Linda Bosidis is the Head of A&R at Mushroom Music Publishing
She believes we need to offer more opportunities for women in the music industry to decrease the gender imbalance
She lists a strong work ethic, a unique sound and confidence as advice for women entering the industry
Linda Bosidis is Head of A&R at Mushroom Music Publishing, a role she has held since 1996. Her job is one of the most powerful and sought-after in the industry, involving everything from discovering and signing new talent, to organising co-writing sessions, managing big personalities and giving advice on copyright, recording and career development. In light of International Women's Day that took place last Sunday, 8 March, we spoke to Linda about women in music.
What’s one of the best things about your job?
Stumbling upon a new song that I love. A part of your brain activates which triggers the release of dopamine. The excitement and pleasure is powerful and the sensation is more intense if there’s an element of surprise.
Has the music industry worked towards addressing gender imbalance in the music industry? What has changed since you started?
It may not be palatable to everybody but gender imbalance in the music industry is in a time warp. The lack of feminists is poignant and the meaning of feminism is misunderstood by both women and men. Both genders can support equal rights, much like both women and men can support human rights and gay rights.
I’m a feminist, and it means equality. The essence is respecting, supporting and accepting empowered, inquisitive, progressive, confident, brave and passionate women. It’s a principle to benefit not just the music industry, but society in general.
It means intellectually and socially being treated as an equal, being recognised fairly for your work, being paid equally. It doesn’t mean hating men, being a victim, or being manipulative or intolerant.
Currently there are fewer females in bands and a large amount of females are conforming and therefore competing within the same genre.
Women only make up approximately 20% of APRA AMCOS members. What can be done to encourage more women in songwriting and the music industry as a whole?
Yep, too many dudes! We need to be encouraging and giving women the opportunity to take an equal place and work together in senior positions. Statistically, women are being paid less for doing the same job as men and women hold very few high-powered jobs in the music industry.
In the 90s, regular social events with guest speakers were held in Melbourne for female songwriters, musicians and industry. Supporting, mentoring, sharing stories, knowledge and experience made friendships and built unity. It also created opportunities.
It’s a male dominated industry, despite there being many successful women within it. Music awards are where cracks appear - who exactly votes for the ARIA, APRA, AMP and AIR Awards? Are women represented with balance on these judging platforms?
This extends to the negligible number of women featured in the media, represented on boards, music conferences and panels and in A&R positions for labels and publishers, music critics, journalists and radio station programmers.
What advice would you give women in the music industry, whether they are songwriters and composers or music managers, booking agents or budding A&R scouts?
- Have a potent interest for music and be attracted to ‘the strange’.
- Possess humility.
- Make contacts and have initiative.
- Target the area of the industry that interests you most.
- Be dedicated to your craft.
Harness a strong work ethic. It’s not a hobby - it’s a career.
- Be inventive - you don’t need to follow conventional songwriting rules.
- Be driven by art and emotion and trust in your creativity.
- Write captivating, catchy melodies or songs that make us think and feel something and are extraordinary.
- Write songs habitually.
Don’t compare your songs to artists in the charts and on radio.
- Play live and rehearse often.
- Be uncompromising and resilient.
- Respect the art and the business.
A&R people dream about hearing innovative new sounds. We are hopeful to discover that in every new artist we listen to."
There’s so much excellent music coming out of Australia at the moment, and Mushroom Music Publishing seems to be at the forefront of signing songwriters that are really going places. Can you tell us about some female songwriters/bands/musicians you are excited about at the moment?
Who are some other women in the music industry you admire?
I work with a wide spectrum of women and men. And I have gained valuable tuition from encouraging, inventive female and male role models past and present.
Mushroom has long employed women in management positions and higher. Of the 18 staff members at Mushroom Music Publishing, 10 are female.
Respect and admiration to: Abby Page, Julie Hodges, Sarah Stewart, Jo Sandow, Lisa Businovski, Zoe White, Bethany Jones, Cara McDonald, Bec Young, Emily York, Cath Haridy, Liz Rogers, Melinda Varga, Elle McKay, Jennifer Gome, Sally Howland, Janet Dawes.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Make it Happen’. What does that mean to you?
The strength and joy that my two daughters bring, has been transformative. Raising them to hopefully one day become non-judgmental, kind, original, crazy, complicated, beautiful adult feminists.