Bateau is a Houston based (for now, until she moves to Melbourne, Australia) Trip-Hop/RnB/Hip-Hop artist who recently released a very DOPE album...Read More
I am sick of hearing “White people ruined Hip-Hop.”
Yes, it offends me.
Firstly, I am not fully white. My mother was born in Mexico, which makes my brother and I first generation Americans. My father has an Irish-English background, making me a mixed baby.
It is easy for people to generalize a genre of music and say “Hip-Hop is for African Americans, Latin-influenced music is only for Latinos, Rock music is only for White people.” But by saying this, you are displaying how absolutely close minded and judgmental you are. There are no rules in music, and as an artist I can vouch for the fact that we do what we speaks to us, regardless of stereotype and agenda.
I grew up in Houston with many different musical influences, most of which being Hip-Hop. I grew up on artists such as Biggie, Common, JoJo, Asia Cruz, and many other influential, multi- racial artists. When I went on to college, I became heavily influenced by artists such as Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, and Jhene Aiko. Never once have I thought I should not be listening to this because of my background or skin color. It does not make me a “poser” or a “wanna-be.”
Upon moving to Austin in the pursuit of music, I played stereotypical singer songwriter “girl with her guitar” type music. I played shows, received positive feedback, and went on to release two albums on Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, and many more distribution outlets.
This was all fine and dandy, but the only problem was I had a horrible sinking feeling I was not being myself. I was playing shows from a molded perspective of what I thought people wanted to hear. I was sticking to the “Taylor Swift” genre out of fear people would judge me and throw negativity towards the art I truly wanted to create. I played this music for four years, never truly feeling happy, fulfilled, or proud of the art I was producing.
It wasn’t until my second album release that I got fed up. I retired my stage name, put all my music in a memory box, and vowed to myself that I would stop pretending. I took on a Hip-Hop project with a few talented individuals who believed in me, and I have never been more inspired or proud of my art. This is where I need to be, and this is what I need to be doing.
I will get judged, I will get told what I am doing is stupid, and I will get laughed at. But to this, I say bring it on, because I am bulletproof against negative people. I am happy, and therefore have no reason to put anyone down. When someone is in the spotlight, it allows for commentary and negativity from people sitting behind a computer, too scared to be bold themselves.
“My mind is unshakable. Words of hatred and anger shall not pass my lips. I will surround my enemy with thoughts of sympathy and pity that flow out from a mind filled with compassion for all sentient life.”
I am inspired by other artist’s ability to break outside of stereotypes and do what makes them happy. I am inspired by their ability to forget and disregard what people think they “should” be doing. I have never categorized an artist by race, and never intend to.
There is no good or bad, right or wrong, or race in music. It is all perception and individuality. Art is art because it is unique and boundless. - Bateau
Being a female in a male dominated industry is no cake-walk, and any woman will tell you that. I have taken the time to interview five different women from four different states to gain perspective on the different struggles and challenges they have had to face. I was a little surprised to find that each woman had their own unique perspective and experiences regarding the issue. I decided to leave names out and make it anonymous in order for the women to be one hundred percent honest and open about the questions I asked them, so I gave them pseudo names.
Jane, Natalie, Megan, Hanna, and Kim.
The purpose of this experiment is not to bash men. There are plenty of genuine men in the industry who respect women as their equals, and I know and love a lot of them. Those men are not included in this article. This article simply serves to bring awareness to the dark side of being a woman as well as an artist. I am not generalizing all men, but simply touching on experiences that have occurred. I am fully aware that men face their own struggles as well, but being a woman myself, I can not touch on those because I have no experience with them.
Anyway, I began by asking these five women a little bit about themselves, and found most of them had degrees as well as multiple talents and interests. Many of them moved states and sacrificed a lot to pursue their dreams, which is incredibly impressive to me. Let’s start off slow and ease into the heavy stuff later. I’m not going to say too much, because I want these women’s answers to speak for themselves.
