FORTELLA on fighting sexism in the music industry, all-female songwriter camp in London and more.
Aditya – Hello, we’re glad to have you for this interview. How were the last couple of months for you?
FORTELLA – Pleasure! Busy, but good, thanks!
Aditya – You propel a whole moment to push females in the creative economy, what motivated you to start pushing for this?
FORTELLA – Since youth, we’re told certain things are ‘for boys.’ I’ve always had this f**k you, I’m a girl and I can do it too attitude so that’s always been in me. Skip forward to now, still within the music industry there is sexism, prejudice, and discrimination against women. I knew I wanted to do something, in a big way. I’m working towards providing a platform for women. Women are just as creative, just as inventive, and just as talented as men because they deserve it. We all deserve it.
Aditya – Could you tell us about the all-female songwriter camp hosted in London?
FORTELLA – We picked some of the most talented and creative female producers, writers & singers. Not just from the dance music genre either, that was important, we wanted a real melting pot of talent. Opening up the floor to all females is important, I want to help as many women in the industry as possible. This isn’t ‘exclusive’ to performers, artists, and musicians either, it’s for the fans and music lovers too!
Aditya – What do you think are some of the main barriers that prevent women from entering the music industry, particularly in the DJing field?
FORTELLA – Luckily this is changing. I think people used to believe DJing was a man’s world and felt intimidated, this combined with prejudice within the industry really rubs off onto the audience. This prejudice is still the biggest hurdle today in some places. Luckily more and more women have the drive to plow ahead and not care what people think. There have always been female DJs but unfortunately, they weren’t given as much limelight.
Aditya – Who are some female DJs that you admire, and how have they influenced your own work?
FORTELLA – Probably some very obvious choices but Annie Mac for being a pioneer, not only within the dance music scene but also holding the flame for aspiring females. Peggy Gou for her musical ability and selections but also staying strong to her love of fashion and music, wearing what she wants, when she wants. I love it! There’s a long list of females that inspire me but the last would be The Blessed Madonna who in 2016 was the first woman to be named Mixmag’s DJ of the year. She also started releasing music later in her career but has gone on to have phenomenal success, again breaking another ‘boundary’ and proving that there is no ‘prime time’ just ‘the right time’, which is poetic and inspiring.
Aditya – What can event organizers and venues do to encourage more diversity and inclusivity in their lineups and events?
FORTELLA – Make the lineups even, easy.
Aditya – What’s your studio setup like? Any gear/plugin to highlight?
FORTELLA – I like to work with Laconic which has studios. One half is based in London and the other in Sweden. I feel very lucky to be working with them as they’re like best friends/family to me. As for the setup, the studio is like a retreat from the world, it’s got no windows and it’s fully soundproofed so I can lose myself in there. My setup is mainly in-the-box as it’s got to be travel ready (for when I’m touring and doing collab sessions around Europe) so I use a lot of soft synths like Serum and Native Instruments but I also have Prophet 10 and Super 6 analog synths. Shoutout to Freakshow Industries for making the trippiest plugins!
Aditya – You’ve amassed 13+ million listeners on Spotify, how do you feel about that?
FORTELLA – Still doesn’t quite feel real.
Aditya – What advice would you give to young women who are interested in becoming DJs or pursuing a career in the music industry?
FORTELLA – Firstly, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t or be phased by negative comments. Find your sound and style on the decks and practice, practice, practice. Follow those who you like, see what lineups they’re on, and check what they’re releasing. There’s no shame in reaching out to promoters to ask about sets. Just make sure you’re at a good level before you ask. First impressions count.
Aditya – Lastly, do you believe AI will take over the world?
FORTELLA – I hope not. Technology’s cool but it’s beautiful to be human.