October 24, 2016
How old are you?
Where are you from originally?
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
What brought you to New Orleans?
I’m a jazz musician and I felt I owed it to the music to spend time in this city. But I’m also from the Midwest and we’re very logical workaholics up there so I wasn’t going to move until I got a job. Once I got a job, I accepted the job offer and moved down here about two weeks later.
What was the job?
I worked for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Playhouse as their music and talent associate.
As of now, how would you describe your role within the music community of New Orleans?
My mother once said, “Ella Campbell: Champion of the Under-appreciated Musician”. That’s how I would put it right now. I’m doing some hourly, personal assistant type stuff for different musicians. I’m starting a little platform called Raymond Street Ruckus where I’m putting together different one-time management packages for people. There are people in the city that ask me to be their manager and I know from experience that I have working with musicians that they don’t need a full-time manager. I’m trying to offer an extra hand when musicians need it. So I’m building that now and being the champion of the under-appreciated musician.
Growing up, do you remember being told or taught anything about the behavioral expectations for you as a girl?
Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?
It’s unintentional, habitual ignorance. I don’t think many people know what they’re doing. There’s a lot of videos going around about racist micro-aggressions. There’s videos about, what do they call it? Mansplaining? Sometimes it is malicious, sometimes it’s just mean, sometimes it’s a power play but for the most part, I think sexism is an unintentional ignorance that has become habit.
How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?
Is eye-rolling an emotion? What emotion is that? What emotion is a sigh? Sometimes it’s just silence. Maybe I’m numb to it and that reaction is that I don’t have any emotions about it anymore. It’s like a static television station. It’s white noise.
Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?
Do you recall any specific experiences when you experienced sexist behavior against you?
I feel that if I elaborate I’m handing my narrative over to the people that did it. And that’s not my story and their narrative is not my narrative. I experienced that and it’s also not my story.
What made you want to be a part of this project?
Once I saw women that I work with doing it I was more comfortable with it. About six years ago, a friend and I started a blog where we got all of these women in our jazz programs to contribute to this blog where essentially we utilized the blog as a platform to say , “Here’s a bunch of 19-year old girls producing the same content that you’ll find in Downbeat Magazine.” That lasted about two years and people still go to it. It has useful information on it that a bunch of 19 and 20-year old girls put together. That was the last time I participated in a project like this. Initially I thought, “Oh my god, no. We do more things than get harassed.” My story is so much bigger than the guy at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois who auditioned me—is that on the record? DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois! I had a very sexist experienced in the audition process! But I am doing a lot better than that guy would have even expected me to do as his student. You know what I’m saying? All of us are doing so much more. Our stories are not the voices of people that put these opinions over us. All of the women I know that are in this industry are way more colorful and hard-working and smart than some guy at Guitar Center thinking that you don’t know what drumhead you’re talking about. We’re all so much smarter and so much livelier and so much deeper then these dumb stories that people don’t even know they’re imposing on us.