What are some of your interests/ hobbies?
I am 25 years old, and I am a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and self-published author. I would say my biggest strength is writing. Although I love writing songs, I also love creating stories. Aside from music and writing, I also dabble in visual arts. I used to paint quite a lot, and I still paint and draw on occasion. For a while I had some of my paintings displayed in a gallery studio that my family rented. Although I am perceptibly artistic, I also really enjoy science, particularly natural science, and spirituality. I love being out in nature, hiking trails, driving cross-country, climbing trees, exploring, reading, learning, meditating, dancing, celebrating holidays, and expressing love for the world.
I am 24, a creator, singer, writer, artist. I love cooking, reading, being outside, being with children, talking with others, drawing, painting, and smiling!
I am 20, and I am a singer- songwriter. I can cook. Brunch is my specialty. I also sew all my own clothes.
I am 26 and I am a singer-songwriter. I’m also an actress, improvisor, and model. I also like to cook and eat.
I am 25, a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. I love painting, photography, and videography as well. I’m also an amateur engineer and mixed/ mastered my first album.
A lot of these women grew up with talented parents or siblings, and have been exposed to music and art since a very early age. Most of these women never even took lessons, but are in fact self-taught.
How did you get started in your craft?
I have been around music my entire life, as my father has been in a band my entire life and several of my other family members are also musically inclined. When I was six years old I took piano lessons, but I couldn’t get the hang of reading the music so I would just watch my teacher’s hands and memorize where they went on the keyboard and then copy her.
I have been singing for as long as I can remember, in school choir and also forcing my family to watch me sing the entire soundtrack to Annie. I began working on music and giving it my creative attention in 2014.
I have played piano since age seven, started writing when I was thirteen, and then found a guitar in my attic and taught myself at fourteen or so.
I’ve been singing and writing my whole life, but I didn’t start writing songs until I was eighteen. A friend signed me up for an open mic without my permission. After that I started playing coffee houses, which lead me to playing shows. That lead to making records. Records lead to writing for licensing and sync… and now, here I am.
I have been playing piano and singing since before I can really remember. I am a self taught guitarist and the music gene runs in my grandpa, brother, and father. I have been around it for a long time, and have always taken great interest in it.
Now I am going to transition into the heavy stuff. Since the music industry is undoubtedly a male dominated one, women have to work twice as hard to gain respect and be taken seriously. It is also scary for women who are often times sexualized and expected to portray a certain appearance or persona. I personally go into meeting someone assuming they do not have good intentions until they prove me otherwise. This is not because I am a bitch, this is not because I am conceited, and this is not because I am rude or stand- offish. This is because I have been taken advantage of, had my dreams of becoming a professional musician used against me, been overlooked and underestimated, and have had opportunities snatched away from me because I would not humor a man in a position of power. Upon talking with my fellow female musicians, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Some were a little more open than others, so I took out a few of their answers and only left the informative ones. Let’s see what the girls had to say in this string of personal questions…
What would you say is the most challenging thing about being a woman in this industry?
I don’t know if this is a challenge specific to women, but something I have found very challenging as a musician is marketing myself. I think perhaps women have an even harder time with this because in this industry there is a large emphasis on “image”, and a woman’s image is often subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, placed in the forefront. Something I have confronted often among spectators and especially other musicians is the notion that the sound of my voice and the aesthetic of my face and body are more important than my lyrics or musical compositions.
For me, showing my vulnerability. It is hard to do and at the same time is the most rewarding feeling. And honestly, it is just hard to be myself. The challenge is the fun part though. It gives this journey worth!
The fact that you are commonly overlooked or belittled. Often times people, men and women alike, assume that females are less hardworking and do not possess as much talent as their male counterparts.
Being judged by what you look like, rather than who you are as a person/artist. Also, navigating through a business filled with creeps.
