They Said She Needed a Male Producer to Make It

She Turned the Tables

March 2, 2020

In the Russian music scene, women were expected to do the singing, and leave the business to the men. Jekka’s showing the world that women can do both.

Jekka | Music Producer | Moscow, Russia

THE SECRET STUDIO

Before she was commanding the clubs of Moscow, Jekka (Evgenia Nedosekina) was playing late night sets at a small residency in Dublin. The venue: her bedroom, soundproofed with pillows and duvet covers. “I had to do it on the sly…flying by the seat of my pants,” she says.

The eight-year old’s parents were less than excited by her interest in music—they hoped their shy, dreamy daughter would pursue a more conventional career in architecture or diplomacy. The kid had other plans. Jekka set out to build a studio of her own, slowly collecting the gear, teaching herself to work a mixer, and recording songs late into the night in her room. In time, the production grew to include a whole crew of friends and collaborators. She’s been building spaces for even more women in music ever since.

NO LABELS NEEDED

Through the course of her career, Jekka’s created a genre-bending, multi-album discography, played stages around the world (including Red Bull Music Festival), and gathered an international following.

The path wasn’t without its frustrations. “I remember when I started performing as an artist, people would ask who wrote the music for me. They didn’t even bother to assume that I could produce my own music… that pissed me off.” On the one hand, she was getting attention for her work. On the other, she was facing-off with the stereotypes of a male-dominated industry. Jekka recalls dealing with “this impression that you needed a ‘daddy’ producer to make a star out of you…that you needed a big studio that costs you a fortune. And that was the only way to make your music.”

The one-woman production continued to prove the industry wrong, attracting offers from record labels and producers. She turned them all down. “At some point I did want to become a popular artist…but it screws with you. Because, to stay popular, to be hyped, you have to play by someone else’s rules…my priority is to do what I want and what I like.” Not much has changed since grade school; Jekka continues to play on her own terms.

“I want to destroy the notion that you need someone else, like a boyfriend or a producer who will do everything for you.”

PARALELL SPACES

By 2017, Jekka was already an established producer and artist. Something was still bothering her though.“There [were] still too few female producers, sound designers, and composers in Russia” she says, “I wanted to fill that gap…to create some new role models for girls who might have been shy to enter this sphere.”

In true Jekka fashion, she came up with her own solution to the gender gap issue: ​Parallel​. This Moscow-based online magazine and educational platform provides technical training, community events, and music residencies for fledgling female artists—a space free from the stereotypes of a sometimes hostile industry. In essence, Jekka aims to bring the freedom and safety of her secret bedroom studio to women everywhere. “Parallel is an alternative space where a girl can come to gain some support if she needs it,” she says.

That said, Jekka knows that creating a female space in music can be a double-edged sword. She says, “we shouldn’t highlight female artists only because they’re female…I want to stress that Parallel is not against anything…I don’t see our community as a separate one; it’s more like a special space.” For a girl who’s spent her life carving out a space for her world to intersect with the one at large, “Parallel” is the perfect way to describe the world she’s shaping.

“We shouldn’t highlight female artists only because they’re female... I want to stress that Parallel is not against anything...I don’t see our community as a separate one; it’s more like a special space.”

WORDS OF WISDOM

On labels:
Stereotypes have become obsolete…If a woman wants to cook dinner and raise children, that’s her choice…if she wants to become a captain of a ship, that’s her choice as well. And no stereotypes should hinder that.

To women:
Believe in yourself…[don’t] care about someone else’s opinions, thoughts, and stereotypes. Just move on.

To the world:
Let’s respect each other regardless of our religion, skin color, lifestyle, sexual orientation, gender and world view. Just respect each other’s private space and accept people for who they are.

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