Maggie Koerner

Vocalist, Songwriter

March 6, 2017


How old are you?

I am 30.

Where are you from originally?

Shreveport born and bred.

So how long have you been in New Orleans?

That’s a good question. I never fucking know. I think it was five or six years ago.

What brought you to New Orleans?

I’m a singer-songwriter and I didn’t have the balls to move to New York or L.A. and I hate Nashville and I’m a Louisiana girl. New Orleans felt natural. I felt like I had lived here in a past life.

And why are you still living here?

There’s something about New Orleans that is very accepting of our differences. I’d rather be exposed to different walks of life than keep having the same fucking conversation with people that look just like me and were raised just like me.

Do you remember being told or taught anything while you were growing up about the behavioral expectations for being a girl?

I’ve never fit the mold of what I was supposed to be which was quiet and polite and meek and shy and sweet. I’ve never been those things therefore I never fit the stereotype of what a woman in Shreveport was supposed to be. The boys in my class never liked me because I was the little girl that said, “That’s not fair, I want to play football. Why am I not allowed to play football? Why can’t I play with the boys?” So very early on I wasn’t having it and I wasn’t liked because I wasn’t the typical girl that was sweet and quiet and minded her business and didn’t challenge anybody.

Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?

Sexism is the idea that because I am a woman that my role or my job is lesser. It’s to be beautiful, it’s to smile, it’s to be sexy, it’s to be quiet. It’s all of these things. We want you to be sexy but god forbid slutty. It’s a set of rules. It’s that I’m not human, I’m just a vagina and tits. It’s when we get to the venue and the bar owner won’t look at me and won’t make eye contact with me and he won’t speak to me. He will only speak to one of the guys in my band. “Motherfucker, this is my fucking band. I pay them. What the fuck?” I was so fucking livid. I don’t get it, I really don’t. When I was with Galactic nobody knew who the fuck I was and they thought I was some groupie. I played with that a lot. I let people talk to me however they wanted and then I’d go on stage and started singing. Once they realized I was the lead singer there was a complete change of behavior towards me.

How does being treated in sexist way make you feel?

It just doesn’t make sense to me, I’ve never understood. I watched a documentary that blew my fucking brain open and made me realize how unequal it is in America for women. I thought that we had figured all this stuff out already and that things were better and it became clear that we need to keep fighting this fight. The revolution is not over for women. I did get angry at Paul Ryan one day and I just ended up writing it and putting it into a song. I try to save my crazy for my art. What else can you do? I can’t make somebody’s opinion change that has felt this way for 60 years. I can’t make an avid Trump supporter realize that women are equal to men. I don’t know how. I don’t know what to do anymore. All I know is that I was given gifts to sing and write and that’s what I can do.

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

I get used to things because I hang out with three men on the road. They are the kindest, sweetest guys and we’ll crack jokes and say something inappropriate but if some super feminist woman got in the van I would be ashamed of myself. What I find interesting is that I notice the sexism from men but I don’t always notice the women being mean to women. Women are a tricky breed for me. I’ve never had many girlfriends. I have always struggled with relationships with women and I hate that. But I don’t like to label myself as a woman that doesn’t get along with other women because nothing makes me feel better than when I am in a group of only women. There is nothing more powerful than when you’re with a bunch of likeminded women and you’re supporting each other. You can’t get that from men.

Can you recall any specific occasions of when you experienced sexist behavior against you that may have stuck with you?

I had just moved to New Orleans and was working with a producer who is a famous musician in town. I really looked up to this guy and he was mentor but he would say inappropriate things all the time. We were in the studio for chunks of time and I would ask where I should sleep and he would say things like, “You’re sleeping in my bed.” That led to him linger in hugs for much longer than made me comfortable. The final straw for me was when I woke up to a text message that said, “I just had the most intense dream about you.” And I lost it. I fucking lost it. Because he’s married and he has kids and it made me feel like I was the slut. So I fired him. I called him up and I was so angry that he had texted me that and he tried to play it off saying, “What are you talking about? I just had a dream.” It meant something besides that and he and I both knew that. After that, I would see his wife and she would be like a really mean to me and that’s the mentality that I want to stop. I wish women would view each other as being on the same team. Men are on the same team. Whatever happens, the guys are going to be cool with each other and that woman is shunned. Maybe she’s called a slut, maybe she’s called a whore. It pissed me off that I was labeled that way when I did nothing wrong. I ran into his friend when we went to the Offbeat Awards and he told me, “You almost ruined his years and years of sobriety.” I told him he could go fuck himself because I’m sober now too and I am the only one responsible for whether or not I take a fucking drink. I had just moved here, I thought he was going to be a mentor and produce me. So I had to fired him and produced the album myself. That was the moment that gave me the confidence to do it. I can be the boss, I can do this shit.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I feel like our generation is going to be the first generation of women that literally do not have to have babies just because that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re finally living in a world where it’s going to be completely normal for a woman not to have children. People obsess about this shit. I’m single and I’m really content and happy I don’t ever think about having children. I don’t think that I want to do that and I just wonder if that’s a conversation that’s happening with other younger women. It makes me sad that I feel like something is wrong with me that I don’t want to have babies. I know that there’s nothing wrong with me but society has told us that this is what we’re supposed to do with our bodies. Because God knows we don’t need more people in this fucking world. It’s not getting any better to live.