International Women’s Day is not only a day where we empower women and promote equality; it’s the perfect occasion for any company to check the state of women in its industry. And since Artlist touches the content creation world as well as the music industry, we decided to talk to women from both sectors.
On the filmmaking side, we have Hannah Price, the YouTuber known as Currently Hannah. The Australian-born content creator who’s been living in Osaka, Japan, in the past two years, is making travel vlogs from lesser-known places around the world to promote responsible tourism. You can check out the curated collection of Currently Hannah's favorite royalty-free music on Artlist.
On the music side, we have Sarah Angel, a singer-songwriter and model, who has been making a name for herself in the UK music scene with her versatility and experimental soul sound. Sarah was born in London and raised in Bolton, just outside of Manchester. Having released 8 music videos, 17 singles, and 13 fashion films to date, she has solidified her spot as one of the most consistent and innovative artists coming out of Manchester by having her music feature on Kyra TV, BBC three and ITV.
You can also check out the special collection we curated for International Women's Day, featuring some of the most inspiring female artists on Artlist.
Artlist: How did you get started?
Currently Hannah: If you had asked me about five years ago, if I thought I’d be a YouTuber one day, I would have laughed and said, “absolutely not!” But I'm incredibly happy that it has become part of my life. I started my YouTube channel about three or four years ago. I was getting bored at my job and wanted to find a creative outlet. I just started watching YouTube videos, and at the time, I was doing a lot of traveling, so it inspired me to film my trips with a mini camera. Things started to pick up, and I began to look for ways to improve my videos by upgrading my equipment and editing skills.
Sarah Angel: Initially, I started making music through the creation of fashion films. I used to be a model and wanted to expand what I was doing in my field, so I went into fashion films and started making music for fashion films. Then, I just wanted to pursue music. I've always had a love for music, it has always guided me, and I took this opportunity in and ran with it. When I was a young girl, I was putting my friends in girl bands, and later I started dancing and expressing myself in musical form. At this point, it’s a fusion of everything I’ve grown up and loved. It’s just a childhood dream that has become more of a reality.
A: Do you think there is a lack of women in your industry?
CH: There is definitely a lack of women in the filmmaking industry. When I have been on movie sets and television sets as an actor, usually behind the scenes, it's like 90 percent men.
I think that thanks to movements like MeToo, there's now more interest in listening to stories from women that have lived incredible lives or have done incredible things. I think the internet is a wonderful place for women to create because it's so open to everyone.
Also, a lot of people can find online someone that they can relate to that has had the same experiences as them, and it's really important for some people to have representation in underrepresented areas. If you're a female engineer or work in a field that's not very common for women, it’s good for other women to see someone thriving and doing well at that. So, I feel as though the internet, especially these days, is so open and welcoming to so many people, and it's great that anyone can be a part of it.
SA: I think that historically, females haven’t been celebrated as much as male artists. People regularly claim that women are not as important in the industry as men, and there's always been a fight for recognition in the past few years, anyway, but I'm hopeful that this can change in the future, and that I'm part of that change.
A: Is it important for you to try and work with other female creators?
CH: Personally, I’ve only met up with a couple of other female creators, not quite in collaboration, but I met and spoken to some female creators. It's always so nice to be able to speak to another woman who understands the same struggles that I face, especially when it comes to traveling solo as a female. It can be a very different experience for women than it is for men, especially in certain countries. So, it's great to have that kind of support system whenever I meet up with another woman who's doing the same thing as me. We can relate, we can get advice from each other and stuff like that.
SA: I believe it's very important to try and work with other female creatives. I think that in coming together, we can create quite a strong wall of power. I don’t necessarily think that it’s because women have been put down too much, I just feel like it's our time to shine. Equally, I don't believe that men should be put down. But Women, come on, let's get together, make art and be great.
A: Can you tell us about the struggles and barriers you faced as a woman in your industry?
CH: The challenges that I faced relate to both online hate and me doing a lot of solo traveling. As for the former, and I’m not talking scientifically, but when comparing my video comments with those of my male friends, it feels as though a lot of the hate is directed to the way that I look, to me being a female and that I may not or should be able to do this and say that.
At first, it was a little hard to hear, because you realize that there are a lot of bad people in the world. After a while, you get desensitized to it. You just learn to live with it, but sometimes it's hard not to let it get to you at all, especially if someone touches on something that you’re already kind of self-conscious about. I don't think that's exclusive to women, though, but it certainly does feel as though there are a lot of people that don't like females in the comments of my videos.
I will always remember one comment that I got on one of my videos, saying, ‘nobody cares about your artsy-fartsy videos, Hannah, we all just want to see your body.’ It happened in the early days of my channel, so it made me feel devalued as though my time and effort and all the energy that I put into making this video weren't worth it because nobody cares what I do; they just want to see my body. But then I chose to view it as fuel for the fire that is burning inside me and tried to make my videos even better or more "artsy-fartsy" and more cinematic. Now I can look back on that comment and laugh because I experienced success not for showing my body but because I try my best to make my videos look good. That was a defining moment, I guess.
