As we celebrate International Womens’ Day this week, we’re delighted to shine a light on a selection of leading women in music, who share their industry vision in a series of interviews, before taking part in Midem 2019 next June. Next up is K-Pop artist Wengie (Singapore/USA).


> What recent business achievement are you the most proud of?

Definitely having my song Ugly Christmas Sweat trended #1 in the US and 4 other countries in the day of launch! It was the icing on the “Cake” to an amazingly catchy Christmas song. All my favourite things. It was also a special moment for me because we produced and shot the music video in-house as well. It was a huge step up in our production capabilities as a company as well as the first time we worked on all aspects of creating the music video from art to equipment and lighting.

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> What is your biggest hope for the music industry in 2019?

I am so excited for 2019! I’m all for innovation so I hope to see more diversity in both culture, gender, sexual orientation and types of talent being recognised. It was great to see so many women being recognised at the Grammy’s this year, and I hope we continue to diversify in all aspects including culture. I have a feeling 2019 will be big for asian pop, as well as types of talent. Traditionally, label artists have dominated the industry, but as innovation continues and options to self-publish and production costs decrease, it’ll be great to see some completely self-made artists been thrown in the industry mix to bring some fresh creativity and styles into the space.


> Do you have a particular wish for women in the music industry?

Being judged comes with the territory of fame, however I feel women in particular have extra pressure to conform to a certain checklist. I hope that the music industry is able to accept all different types of women into the mix so the next generation can find someone they can relate to. Not only is culture a factor in this, with Asian women being heavily under-represented, but also age. I have been turned down many times because I’ve been told I’m “too old” and that to me is perpetuating discrimination. As a man you will never run into this problem, its predominately something women face in the entertainment industry which is ridiculous. Women are vibrant beautiful and talented no matter what age.

Having relatable role models from all walks of life and living situations is also important. This is also a response to the fact that young women in particular look heavily towards artists as role models, not only to listen to music. When I was a teen, my style, outlook and attitude was heavily inspired by music and so we need some great positive and relatable role models available for today’s generation.


> How has women’s role in the music industry evolved in recent years?

Women’s role in the music industry from my personal perspective has always been to serve as a role model for young girls around the world. Growing up I looked more towards musicians than actresses as women I can look up to relate to and be inspired by, and thats why it’s so important to have women of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds as well as ethnicities in America since it’s such a multicultural society.

Growing up I never found any Asian women I could identify with in the music industry so I looked towards Asian pop instead such as C-pop, J-pop and of course K-pop. In recent years America has really embraced women in the music industry with the Grammy’s this year being the best representation for women in a long time, I’m proud that there women of all shapes and sizes are present in the music industry and celebrated. What I’m excited for this year is furthering the diversity card and I’m looking forward to seeing more asian women, including Indian as well, as I feel these ethnicities are currently the most under represented!


> What obstacles remain to be overcome?

I would really like to see more Asian faces in mainstream music entertainment. Growing up I’ve always been drawn to Asian pop genres like K-pop, C-pop and J-pop because there was no western artist that I could see myself in or had the same background as me. We’ve made great progress in including African-American, Latina, and even Islamic representation! So I have no doubt it will happen, it’s just a matter of when, and I’m so excited to try and contribute to this movement.


> What will you look for when attending Midem next June?

This year will be my first time at Midem so I’m sure that I’ll have much more ideas once I’ve been through this one, however I’ve always been interested in how industry will adapt to the changing media environment as well as more representation from the youth side! I loved music the most when I was in middle school and yet we rarely hear their voices  or opinions when it comes to music. It’ll be interesting to hear about the industry from their eyes. I’m also interested in the development of tech in music as well, and there are so many great ideas floating around that should be shared!


> Which artists are you the most excited about right now and why?

I absolutely love what is happening in K-pop right now including groups like Twice, Black Pink and especially Hyuna. What I love about Hyuna is she really represents empowerment in the Kpop industry which have very strict rules and norms, including banning artists from dating. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and march to her own beat, even if that means being kicked out of her label which happened this year, however she’s picked herself back up and signed with Psy who is supporting great artists and breaking norms. I’m also very excited for Ariana Grande‘s music, I feel her music is getting better and better and she’s really settling into her own style – a true inspiration especially after how she handled a tough 2018!


Use the promo code ‘Womeninmusic’ and save €325 off your Midem pass, only until 10 March.
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About Author

James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

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