Definitely has to be the fact that I constantly feel overlooked. I feel I’m not taken as seriously and I have to work harder just to be on the same level as the guy players. I also don’t like all the men who try to take advantage of me or hit on me when I just want to be viewed as a professional like everyone else.
Do you have a personal experience you would like to share?
A few years ago I met up with a guitarist I had found on Craigslist. He and I had many similar inspirations, similar goals, and seemed to click both musically and personally. He mentioned that as we accrue more members, it was important to keep things strictly business, not to let physical attraction or emotions get in the way of the music. I agreed and we began working together. We tried finding other musicians to join us, but this was very difficult, as the genre we wanted to pursue (industrial synth metal) was an uncommon direction for musicians in that area, who generally preferred thrash metal, which does not lend well to female vocals. So, he and I continued working together as a duo, writing and recording songs. A few months went by and he mentioned that he had developed both attraction and possible feelings for me which he was trying to suppress for the sake of the music. A few weeks later he came onto me. At the time I was still pretty naive and insecure in this regard and was afraid that if I refused him, he would get angry and want to stop working with me, and therefore all the songs we had worked on — songs I had invested a lot of time and emotion into — would be destroyed, or worse, taken from me to be recorded or performed with another singer. This fear led me to comply with his affections, which seemed to be mostly physical in nature, with little emotion attached. I was not sure anymore which part of me he really wanted — the musician or the girl. And the fact that these had to remain separate in order for me to keep control of my own emotional and physical well being was very disturbing to me.
Not specifically, but, I have experienced (time and time again) a very surprised reaction to my music. When I go on stage with my guitar and say that I am about to play a song I wrote, you can almost feel the entire room lose interest and prepare for an early Taylor Swift rendition. When it becomes apparent that I have more to offer than a cheesy lovesick ballad, people show noticeable surprise. It’s the equivalent of someone saying, “Wow, I didn’t expect you to have talent, because you are a girl.”
I try not to let these things negatively affect me. I’ve had a couple scary instances where I’ve been followed to my car, or harassed on social media, which have not been pleasant.
I actually have quite a bit, but I’ll just give one experience. I was working on a song with a semi- well known artist. It was going well and I though he was genuinely interested in a collaboration. Turns out, he was trying to “get with me.” Halfway through the songs completion, it became obvious to him I wasn’t interested in giving him what he wanted. So what he did was completely throw the song away and withdrew all support from my music, which he obviously never cared about to begin with. But even worse all his friends and the people I met through the process withdrew their support too. I think because I was the woman and he was the “powerful” man. Even though everyone knew he was in the wrong, they were afraid of upsetting him and just left me to the dogs. I’m just proud to say I didn’t let the fear of losing his support, our collaboration, and all the “friends” I made through him force me into being romantic with him when I didn’t want to be.
How do you feel men view women in the industry?
I think that in my experience, musicians in general are overlooked and underestimated. I have also met several female musicians who are greatly admired and praised. But I feel that women in general are overlooked and underestimated, particularly in areas such as intellect and skill as opposed to aesthetic, and I feel that female musicians are critiqued and picked apart more often than male musicians, regardless of image or style.
I will not generalize and say that every single man in the music industry looks down upon women, because that is not true in the slightest. However, a good portion do not take our presence seriously or believe that our creative expressions are contributing to the cultural conversation in a beneficial or significant way.
I can’t speak for all men. There are a lot of good men in the industry as well as bad men. I’ve dealt with both. Like anything in life, nothing is just one way. I’d say in a general sense, men view themselves as the majority in this industry, and women as the minority. Which is sadly… true.
This obviously doesn’t go for every man, but I think they don’t see us as being capable of being as talented or creative as them. When I’m hanging around a bunch of my guy musician friends, people assume I am with them because I am one of the guy’s girlfriends or that I am a groupie. They never think that I could possibly be a musician too. And when they find out, they are incredibly surprised.
What are some hurtful things you have been told as an artist due to your gender?
