Sharleen Spiteri: Sexism in the music industry is 'still out there’

·3 min read
Sharleen Spiteri says she has experienced sexism while being in Texas (Photo by Dawn Fletcher-Park/Invision/AP)
Sharleen Spiteri says she has experienced sexism while being in Texas (Photo by Dawn Fletcher-Park/Invision/AP)

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After #MeToo hit Hollywood, big stars like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift spoke up about their experiences with sexism in the music industry, and while it may have improved over the years, Texas front woman Sharleen Spiteri, says it’s not gone away, people have just got better at hiding it.

The 53-year-old star was speaking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time about being a female artist in the industry.

“A lot of people say is it still out there?” she said about sexism within the world of music.

She continued: “It is better hidden though. They all watch their Ps and Qs. They're very aware of what they're saying and make sure that they're not being heard saying any of those things. Whereas before, when I started in the music industry, you were getting called all sorts.”

Watch: Sharleen Spiteri admits why she was initially fearful about her daughter Misty becoming a model

Spiteri, who has been performing with Texas for 35 years now, said she has experienced sexism, citing one incident with an executive, back in 1987, when she was referred to as a boiler, aka an ugly woman.

“I was sitting outside, and they were just playing the demo,” she recalled.

Read more: Sharleen Spiteri's daughter hit by car as she stared at Sam Smith

“And they said: ‘What’s the dodgy boiler like?’ I was young and there was a part of my heart just sank. I thought, ‘Oh my god, I can't believe someone still uses that language.’”

Spiteri has spoken up before about how much harder its been for Texas – as a band with a female lead singer – to succeed.

Listen: Sharleen Spiteri on how she’s organised her own funeral already in the latest episode of White Wine Question Time

Back in 2013, she told The Daily Record: “Women sell massive amounts of records, but the business is still ruled by men. It is completely sexist. If you get into it, you have to be tough as nails to survive.”

While chatting to Thornton about her career, Spiteri recalled the time she offended one record executive for offering to call a photographer.

Read more: More than half of women believe sexism has held them back at work

“He'd been going on and on and on at this big meeting about how he was as thick as thieves with this photographer,” explained Spiteri

Johnny McElhone and Sharleen Spiteri founded Texas back in 1986 (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Johnny McElhone and Sharleen Spiteri founded Texas back in 1986 (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

“He said ‘We'll have to speak to his people, but they’re hard to get hold of’. I said ‘I'll just call him’ and I am not kidding you… It caused so much trouble.”

“It caused so much trouble because you know he's obviously got issues with being the big ‘I am’ and I was a bigger ‘I am’.”

The star, who releases her 11th album with Texas this month, says being in the band has taught her lots over the years and while she’s made many mistakes, she always tries to learn from anything that goes wrong.

“I’ve failed at loads of things,” she exclaimed. “If I'm doing something, I will try my damnedest to do it as best as I possibly can, but I'm not scared to fail.

“You can't grow, and you can't be anybody, if you can't take failure. If you can ride through the failure, you'll succeed massively. You've got to be willing to lose everything a lot of the time to do great things.”

Hear Sharleen Spiteri talk about why she desperately wants to be a grandmother in the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Buy it: Hi by Texas | £10 from Amazon

Watch: Sharleen Spiteri chats about having her hair cut by Kate Moss

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