Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Women in the Band...Part Two

 Recently, I wrote a Cyrsti's Condo post concerning a Connie comment about women in music and I asked about her perception of any kind of a future. In the live music industry that is. 

Here is her response:

"I feel for musicians who had been trying to make a living from their music before Covid. Typically, most musicians don't even earn minimum wage for the set-up and tear-down of their equipment, let alone their performance (after countless hours of rehearsal). This being New Year's Eve, when it may have been possible to play a gig for a decent paycheck, it's even more depressing. I never have given up on my music, and I will always consider myself a musician, whether I ever perform on stage again or not.

As a nearly-seventy-year-old transgender woman, I see very few opportunities for me to perform after this pandemic is over. I will probably only ever be able to sit in with other musicians for a few numbers, sign up for "jam nights," or (ugh) sing Karaoke. Those are what I had been doing for the last couple of years before everything shut down. I fear that even those opportunities will be limited after those venues who will have survived the long shutdown can begin to reopen and start recouping losses. If they had little money to pay musicians in the past, they will have much less of it in the near future.

My band mates were correct in claiming I was a "novelty." I understand how I can be perceived that way, even though I try very hard to show I am not. I don't do a drag act, but it can be difficult enough to change that perception from the get-go. I think the best I can hope for now is that I'm seen as a slightly washed-up lounge singer, using the piano as much to prop myself up as for musical accompaniment. Having given up on any notion of "making it," I picture myself singing the last lines of the Billy Strayhorn song, "Lush Life.":

Romance is mush,
Stifling those who strive.
I'll live a lush life,
In some small dive.

And there I'll be,
While I rot with the rest,
Of those whose lives are lonely, too.

On that note, have a Happy New Year! ;-0"

Happy New Years! Thanks for the comment. 


  1. So much seems to depend on genre, and the role you play in a band ~ as I play bass I think most people expect me to be a little weird, fronting a band is a very different matter and impacts the whole perception of what a band is about.

    I think it is difficult for any trans people to work in "popular" music, but I also think it is getting better, and the current generation of teens and twenties should not come against as much confusion, misunderstanding and opposition as us old folks.

    1. Well, you wouldn't have to be "Bootsy Collins" weird, but he is both a bass player and front man. :-)

      Being seen as eccentric can be an asset in, as you say, "popular" music. Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie, and Little Richard come to mind as examples from the past. They all blurred gender lines. Now, we have Billy Porter and Harry Styles, both of whom have garnered attention for wearing dresses. A complete mtf transition by any one of them would be more difficult to pull off, I imagine, however.

    2. Wow! Of course I knew Bootsie is from Cincinnati but until I went back and read up on his past, I didn't know how much he had accomplished.

    3. He's always been too Funkadelic, and could have upstaged James Brown when he played bass in Brown's band in the 70s. He's definitely entertaining to both listen to and watch.