By: Lauren Royer
Imagine you have no idea how to ball and you walk up to some unknown dudes on the court. They stare at you or maybe let you play but don’t offer to show you the ropes. What would you be feeling in that moment? Unless you’re hella confident, you would probably be intimidated, unsure of yourself, and maybe would turn the other way and stick to playing ball on the driveway with your old man.
When talking to her students at Girls Make Beats, Tiffany Miranda uses an example like this to explain what it’s like to be a female in the audio engineer world. Tiffany Miranda is a bosslady extraordinaire who decided to step up to the court and ball with the unknowns- and oh ya, she’s an audio engineer. Her rap sheet includes work with a few major keys such as Dre, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, and Dj Khaled himself. She’s been recognized in work with recording studios to include The Hit Factory, Circle House, Studio Center, Platinum Sound, and Diddy’s house. She’s also the Founder and President of nonprofit Girls Make Beats Org- a place where young lil ladies can go to receive classes in audio production.
Females do not, and I’ll pause so you can let this statement sink in, females do not have it easy when it comes to this industry. I read that around 95% of audio engineers / producers are men. Whaaaat? That’s a crazy statistic when you think on how much music is produced every day, every month, and every year. Beyond that, the young kids interested in audio production have limited ways to learn. It can be expensive to get some good equipment to just learn on. Plus with so many people now turning to home production software and self-taught audio careers, it can be hard for the next generation to easily access true mentors and receive professional training in audio production. Audio production and engineering is like any other instrument you’d learn- it’s difficult, expensive, and takes practice.
The Girls Make Beats Org gives gals the equipment to learn on, mentors to guide them, and empowers the next generation one beat at a time. Being a mostly female crew here at TBU, I thought this org needed a shout out and some love. Check out the interview with Tiffany, look at the amazing things these lil ladies are creating, and maybe think about your first mentor and their importance. Tiffany’s assistant Jessy is also a beat-maker and I could hear in her voice the passion and gratitude to the organization for paving a way. It’s clear that they’re working to create a path that’s easier to walk for the next ones.
Let’s ball ladies, the court is open.
When was it you personally noticed a need for girls and women in the beat making world?
I noticed early on in my career as a recording artist that a lot of the creative direction of music was coming from men. When I started taking an interest in music production, I quickly noticed that it wasn’t something that “girls do”. It was challenging to find mentorship and as I continued to pave my way through the industry, I had many encounters where people were shocked to learn that I was an Avid certified audio engineer, simply because I’m a girl.
Tell me about the first beat you ever made.
The first time I ever made a beat was on an MPC 2000 when I was 16 years old. I remember falling in love with creating melodies and hearing the drums hit hard on them. I must have listened to my first beat at least 100 times. I knew then I had a love for making beats.
Why is it important to expand female presence in the audio fields? (in any field really)
I think it is extremely important for women to be a major part of where the sound of music is going. Music Production and Audio engineering shapes Music and Music shapes Culture.
What’s been the number one challenge you face/faced in starting this organization?
Initially, the major challenge was funding and this still continues to be a challenge today. As a small nonprofit with no prior success record of an organization of this kind, it was difficult to secure the funds needed to purchase equipment and sustain the program. We would often work with up to 25 girls at a time on one teacher workstation, which made it challenging to provide the individual hands-on experience needed to learn the intricate skills of music production, DJ’ing and audio engineering. We are constantly in need of support to sustain our programs.
How did it go in ATL @ the A3C?
The trip in ATL for A3C was truly amazing and inspiring! We were brought in by an awesome female DJ collective group called BAE Worldwide and hosted a beat making workshop at SAE Atlanta where we worked with over 15 girls. We were also the winners of the A3C Action People’s Choice Award sponsored by the ATL Hawks which helps to fund our after school program in 2017.
How did Stichiz, your director, get involved?
Stichiz is an incredible addition to our team. I met Stichiz a long time before she became a radio personality of Miami’s 103.5 The Beat. She had interviewed me for an independent online radio station at the time and I always remembered her positive energy. When I heard her on the radio, I reached out to her again about being a guest speaker at our class and meet the girls. She fell in love with the program and eventually became one of our board directors. She is a huge asset and valued GMB family member!
If I wanted to get involved with GirlsMakeBeats.org what are my options? I see your site is looking for volunteers?
There are several ways in which one can get involved or contribute to Girls Make Beats. You can visit our website to donate to our program or register a student. We also need volunteers at events and during class for everything from Marketing to Video Editing and general assisting.
Where are ya’ll headed? Next steps for the organization?
We plan on making Girls Make Beats a global effort. We have plans to tour major cities like New York, Atlanta, and LA in 2017 providing workshops and performance opportunities for girls throughout the nation. Our ultimate goal is to help girls get those Music Producer and Audio Engineer Grammy Awards!