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Iman seeks key change for women in music industry

Published tisdag 3 oktober kl 10.58
Artist: Women are often portrayed as insecure and passive in songs
(5:25 min)
Iman
Singer/songwriter Iman has been chosen as one of five Swedish artists in the Keychange project, which campaigns against the under representation of women in the music industry. Credit: Dave Russell/Radio Sweden

Five female artists from Sweden have joined a European campaign called Keychange to create a more equal music industry. The Stockholm singer/songwriter Iman tells Radio Sweden of the difficulties of working in a male-dominated market.

"As a female songwriter it often happens that you are in a session, and I wouldn't say forced, but you are persuaded to write in a certain way. For example, as a woman, maybe I would want to write things that would empower me, but the general way of writing today is objectifying women and very often portrays them as insecure and very passive," the 23-year-old singer-songwriter tells Radio Sweden.

As the songwriter behind Zara Larsson's smash hit Lush Life, Iman says  the way female songwriters are treated by record labels is the worst aspect of the music industry.

"With pre-teen boy bands singing about pretty girls, it is always portraying them as sitting and waiting for love to come and rescue them and maybe when you don't have the power or money, it's very hard to decide to write about things you want to write about. So, sometimes you are almost forced to write about these things too because you are trying to get closer to where you want to be in the future. I find that to be the worst thing in the music business, for me personally. It affects people in society today. Growing up listening to music and learning from this and this is what they are learning," she says.

Iman, full name Iman Conta Hultén, whose strong feminist views are contained in her new single, Not Down 4 Whatever, is one of five Swedish artists who have been chosen for the Keychange project, a collaborative European programme which aims to empower women to transform the music industry.

Sixty female artists and innovators from Sweden, the UK, Canada, Germany, Estonia, Iceland and Spain will be supported with scholarships to take part in a series of showcases, discussions, collaborations and a programme of creative labs at seven international music festivals in order to establish themselves in the male-dominated industry.

The two-year project will culminate with a final event in Brussels at the European Parliament in 2019, at which Keychange partners will present a manifesto for change.

Musikcentrum Sweden, a non-profit association for professional musicians was first onboard with Keychange in 2014.

"We want to change the key in the music industry. It is a very male dominated industry. Basically it's about quality. If we don't use the full potential of the music business, it's madness," Ragnar Berthling, executive director at Musikcentrum Öst tells Radio Sweden. 

The other Swedish artists involved are GNUCCI, Pale Honey, TMRW and Vaz.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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