Women Are Changing The Industry But We Need More

We sat down with Valerie, founder of V Rocket Sound, to talk about the importance of Women’s History Month. The Sound System industry is male-dominated, and Valerie’s presence is respected and appreciated. Here is some of the conversation….

VP: For many years Reggae and Dancehall has been very male-dominated with female artists and professionals often sidelined, since you started your career have you seen any improvements and what more do you think can be done?
V: For the many years that I’ve been involved in Reggae and Dancehall it’s been extremely difficult for females, as we know it’s very much a male-dominated industry. There’s been a lot of difficulties for female professionals and artists in the business, however, I think that things have changed somewhat, it can still be better; there is a lot of new talent coming through that are doing really well for themselves, young artists trying to find their own identity.

People like Lila Iké, Sevana, Naomi Cowan, Taleba Wax, a new talent out of the U.K., Jaz Elise, Koffee and more. There are some changes that the male side of things needs to respect; we do get things done, and we do put a lot into our work. There shouldn’t be so much pressure that our female artists need to dress in a certain way to be recognised. We need more recognition, more respect, and more promotion, we’re doing great things right now and have been for some time. Hopefully, the producers and promoters of stage shows will recognise the new female artists coming through so that we can advance.

VP: Who are your favourite female artists? And how do you feel about the new generation?
V: For me, it’s always been very difficult to say who is my favourite female artist, extremely difficult. I have been listening to many female artists all my life, not just Reggae and Dancehall but other genres of music. However, what I would say, recently, over the last few years, I very much rate Lila Iké. I think she has something very special to offer, she’s different! Her live shows are very energetic, and she has a great future ahead of her, I think she’ll be a great role model. So at the moment, I would have to pick Lila Iké, she’s a new talent where I can say “Wow.”

VP: Do you have any advice for young women who want to build a Sound?
V: My advice for young women who want to build a Soundsystem would be to follow their dreams, to make sure that this is what they really want to do. We’ve got to keep the industry alive so we’ve got to help our young females who are interested in Soundsystm culture. They shouldn’t be put off by what has happened, the tides are changing and I encourage any female that wants to be a part of that journey to follow their dreams. You have to work hard, it’s not going to be easy, at all. It’s never been easy for a female in such a male-dominated industry, so my advice to them would be to start off small and gradually build it up and make sure they enjoy it. Take a leaf out of the Soundsystems that came before and fulljoy the fact that it’s not common for a female to be involved in building a Soundystem but you can do it! We have to keep the legacy alive as having a female sound system is very unique and special.