“I didn’t think I was really producing anything because I was writing and singing over drum ‘n’ bass beats”: PinkPantheress says she never thought she'd be recognised as a producer and that “even now, people don’t want to take my music seriously”

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PinkPantheress has accepted her previously announced 2024 Producer of the Year Billboard Women in Music Award, confessing at this week’s prize-giving ceremony that, when she first started making music, she “didn’t think I was really producing anything”.

“To show my appreciation for this award, I think it’s important to mention my roots as a producer,” she said in her speech. “I was at university in my dorm room when I decided there was no way graduating university was going to make me happy in the long run, but I was simultaneously too shy to admit that I wanted to be a musician.”

It was this sense of shyness, says PinkPantheress (Victoria Walker), that led to her keeping her identity secret in the early part of her career.

“I had to make music in private and not tell anyone, so for my first year as an artist I was anonymous,” she recalled. 

Despite the fact that she was working alone using GarageBand - and that her music was gaining popularity on TikTok - PinkPantheress went on to say: “I never thought I’d be recognised as a producer because I didn’t think I was really producing anything because I was writing and singing over drum ‘n’ bass and jungle beats that were already known in great length in the UK. Only as my music started to develop did I think of adding my own drums, my own keys, until I was making some beats from scratch. That’s when I finally felt comfortable calling myself a producer.”

PinkPantheress - who recently revealed that she's lost 80% of the hearing in one of her ears after it was damaged by microphone feedback - also opened up on the challenge of earning respect in the male-dominated field that she’s operating in.

“As a woman of colour in electronic music, specifically two-step drum ‘n’ bass, it has taken a lot in the genre to be recognised on a wider scale,” she admitted. “A lot of people didn’t expect me to look the way I did, making the music I was making. Even now, people don’t want to take my music seriously, but I am just happy that I have the opportunity to be recognised in this specific field by the Billboard Women in Music Awards.” 

PinkPantheress’s carry particular weight because they come in the week of International Women’s Day. Research carried out last year by the Fix The Mix initiative found that,

of the top 10 streamed tracks of 2022, only 16 of 240 credited producers and engineers were women and non-binary people, which is just 6.7%. 

Other winners at the ceremony included Karol G (Woman Of The Year), Kylie Minogue (The Icon Award), Ice Spice (The Hitmaker Award), Maren Morris (The Visionary Award) and Victoria Monét (The Rising Star Award). 

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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