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Meet the Women of WAKAAN: Breaking the Norms, Changing the Dynamics

Freak Feed | May 31, 2021

International Women’s Day and Month have come and gone, but we should be celebrating the accomplishments of women in music always.

In recent years we’ve slowly but surely seen more women being recognized in electronic/dance music, with more than ever ranking on last year’s DJ Mag Top 100 list and Charlotte de Witte topping the Alternative Top 100. Even so, 12 out of 100 is a staggering indicator that we have a long way to go.

Meanwhile, Stacey Lee’s UNDERPLAYED documentary has offered an empowering and hopeful, yet at times troubling, glimpse into what it’s like for women in the dance realm. On or off the stage, it’s become abundantly clear the challenges we as women face are no match for our passion and determination.

With that being said, allow us to introduce the leading ladies of WAKAAN — Chloe SuitEmily Mitchell, and Kaelyn Gray. These women have defied all odds in a male-dominated industry to not only achieve their personal goals, but pave a way for aspiring women in music to do the same.

Working respectively as Marketing Director, Director of Merchandise, and Assistant Product Manager, Chloe, Emily, and Kaelyn believe “women deserve to be in the music industry just as much as anyone else.” Their unique paths serve as inspiration, along with their mission to cultivate a more accepting and inclusive space for all artists, regardless of how they identify.

Read on as Chloe, Emily and Kaelyn talk about their gigs at WAKAAN and SSKWAN, the importance of amplifying voices of women, and advice for those just starting out their music careers.

Please, describe your roles at WAKAAN and explain what a typical work day is like…

Chloe: Marketing Director and assist with Label Management. On a typical work day I listen to demos, submit records, work with our distributor and DSPs for releases, create and roll out Marketing Plans for each release; including content creation, press, activations, contests, etc and run all social media for the Liquid Stranger and the labels. Lastly, I handle all tour and takeover marketing for Liquid Stranger and the labels as well where I work on advertisements, paid promotions, partnerships and more! 

Emily: I am the Director of Merchandise for Liquid Stranger, WAKAAN, and SSKWAN. I handle everything from design ideas, garment sourcing, building out our webstore, customer service and fulfillment. I don’t think there is a day that is ever the same. One day I can come in and focus on design ideas and mood boards. The next I can be completely consumed by customer service and fulfilling orders. While some days are dedicated completely to research and development. I love that most days are never the same!

Kaelyn: Assistant Product Manager — I collect information for upcoming releases to help with contracts. I also will be taking on press and working with outlets to lock in premieres and coverage for upcoming releases. I just started with WAKAAN this month and extremely grateful and excited for this new opportunity.

What first drew you to WAKAAN and how did the opportunity to work for the label present itself?

Chloe: The music was not only different and unique, but so was the community and the artists that WAKAAN was building and working with! LUZCID actually introduced me to the team about 3 years ago, where I was brought on for social media and Marketing. 

Emily: I was currently working merch gigs and loved being on the road, my friend Champagne Drip actually brought the opportunity to me and asked if I was available for the Liquid Stranger INFINITY tour!

Kaelyn: I’ve always loved the community and investment WAKAAN puts into their artists. Originally I had seen that Optimystic Group, the management company for Liquid Stranger, was hiring, and when I interviewed with Chloe, she brought the opportunity for the label.

Most rewarding / most challenging aspects of the job?

Chloe, Emily & Kaelyn: Being apart of a community where we get to see the releases and merch come to life at our events and supporting and watching artists grow. The most challenging aspect of the job is having to balance everyone’s needs across the board from fans to artists to managers and agents — the music doesn’t start and stop with the artist.

Can you speak on the importance of amplifying voices of women in electronic music?

Chloe, Emily & Kaelyn: It’s important because we still face issues in our society where women are seen less equal to men. Giving women a platform and supporting them gives them the opportunity and reinforcement to “break the norms,” be in leadership roles, and change the discrepancy or dynamic.

Words of advice for women starting out their career in music?

Chloe, Emily & Kaelyn: Always take on new opportunities to learn, grow, connect and be the best possible version of yourself, in your work and personally. Stay true to yourself and do not let intimidation get the best of you — Women deserve to be in the music industry just as much as anyone else! 

Anything else you want to share? (Experiences, ideas, hopes, dreams, etc.)

Chloe, Emily & Kaelyn: Our goal here at WAKAAN and SSKWAN is to provide community for everyone through the vehicles of Music and art. All walks of life are welcomed with open arms. We go to work each day with the goal of being better than the day before and helping to grow the artists that call this their label home. Without our fans continual support in sharing our releases, purchasing records, buying tickets or simply telling a friend — none of this would be possible.  We hope to continue this journey for many more years to come! 

Written by Freak Feed

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