Also, being a woman that travels alone can put you in a vulnerable position in specific countries, and I've had some bad experiences in a couple of countries. There was a particular country that I had a bad experience, and I put that out on the internet; it was a vulnerable kind of moment. I got a lot of backlash from people who either didn't believe me or just thought that I was making a big deal out of nothing. But with that, many women commented that the video really helped them because they had experienced something similar. In the end, I felt that it meant a lot for them to be able to see a story that shows people what could happen. Despite the backlash, I'm still glad that it's out there, and that other people can see what it's really like in some other countries. I think it's important for women and minorities to speak up about their experiences, bad or good, so that other people can relate and learn the truth. Yeah, I'm thankful for having that platform.
SA: In general, the challenges I've experienced in music producing involved me feeling like I don't know enough and that I'm not good enough at what I do. I've overcome them by realizing that I have a voice that matters and I can use these tools to connect with other people.
The barriers I have faced as a woman in this field, I would say, would be people not expecting that much from me and maybe in terms of intelligence. My journey is always about proving people wrong and never fitting a stereotype. As a woman, it's been soaking up knowledge from everywhere and going as hard as I can with that and shocking people. My biggest struggle as a female musician has maybe been getting past the visual. I'm not just a beautiful object; I have a mindset, I want to make an impact and inspire people, so having done things like modeling coming into the music industry, I struggled to get past the visuals. You need to be proud of being a strong woman, but don't get so hung up on the struggles of being a woman.
You need to fight through it because you are a passionate being with a message that you want to deliver to the world. We're living in a really gender-fluid world, and I'm not saying that that's where my mind is at, but as people, there are ways in which men are female, and there are ways in which women are male, but they're not really male and female characteristics, it’s just how we've labeled them. We should just do us.
A: What or who inspires you?
CH: When I first started my YouTube channel, I was watching a lot of Casey Neistat. At the time, the majority of those who were making those kinds of vlogs were men. I didn't know what I should do on my YouTube channel, and most female creatives were making make-up tutorials or beauty gurus, and that kind of thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that; if that's what you're into, go for it. But that wasn't what I wanted to do, so at the time, I was really thankful to be inspired by Sara Dietschy. She’s a vlogger who now makes a lot of tech videos. It was so nice to be able to see another girl out there that makes great videos, and that inspired me, especially when I first started. Nowadays, I'm inspired a lot by Sorelle Amore. I love her vibe and attitude. Iz Harris is another woman that makes beautiful videos. There are a lot of great female YouTubers and filmmakers out there to be inspired by.
SA: Everything inspires me. I like to keep my mind open and I get so easily inspired. I like to have creative friends and bounce ideas off each other. I advise having creative friends, but I think that creative people are naturally drawn to each other anyway. People like Prince, David Bowie, Missy Elliott, Beyonce have really inspired me in the music and fashion industries as standalone artists who have done the whole picture for me. I like to say that they’ve blown all my senses.
A: What are you most proud of in your work?
CH: I think that one of the things I’m quite proud of in my YouTube career is that it’s very easy, especially on Youtube, to fall into the trap of making super clickbaity titles with all caps, showing off your body in the thumbnail with lots of arrows and that kind of thing. I’m very thankful that, for the most part, I was able not to fall down that route, I stayed very true to the videos that I want to make. But I would love to try more actively to inspire more women to do something similar if that’s what they want to do. It’s very easy for me to think that it doesn’t matter if I’m male or female, but representation can be very important for some people.
SA: I'm really proud of who I am today, which might sound a bit cheesy or cliche, but I've put a lot of time and love into what I do. I really love hearing myself on the radio, seeing myself on television and being a spokesperson for a minority, basically, for people that may be too scared to do this themselves. Inspiring people is hella inspiring for me.
A: Describe your connection to Artlist
CH: I find music to be one of the most important things because things don't always turn out the way you planned, and you don't get all the shots that you want. When I play some nice music over average-looking footage, it makes the footage look better, so I usually spend quite a while choosing the right style of music for my videos. That's why it's great to have a music-providing service like Artlist, especially for YouTube, where there are all sorts of copyright issues and music that you can’t use. I have an entire library full of all kinds of songs that I can play, from different genres, styles, moods and themes. It's so incredibly helpful to have that because the process of making videos is so long anyway without the added extra search for music.
SA: Since I joined Artlist I have been gaining a lot more interest, but it's also helped me build on my current interest. I've been able to connect with loads to filmmakers I would never have been able to, and seeing my music on all these different pieces of work is quite a dream.
A: What is the most important advice or message you would want to send to young women considering a career in your industry?
CH: If I had to give a message to my younger self, being twenty-eight, I would say that you're going to waste too much of your time and energy worrying about the way you look, how other people perceive you and trying to be the most beautiful and skinny person ever. The sooner you can realize that you have more value than the way you look, the sooner you're going to be able to achieve great things. If I could have said that to myself when I was sixteen, I probably would have been more successful at a younger age. But I'm thankful for these experiences, and they made me the person that I am now.
SA: On International Women's Day, the message or advice I want to send to young women in the industry, a younger me even, would be to stay resilient, stay positive, be fearless and not care what people think. And when stereotypes are pushed on you, ignore all that and run with what you want to do. If it's not useful, move on. Do you to the maximum, make sure you're fighting for what you want. It's your life, take it into your hands and the rest is yours. The world is your oyster.