Grammy-winning mastering engineer Emily Lazar has launched a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of women audio engineers and producers working in music today. Dubbed “We Are Moving the Needle,” the foundation’s advisory “soundboard” includes such luminaries as Brandi Carlile, Maggie Rogers, HAIM, Linda Perry, Liz Phair and Sara Quinn of Tegan and Sara. Among the partners signed on to support the launch are Sonos, Dolby, Universal Audio, Blackbird Academy and The Lodge.
The news comes on the heels of the release of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study “Inclusion in the Recording Studio,” which paints a grim picture of the gender imbalance when it comes to music-making. The report notes that women are “missing,” “muted” and “written off” the creation process, although the Grammy Awards nominees score better on inclusion on average over the last nine years.
Lazar is the first woman to win a Grammy for mastering, and she has 10 projects in contention in this year’s awards, including three nominated in the album of the year category — Coldplay, HAIM and Jacob Collier. Her aim with We Are Moving the Needle is to “create measurable change by empowering women in the recording and professional audio industry with the education, equipment and mentorship needed to succeed at the highest levels.” The org’s mission will be to award scholarships and grants to music technology and recording programs at academies, colleges and universities around the world. The group also has plans for dedicated internships and entry level positions designated and reserved for women who are part of the program.
“While I know from firsthand experience that there are very few women behind the console, the Annenberg study details just how few of us there actually are,” said Lazar. “It begs the question I get asked about most — ‘What can we do to change this? It’s time to take action! We need to get more women behind the consoles in recording studios all over the world and that’s exactly what We Are Moving the Needle is going to do.”
Joining Carlile, HAIM, Rogers, Phair, Perry and Lazar are initial SoundBoard members: Jenna Andrews, Marcella Araica, Denise Barbarita, Claudia Brant, Louise Burns, Jenn DeCilveo, Sadie Dupuis (Sad13), Maria Egan, Shani Ghandi, A.G., Tracy Gershon, Shirley Halperin, Jordan Hamlin, Gena Johnson, Leslie Ann Jones, Lisa Kaplan, Lucy Kalantari, Karrie Keyes, Carolyn Malachi, EveAnna Manley, Catherine Marks, Erica McDaniel, Piper Payne, Oana Ruxandra, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Christine Thomas, Simone Torres and Wendy Wang.
For more information, head to wearemovingtheneedle.org.