Xylo Aria talks about her journey, how she got into music production and how she started Music Production for Women.
Xylo started as a singer songwriter. She started writing songs at the age of 12. She immediately wanted to get her songs out there and so she worked with producers. She eventually studied accounting which is totally different to music. She worked in corporate for a few years. All througout in the background, she worked through music. She felt the corporate job was not aligned to her as a person. With music, she felt she was taken advantaged of by producers and she got to a breaking point and she wanted something better for herself. That was when she decided to produce for herself. She quit her job and went overseas. Most of the artists she love is in the UK and she decided that is where she went. She needed to survive so she got back into accounting as a freelancer in the UK but she threw herself into music, got into networking events and got into producing music. She wanted to bring this platfor, Music Production for Women, to life to help other women. They are now on their fourth year.
Xylo encourages having a day job to make sure that your basic needs are being looked after while you pursue music. There is nothing like the stress of thinking about needing to get a gig because otherwise you may not be able to pay your rent.
Struggles with the music production for women were so much to do with how society perceives such industries to be dominantly run by men. There is also the general power dynamics in the music industry. Dr. Jeff Crabtree from Australia did a study about toxicity in the music industry and there were a lot of scandals with some of the big labels.
Xylo learned music production largely on her own through YouTube and she also had some help from her friends. She went to some music producer forums but being one of the very few women in those events, she felt silly so she didn’t do those forums for too long.
She initially learned Fruity Loops when she was young. Then she used Cubase and eventually ended up with Ableton.
Xylo had always been interested in small business. She went to a lot of music events where she learned a lot. It allowed her to bring those things to the music side of things. She started a meet-up group for female music producer group. There she met a few people, she created a course and asked some people to give it some thoughts. She did run some Facebook ads and got her first sale for her course for $10. Things have evolved since then and they now have a one-year full program, more on creating your music but everything you can DIY. Most of her students want to produce their own music and a few who wants to produce for other artists.
Nowadays, it is no longer difficult to set up their own music production at home. You can start just with a laptop and a pair of headphones and of course a production software. If you want to record something, you can buy an audio interface and mic which you can get a decent one. She slowly added things as she needed them. You can start as small as possible and slowly add as you go along. She recommends the Audience ID14, the Scarlet Focus range and Evio4.
People get overwhelmed by a number of things. Xylo loves using Ableton but it’s not the prettiest software and it looks depressing. Any new skill is actually the same. We need to prepare ourselves that while you are learning, you may not be making anything that sounds good for a few months. Having unrealistic expectations as well can make it tough. You need to give yourself permission to produce bad music. Focus on learning and eventually it will feel less scary.
Their interface is online and taught in live classes. There are about 12 to 13 classes throughout classes. Before students go through that, they have to go through a self-paced course that they can do online.
You can go to musicproductionforwomen.com and find out about their free events. You can also find them on social media @musicproductionforwomen
Links mentioned in this episode:
Female Musician Community