Anoushka Shankar bats for more women in music industry: Structural changes are needed to address this
Gender equality has been a hot topic of conversation in the global music industry. While many agree that there is still a long road ahead, sitarist Anoushka Shankar has decided to lead by example by spearheading projects that comprise mostly of female artistes.
Talking about the thought behind it, Shankar tells us, “It was twofold. First, I naturally gravitated towards my female musical friends due to the content of Love Letters (LP). Writing about heartbreak, vulnerability and healing meant getting really intimate with my collaborators and I naturally found myself drawn towards beautiful, strong female artistes.”
Another reason why the musician roped in majority of women for her latest project, is to let her actions reflect her beliefs.
“I need to put efforts into sharing my platform and giving other women opportunities. This is why it felt important to hire as many women as possible behind the scenes as well, not just in the more visible roles,” she says.
The musician believes that there’s clearly a need to empower and promote more women in every segment of the music industry. On being asked what according to her might have led to such disparity, Shankar says, “Equalising structural inequalities requires structural solutions.”
Elaborating her point, she adds, “Education and a willingness to change by accounting for and amending existing imbalances is certainly urgently important on the part of the individual, but it also requires structural change and accountability. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about the gender gap, racism, casteism, or discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.”
Shankar’s new creation Opening, Flowering and Drinking, also features another noted female musician, her half-sister singer Norah Jones.
“I was trying to capture the feeling of falling in love, of that initial giddy joy and desire. This time was during lockdown so it was a remote process. However, we definitely have a shorthand communication and she immediately got what I wanted and sang so beautifully. My co-writer Alev Lenz and I had the song fully structured and I had sung the demo parts for her, so it was a relief when Norah’s magical voice finally came onto the song,” she concludes.