Scarlett Stewart is a beautifully talented young musician based in London. As a vocalist and keyboard player, she has had the pleasure to work with different artists either providing backing vocals or playing keyboards. Here we talk #BEYOUROWN to the star on what allows her to grow in a male dominated industry and exceeding her expectations of having performed with X Factor Star Fleur East at the 02 arena.
At what age did you start being interested in music?
My dad started teaching me guitar at age 3, but I cried through every lesson. I told him I wanted to learn keyboard so I could stop guitar, so I started a few years after that, then it just kind of stuck. I always sung along to the radio, and was always surrounded by music. One day my head of music suggested I take lessons and do my vocal grades, so I did.
Did you find it difficult as its male dominated industry?
I was raised around a lot of boys, so I’m used to it. Sometimes it’s difficult though, but I’m sure it is similar in other male dominated industries. But if I’m doing Backing Vocals there is usually at least one other girl in the band. However, there are also many perks to being a female in a male dominated industry; often if I’m playing keys I’m the only female in the band, which means I end up with my own dressing room and hotel room if its out of town. Which of course is great. I enjoy my job, so I try to see anything that could be considered a ‘difficulty’ as another opportunity to grow.
As a female musician what boundaries are you facing?
Personally, I do not feel I am facing many at the moment. When I am facing obstacles I like to see them as hurdles that I intend to get over and leave behind.
Do you think there are enough fair opportunities given to women as there are to men?
I think its getting better, but it would be great to see complete equality. As every job is so different, there are different requirements with different people handling the management side of things so the opportunities are really dependent on the management I’m working with at the time. But at the end of the day if you can play well and conduct yourself properly, they’ll always be a pending opportunity.
Where can you see yourself within the next 2 years then further 5 years?
My goal is to continue growing and take on new challenges over time. I want to develop my skills, take on interesting projects, and work with people I can really learn from, people I aspire to be like. But most importantly, I want to build a career, as opposed to having multiple gigs.
How important do you feel it is to inspire other women out there in the music industry and how do you feel you do this?
I think it’s very important to inspire everyone. Everyone is on a journey. There are less women so when you meet/ work with another woman its always great to connect and help one another out.
Can you tell us about your achievements so far?
I have won two youth Oskar awards, been featured in Dazed and Confused magazine and also Teen now, these were all a few years ago however. I am linked with SE1 United in which I have been a member for over 10 years , I am also member of Kinetika Bloco and Tomorrow’s Warriors. All of these organizations hold their sessions at the Royal festival hall, a building where I spent most of my time practicing and having fun as a teenager.
Congratulations on performing with X Factor’s Fleur East, it must of felt like a real power move, how did it feel?
It was great, it was the first time I’d performed in an arena, and my first gig of the year. It almost felt a bit surreal, like everything I’d been doing wasn’t in vain. I’d seen all my favourite musicians stand on that stage so to even just be standing on stage during a sound check or rehearsal i’d be thinking ‘Is this real?’. But it was great especially when the audience came in, it has a 21,000 people capacity, but because of the lights you cannot really see anything, so it’s really crazy.
How do you keep up your motivation to carry on even though times can be really difficult?
I read a lot about people that inspire me. I like to know where people come from before they pop up on your computer screen or on a stage. More times than not, I’ll find that they went through difficult phases coming up. Whether it was being dropped by a record label, sports team, an injury etc. It reminds me that it’s not where I am, it’s where I’m going.
How do you think the industry could make it easier for young talented musicians like your self to get that break through?
I’m not sure if I’d make it easier. We are already a generation that has the world at our finger tips via the Internet. We are used to being given everything, as opposed to say going to a library and searching through a book for information. The Internet is a great advantage, but don’t get stuck behind a screen, all you have to do is put in the work and start connecting with people in your field.
Do you think female musicians get the credit they deserve?
I think with the rise in social media, definitely, people are able to put themselves out there and be seen.
I think it also depends on the type of musician. From what I have seen it’s very different in the classical world, I tend to come across more female musicians in the classical world than I do anywhere else.
I think Beyoncé, who really has always incorporated her female band into her performance, as opposed to just having them play has really allowed female musicians To be credited on a scale that surpasses just the music industry.
Prince and Stevie Wonder whom some of the Beyonce band members used to play with really give female musicians a spotlight too, It really inspired me growing up watching the Beyonce band, Victoria Theodore on keys for Stevie Wonder, Cassandra O’neal on keys for prince and the way both Stevie & Prince nurtured and allowed one of my favourite musicians, Judith Hill to shine.
Lastly, Can you share your top 5 tips to help motivate other young female musicians out there?
- Work hard on your passion
- Dream Big
- Be Patient, if you work diligently it will happen.
- Be willing to learn and do more than expected
- Don’t give up