Friday, March 31, 2017

31 Women in Audio: Ebonie Smith

Mix Messiah Productions presents: 31 Women in Audio, a series celebrating Women's History Month.

Day 19: Ebonie Smith

Ebonie Smith (Photo Credit: David Divad (IG: @divad))
Today, we are featuring Ebonie Smith. She is "an award-winning music producer, audio engineer and singer-songwriter based in New York City. Ebonie is also the founder and president of Gender Amplified, Inc., a nonprofit organization that celebrates and supports women and girls in music production. Ebonie holds a master's degree in music technology from New York University and an undergraduate degree from Barnard College, Columbia University. She currently works as an audio engineer and producer for Atlantic Records." [Courtesy of]

Leslie Gaston-Bird: What childhood experiences do you think led you to a love for the field of audio?
Ebonie Smith: Originally, I wanted to go to the WNBA and spent much of my youth playing basketball. However, I had this latent interest in getting into music. My mother exposed me to music. When I was four, she bought my first album: Blacks' Magic by Salt-n-Pepa. In many ways I think that album set the tone for who I would become as a woman and a human being. Also, I adored listening to the radio in the car. It always had to be on. As a kid I developed a very emotional relationship to music and to sound.

LGB: What was your earliest experience with recording?
ES: I started recording in college. I was an audio/visual technician at Barnard College while an undergraduate student. This was my campus job. It exposed me to the world of audio recording, and I have never looked back.

LGB: What questions do you DISLIKE being asked related to women in audio?
(Photo Credit: David Divad (IG: @divad))
ES: I dislike questions about obstacles, largely because I don't know how to answer them. There is always this assumption that I have struggled because I am a woman. Music is the most enjoyable thing I do in life, and my career has been pretty smooth. There is nothing that I have "personally" experienced that could be characterized as a struggle. Nevertheless, I would never negate the fact that there is gender-based inequality in the audio world or deny that women face challenges in all professional areas. However, questions about challenges and obstacles shouldn't overshadow the other myriad points I could address about audio and music production. Obviously, I prefer to be interviewed because of my work and my approach to my craft.

LGB: What questions would you PREFER to be asked related to women in audio?
ES: I would prefer to be asked questions about what I'm working on. I love answering questions about my process. I love questions about the nonprofit I founded, Gender Amplified, Inc.

LGB: What female role models do you have, fictional or real?
ES: So many: my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Frances, E.W. Harper. Issa Rae, Tamika Catchings. Julie Greenwald. Ann Mincieli (This is a super abridged list.)

(Photo Credit: David Divad (IG: @divad))
LGB: What upcoming projects are you excited about?
ES: Gender Amplified and Art Girl Army recently joined forces to get girls into music production and audio engineering! We are co-hosting a hands-on workshop in a professional recording studio, followed by an intimate discussion with artist/activist Genesis Be on how to combine production techniques and political activism in powerful ways. It will be held on April 8th, 2017. Visit to learn more.

Learn more about Ebonie Smith at: