I have a love-hate relationship with stereotypes because I absolutely hate being pigeonholed into a certain category. But on the other hand, there’s nothing more satisfying than shattering someone’s preconceived notions about you, and who they think you are.
A little background about me. At three years old, I firmly believed that I was indeed, the Little Mermaid and my only responsibilities in life were to sing every song in the movie loudly while prancing around the living room in my bathing suit and to, of course, make sure Ursula was defeated in a timely fashion. By the age of eight, already in love with music, I was introduced to the guitar by my mother. Fast forward about ten years later and music consumed my world from the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to sleep. However, as much as I loved it, I was afraid to show anybody I could sing or play, and that was difficult. I kept it my own little secret and played to my bedroom walls. That is, until my best friend Matt [Almquist], now the guitarist in my band and partner in crime, gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and really pushed me to come outside of my comfort zone, grow as a musician, and as a person.
There’s a few things I’ve found out about being in a band, especially as the singer of a female-fronted band. I am constantly labeled by what people see, and what they think they know.
I remember very clearly; I was carrying our merch in and I set it down on the floor. A group of guys were sitting nearby and watching me. One of them looked at me after reading the box with my band’s name on it and asked, “Beautiful Tuesday… you’re a clothing company, right? What are you selling?” So of course, I smiled and said, “Yeah, something like that. I’m giving a demonstration on stage, I’d love it if you came to the front and watched it,” and gave him the time of my set. The look on his face was pretty priceless when I started singing. It’s not uncommon for people to ask if I’m a merch girl, or a girlfriend or even a groupie. Sometimes I’m just plain old ignored until I get up and sing. I see that more than anything. I won’t be spoken to, greeted or even acknowledged until after I sing. I recall many times people not even giving me the time of day if I was the one to try and start a conversation, which I think feels even worse. But in this industry, you grow a tough skin and it just becomes another part of the game.
Another stereotype we’ve faced in the band is the fact that we have played frequently as an acoustic duo. And more often than not, acoustic acts are expected to open the show. I’m not going to toot my own horn here, but Matt and I are incredibly proud of the fact that when we perform, it’s an experience, not just a show. It is something we have been made aware of time and time again, and we make every effort to keep our performance engaging for the audience. We put in a lot of time, thought and effort and we hold our own. Being labeled by the fact we are ‘merely acoustic’ (I say with a sarcastic tone) is a problem we face often. Moving forward with big plans for our full band performances, this is becoming less of a problem, but we will always be advocates for the acoustic acts out there who have the strength to make just as much of an impression as a “full band”, whatever that term may mean.
One last example for the front-men and front-women all over the world. I was standing in line for food at Warped Tour last summer and I ended up getting into a conversation with a few people behind me. It came up that I was in a band and one person looked at me and asked if I was a singer or a musician. I’m almost certain I laughed out of sheer surprise and politely informed her I was both. Sadly, this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Now coincidentally, I happen to play a variety of instruments, but even if I didn’t, being “just a singer” requires so much more than people think. There’s music theory, sight reading and techniques and training, the list goes on! There is so much more than just opening your mouth and pretty sounds coming out and it’s rather insulting to have musicians classified one way, and singers another. We have an instrument, but ours is just a part of our bodies.
These are just a few of the stereotypes that we, as young band from a small town, have run into. We have all been labeled, or labeled someone else, even if it’s only subconsciously. Using a stereotype to define someone helps us to think that we have the world around us figured out, and that can boost confidence. But the old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover” is so incredibly true. If we take the time to get to know the people we meet, it’s amazing what we can find. Things aren’t always what they seem, and sometimes making assumptions about a person, based on their gender, looks, sense of style, age, or anything else, can be hurtful or even insulting. Be who you are. Don’t let anyone put you in a box (figuratively or literally), and stand firm in your beliefs while still keeping an open mind about the people around you.
This wonderfully insightful article was written by Theresa Andrewski, frontwoman of Cape Cod’s very own pop/rock duo Beautiful Tuesday. Along with her partner-in-crime, vocalist/guitarist Matt Almquist, they have recently transitioned from their acoustic roots to a full band sound with the release of their newest single “The Crown”. Check out the song below and if you dig it as much as we do, you can purchase it now via iTunes.
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