I have a cousin who is a young aspiring singer who I have always said this to and it's been randomly on my mind for the last few days so I figured, 'what the hell, I'll just write a blog post'.
It's always obvious to me (and, I assume, most musicians) when a female singer is just the figurehead of an all male band. The term used in the "olden days" was Eye candy. You can see that her artistry and true gifting is being held hostage by the men who write and play the music that dictates what the canvas is that she sings over or writes to. You may have seen this, been a part of a situation like this or maybe you're in it now. "Write to this beat...sing over this hook" etc.
It is also very obvious when a female fronted band is actually being led by the artist in front. You know when she's calling the shots. She's in control or an equal partner in the process. I know many great female musicians who, in my opinion, can run circles around their male counterparts. (Sara - you know I'm talking about you in particular) I have the pleasure of knowing some incredible female musicians who lead their ensembles with the precision of any male counterpart and no one would ever wonder who was actually in charge or if the band just had a pretty singer.
I say this because I still see this scenario unnecessarily played out with a new generation of great female artists that are coming up who aren't able to realize their visions because they can't communicate ideas to a band and guys can sometimes push the artist around...sometimes intentionally, sometimes unwittingly. My advice to my young cousin is the same for any young female musician...shit, any artist who isn't already hip. Study music as a whole. Learn the art and craft of music and musicianship, not just the vocal part, not just the image part, not just the front person part. This if course goes for all musicians who are really serious about music. I'm just seeing a lot of young female musicians who are just "singing" and leaving so much else on the table.
I don't know how any of this reads and I'm total stream of consciousness in an attempt to be helpful. My hope is that that's what is coming out.