Back in May, I got a show booked for November and, as the date has neared, I’ve felt increasingly uneasy about it. Only in the past couple days have I begun to understand why I felt uncomfortable with it. The place I was to play was a 21+ venue. As an 18-year-old, I was allowed to play because I had made a special arrangement with the manager of the venue that implied a bit of rule-bending and a “we’ll let it slide this time” kind of thing.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had to make such an arrangement. I’ve played a handful of times at 21+ venues and I’ve never been okay with it, but I assumed that it was simply “part of the business”. It always left a very, very bad taste in my mouth. Isn’t the whole reason why I’m making music is to increase an overall sense of INclusion versus EXclusion? How wrong is it that I’m preaching that every voice deserves to be listened to, and yet I’m participating in the undermining, disrespecting, and mocking of the autonomy and independence that young people inherently have a right to? Venues that are 21+ are creating a schism in dialogue, helping to perpetuate the language barrier of younger generations attempting to communicate about social issues. My job is to spark and facilitate conversation, not to stop it before it has the chance to begin. So, from this day on, I’m going to do everything in my power to exclusively play all-age shows. I know from experience how much it fucking sucks to not be allowed to take part in massive chunks of the world because you were born in what feels like the wrong year.
Now that I’m in a superb mood to rant… here’s one last thing. I’ve been making music for a relatively short period of time, but already I have had countless people telling me how to write my songs, how to promote myself, where I should play, what I should say on stage, how I should behave in interviews, etc. These people have been mainly older (and by older, I mean older than me) men. Where would any woman be without the unsolicited advice and guidance of the men around them? HA. At the end of the day, there’s only one person that knows what I need to say and how I should say it – and that’s me. I crave the privilege that many men, and very, very few women, have – safe space to make mistakes without the fear of being marginalized and infantilized.
BOOM. That’s all I had to say, my beautiful biscuits. Until next time…