Danielle Ryce

Violinist, Vocalist

June 7, 2016


How old are you?

I am 24.

Where are you from originally?

I’m from Slidell, Louisiana.

What brought you here?

I went to Loyola. I always wanted to move here. My parents were both born and raised here and then they moved to the suburbs to save my soul. I’m their only child and they’re kind of overprotective so it was a bit of a struggle to get them to let me move here. But I love living here.

In what capacity are you a part of the music community of New Orleans?

I went to Loyola for classical violin and I teach private lessons for a lot of adults who want to learn violin. But mostly I play with my band Nyce! and we play all original music. And then somehow I got into jazz singing and now I do that too.

Do you remember being told or taught anything growing up about your behavioral expectations as a girl?

My parents are very conservative so there was a lot of “act like a lady”. But I do think it would’ve been the same if I had been a boy. “Act like a gentleman.” They weren’t so much about being quiet. They just wanted me to be respectful of other people and to be a nice person.

Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?

Sexism is when somebody has expectations of you based on your gender. They have an idea of what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, what you’re capable of, if you should be submissive, if you’re an object or if you should just look good.

Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?

Not always but the blatant things stick out. Somebody told a friend of mine that she shouldn’t play jazz because she’s a girl. What century are we in?

Do you think some forms of sexism are so engrained in our lives that we can’t always register it?

Yes. I think about that a lot. My roommate plays clarinet and we were talking about being sexist towards yourself. You have all these stereotypes in your head of being the dumb of clueless girl. You hold yourself back because you don’t want to ask questions. You don’t want to be too emotional because then you’re the emotional girl. You don’t want to be too girly because then you’re a ditz.

We’re stifling ourselves so that we don’t play into the stereotypes. It’s so backwards.

And we don’t even realize it. I did that a lot with myself especially with jazz. I had no clue what I was doing but I wouldn’t ask any questions and was going to figure it out on my own.  Recently realized how stupid that is and started asking questions and being honest when I have no idea what’s going on. I’m learning a whole lot more and feeling more confident. I didn’t ask questions because I didn’t want to be a “girl”. It’s also frustrating to see men go easy on women in a professional setting because they think we’re going to be too emotional. I’m lucky to work with the guys I do because they don’t do that. They tell me when I can do better and they don’t take it easy on me which helps me grow.

I’ve heard a lot of people express that they don’t know why getting special treatment is a big deal because it’s beneficial to us. We don’t want that. That’s not what we want.

That’s not the answer. We just want to be equal.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Someone was recently talking to me about how she feels the need to be better than all the guys around her so she doesn’t feel like she’s terrible at music. She needs to be that much better so she can keep up with the guys around her. I know what that means. I’ve felt that.