The two-time Mercury Music Prize nominee said that the image to which female performers are expected to conform are becoming increasingly unrealistic.
Anna Calvi has spoken out against gender bias in the music industry in a new interview about her experiences throughout her career, saying that “you don’t notice it, yet it’s everywhere.”
The 34 year old singer and songwriter, who hails from London, spoke to The Independent on Sunday about sexism in the industry, among other things, and how it’s changed her outlook since her 2011 self-titled debut album.
Anna Calvi has spoken out against gender bias in the music industry
“I felt I was being reminded constantly about my gender in a way you never usually are," she said. "'What's it like as a woman playing guitar?', 'As a woman, how do you…?', 'What is it like to play such a phallic instrument?' At first it surprised me, then it made me angry, and now it's like my eyes are opened to seeing the world in a slightly different way.”
In particular, Calvi feels that standards about how women are expected to look in the arena of pop performance are becoming more and more unrealistic. “It's beyond perfection, the way a woman is supposed to look. And shapeless – like an 11-year-old boy. You look in the mirror and see that you have hips and you imagine they shouldn't be there.”
“I do shave my legs and my armpits but really, what are you being told, that you have to shave off parts of yourself? You're not allowed to just be in the world. You're always being told that your natural state is a bit disgusting.”
She’s not released an album since her second effort One Breath back in October 2013, which was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize the following year. In 2014, she recorded an EP of covers titled Strange Weather, which featured ex-Talking Heads singer David Byrne, whose Meltdown festival she co-headlined this year.
Calvi says that she’s spent most of 2015 writing her third album, but that we shouldn’t expect to hear it until next year.