While the music charts have traditionally been male-dominated, over the last few years the likes of Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Little Mix have proved that women are definitely on top.
However, singer/songwriter RAYE, who recently had a hit with You Don’t Know Me, says there is a huge discrepancy behind the scenes.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, the 22-year-old said music production is still very much a man’s world.
“There are not enough women in these seats,” she stated. “The men are in these dominant seats, controlling the session and the environment.”
Click to listen to the full episode of White Wine Question Time to hear RAYE talk about working with music legends David Guetta and John Legend
The singer went on to state a worrying statistic concerning the top 100 hit records, that in all of those many songs, only one was produced by a woman.
She said; “It actually made me shed a tear. We've got so far to go.”
RAYE is not someone who rests on her laurels though, and is determined to make a difference to how music is made.
“You have to be the change that you want to see,” she told podcast host Kate Thornton. “So, I've been - over the last two weeks - in studios with only women, which has been so amazing!”
The songwriter, who has written songs for John Legend, Jax Jones and Hailee Steinfield, says she still vividly remembers the time she walked into a studio where there was a woman working on the engineering side of things.
“The room felt different,” she said. “I walked in and I was like, ‘Something is so different about this, why?’ Like that's how abnormal it was to feel a female energy. It's not right.”
While she now actively celebrates her fellow female musicians, at the start of her career, RAYE was actually encouraged to see them as her enemies.
“My manager at the time was… ‘See that woman? That's your competition. You see that artist, she's in your lane right now’”, she revealed.
“It was so disorientating and confusing, but now I'm so happy to just have the most beautiful network of female creatives in my life.”
RAYE cites fellow singer/songwriter Charli XCX with helping to change her mentality to one that is very much about paying it forward.
“She supported me – she directed my video ages ago,” the Croydon-born singer said.
“She went out on a limb to put her name to my name at the time. I was just no-one. She didn't have to do that, and that instance of kindness in the workplace rubbed off on me.
“How she treated me is how I want to treat others - it's about big artists taking care of new artists. All of us nurturing each other.”
While diversity in the music industry has come a long way, there are still not enough women working in production. According to The Guardian, just 5% of audio engineers are women. RAYE believes this is partly because these jobs are seen as traditionally male.
“There are jobs which are technically not feminine, which women need to just jump at, because I can't keep walking into studios and seeing men in these seats,” she lamented.
She continued: “We don't have enough role models in those seats as well. We don't have enough women actually understanding that they can aspire to these roles. It's just going to take time and persistence. Change is happening, but just at a very, very slow, tiny, slow rate.”
However, it’s not going to stop RAYE from trying to achieve one of her goals – having a track written, produced and performed all by women.
“You know on Spotify; you can click on the credits and see who's been part of it?” she asked Thornton.
“My goal is for it is to all be written by women, women, women, women, women, women – it's rare!”
RAYE’s new single, Natalie Don’t, is out now.