Talent before gender

Songbird ... Missy Higgins.
Songbird ... Missy Higgins.

Are listeners more attracted to the male baritone voice than to the sultry female alto or would we prefer throwing ourselves around a room to a male dominated hip-hop band than listen to a solo female singer belting out her tunes?

The ARIA chief executive, Dan Rosen, says while music consumption is at its highest level ever, the charts raise questions about what type of Australian music is being consumed.

"It tends to be a slightly male dominated industry just from my perspective in Australia," said singer Missy Higgins, whose new album The Ol' Razzle Dazzle is her third consecutive album to top the ARIA charts.

"There tends to be more guy bands than there are girl bands."

Compared with when Higgins was first starting out, the music environment has definitely improved for female singers, she said.

"As time goes by, more woman are becoming empowered to play and write their own songs and record their own songs," she said.

"The more females who get out there and represent, they are probably going to inspire more girls to get out there."

Karise Eden, the 19-year-old winner of The Voice said female musicians can be pigeon-holed in how they look, rather than how they sing.

"A lot of women get shot down or pulled down because they don't look right. So it's very tough because there are still those sort of standards for us," said Eden, whose album My Journey has been topping the album charts for six weeks.

"There are some strong, passionate women out there who are doing the best they can to overpower and they're overpowering the charts."

The only classical female singer acknowledged at the afternoon event was Mirusia Louwerse, whose DVD Always & Forever with Andre Rieu went to No. 1.

This story Talent before gender first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.