Women of note: The lived experience of female popular musicians in Brisbane

PhD Thesis

Denaro, Joshua. 2023. Women of note: The lived experience of female popular musicians in Brisbane. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/z61z8

Women of note: The lived experience of female popular musicians in Brisbane

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorsDenaro, Joshua
1. FirstProf Margaret Baguley
2. SecondDr Katie Burke
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages187
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/z61z8

The Brisbane popular music industry in Australia has produced an array of successful female musicians during the last three to four decades, including Katie Noonan, Katie Miller-Heidke, Megan Washington, and The Veronicas. In recent times, several emerging female musicians have begun to make their way to the forefront of the Brisbane popular music industry. Artists such as Emily Wurramara, Michelle Xen, MKO Sun and Emma Dean, have begun to gain recognition within the Brisbane popular music industry and beyond. Despite the relative and varied success of successful Brisbane female musicians, there is limited research regarding their lived experiences within the Brisbane popular music industry and, more widely, the Australian music industry (Istvandity, 2016; Strong, 2010, 2014, 2015). This study utilised a narrative inquiry approach to explore the storied lives of established and emerging Brisbane popular female artists and understand their lived experiences within a male-dominated industry (Cooper et al., 2017; McCormack, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020). This methodology is appropriate for such a study as it seeks to explore human experience through a “construction and reconstruction” of personal stories (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Polkinghorne, 1995; Webster & Mertova, 2007, p. 1). As I worked with each artist to collaboratively build their narratives from initial field texts through to interim and final research texts it became evident that the stories for each participant were both unique and familiar. The four participants each had diverse, social, cultural, and musical backgrounds that provided multiple perspectives of the Brisbane music industry which has traditionally minimised the voices of female performers. Through this study, their voices have been prioritised and amplified to highlight the respective contributions to the Brisbane music industry they have made, while also assisting in providing insights into the authentic and lived experience of being a female popular musician in Brisbane. Resonant threads emerged from the four participants’ narratives including Navigating Glocal Identities; Balancing Private and Public Personas; and Belonging and Relationality. These threads continue to resound through proposed considerations for the Australian music industry that have arisen from this study including further attention to gender quotas, advocacy, funding and further research.

Keywordspopular female musicians; Brisbane; Australia; narative inquiry ; gender; women
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360306. Musicology and ethnomusicology
440504. Gender relations
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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