Discover more from Herizon Music: The Newsletter
Meet Patty Lynn: Prayer Flags & Better Days
RSVP: Nov. 6th, Part II of Aesthetic Force By Omission
In This Issue
Meet Patty Lynn: Prayer Flags & Better Days
Industry Meetup: Reserve Your Spot NOW
Aesthetic Force By Omission: Part II
Video: Lurleen Ladd’s Second Act Makes Waves
Noteworthy: RIP Dusty Street, Smashing Glass on CMT, Iranian protest music
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Patty Lynn: Prayer Flags & Better Days
Patty Lynn is the voice behind The Wind & The Wave, an acoustic duo with Dwight Baker, whom television and movie music supervisors can’t help but adore.
The band started wooing TV audiences in 2014 on shows like Killer Women, Super Natural, and The Vampire Diaries. By 2015, Quantico, Supergirl, and Grey’s Anatomy were added to their IMDB credits. Their cover of Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol is hauntingly memorable and a personal favorite.
“Neon Prayer Flags” appeared in the feature film Lucy In The Sky (2019) starring Natalie Portman, which was their first movie placement. The lyrics begin:
Every other week I sit my ass in therapy and I talk about
Letting go, how I can't control anyone, and my feelings of doubt
The vulnerability in Patty’s vocals and lyrics is exactly why storytellers love her. The personal reflection is relatable and, in the case of therapy, a reality. Patty joined the SIMS Foundation as a board member after benefitting personally from its affordable private and group counseling.
“Group is like the grad school of therapy. It’s like the final step,” Patty explained on the podcast Dystopia Tonight with John Poveromo.
She now spreads awareness to de-stigmatize mental health treatment in the industry.
In 2019, Billboard reported that 73% of musicians suffered from work-related stress, anxiety or depression. With 67% of women in music experiencing sexual harassment or assault on the job, they have few options to recover emotionally. The Future of Music Coalition found that 43% of musicians don’t have health insurance, with untreated symptoms leading to self-destructive behaviors like drug and alcohol addiction. Herizon Music wants to help change that.
Patty is speaking at Herizon Music’s Industry Meetup on Monday, November 6th. Join us in person or via a private live stream for “If #MeToo Happens To You.” 🎶
Aesthetic Force By Omission - Part II
In Part I, we defined aesthetic force and gave historical examples of it in action. Then, we revealed its more subtle but powerful twin sister “Aesthetic Force By Omission” and how it influences gender representation and bias in the music industry using country music as an example. In Part II, we delve into the birth of Bro Country, crossover artists, and media’s role going forward.
What happens when you remove women's voices from airplay? Ripple effects. According to the Nevada Sagebrush, the three biggest country music festivals — Country Thunder, Stagecoach, and Tortuga — featured all male headliners in 2019.
Closer to home, I joined Girls Rock Austin's former executive director Jamie Bahr in a social media plea for a 2021 Texas music festival to include a female performer in its all-male lineup. The backlash from festival "fans" on social media was severe and full of false assumptions such as
female artists don't generate ticket sales
organizers can’t find affordable, quality female Texas artists
it works just fine the way it is, stop butting in
Shockingly, women posted some of the most egregious rebukes to our calls for feminine representation. By simply omitting female artists from airplay, the country music scene (including male and female fans) seems to have dismissed female artists down to the local level.
Systematic omissions may directly be responsible for a collective aesthetic force that shifted fan perceptions to believe that female artists are not as talented or as employable as men. "Bro Country" and “Boyfriend Country” are sub genres that define and celebrate this boys club mentality with labels vigorously signing and promoting similar acts.
Meanwhile, country music musicians like singer/songwriter Kalie Shorr revealed on Herizon Music: The Podcast, "The person who told me at a record label that they couldn't sign me 'cause I was a girl, was a girl."
Do we turn a deaf ear to an aesthetic force that nurtures the perception that half our race holds little artistic or commercial value? That female voices and stories do not deserve to be heard? That woman must fight each other tooth and manicured nail for that 11% window of airplay?
Perhaps the media spotlight would have overlooked the current state of women in country music if they were shut out from the genre’s onset. Like rap, or hard rock, or classical genres. But rescinding their invite to the party? It’s a puffy black eye on country’s all-American reputation that begs for a closeup.
Some stars, and many rising stars, are crossing over to pop or pop rock as a path to greater success. Female pop acts see triple the airplay of their country counterparts (still only 30% on average). Such crossovers have helped increase country music listenership worldwide as reported on DW.com in March 2021, citing Taylor Swift and Kasey Musgraves as examples (no male crossovers were cited). In part, the growth is due to easy access to streaming services where an algorithm will suggest a song based on what you just heard.
And while Swift and Musgraves are prime examples of crossover success, NPR reported that streaming services are not changing the tide: “As Liz Pelly, a writer who contributed to our list, has reported, playlists on streaming platforms like Spotify are often egregiously gender-imbalanced, promoting music by men and then assuming, algorithmically, that's all anyone wants to hear.” This is the case across all genres.
Introduce generative artificial intelligence into the mix, and things get much worse (Bloomberg). Look for a followup article on AI’s enormous impact on musicians.
Media’s Professional Imperative
And then there is the role of print, broadcast and social media, which have extensive influence over fans’ tastes, not to mention the future generations of artists. This leads back to the Jann Wenner article I wrote. What would the face of rock and roll look like if women received the same attention in Rolling Stone as men enjoyed since the 1960s?
There is an historical and professional imperative to interviewing, reviewing, and promoting women who are kick-ass musicians and songwriters. For those people who claim not to like music, perhaps it’s because a new “sound” simply hasn’t reached potential fans — and it could be in the voice of the Divine Feminine.
My purpose for writing this article isn’t to criticize men taking advantage of opportunity, but rather to highlight the ease with which a whole industry pulled the plug on half its talent pool with little thought to the longterm, broader implications and losses. What if the before-mentioned airplay restrictions and algorithms squeezed out Dolly Parton in the 1960s? Are we now squashing a future super star through artificially-induced scarcity?
With infinite access to a growing worldwide music audience, we know one thing: There is room on stage, on air, and online for all talent in any genre regardless of gender. The good news: streaming services are seeing an increase in female representation, but the rise is mainly attributed to a few super stars (Swift, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Cardi B) per ChartMetric. When women hit big, they knock it out of the park. And can even cause earthquakes.
Coleman Insights and CMT found that 70% of listeners would welcome more women in the country genre. Leadership for all genres could stand to stop and take note. Hopefully, by encouraging mindful, systematic inclusion, we can create an inclusive aesthetic force based on equal opportunity and merit rather than gender. 🎶
Dusty Street, my favorite SiriusXM DJ, passed away. Review her life as a dreamer, rule breaker, and rockstar. RIP 🌹
Patti LaBelle and Tanya Tucker are the first women to perform on the new CMT franchise: Smashing Glass on November 15th. Post-humous tributes to Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and Sinead O’Conner are also planned for this special from an all-female production team.
Iranian electronic artist Azadi.MP3 takes protest to “a rhythmic and poetic reflection of a culture in flux,” as reported by The Guardian. More female artists are braving the risks of using their voices. Here’s how.
Thank you for joining our band of dreamers, rule breakers, and rockstars. You are valued, you are gifted, your voice matters. Let Love Rule.