Suffragette100: Singer Yazzy says women speaking up is ‘empowering’

Yazzy Chamberlain.
Yazzy Chamberlain.

In a series of articles to celebrate 100 years since women won the right to vote, the Gazette is finding out more about the challenges and triumphs of being a woman in 2018. This week, we spoke to Yazzy Chamberlain...

Yazzy Chamberlain started her musical journey when she was very young, and from local events, to singing outside of Adele’s London concert, she’s on a mission to reach the top of her game.

The 18-year-old from Weare Giffard opened up about gender division in the music industry, and how she feels young people should use their right to vote.

What challenges have you faced both professionally and personally?

I feel like for an 18-year-old I’ve had lots of obstacles come my way so far with my musical journey and personal journey, especially at my age where I’m constantly questioning who am I and what I’m doing with my life.

There are always challenges being a performer – every single day a new challenge arises – but as an artist you need to find the line between being vulnerable and passionate but also being very thick-skinned.

Do you think there are still challenges in your industry due to gender?

There is a massive thing going on right now within the industry about the gender gap. I was shocked to hear that the gender divide in the music industry is 67.8 per cent male and 32.3 per cent female.

I think both female and male singers/performers are both respected in the music industry equally from what I’m aware of, but I think the issues lies more within the deeper sides of the industry.

I studied music technology for a year at college, and I was one of only two females on the course; it was very male- dominated but I didn’t see an issue with it as I knew I was just as capable as them, and they never made me feel inferior for being female.

I definitely have experienced a gender divide at some gigs, with sound engineers where they treat me like a young incapable female, until they hear me sing.

What’s the best thing about being a woman in 2018?

I think it’s really empowering to see so many females speaking up for what they believe in and fighting for equality in jobs and in pay, as well as in general life. I hope that when I have children they will live in a world where they can do whatever job they want, be paid the same as men and treated the same as men.

What advice would you give your younger self in terms of career, life, etc?

I’m still pretty young and have still got a lot to learn, but my advice would be to just focus on your own journey, not anyone else’s. ‘Lions do not loose sleep over the opinion of sheep’ – that’s one of my favourite sayings – especially because as I’m known for being ‘half lioness, half songbird’.

Are there as many opportunities for women as men, and has this changed since you first entered into your profession?

Yes, as a singer/songwriter, purely for the music, I think so. I can apply for any opportunity that any male singer can apply for, and it’s down to personal choice whether I am accepted for that opportunity or not. If I stumble across someone who’s going to discriminate against me because I’m a female, then I don’t want anything to do with them anyway.

Do you use your right to vote, and why/why not?

AI think it’s very important for the younger generation to vote, but equally as important that it’s their own opinion and own views.

Have you ever faced discrimination/harassment in the workplace/outside of work because of your gender?

Yes. I don’t really speak about it because I see it as unavoidable and it does happen quite a lot to me, mainly with people under the influence of alcohol which actually isn’t acceptable.

My advice to young females in the industry doing what I do is to always have someone with you and pre-empt any situation that may arise.

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