From Clara Rockmore, an early electronic music pioneer on the theremin, to present-day dance music big shots such as Alison Wonderland, women have always had a role in electronic music. But in more recent discussions about gender inequality find that female talent is regularly overlooked. As the conversation on gender equality in dance music continues, organizations are attempting to remedy the disparity. UK-based organization PRS Foundation pledged to work towards a ratio of 50/50 male to female performers at festivals by 2022 after the BBC reported 80 percent of festival headliners in 2017 were male. Although they have not achieved this goal quite yet change is happening as seen, this past December the bpm EMPOWERED Virtual Festival boasted a lineup of all women hosts, artists, and DJs.
As the dance music industry begins to recognize and open the doors for more female acts, there is a small group of diverse women dominating the modern dance scene around the world.
Honey Dijon studied and developed her craft in Chicago’s house scene as a teen, before moving to NYC. As a black trans-woman, she often speaks out about her experience as a minority in dance music, as first finding popularity in the New York LGBTQ club scene. She frequently performs with four decks creating live remixes with an extensive record collection. Honey Dijon first showcased the skills she developed between Chicago and New York in her debut album “Best of Both Worlds” in 2017. She has continued to perform at clubs, art fairs, galleries. Her cross-genre styles have opened doors to collaborations to create the soundtrack for Louis Vuitton and Dior fashion shows.
Since her debut with the “Let It Go” EP in 2016, Amelie Lens hit the techno scene with bass-heavy and minimal mixes. The Belgian DJ and record producer developed her trademark sound into mesmerizing atmospheric techno often adding her hushed voice to the mix. After beginning with a club residency in Belgium, which led to a tour across Europe, Lens eventually created her label Lenske, to push underground techno. Her more recent work sees the mixture of classic acid house with more contemporary techno. But Lens continues to use stripped-down and minimalistic percussion to lock into the seams of her music with her latest EP “Higher” released August 21, 2020.
From Persian-Ukrainian descent, Isabelle Rezazadeh, known as REZZ, moved to Canada as a child. Her love of EDM came from sneaking into Toronto night clubs which lead to her DJing career at 16 and eventually gained her attention from Skrillex and Deadmau5. She released her debut studio album titled “Mass Manipulation” in 2017. The next year saw the album win the JUNO Award for Best Electronic Album of the Year. This past June saw her win the same award for the second time with her EP “Beyond The Senses.” This EP was REZZ’s first independent project out of REZZ Music Incorporated, proving REZZ’s influence will continue to spread her over the genre. Her dark, downtempo, minimal style fuses techno and acid house, which is showcased in her most recent single “Orbit” released October 27, 2020.
An experimental techno powerhouse, Ellen Allien is the founder of not one, but two record labels. BPitch Control was founded in 1999 and UFO Inc. in 2019. Since her debut as a DJ in 1992, Allien has released eight solo albums, beginning with “Stadtkind” in 2001, and most recently “Auraa” in 2020. The German producer has also released a fashion line, hosted radio shows, and performed at many festivals and clubs around the world. Allien’s extensive experience unites different musical styles seamlessly, but always stays tied to her technoid underground roots to create dancefloor-oriented music. Her latest single “Xtc” shows Allien is not likely to slow down any time soon on her domination of the genre.
The Australian music producer, Alison Wonderland, wraps up her skills as a singer, songwriter, cellist, bass guitarist, and keyboardist seamlessly into her electropop music. Winning Billboard’s “Breakout Artist of 2018” Wonderland went on to achieve the honor of “highest Female DJ Billing Ever at Coachella,” and a number one on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Album twice. Her heavy involvement as a writer, producer, and vocalist in every project she releases, assure the music is her own through and through. The message of her music is filled with deep house roots but twisted with an original touch. She balances air strings with the clashing and building of noise to create the perfect push and pull of tension in the music. Her latest single “Bad Things” was released in front of her third LP set for release sometime in 2021.