That I was a horrible singer, a wannabe. Which I know isn’t true and it shouldn’t have bothered me except for the context: This was after we had been just beginning to get to know one another and I showed him one of the songs I had recorded. Soon after, he came onto me and I rejected him and he sent me a very long email totally bashing me and my song. Some of the most hurtful things anyone has said to me were in that email, which I have since deleted. And I have to remind myself that he was never really interested in me, the real me, and he never cared one bit about my song. But I still feel ashamed for sharing something so close to my heart to someone who spat it back out at me like that.
“Good thing you’re pretty, because that’s the most important thing for a woman to be in music” or something along those lines.
“You better suck it up and do what you have to do, because no woman has ever made it to the top without help from a man.”
In my opinion, the scariest part about being a woman are the advances that men with not-so-great intentions tend to make. Women can sometimes be viewed as vulnerable and naïve, which is absolutely not the case. I am also aware that men can receive unwanted advances as well, and it is not okay in either scenario.
Have you ever had a man use your craft and ambitions against you to make romantic advances?
I think most of the people who have made such requests did legitimately want to talk and pursue music in a professional manner. I think that if there is any ulterior motive, it is secondary and usually doesn’t come to surface until a personal relationship has been established, fortunately. Still, as the stories above indicate, this can even then be a detriment to musical pursuits and emotional well being.
Yes, I have. I was partially to blame though, and it has made me stronger.
Yeah, I have had guys ask me to hang out and “jam”, but when I get there I see a bottle of wine and there isn’t much jamming going on. Like, I came here to play some music, why are you asking if I want to watch a movie? Not cool.
Yes, this has happened a lot, but I don’t think this is exclusive to the music industry. I feel like this happens to women all the time, no matter the industry. You just have to have a good gut instinct to navigate through those waters.
A lot of guys will ask me to jam or work on a song with them just so they can get close to me or hit on me. At least when a man appraoches another man about a collaboration, he knows it is genuinely because the other guy likes his music.
Now for the fun part! Aside from all the tough stuff, there are tons of amazing perspectives and ideas women can bring into the industry; on a creative level as well as a professional one. I love being a woman, and I would not change it for the world. Much like everything else, good comes with the bad.
What is your favorite part about being a woman in this industry?
Firstly, the feeling I get when I have just written a new song and it tells some sort of story or illustrates a scene that is beautiful. Secondly, that moment when I am singing in front of an audience and it doesn’t feel like my voice is even trying, it just sings itself with astonishing effortlessness, and I feel so strong and free. Ultimately, my favorite part is being so inspired and determined to express myself that all the walls just disappear and I don’t even need wings to be able to fly.
Expressing who I am truly. It is the greatest feeling of fulfillment for me.
How it allows me to express myself, and sort through everything that happens in my life.
Connecting with people as well as the bliss I get from writing.
The people I meet and having an outlet to express myself. It makes me feel powerful.
What do you feel women can bring to the table?
I think anything innovative that anyone can bring to the industry should be welcome. I just don’t want anyone, specifically women, to hold back. I don’t want them to be afraid that the way they want to sing or play, the songs they want to perform, the goals they want to accomplish, the collaborations they want to pursue, the projects they want to produce, are somehow impossible or unsuitable for them because they are female. That should not be a factor. Despite the big labels, the money-making schemes, the marketing, the subliminal messages and all that bullshit, this is at its core an industry that is fueled by creative expression. I don’t want complacency and fear to combat that creativity or that expression.
Strength and softness! There cannot be one without the other and we embody both, men and women, masculine and feminine. There must be balance.
Women represent half of the world’s population, thus, half of the world’s potential. To ignore that and renounce it is not in anyone’s best interest or to anyone’s advantage. Our rallying cry should be to recognize, support and cultivate all of that untapped potential.
All the things men can bring to the table!
I think women can bring everything a man can bring to the table, but maybe with a softer side and perspective.
What would you like to see change for women in the industry?
