Vineeth Vincent Brings a Fresh Perspective on Gender and the Music Industry in India.

“I make stupid noises for a living.”

Vineeth Vincent calls himself a ‘little bit of an Emcee and a little bit of a musician’. He is full of infectious energy when he explains, beat-boxing because it is fun and gets a lot of attention, but most importantly, it pays the bills! His straight-forwardness sure does get the funny-bone tickling!

“In my line of work, generally the women get paid a lot more.”

When asked about the gender gap in music, he observes, that when it comes to the majority of musicians and bands, they are all men-centric. This is a situation prevalent in not just India but the global space.

As per solutions, whether it is music in particular or everything else in general, the work has to be good foremost. At the same time, it is very important that women support other women.

“Not that women shouldn’t support men, it should be a good balance of both.”

“I wouldn’t look at it as a gender sort of an idea, I would look at it from the perspective of, it’s time to start supporting quality.”

The idea is to support quality with substance, music with substance. But sadly, he reflects, how we are actually moving away from this. We nowadays harbor a rather commercial approach to music. He prefers quality music over quantity.

But he also reflects that somewhere along the line it is important to distinguish.

“When a woman comes to the forefront and does her work in a fantastic sort of a way, we should give credit to her as a woman.”

This is for the fact that she actually came forward as a woman and did it, even despite the existence of things holding her back. In this context, the woman does live in a system run by men. This explains, for instance as in music, why a band led by women, is often called a ‘girl band’, regardless of the genre. But it is an individual perspective in the end. He would undoubtedly refer to them as musicians.

But there are also situations when women themselves highlight the ‘gender’ aspect in their work/skill. He sheds light on the first of its kind, Pakistani all-girl rock band. For the fact that they were women, coming from a country like Pakistan, it is a big deal. And these women were good musicians, “So why not talk about them as women?”

But getting into detail he states that the nature of one’s work does play a factor. For instance, a lot of comedians don’t like being referred as female comedians.

“We just call men comedians, ‘comedians’. We don’t say ‘men comedians’.”

So whether a woman is a comedian or a musician, it is essential to refer to them as just that, instead of highlighting their gender. But if they themselves want to bring in the gender, which does explain, in most cases, a sense of achievement, given the system, so be it.

“Give them credit for what they want to be given credit for.”

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