Justice

Maty Noyes Has a Powerful Feminist Message in Her Music

Maty Noyes may be a young, up and coming singer in the music industry, but she's not afraid to stand up for herself.

The 19-year-old Mississippi native made headlines in October for calling out musical collaborator Kygo's manager, whom she claims booted her from his client's Hollywood Bowl performances because she had missed a previous show due to illness.

 

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In her October Instagram post, as seen above, Noyes called out the larger issue of sexism in the music industry, writing that she was fed up with being told to "put on a pretty dress, lipstick, open your mouth and sing." Kygo's manager Myles Shear issued her an apology. Many people, including the singer Kesha, celebrated Noyes' boldness.

We recently had an opportunity to chat with Noyes about sexism in the music world and her commitment to empowering young women. Here is what she had to say.

 

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ATTN: You called out the larger issue of sexism in the music industry this year. What sort of response did you get for doing this as a young, up and coming female singer?

Maty Noyes (MN): I think a lot of people hear horror stories in the music industry, but I think also, a lot of people also don't expect it to be happening because a lot of us never really talk about it. But what I've seen since I've been in it, basically since I was 12, is that when you're a young girl, a lot of people will try to take advantage of you. They try to use their power to get the best of you and scare you and even threaten you in ways. I see it happen so much. Sometimes there's a line that gets crossed and at that point, you just have to stand up for yourself. That's what happened [with me]. A lot of people were really shocked, but another thing that was cool was that a lot of other girls came out and said, 'Oh you know, I've seen this behavior from [Kygo's manager] to me,' so it's cool to kind of have a lot of people come out and say they went through the same thing.

 

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ATTN: In regards to that incident with Kygo's manager, you wrote on Instagram that you worked for free on tour. If you could go back, would you ask for compensation for that time, and do you think there's a lot of pressure on women today to accept less than they deserve in hopes of getting good opportunities?

MN: Compensation was asked for, it just wasn't given. At that point, it was a choice to just say, You know, this is my song too. This is my big break. This is my way in, and I care more about promoting the song and making it a hit rather than the money part of it. I care more about getting to play at the Barclays Center, Good Morning America, and kind of getting that exposure to learn how to play in front of so many people before even having my own music out yet.' A lot of times, you have to have training for that, and there's a lot of preparation and work to go into it, but I kind of got this pre-run of, 'OK, I'm used to singing in front of people.' But it wasn't really that I was complaining about not getting paid, it was more complaining that I did all of that and I was still treated so wrongly. I feel like I gave so much of myself up to help them out and to not push and ask, but to still be treated like that after doing that for free [was awful]. 

Yeah, of course people are pressured all the time. They kind of just leave us with these ultimatums that you just have to decide what's best for yourself. All industries [have this problem]. It's kind of the whole, 'Fake it 'til you make it, make it work, do what you have to do' [mentality]. When you're a new artist starting off, sometimes you feel like, 'If I don't do something, what if I never have another chance again?'  

 

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ATTN: You recently told Nylon that you want to set a good example for other girls and women out there. Why is it important to you to have an empowering message as an artist?

MN: I am extremely comfortable and confident in my body and the way I am. I want other women to feel that way too. I want them to feel excited and happy and open and honest about themselves, so I try to be really honest about who I am. But a big reason I do this is because I want to make the world a better place and there's so many things that we can go through like the Kygo situation, but the real power is showing people that you don't have to let it ruin you.