I want to see female musicians who don’t hold back from fear that they will be regarded as unattractive or unappealing. I want to see women taking leadership roles within the music industry. I want to see women who are able to market themselves based on the content of their songwriting and musical style. I want to see women who inspire other women to be who they are and do what they love. And I do see that, here and there.
There WILL (mark my words) be a day when ALL women (and men) are free to be who they truly are without feeling as though they need something to sell. Underneath all of the things we, as human beings do, we all seek attention, love, and connection. It is the desire that drives us. I envision a world where truth is the driving force of all action and all expression.
Gender equality, b*****!
I think it’s the same change I would like to see in society as a whole; respect and equality.
I would love for women to be respected and treated as creative equals.
I will leave you with this beautiful quote from Michael E Reid.
Sometimes you will just be too much woman. Too smart, too confident, and too strong. Too much of something that makes a man feel like less of a man, which will start making you feel like you have to be less of a woman. The biggest mistake you can make is removing jewels from your crown to make it easier for a man to carry. You do not need a smaller crown, you need a man with bigger hands.”
Thank you to the five women who participated and shed their light and beauty on such a delicate topic. - Bateau
Bateau, the very talented Austin based Trip-Hop/RnB/Hip-Hop artist, has just dropped the follow-up to her debut self-titled album "Bateau", which was our RnB Release of the Year for the DOPEST List of 2015. Entitled "Dispatch", this project includes nine songs with production from Jay Tee, No1mportant, Humble, and O Maille and features from No1mportant (Dispatch), Gio Chamba (Ay Papi) (Si Vous Ple), DOPECAUSEWESAID featured artist Kyle Hubbard (Low), Full Metal (The Best), and Jakub Evolved (With You).
This is not an official review but after a few listens, it's clear that Dispatch is a very impressive album from start to finish and there really are no bad songs worthy of a fast-forward. It's also pretty evident that 2016 is going to be a breakthrough year for Bateau and her music. Don't miss the boat.
I once heard this really awesome metaphor that I wish I could take credit for, but I can’t. It went something like:
“Men, imagine you are at a bar and a man comes up to you. He is trying to talk to you about religion and you’re really not interested. You are just there with your friends and trying to enjoy yourself. Now imagine this happening five times in one night. And NOW, imagine that they are all trying to have sex with you.”
Being a woman is f****** hard, and no man will ever be able to understand the struggles we have to deal with, so please don’t come at me like you do. We especially struggle when we are trying to be taken as professionals. I am also aware that men face their own struggles as well, but I am not talking about that because I am not a man, and simply could not understand.
Lisa Ling described the struggles she had to face on her way up to becoming an extremely respected journalist, and her struggles were all too familiar to me. She said she received incredible opportunities by men in positions of power, only for them to be retracted when she wouldn’t engage romantically with them. Do you know how incredibly humiliating and discouraging it is when your dreams are used as a weapon to get close to you? It did not matter that Miss Ling became one of the youngest reporters of her time, or that she is a published author who has multiple documentaries and international reports under her belt. She was beautiful , and therefore was not taken seriously. Somehow Miss Ling managed to get past all of that, and is now sitting in a position of power. If she can do it along with all the other respected women of the world, any woman can.
Whenever a man doesn’t get their way with a woman, she miraculously becomes “crazy” or a “bitch.” She is suddenly overlooked and ignored. These men stop pretending her opinion matters. Personally in my life, I know who these people are that have said these things about me. I know EXACTLY who they are, and at the end of the day, they are only hurting themselves. I’m not saying I am going to be this great big thing in the future, but one day they are going to cross a woman who will be. Women are calculative , creative, and patient. Women will come up from behind when you least expect it.
Yes I am sensitive, and yes I do take that shit personally. Because I didn’t spend fifteen years of my life studying piano, guitar, songwriting, an music in general to be overlooked. I also didn’t spend my educational career getting a degree in Digital Media and Mass Communications to be treated like an unknowing pair of boobs by some dude who is too drunk off his ego juice to realize I might have a brain.
