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WPGM Commentary: Sewuese Extols The Power Of Women On ‘Calling All Girls’

I’m Sewuese (pronounced Seh-weh-see for the curious ones). I’m a Nigerian-born independent artist and producer from London. Since I was a keen pre-teen, I’ve been working in music creatively. Music has taken me around the world, but I eventually brought the focus back to my solo music, starting with my first official single, “Calling All Girls“.

“Calling All Girls” is a cheer-leading, hip hop beat-driven anthem-style banger! The song marks respect for, and aims to champion the wider perceptions we have of women carrying out different roles across society, in a relatable way. Traditional and cultural roles have their place, but when women are called to break these moulds or display values outside the status quo, it is important to find representation and support.

This is why I wanted to show real images of real women doing real and awesome things. To accomplish this, I put out an international call for women that I knew, to send me selfie clips at home, at work, at play, and at study etc, to include in the video.

The “Calling All Girls” music video is also my first official one, so it was nice to get some of my personality across – especially because I’m unlikely to revisit the style or sound of the song again for now…

Rather than throwing in this curveball sound in between future releases, I started with a something a little different before sharing the main body of my sound, which is Pop/R&B. I also wanted to experiment with my style as a producer, and make a little bit of a statement around women, music production, and society in general.

Recording and producing “Calling All Girls” was so much fun to do. Originally it was intended for a music library, but at over one hundred instrument stems, I had done a lot of work on it, so figured that releasing it independently could work better.

My next trick was finding someone – preferably a woman – who would be willing to mix a song with such a crazy arrangement. Although I have studied sound engineering and have a life-long respect for sonics, I have never wanted to mix full records by myself.

This is because I feel that the knowledge, skill and instinct required to mix well are like a science in themselves. But as an indie artist (recovering from an injury at the time), I had limited resources. After some scouting for engineers, it was decided: I would attempt mixing it myself.

I did a deep dive into YouTube University and re-arranged the entire song from scratch. After several months of working on headphones and tiny home speakers, I was back and forth to monitor the song on the local Pirate Studio speakers. I finally sent the song for mastering, then heard it back at my friend Troy Antune’s studio. It sounded like hell on crack.

I made notes and Troy gave me some great tips before I went back to the drawing board, and tweaked the song. Mastering engineer Katie Tavini was really patient with me, and also gave me some feedback. Once I was close enough to happy, I released the song.

Shortly afterwards, I collapsed. It had been intense trying to get the song out on time, on top of having co-ordinated everything from the clothes to the call sheet for this video (and another), which I shot on a budget shortly before releasing the song.

On top of this, we had no clue a pandemic was about to hit. Not to sound dramatic, but during the phases of the pandemic, I was forced to re-think my entire purpose in life and artistry! So the brakes were on for everything, including the edit of the video.

Since the editor lined up could no longer edit the video, I had to also take this task on myself, which was another daunting first for me. At the time, I had no clue where to begin, or even the name of the program I should use.

My camera woman Louise Juckes was super patient with me sending her unfinished drafts, while I consulted remotely with Heather Sommerfield in Los Angeles on my edits, and worked with Liz Glennard to colour grade the final video.

The corona crisis, along with the challenges of making the song and video highlighted even more to me why there is need for the broader representation of women, especially in creative fields. It was a bumpy ride, as I struggled to find women at every level to take on this work, eventually doing most of it myself. However, I was blessed with an awesome team who were mostly supportive.

Women are very capable, but like anyone, we are at our best when we have the tools available that allow us to focus on our core skills, to put out our best foot forward. “Calling All Girls” shows that along with visionary men, it’s up to us women to unite and cultivate opportunities for ourselves. That way, we can gift the world with every kind of healthy delivery that we have to offer.

Watch the video for “Calling All Girls” below!

Words by Sewuese // Follow her on Twitter + Instagram

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