IMRO Spotlight – Lisa Murray
Lisa Murray is an artist, music producer, audio engineer and multi-faceted creator. She began exploring music technology during her undergraduate degree at Trinity College Dublin. She then went on to receive a Masters degree in Music Production, Technology and Innovation from the world-renowned Berklee College of Music, where she was awarded their Outstanding Woman Scholarship and received mentorship from Sylvia Massy. Since graduating from Berklee, Lisa has been working on exciting projects as a freelance producer and engineer. She is also the Chapter Director at shesaid.so Dublin and works as the Social Media Manager and Operations Coordinator at She Knows Tech. Lisa also serves on multiple committees of the Audio Engineering Society and is dedicated to closing the gender gap in the music industry.
How would you describe what shesaid.so represents and what your objectives are?
shesaid.so Dublin exists as part of the global shesaid.so network. The aim of shesaid.so is to raise awareness of the gender gap and lobby for policy change that promotes gender equality, diversity and inclusion throughout all areas of the music industry. More locally in our Dublin chapter, we are dedicated to empowering and uplifting women, non-binary and gender minority creators in the Irish music scene by providing skill-share workshops, networking opportunities and platforms for them to share and promote their music.
How would you describe what She Knows Tech represents and what your objectives are?
She Knows Tech is a collective focused on closing the gender gap in the music production and technology industry. We aim to provide a platform for women to give and receive training in music technology, highlighting female-identifying professionals in the music technology industry as role models for future generations. And, ultimately, our mission is to create a safe space for open discussion in closing the industry’s gender gap.
How did you get involved with shesaid.so and She Knows Tech?
I got involved with shesaid.so during the final year at Trinity. I was heavily involved with student life and extra-curricular activities and was beginning to work as a live sound engineer at college events when I noticed the lack of female representation in the field. I wanted to put together a training session to encourage more women to learn about audio engineering. I was introduced to Shauna Watson and asked for her advice on putting the event together. She invited me to a shesaid.so meeting that was happening around that time. From there I became the social media manager and recently Shauna passed over the directorship of the chapter to me!
After my undergrad degree, I was accepted into Berklee College of Music to pursue a Masters in Music Production, Technology and Innovation and awarded their Outstanding Woman Scholarship. When I was studying at Berklee, I came across She Knows Tech, which was a Berklee campus student initiative run by Jasmine Kok. I was passionate about the project from the get-go and initially started by helping Jasmine set up for masterclasses, taking photos at events and promoting the initiative to my peers and classmates. When COVID-19 caused Berklee to move remote, we decided to continue with the She Knows Tech events virtually and open our doors to anyone outside of the Berklee community who wanted to learn about music production, technology and audio engineering. From there, our community grew exponentially as did the scale of our events. I now work as the Social Media Manager and Operations Co-Ordinator of She Knows Tech, serving as part of the core team of three of us who run the organisation!
Why do you think organisations like these are so important?
These organisations and initiatives are so important because it presents women and gender minorities with role models that look like them. We believe that if you can see it you can be it. Not only do these organisations highlight and amplify the women who are already doing amazing work in this industry, it also provides those starting out with tangible actionable steps to progress from where they are. The work we do is two-fold: on one hand we are increasing visibility of established professionals to inspire more interest to less experienced folks while at the same time providing education and opportunities for them to upskill and reach realistic goals.
What’s been the reaction to your work so far?
We have had overwhelming support so far, both in shesaid.so and She Knows Tech. With shesaid.so, we have managed to create a vibrant community of women and gender minorities in the Irish music industry who constantly uplift and support each other in their work. With She Knows Tech, we have had incredible support from other organisations, audio manufacturers and plugin companies who provide us with amazing prizes for our speed production competitions. We also work with a great number of sponsors to put together our larger-scale events such as the She Knows Tech Summit and our upcoming Summer Masterclass Series.
You’re a music producer, audio engineer and artist yourself. What do you think is the most pressing issue women and gender minorities face in this side of the industry?