I am fully aware that I am not the only woman who has dealt with this. Every girl gets hit on, I am not special. But before you call a girl a “bitch”, maybe consider she is like that because of years of having to protect herself from people trying to take advantage of her. I am also aware that this is a fact of life, and am by no means complaining, more so just sharing my thoughts. If anything, it makes me want to work harder. No one owes me anything, and my life is a happy one full of acceptance. I do music because I love it, and there is nothing else to it.
That being said, I am about to come out with my fourth album. Every single word I sing in all four albums was written by me. Every guitar and piano instrumental you hear was played by me. Every vocal recording was recorded by me in my own home, and sent out to engineers. I distributed this myself, because I don’t rely on anyone for shit.
I am not worried about my future or my success, because music will always be a part of me. As long as I am making music, I am successful.
I have great and few friends and family, and I am so thankful for all of you. No matter who or what this industry throws at me, I will always have you guys and my music to keep my head above water.
Love to everyone, even the people who don’t support me. - Bateau
Bateau is an Austin, Texas based Trip-Hop/RnB/Hip-Hop singer-songwriter who at the age of 19 decided to pursue a music career after The John Lennon Tour Bus made a stop in San Antonio, Texas and gave her an opportunity to professionally film, produce, and record a music video for her original song “Runaway” in March of 2013. Early the next year, in January 2014, she released the single “Put Down The Bottle” on YouTube which quickly attracted a following. Although she initially started to generate a buzz in the Texas indie folk scene singing under the stage name Melina Evalyn, she felt restricted by the genre and increasingly uncomfortable with the squeaky clean image that she felt pressured to maintain for her career.
Melina took a break from everything in 2015 and for three months took up a job waitressing to save money for a move to California. Even though she felt emotionally drained and hadn’t performed for months she couldn’t help but wonder if her fans would accept the underground Hip-Hop sound that inspired her to write to music in the first place as a teenager in Houston, Texas. Unable to leave music behind for good, Melina quietly recorded and released the single “Gold“ as Bateau and officially retired her old stage name Melina Evalyn on Facebook.
On September 20th Bateau released her self-titled debut album "Bateau" and it's FIRE. We had the opportunity to connect with her and ask a few questions about her sound, the album, and more.
How would you describe your musical style and sound? B: My musical style is Trip Hop with Hip Hop undertones. My style of singing is atmospheric and light in contrast to the dark and ominous beats. My lyrical style honest and direct, as well as heavily influenced by pop and indie-folk writing traits.
Do you have a favorite song on your recently released debut album "Bateau"? B: My favorite song on the album would have to be Money Honey. The song is honest and harsh, while touching on dark matters that most people don’t like talking about it. It is also one of the most energetic songs on the album.
Would you say that the various places you have lived have contributed to who you are as an artist lyrically and concept wise? B: Most definitely. I have lived in three different cities in the past five years, as well as traveled very frequently. The things I have learned from other states and countries influence my style by giving me a wide range of perspective. The album has a sense of wanderlust due to my travels, and most of my songs are influenced by my longing to go back to California.
I'm really feeling your song/video for 'Gold', especially the utilization of the Active Child sample. How did they come about? B: Thank you! Gold was the very beginning of Bateau. At the time, I was doing my singer-songwriter bubblegum pop. A friend of mine made beats, and had a bunch of discarded ones he was not using. I asked him for one just so I could try out singing over it, since I have always been a huge fan of soul and hip hop. I was not even aware it was an Active Child sample until much later. I was basically driving to Houston when he sent it, and I wrote the hook over the three-hour drive. I just listened over and over again until I had the hook. I never even wrote the lyrics down, and it all happened really fast. After that, I sent it to my friend Walter in San Antonio, who laid down some verses. It was mostly for a fun experiment, but took off more than I anticipated.