was not sticking it out. But I try to believe everything happens for a reason. I came back and got to spend that last two year’s of my dad’s life with him. And losing one parent really makes you very aware of how easy it is to lose the second. And losing somebody that close to you makes you want to be close to your family. I’m just lucky that I’m in a city that’s so musically driven.
Do you remember being told or taught anything growing up about the behavioral expectations for girls?
My dad was very sick when I was younger so my mom was the one who went to work and took care of everything and it instilled in me from an early age that I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be that woman that you can rely on. I’m not going to be the girl that just sits back and gets taken care of my whole life. That is now trickling over into my adult life and in some ways it’s really great and in some ways it’s proving to be a challenge.
Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?
There are a lot of men in this industry and there are certain roles that you have to fulfill and when you step outside of them, you’re not taken seriously. Equality is what so many women are fighting for. It took a long time for the people that I work with on a regular basis to respect me and realize that they can get fired if they don’t. I’m the one that’s going to meetings, that’s networking, that’s brainstorming, that’s putting these websites together, that’s coordinating everything. You’re showing up and putting your feet under the drums or the piano. For which I thank you I also want the respect that I give you in return. I’m just asking equal respect. We are expected to act in certain ways and when we are more than what they expect of us, it’s very intimidating.
How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?
If it’s someone who I don’t know very well and it’s said in a joking manner, I come back with some smart ass joke or comment just to put them in their place. But as far as dealing with it? I don’t deal with it. I don’t deal with it in my inner circle, I don’t deal with it in my business. I won’t deal with it anymore. You’re out. I have a very low tolerance for it. You either give something to my life and I give it back to you or we don’t have any need to expending energy on each other.
Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?
I wish it wouldn’t affect me at all but I am so very aware of it. I am very keenly in tune to when people make statements that try to pull my strength down as a woman and what I’ve been through. Someone in the audience will come up to request a song and they’ll go straight to the piano player instead of me. No one expects me—the only woman up on the stage—to be the one calling the shots. They immediately go to one of the men. It happens way more than we realize. When you’re finally looking for it, you realize “Oh shit,” because it’s everywhere.
Can you recall any specifics occasions that may have stuck out where you experienced sexist behavior against you?
I could give you many but I’ll give you one in particular. I was working with a producer out of Atlanta and I’ve always felt that you have to develop a relationship with your producer because you’re writing with them, you have to be honest with them, they’re going to hear your voice crack and ultimately you want them to like you so they make your music sound as good as it can. So we’re texting back and forth about the music and edits and I went to sleep and when I woke up I had another message from him. I opened my phone and it was a video of a guy fucking a girl from behind. I never responded and I have not spoken to him since. That’s sexual harassment. For years that made me nervous to be alone with a male colleague especially if he thinks something like that is appropriate. It’s not an easy industry for women to be in and I feel like a lot of men don’t get it.
I was recently at the end of my birth control cycle and was thinking about if I wanted to continue it or not and I ultimately decided to stay on it just in case something horrible happens. If I get raped, at least I won’t be pregnant.
It’s scary that we literally have to think that through. Now we’re getting political, but politicians using God for their personal agenda is the kind of shit that pisses me off. God doesn’t want that. What if it was your daughter who got raped and got pregnant by her rapist? You’re going to force her to have that baby? I doubt it. You’re full of shit is what you are.
Are there any particular stereotypes of women that drive you nuts?
One that drives me nuts are memes on Facebook and Instagram that say “All I want to do is be a house wife who drinks wine all night.” Don’t get me wrong, I want to drink wine all night but I don’t want to be a fucking housewife. The thought of staying home all day long with nothing to do. I need some brain power. I need to feel worth something. I’m not speaking against any stay at home moms. I’m speaking against those that have no goals of their own. They aspire for someone else to take care of them. If your inspiration is to have kids and be a mother, then say that. You aspire to raise children and be the most amazing mother. Housewife means ‘my husband is going to work to do all the work and I have no ambition whatsoever’.
I think people really need to remember that some of the best athletes in the world are women and some of the best cooks in the world are men. Let’s get out of this realm of mediocrity that we’ve all put ourselves in and work to what we want to be and be supportive of each other for that. The only people that aren’t supportive are the insecure ones that need to thrive off of those stereotypes.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Happiness is defined in different terms for every single person on this earth. There are so many people that tell me I’m so much better than singing on hotel gigs. They don’t know me. They don’t know my story. They don’t know where I’ve been, where I’ve come from. And they don’t know how proud I am and how happy I am to be where I’m at. Don’t worry about any of the bullshit that you want to worry about. This is what’s making me happy. I don’t sit behind a desk eight hours a day. I meet fucking amazing people. I can drink wine at 3pm. I’m going to sing tonight. I’m happy with what I’m doing and if you’re happy with what you’re doing, then what’s the problem?