The Sisters in Song group has been meeting for a little over a year, bringing together
Charleston-based women who are active within the music industry to support and learn from
each other while also providing plenty of opportunities for creative collaboration – not to mention
lots of fun along the way!
How It All Began
Sisters in Song was founded by the podcaster and creator of the music curation site Disco
Teepee Meggie Hulsey, Erika Lamble of Ear for Music, who is also a booking agent for local
artists, and singer-songwriter and guitarist Emily Curtis. The group was designed to be a
relaxed, welcoming weekly meet that takes place at a variety of local breweries.
The idea behind the group was to provide a space for and empower women within the music
industry; a report released last year concluded that women make up just 21.6% of artists, 12.6%
of songwriters, and only 2.6% of producers.
Emily Curtis has personal experience, too, of casual sexism within the industry in terms of the
way that crew members often communicate with her and how members of an audience
frequently feel free to make comments on her body. Along with Hulsey and Lamble, Curtis set
up an Instagram page and got in touch with a multitude of women working in the music industry
resident in Charleston, and initiated the first of the weekly meetings.
Vicki Matsis, the co-founder of Ohm Radio, singing and dancing sisters Gracie and Lacie, and
singer Heather Rice have all attended past sessions.
A Meeting Of Mutual Support
Every Sisters in Song session incorporates a round-circle discussion of the news and
happenings within each member’s music career and also includes workshopping and
brainstorming elements, as well as a general sharing of tips and support. Subjects have ranged
from the mechanics of booking a tour to how to avoid becoming the victim of drugging at a bar,
something that Curtis herself has personal experience of.
The meetings are designed to encourage collaboration and connectivity, with ideas being
regularly thrown out to the group or shared for comment and constructive criticism. The
founders are keen that the organization remains a completely level playing field and are
committed to it being a welcoming space for those at every level in the music industry, from
those at the very beginnings of their career to seasoned professionals. Sisters in Song is open
to artists, producers, musicians creating royalty-free music for video or gaming content, industry
photographers and journalists, and to anyone working in any other role in the field.
The founders of Sisters in Song are committed to addressing the feeling of isolation that many
women within the industry feel by creating a group of professional friends, where any question
can be asked, any topic broached, and help can always be sought.
Challenges Women Face
The music industry can be a difficult one for the women working within it, with sexism, sexual
harassment, ageism, lower pay, and difficulty in accessing resources some of the issues that
women in the profession frequently cite. Recent research also pointed to the lack of female role
models and the dominance of males in roles within record labels as problems that need
addressing if the music industry is going to become a more equitable field.
On the plus side, there is a wide-ranging desire for change, with many employers within the
industry taking action to resolve some of the long-standing issues and encourage women into
various roles. This has taken the form of, for example, recruitment pledges, where employers
within the music industry have committed to advocate inclusivity and equality and to reflect this
in their hiring and general corporate ethos. The provision of mentorship programs is also
proving to be important in helping level the playing field: having easier access to high-quality
mentors has been vital for many women to get the help they need to break into or progress in
Opening Up Opportunities
One of the many benefits that Sisters in Song offers is its ability to connect those working in
different roles within the industry, both for employment opportunities and as a chance to learn
about a different side of the profession.
Hunter Boland is a concert photographer and an attendee of the group; the connections
provided by Sister of Song led to Boland being asked to create TikTok content for a side project
being undertaken by Hulsey.
Creating An Ecosystem of Women In Music
Fundamental to the mission of Sisters in Song is providing a support network of women in the
industry who can uplift each other and work together to build connections, start collaborative
projects, and offer advice and guidance when it’s needed.
For co-founder Curtis, it’s about the importance of what happens outside of shows and
performances; finding ways to, for example, provide benefits to artists working as a collective
which would also be advantageous for act bookers, venues, and audiences.
With the connections that the meeting has facilitated flourishing, Sisters in Song is certain to be
of ongoing benefit to the women working in Charleston’s vibrant music scene.
- As always, the views expressed here do not necessarily match those of Ear to the Ground or its editors