The NAC announces new initiative to support female-identifying producers

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February 23, 2021 – OTTAWA, CANADA – The National Arts Centre is proud to announce a new initiative to support female-identifying producers in the music industry, and right the gender imbalance in their field. The new Global Network for Female-Identifying Music Producers will provide an opportunity for up to 25 female-identifying studio producers and beatmakers from around the globe to meet, discuss ideas, network and help overcome barriers in the industry together.

Led by Heather Gibson, the NAC’s Executive Producer of Popular Music and Variety, and developed in partnership with international music industry leaders, the multi-year program will be designed to meet the needs of its participants, develop an international network and support system, and offer opportunities for musical collaborations. The initiative will also serve as a resource for musicians or record labels who are looking to work with a female-identifying producer.

“Producers are an integral part of the music industry, and of the creative process, but they often work in isolation in a field that’s dominated by men,” Heather Gibson said. “This new Global Network aims to give these amazing professionals the support they need to grow their own networks and careers. We also hope it eventually will help increase the number of women working as producers in Canada.”

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Women are drastically under-represented in music production. USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative, the world’s leading think tank studying diversity and inclusion in entertainment through original research and sponsored projects, determined that of 500 songs on the Hot 100 Billboard charts between 2012 and 2019, only 2.6% had women producers. Female songwriters and producers identified a number of barriers to success, including difficulties navigating the industry, financial instability, being sexualized or stereotyped, and having their skills and abilities discounted. The problem is similar in Canada: according to a 2018 Ontario Arts Council study on women in the Canadian arts and cultural industries, only six per cent of music producers are women.

“The National Arts Centre is committed to creating new opportunities for skills development and professional support in the performing arts,” said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. “Through this initiative, we hope to make a real difference to female-identifying music producers, and champion accessibility and inclusion in this crucial part of the music industry.”

“Now is the time to address the harsh inequity in music production,” said Montreal music producer and artist Maïa Davies. “Not only is there an abundant pool of very talented women and non-binary artists in all aspects of music production, we bring something very valuable to the table, too – an opportunity to experience and learn from our unique creative approaches at art and leadership. I truly believe that elevating women and non-binary producers into the mainstream and under the spotlight would benefit and grow the entire industry for everyone.”

The Global Network for Female-Identifying Music Producers is a partnership with Sounds AustraliaMusic EstoniaMTA Productions (Sweden) and producer liaison Belen Fasulis (Argentina).


  • Erin Costelo (Halifax), who was awarded the 2017 Producer of the Year by Music Nova Scotia for her album Down Below, The Status Quo;
  • Maïa Davies (Montreal), a founding member of the Warner Music recording group Ladies of the Canyon, and who has written a number of commercial radio hits and has produced artists such as Jill Barber, Mikhail Laxton, Elle wolf and Kasador;
  • Denise De’ion (Toronto), who won the IStandard beat battle at the 2019 Ascap Music Expo in Los Angeles, was listed in the top four (out of thousands of entries) in the Remy Martin Producer challenge in New York, and was the 2020 Canadian Beatmakers League Season 1 Champion;
  • Hill Kourkoutis (Toronto), who has produced albums or singles for artists including Madison Violet, Leela Gilday and Martha and the Muffins;
  • Elisa Pangsaeng (Vancouver/Calgary), a highly skilled recording engineer who has worked with a wide range of artists, including Kinnie Starr, Data Romance, You Say Party, and Juno winner Shad.

For more information, visit the National Arts Centre’s website.


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