FEMALE ROCKERS TAKING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY BY STORM
Haim is a rock band, not a girl band.
Trying to break into a male-dominated industry as a woman is no easy task, especially if you’re in a rock band. Haim is breaking gender stereotypes and showing the world that women can write and perform rock music just as good—if not better—than men.
The Los Angeles-based trio is comprised of sisters Danielle, Alana, and Este Haim. A career in music was almost inevitable—the three siblings were born into a musical family and began performing and learning music at a young age. Before they started Haim, the sisters were in a family band named Rockinhaim with their parents. Their rise to fame wasn’t easy, mainly due to the sexism that exists within the music industry and rock community. An all-woman rock band was uncommon, however, the sisters have proven time and time again that they aren’t going anywhere.
During an interview at the 2018 Brit Awards, lead singer Danielle spoke candidly about the gender imbalance of the music industry, saying, “Every time we walk into the studio, the engineer is a man, there’s no equal opportunity.” In an effort to combat this, Haim has been vocal about encouraging women to pick up smaller jobs within the industry, even as menial as a coffee runner. What might be a small job at first can lead to bigger jobs—like an audio engineer—later on.
There’s a gendered bias surrounding the legitimacy of female musicians, especially in the early stages of fame. In an interview with CNBC, the band discussed feelings of uncertainty surrounding the way they act and dress on stage. Danielle said, “Unfortunately, being a woman, in the early stages a lot of people think you can’t really play. We were conscious that some people might not take our music seriously.” Now that the band has gained some sizable notoriety, these uncertainties have subsided and they can focus more on the important things, like making music.
It’s no secret that women generally earn less than men for performing the same job, especially within the music industry. Upon learning that they were paid 10 times less than another male act at an Australian music festival, they fired their agent. While there’s still a lot of secrecy surrounding the wages of performers, the sisters are committed to making sure they’re never underpaid again. They try to be transparent about wages and compare offers with other musical acts. If there are obvious gender biases, they turn down the gig.
Despite the setbacks and frustrations, Haim has continued to persevere and release new music. Their third studio album titled Women In Music Pt. III was nominated for Album of the Year at the 63rd grammy awards. Their performance of “The Steps” also landed them a nomination in the Best Rock Performance category. Although they didn’t bring home the golden gramophones, the album still received rave reviews and was one of the most anticipated releases of 2020.