I think for a lot of women and gender minorities, the issue is rooted at the very beginning. Many of my male peers began experimenting with recording, beat making and using DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) in their early teenage lives. In my experience, women begin working with these topics much later. This is because careers in audio, production and recording are not presented to us as an option. I stumbled upon this line of work by accident, though a required project I carried out during my undergrad Music degree. I fell in love with making records and never looked back!
The gender imbalance in music production and audio engineering reflects a wider issue that runs across the whole music industry. How do you hope things change for the better?
One thing I hope to see is more diverse representation in more high profile projects going forward. With the pandemic, a lot of women and gender minorities have taken the time to upskill in areas of production, engineering and recording. I look forward to seeing those fresh talents featured in some top-tier projects in order to put women and gender minorities to the front of this conversation. We currently have something in the works with She Knows Tech that will help women and gender minorities get involved in more projects but I can’t share any more information about that just yet! ;)
What advice would you give women and gender minorities who want to start out in music production and audio engineering?
Just go for it! Everyone starts somewhere. I think one thing that holds a lot of women and gender minorities back is the fear of doing things wrong and not being great at it straight away. It takes time, patience and focus to become a great music producer and audio engineer. But all of the greats started out as clueless as anyone else! You can too – so just go for it and reach for the stars!
Which organisations and supports do you lean on for advice and inspiration?
With shesaid.so we look to the global network of chapters all over the world for advice and inspiration. The global shesaid.so community is well connected and we touch base often to bounce ideas and come up with new ways to inspire and empower women and gender minorities through our work.
With She Knows Tech, we work closely with many other organisations focused on the music production and technology industry. We have collaborated with She Is The Music, Women in Music and Beats by Girlz. Recently, we have been connected with the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy and have some plans to collaborate with Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning producers and engineers for upcoming events!
Who inspires you, and why?
One of my biggest professional inspirations is Sylvia Massy. Sylvia is a world-renowned recording and mix engineer who has worked with amazing artists such as Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. During my time at Berklee, I was so lucky to have Sylvia as my mentor. Her innovative use of recording techniques, ability to think outside of the box, and her positive and curious attitude to all things audio is a huge source of inspiration for me.
What do you look forward to accomplishing this year?
With shesaid.so we are excited to put together a great line-up of skill sharing workshops, networking sessions and artist highlights! We will be launching our very own Spotify playlist and running an Artist of the Week Campaign to highlight and celebrate as many women and gender minority creatives in the Irish scene as possible!
With She Knows Tech we just accomplished our biggest event yet – the She Knows Tech Summit. This was a multi-day event full of production challenges, masterclasses, workshops, discussion panels, networking events and performances. Our final day of the Summit consisted of our Elektronica concert in collaboration with Spitfire Audio. I executive produced the show and we got to put together a great virtual concert of amazing tech performers!
And personally, this year is going to be a big one for me. I am launching my own artist project, and will be releasing my own music for the very first time! Aside from these initiatives and my freelance career as a producer and engineer, I also write and produce my own music. My debut release will be coming around in May and I’m so excited to share what I’ve been working on with everyone!
If you could give one message to the industry on how to better support gender balance, what would it be?
Allyship is absolutely crucial. There are a lot of great initiatives out there working towards bridging the gender gap but we are still a stark minority. Because this is a heavily male-populated industry, there is only so far we can go without the help of male allies in the field. I would encourage anyone within the industry to be active and intentional about your allyship. If you have a project you don’t have the capacity to work on, try to recommend female or gender minority folks in your network instead. If you don’t have a diverse network, seek one out! Refer to the amazing We’ve Only Just Begun Directory Shauna Watson put together. We are here and we are growing!
Where can people find out more about how to follow what you’re doing and get involved with shesaid.so and She Knows Tech?
Both shesaid.so Dublin and She Knows Tech are most active on Instagram, and that is where you can find out the most up to date about our current opportunities and events! The links are below:
And most importantly, where can people find out more about you?
Check out Lisa’s single, The Kind of Girl on Spotify now
This series features interviews with people working across different genres and sectors of the industry to assess how they feel about gender diversity and balance in music.