Two dozen female music-makers recently gathered in YouTube’s Los Angeles Space for SheWrites, a new women-only songwriting camp sponsored by YouTube and founded by longtime industry insiders Charlie McClean and Violet Skies.
The camp, which included attendees like star violinist Lindsey Stirling (who got her start on YouTube and now has more than 11 million subscribers) and Mozella, the songwriter behind Miley Cyrus’ hit “Wrecking Ball,” was intended to foster honest, raw music made in just one day, entirely by women, Variety reports. YouTube donated gear, instruments and furniture for the camp, along with fellow sponsors Steinberg, Kobalt, Adam Audio, and Native Instruments.
“Women are the biggest consumers of music, yet we have music written about women sung by women being written by men,” McClean said. “Think about ‘Run the World’ by Beyoncé — written by men and Beyoncé. There are so many examples of that. It doesn’t mean that guys are bad. They made a great song, but what would it sound like if a bunch of women had written it? It might speak more honestly to the female experience.”
YouTube execs Vivien Lewit, global head of artist services, and Lindsay Rothschild, lead of songwriter and publisher relations, also spearheaded two other SheWrites gatherings this year, one in London and one in Stockholm, along with McClean and Skies.
“Before the London camp, we didn’t actually know what music made by women sounded like,” Skies said. “Now we know, it’s possible to put a record out with no male hands having touched it. We didn’t know that having consistently worked with men. We surprised ourselves. It’s fighting our own expectations.”
SheWrites is meant to be a place where women can create without the fear of being judged, Skies added. Its creation was inspired by a run-in Skies had with a male producer, who told her one of the song lyrics she’d written wasn’t something “a girl would say.” But at SheWrites, “It’s a safe space to say stupid things where no one in the room goes, ‘That’s unattractive,’” Skies said.
Lewit told Variety that it’s important for YouTube to support initiatives like SheWrites because they help “pave the way and empower younger women to be more confident in forging forward on their path to be creative and use their voice.”