For International Women’s Day, Spotify partnered with reggaeton pioneer and powerhouse Ivy Queen to record a reimagined version of her hit single “Quiero Bailar” with a women-led engineering team. The song “Quiero Bailar” was part of Ivy Queen’s third album Diva, released in 2003, and became an anthem across Latin America and the Caribbean, as it empowered women to be free in the dance floor while championing consent.
“Women are more than just hair and makeup and stylists. It’s my job as a leading female to make sure they are given a chance,” Ivy Queen said in a press release about the project. “I have the power to make that happen by using my influence and it is something that I am very aware of as I continue this journey.”
This new version, titled “Yo Quiero Bailar,” has a softer intro with more isolated percussion that accentuates the genre’s candent pattern, while still following the song’s original flow.
The project is part of Spotify’s EQL Residency Program, which was launched in October 2018. The program has created paid, full-time opportunities for women engineers to gain experience in the studio and access to mentorship through Berklee College of Music. We did a Q and A with Kerry Steib, Spotify’s Director of Social Impact, about the project. Check it out below.
1) Why now? Why do this program [EQL Residency] now?
If not now, when? Less than 5% of all audio professionals are women. We still have a long way to go to equity in the audio industry and at Spotify, we want to help develop a more open and inclusive creative ecosystem.
Thanks to people like Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Terri Winston at Women’s Audio Mission, we know that getting hands-on experience and access to professional networks is critical to an engineer’s success in the industry. But, women aren’t always considered for those kinds of jobs.
At Spotify, we now have studios around the world where we’re working with artists and songwriters everyday. We realized that we could use those spaces to create real opportunities for women to get practical experience and develop their craft. We also brought in Berklee College of Music to develop a mentorship program to complement their work in the studio.
2) What would success be with this program? How do you know that impact was made?
Success is making sure that our EQL Residents, Jeanne, Taylor and Ramera, continue their careers. Success is inspiring other companies that have access to studios to create these kinds of programs. Success is other companies supporting organizations like Women’s Audio Mission, Beatz By Girls, SoundGirls, She Is the Music, Gender Amplified, and Girls Make Beats that are training, supporting and advocating for a more inclusive industry every day.
3) Any future plans you want to share?
We’re going to continue to amplify and support women in this field. We know that visibility, really seeing women working in the studio, can shift cultural perceptions and inspire the next generation of women to know that this could be a field for them, too.
Editor’s Note: Jeanne Montalvo contributed to this project as one of the participants in Spotify’s EQL Program. She previously worked as a full-time sound engineer at Latino USA, and continues to collaborate with the Futuro Media team.
NPR’s Latino USA with Maria Hinojosa, produced by Futuro Media, is the longest running Latino-focused program on U.S. public media.
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