K.eena & the Next Wave of Female Music Technologists
Indie-alt artist, producer, and composer, K.eena, recalls her first encounter with music technology in high school when she took a music technology class. It was there that she was introduced to Logic Pro X and film scoring, which led her to pursue a degree in Music Technology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
In 2019, K.eena won the NAMM President’s Innovation Award and she also released her first single, “East Coast Summer”, a light-hearted, nostalgic tune about driving along the coast and enjoying the warm breeze.
K.eena is undoubtedly good at what she does. The song’s production is tight and the melody is hypnotizing as she sings, “And it feels like summer, it feels like summer.” While I was listening to this and watching the snowstorm outside my window, I couldn’t help but also feel nostalgic for the summer weather.
In her recent interview on FOCUS podcast, she talks about how her writing style is very personal but she also leaves much of her lyrics open to interpretation and relatable to her listeners. K.eena also gets very personal in the interview, discussing the struggles of being a woman in a music industry dominated by men. Particularly, K.eena mentions how the #MeToo Movement resonated with her and help build a catalyst for women to speak up about discrimination and sexual harassment in the entertainment fields. However, the #MeToo Movement in the music industry hasn’t been scrutinized as harshly as in Hollywood. A 2018 survey by the Music Industry Research Association (MIRA) found that “72% of female musicians report that they have been discriminated against because of their sex, and 67% report that they have been the victim of sexual harassment”.
Throughout the history of the music business, there has been a lack of female representation in music technology. A recent study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative revealed that the role of female producers “across 500 songs remains at 2.6%”. But with the rise of bedroom pop in 2020, there was actually a rise of women and non-binary producers as access to music production tools became more readily available. As more and more artists, such as K.eena, begin to make music independently at home, the home studio might be the way out for many female and non-binary producers looking for a way out.
K.eena’s most recent release, “Ur Not Crazy” was co-produced by her and Nick from Space. The 80s-inspired bop uses a punchy kick-snare pattern as the basis for its glittery, synth melodies. K.eena’s voice is a staple to the song and could fit right into the Billboard Top 100. The main difference I noticed when listening to “Ur Not Crazy” is how much she has grown as a songwriter from her first single, “East Coast Summer.” Not only does “Ur Not Crazy” feature some unexpected coutnermelodies, but the lyrics propell the song forward in its train-like motion.
The FOCUS Podcast is about giving a platform to fellow creators around the world. We invite creators who have their own stories to tell and content to share. We talk about the creative’s journey, current issues, and social advocacies close to their heart. In this way, the podcast creates a safe space to showcase talents and inspire revolutionary change with music, media, and art! Check them out below:
Listen to K.eena’s “Ur Not Crazy” with Nick from Space here: