Isobel Anderson- Taking inspiration from nature, pain within her own life, and language, Isobel Anderson draws upon human experience to create a moving and beautiful sound world.
Isobel Anderson is a vocalist, songwriter, composer and sound artist from East Sussex, England. Her work explores individual and collective constructions of ‘place’ through composed sound, field recording, performance and voice.
Here she tells us about her experiences as a female composer, and what it means to her to be a woman composer today:
“Unfortunately I have to say I have faced challenges. For a start, when I was growing up there were, and still are now, very few female composers to look up to and encourage me to believe composing was something I’d be able to do. Then, I felt enormous pressure as a teenager and young woman to be thin and attractive. Otherwise, I believed I would be written off immediately- there were hardly any female musicians I could see who weren’t highly aesthetically marketable growing up in the ‘90’s. Then, I was often in the minority when taking composition modules during my education, and excruciatingly in the minority when I eventually went on to do an MA & later PhD in Sound Art. Anyone who has ever taught me composition has been male. On top of that, I have been looked up and down by an A&R executive and told unfortunately they'd have to only market me on my music as they couldn’t market me on my looks, and that musically I was a ‘piece of meat that just hadn’t been cooked yet’. Furthermore, of the contemporaries with whom I have shared stages, it is solely my male counterparts who earn more money than me - significantly more.
I think it is still, unfortunately, a kind of statement to be a female composer, as we are still in the minority. I think it has a certain responsibility attached, in that it is important women express themselves and their stories in ways that perhaps they haven’t before due to the lack of females in the field. Then again, I want anyone who composes, creates, researches or experiments to do it with freedom and curiosity.”
Isobel Anderson's British Music Collection profile can be found online here.