Women In Music: Alex Reade

We’ve been interviewing women of the music industry, whether they’re sharing their craft from within a band or busily creating behind the scenes. We’re wanting to know, directly from those involved, what life is like as a woman in music. Drown This City‘s frontwoman Alex Reade is one of those women who has kindly shared her passionate perspective.

Coming from a musical family, Alex was introduced to music by her dad, sharing that “all our weekends and long drives together were either listening to classical radio or Pink Floyd”. With an opera singing aunt, and everyone in the family playing instruments, Alex says that she always wanted to be a professional singer. “I studied classical voice throughout high school and the start of university.”

It was UK rockers Muse that set Alex alight, shifting her voice direction from classical singing to a new world of heavier music. “Muse was actually the first band I listened to that just jolted me into this desperate need to join a band, so I literally packed my life up one day and moved from Brisbane to Melbourne – joined a band… no idea what I was getting myself into!”

As well as being passionately led by her own ideas, Alex is also fiercely encouraged by people in her world. “No one ever told me not to do it, in fact quite the opposite – it was pretty much a belief that I must succeed in music, it was my path. So I dealt with immense pressure to live up to some expectations that were pretty crippling. But my family and friends completely encouraged me to do it, I’d say 90% of the people I’ve crossed paths have been totally into it.”

“What people think of me is none of my business”

Alex is upfront with saying that discouragement has come toward the band and herself from ‘clickbait bullshit’, specifically in relation to the band being where they are solely due to her being female. When the band were asked to play Unify Gathering 2017, this discouragement came with full force. In Alex’s words: “The only time I’ve felt discouraged was when we were asked to play Unify Gathering 2017 and then all these articles came out about the gender imbalance and it was suggested we were added to the bill because I was a woman. I felt completely enraged about it – that people would even suggest that our hard work and the hard work of the 4 other guys in the band had nothing to do with our success at the time. It really pissed me off and almost took away the pride we felt.”

“So we pretty much refused to comment about it or make it a ‘thing’. Straight up ignored the whole debate – it’s not what we believe so I’m not going to give it power by engaging in conversation about it. But I put that down to clickbait bullshit – 99% of my experiences have been entirely positive. I’ve never encountered obstacles due to gender, perhaps they were there, perhaps they weren’t – but I’ve kept my head down and focused entirely on creating what I love with my best mates. What people think of me is none of my business, I’ve got my own battles to deal with.”

As a powerful and also empathetic woman, Alex took her time to meaningfully word her feelings on the topic of being overlooked or dismissed because of her gender. She shared that while she’s had mostly positive experiences, that she feels almost like she’s letting other women down if she expresses positivity about it. She says “I find it really hard to talk about this topic because I’ve really had mostly positive experiences as a woman in the music industry. I’ve had the odd dickhead remark and the odd comment on social media, but to me that’s reflective of an existing worldwide sexism/misogyny issue finding a voice on social media – not the industry itself. But again that is just my experience so I feel like expressing my positivity might be letting down other women who look to me to be a voice for them or to lead this war on something that I really don’t focus on?”

“It is NOT a rite of passage in this industry to overcome sexism.

Freedom of choice with how women handle any obstacles of gender is where Alex’s focus goes; recognising your support regardless of the experiences or beliefs you have. “The way I see it – You don’t HAVE to weigh in on this debate if you don’t want to. If you are comfortable, and you’d rather keep your head down and lead by example, do that. No one is expecting you to have bad experiences – it is NOT a rite of passage in this industry to overcome sexism. Don’t read into comments, pitfalls and low moments as having anything to do with gender – don’t give power to it and it won’t exist for you. Unless someone turns around and says to you – hey, you can’t have this because you are a woman, ignore the shit out of it and work as hard as you can. There are so many strong women (AND men who respect women in this industry) that are there to support you.”

Continuing to ooze inspiration, Alex shares that she loves to turn fear and doubt on their heads by literally saying to herself “What would a strong and confident person do?” and then trying to do whatever that is. She also looks toward strong presences in the music industry as role models. “Winston McCall, Davey Havok and Jenna McDougall are some of my biggest role models – they are unashamedly themselves. I recently went to a Tonight Alive gig in Melbourne and cried because of the immense power I felt; Jenna is a true inspiration, she’s mastering herself and brings only incredible powerful and positive vibes to the shows – they are so strong you can’t escape it, the entire room was electric and connected.”

Her outlook toward the future of the music industry is one of hope and and an enlightened stance of kindness and acceptance, regardless of anything else, including gender. Alex shares “Hopefully humanity has progressed as such to realise we are simply masses of energy and labels mean nothing. Let’s be kind to each other – and the animals.”

To women or younger girls who aspire to take steps toward the music industry, Alex is strong in her parting message:

“Literally nothing can stop you except yourself. No one is going to remove you from stage, no one is going to take anything away from you, you have 100% of the power – all you have to do is believe it xx”

 

Kel Burch

Creator and caretaker of Depth Mag, Kel uses her superpowers of empathy, word-weaving, and feeling everything deeply, to immerse herself in music before returning to reality to write about her experience with it.

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