Legendary rocker Suzi Quatro is currently touring Australia, possibly for the last time. On Thursday, she was on Studio 10 as a special guest panelist. And she got asked this question, which, she’s probably been asked many, many times… what was it like to work in a male – dominated industry? Her answer…. she doesn’t think of gender. Even when she saw Elvis Presley in the late 50’s, she never thought, he’s male, she’s female. She just did what she wanted to do.
Now, I’ve got to say, I think it may have kind of helped that England was in the midst of the glam rock movement when producer Mickey Most took Quatro under his wing in 1971 (“Can the Can” came out two years later). But I find her attitude interesting. How important should gender be, if at all? Do we as a society place too much emphasis on it?
Maybe, just maybe, Quatro might be on to something when not focusing on gender. She’s never allowed herself to let it be an issue. Maybe we shouldn’t either?
She’s openly critical of female artists that rely too much on being provocative, instead of the emphasis being on their talent. She said that she’s actually a fan of women like Miley Cyrus, but does lament about the extent that Cyrus and other female artists goes to, especially when it comes to partial nudity. I kind of get what she’s saying. People took Suzi Quatro and her craft seriously because she took her craft seriously. She was willing to work at and stick to her music even when things seemed quite grim in ’71 – ’72 (read about it in her autobiography “Unzipped”, it’s a great read).
I say the biggest lesson you can learrn from Suzi Quatro: focus on your art/ profession, etc. Don’t try to hard by being provocative. Just be who you are and do what you do…. or at least on hwat you want people to focus on (e.g. music acting, etc). And probably the third thing, at least i got, never give up. It’s not always going to be an easy ride, but never give up.