The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Gender Amplified Founder and Music Producer, Ebonie Smith
An accomplished musician and entrepreneur based in New York City, Ebonie Smith works as an audio engineer/producer at Atlantic Records, in addition to her work through Eudora House; the independent, boutique music production and publishing company that she created.
Smith is also the founder of the Gender Amplified; a movement that aims to celebrate women in music production, raise their visibility and develop a pipeline for girls and young women to get involved behind the scenes as music producers.
Gender Amplified held their first music festival in September of 2013. This free, day-long event attracted women and girls from around the country, offering workshops and panels as well as performances from artists like THEESatisfaction and more.
Below, we sit down with Smith to discuss music, her career, Gender Amplified and much more! You can find out more about her at eboniesmith.com.
WiMN: What is your earliest musical memory? What influenced you to choose a path as a producer/engineer?
ES: I remember singing nursery rhymes in pre school. I always wanted to make songs that sounded “radio-ready.” I became fascinated with music technology and how it allows artists to create and mass produce music.
WiMN: Tell us about your role as an audio engineer and producer for Atlantic Records. Can you tell us about some of the projects you have worked on?
ES: I get to the studio around 10:30 AM daily, and set up for the schedule. Somedays I will have sessions with artists who are signed to the label. They will come in and record acoustic versions of their hits or records that are scheduled to go to radio soon.
I also help out with promotional campaigns that require custom audio assets. I have worked with Sevyn Streeter, Cody Simpson, Sean Paul, Travie McCoy, Night Terrors of 1927, Oh Honey, Netta Brielle, Cash Cash, Christina Perri and a host of other artists.
WiMN: Tell us about Eudora House.
ES: I started Eudora House in 2011 as a production and publishing arm to handle all of my personal production work. Eudora House is a full service music production company.
WiMN: What led up to the creation of Gender Amplified? What is the mission of the event?
ES: Gender Amplified was first proposed in 2007 as my senior thesis project while attending Barnard College. In collaboration with my thesis advisor Professor Kim F. Hall, my paper, titled Gender Amplified: Women and Technological Innovation in Hip Hop, centered around gender dynamics in beat making culture and hip hop studios.
After meeting so many wonderful women producers while conducting interviews for my thesis, I decided to produce an academic conference and music festival of the same name to showcase these women and their awesome talents and stories. We are currently fundraising and identifying partners for a 2015 music festival.
WiMN: Who are some of your role models in the industry – musicians or otherwise?
ES: I have a number of role models and influences, so I am just going to give a list:
My mother, Robbie Smith (grandmother), Eudora Adams (great-grandmother), Howard Schultz, Clive Davis, Missy Elliot, Jesus Christ, Ella Baker, Septima Clarke, Alice Walker, Ester Dean, Danger Mouse, Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Salaam Remi, Seth MacFarlane, Tamika Catchings, Maya Moore…
WiMN: Can you share your experience as a woman in the industry? Have there been any challenges?
ES: The most significant, “gender-specific” challenge that I have experienced involves having few women peers. This is why so much of my work with Gender Amplified involves identifying other women in the audio and production field.
I believe it’s important for women in production to have a support system of individuals who understand their lived experience as women. I rarely come across other women producers on a daily basis. I have to seek them out.
WiMN: What is some advice you’d offer to a young woman pursuing a career as a musician?
ES: Be encouraged! Each time you make a track, you will get better and better. You never arrive. Production is a constant learning process and you will forever be a student. Be open! You will be surprised who you can learn new things from.
WiMN: What’s in store for you for the rest of 2014?
ES: To continue making great music and plan for the next Gender Amplified Music Festival.
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