Basement Manners: Girl, Please

Words by Daniel Rourke

Southampton is a city often glossed over by many, despite its impressive musical heritage. Venues such as The Joiners have stood tall for half a century, giving a platform for upcoming artists such as Green Day and Ed Sheeran, whereas modern festivals have seen the city taken over by musical legends past and present. Despite its history with music, there are still some glaring issues within the city's music scenes, and that is equality. 

One look at upcoming shows in the city's many venues - especially within the alternative scenes - suggests there is still some work to be done, with quote-un-quote big support slots, and even headline positions seeming to continuously fall into the greasy palms of males sporting guitars. 

Unhappy with what they were witnessing in both the industry and in Southampton itself, a group of individuals decided to put together the Girl, Please initiative. We sat down with the founders of Girl, Please to find out what they're all about, and more.

Burn After Writing: For those unaware of what Girl, Please is, could you tell us who you are and what you’re all about?

Girl, Please: Girl, Please is an online platform, created by three women in music, set out to support and promote female music artists in and around Southampton. We aim to provide a platform where women can be seen and heard, whether it be through the form of video interviews and performances or written articles and interviews. There are lots of female artists out there who are not promoted enough or booked for shows enough and we wanted to show that there definitely isn’t a lack of women in the industry, they just need the right promotion and a positive thinking platform.

BAW: Southampton’s music scene isn’t exactly thriving at the moment in terms of DIY and scene bands, as the same few male-fronted bands tend to land all the impressive support slots time and again. How does this impact on what you do, does it make it harder to seek out female artists?

GP: This issue is exactly the reason why we created Girl, Please. We noticed that there was a definite lack of women being presented in our local venues, and we want to make sure the few that are, are getting our full support so that we will see a larger female music scene in Southampton in the near future.

BAW: How has it been working solely with female artists? Do you find there’s a lot of repressed talent, or would you say the acts you work with are fairly represented within their scene?

GP: We’ve loved working with these female artists, we’re excited to be working with them and they seem to be equally as excited to get involved in our platform. There is so much talent in our local area, and in some cases, they are well represented, however, it’s always to be expected that there are a few who are definitely not being presented as well as they perhaps could be, but this is something we aim to help with.

BAW: If you could offer any advice to female/non-male artists having a tough time breaking through due to gender issues, what would it be?

GP: Something the three of us have learned during our time at Girl, Please is how eager people are to support female artists, and that their underrepresentation isn’t going unnoticed. Although we ourselves are not musicians, our advice would be to surround yourself with people who are supportive and to not give up. If something doesn’t work out the first time in your music career, it’s not the end of the world. Keep trying and getting your name out wherever you can, whether it be by performing or promoting yourself on social media. We also think collaborating with other female artists might lead to a bigger and better scene of female musicians.

BAW: Who are some of the artists you’ve worked with that readers should be looking out for?

GP: On our website, we have a whole page of amazingly talented female artists we are in contact with. A few we’ve been working closely with and we believe are worth looking out for are elle, who is an amazing soul singer with a very energetic feel on stage, then Vita Jazz, a band you’ve probably already heard of not just because of their know-how of marketing but also because of the incredible variety they have in their music. Lastly, DJ Caruana, who we did an interview with and who has made it pretty far in the DJ scene, we hope she will continue making it even further!

All of the girls are great and extraordinary in their own way and we think this proves that the scene in Southampton is definitely not focused on just one genre. Vita Jazz are soon coming out with music videos for their recent tracks, Caruana has been releasing new music on her Soundcloud, and elle has recently published a cover of a Jorja Smith song which proves just how much talent this girl has!

BAW: Where does Girl, Please go from here? What do you hope to achieve with the project?

GP: From the beginning, our main aim has been to support the female artists in our local area, and make sure they’re being seen and heard - that is what we will continue to do. The main goal is to see more female artists booked for shows, not just in the Southampton area but in the whole UK. If we can be the start of a change like this, that would make us feel amazing.