by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is Part 2 of 2 blogs featuring my interview with UK Composer, Kezia Tomsett. Read Part 1 HERE.
LISTEN TO THIS ON YourCreativeChord Podcast, “How Do We Progress Women Composers? Talk About It!” featuring UK Composer Kezia Tomsett in two episodes.
After connecting through the Women Composers Collective Facebook group last fall, I spoke with a young, female, British composer of Reading, England. Kezia Tomsett had just finished her BA Music degree at The University of Leeds.
I was interested in hearing from her as a recent graduate and upcoming young female composer. I was especially intrigued that she’d done her dissertation on why there aren’t many women film composers. Let’s dive back in to our conversation with Reading, England-based composer Kezia Tomsett…
LISTEN to the PODCAST.
Why do you think there aren’t many women film composers?
I think it’s ingrained in society that women aren’t composers. I think it’s due to education and the opportunities we offer children before university. It’s also due to the increased reliance on technology in the industry and how studies show that young women have less opportunities to learn technology.
What do you think are things that can be done to increase opportunities and mindset for more women composers?
Start with toys for kids, not assuming certain games or technology is for boys, and that dolls are only for girls Be open to what kids want to explore.
Ask, “What toys do you want to play with?” Stop sending messages about gender, like composers are mainly male. Young people ingrain their self-image by what they’re exposed to.
I think another way is to increase the access to further education for women. Encourage young girls to pursue tech courses because tomorrow’s musicians need tech skills. Create and participate in more communities like Alliance for Women Film Composers and other groups.
I learned through my dissertation research that women are more apologetic than most men. Many use self-depreciating language. This needs to shift.
We can create more chances for women in film music is we simply talk more about it! We’re at a good place for that with the “me, too” movement. But we have to act on it too.
Make it the norm.
How much does being a woman need to be a selling point? Make it normal for women to be composers. Talk about it openly.
Through my interviews with 8 women composers, many shared feeling apologetic as women, as if they were intruding on male territory. They got the impression that the music studio is a man’s arena. These women shared about having to fight for a place in the studio.
Many of these were strong, bold women and shared experiences of having to learn assertive behavior, not back down, and to stand up for themselves.
Do you feel that being a woman has any influence on your composer process?
None whatsoever. There is literally nothing/no situation that I can think of where my biological being has had any influence over my work. From my own experience, I have not worked with anyone that would treat me differently because of my gender.
Do you feel that being a woman has disadvantages in regard to creative opportunities?
I think it’s ingrained in society that women are not composers. I think it’s due to education and the opportunities we offer children before university. I think it’s also due to the increased reliance on technology in the industry and many studies show that young women have less opportunities to learn to use technology.
However, I do think that more younger women are now being encouraged to enter the industry. There are grants for women, and communities such as the Women Composers’ Forum. I have experienced first hand the advantages of being a woman in the industry now.
The topic of my dissertation, why there are not many women writing to film, was an amazing way for me to connect with people in the industry.
Please share anything else about yourself or your profession or anything related that you feel is relevant to others interested in composing professionally.
I’m finishing my first EP of music! I’m excited to gain more experience in the industry!
What are your goals for your musical future?
I would love to write music full-time as my source of income. For now, I work part-time to make ends meet! I hope to continue collaborating with other composers. I feel you can learn from each other and be inspired by each other.
My main goal is to have the opportunity to write music for a feature film.
You and I are members of Women Composers Collective Facebook group. What do you, as a young woman composer, gain from this kind of group?
It’s a worldwide community. It’s great to be involved with what others are doing and to do creative projects together!
It opens up options for film scoring work as a great networking resource.
Tell us about your upcoming original EP (album) and musical collaborations.
I had great fortune to work with a 5-composer team on projects while I worked at a local music studio.
Also, a friend composer through the Women Composer Forum asked me to sing on a project.
My EP, Glass Eyes, will be releasing this summer! It’s an electronic, cinematic collection, including 4 tracks featuring my singing.
As your main goal is to compose for a feature film, what actions are you now taking to land film scoring gigs?
I’m building up my music portfolio including collaborations with a local studio, short film projects, indie film-makers, and with studio interns.
Find Kezia Tomsett and her music on Twitter or Instagram, and at her SoundCloud Page Here.
LISTEN TO THIS ON YOURCREATIVECHORD PODCAST:
“How Do We Progress Women Composers? Talk About It!"
Where to find Kezia Tomsett:
If you enjoyed this blog--Please SHARE &/OR LEAVE A COMMENT here!