When it comes to music, performing artists are always front and center. The public are most familiar with names like Taylor Swift or Madonna for instance, but there is a lot more that happens behind the scenes to make an artist successful. These include people like the producer, engineer, photographer, graphic designer, as well as the music publisher and its workforce.
In the past, several studies have shown the music industry to be male-dominated. The same applies to the professions mentioned above.
Sheer Publishing, who has always been forward-thinking in their approach, have made numerous strides to bridge the gap of gender inequality. With a staff compliment of 20, the ratio between men and women is smack down the middle – 10 men and 10 women.
In celebrating Women’s Day in South Africa, Sheer want to acknowledge some of these formidable women who contribute to the smooth running of daily roles and duties expected of a music publishing company.
“We want to celebrate their stories and achievements, as well as their passion for their work and for music,” says David Alexander, Founder and Managing Director of Sheer Publishing.
A mother of two girls, Kefiloe Molefe is the Gospel Department Manager at Sheer. She started working for the company in 2007 and has come a long way in the past 14 years. Initially, she worked as a Data Capturer, working her way up to Copyright Administrator, then Client Liaison Manager and lastly to her current position of Copyright Manager.
Her job is to manage and expand the Christian Catalogue, by signing new artists, registering their works and monitoring income.
Looking back, Kefiloe’s passion for Gospel music started as a young child, singing in church. She has always had a passion for music and listening to music was her favourite pastime. By the time she reached early adulthood, she made the decision to go study music business, equipping her with the tools needed to perform her current duties.
Chatting to her about gender inequality in the industry (working for a first hand with music industry professionals), she says, “The industry is still, unfortunately, male-dominated, but things are slowly changing. Women are finding spaces within the industry, and the industry is receiving more music from young women.”
Today her favourite part of the job is listening to new music that comes in. She loves discovering new talent. Although Kefiloe didn’t aspire to become a musician herself, she enjoys a shower solo every now and again.
When asked what she loves most about being a woman, she says, “Women are strong yet gentle. I’m inspired by our sense of resilience and ability to remain optimistic in negative environments.”
In answering the same question, co-worker Kyla Baart’s response outlines a similar opinion. She says, “Women have willpower and when we put our minds to something, we do it. We have the ability to bring life into the world and we are the strongest species.”
Kyla is the Senior Royalties Administrator at Sheer Publishing. She joined the company in 2014 – her first job after matric – and has a passion for admin. Welcomed with open arms into the Sheer family, Kyla is inspired daily by the women around her. Coming from a small town in the Eastern Cape called Hankey, it wasn’t easy for her to acclimate to the big city life. However, she sees landing the job at Sheer as her lucky break and gives it all every day.
As a mother of three, Kyla also has to juggle work and home life. She says, “Sheer are very accommodating. I work flexible hours which gives me time to still see to my kids.”
Her motto in life is, “Trust and believe in yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it.”
In parting, Kyla shares some valuable advice for young women wanting to pursue a career in the music business, “Always keep your head up and do what is needed regardless of gender. Don’t be afraid to raise your opinions, it might be exactly what is needed.”