Lady Sings it Better

By Megan Clement-Couzner

I saw Lady Sings It Better on Friday night. While I’m tempted to type a succession of “squeee!” and “OMG I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!,” I will attempt to calm myself briefly for the sake of dignity clarity.

Who are Lady Sings it Better? They are a five woman, feminist, queer, singing cabaret act, performing songs usually done by men. Their performances are in turn beautiful, searing and hilarious.

You can buy tickets here.

Maeve Marsden, artistic director and founder of Lady Sings it Better, started Lady because she wanted a new way to sing about women:

I  wanted to create a show which celebrated relationships between women.  At first, I was focused on romantic relationships, as a queer woman, so saw reclaiming songs written by men as a great avenue to sing passionately about other women. Beyond that, Lady is also about examining the male gaze through popular music; we love finding songs that are really misogynistic or sexist and turning them upside down!

Yet along the way, Maeve has found that it’s as much about fun and beauty as it is about politics:

It’s about entertainment and fun and music and harmony and bad dancing, just as much as it is about feminism and queerness and friendship and male dominance in pop culture.

But Maeve is also a source of inspiration when it comes to putting women and queer artists front and center.

I manage Blackcat Productions with Phoebe Meredith, my wonderful business partner, and our goal is to grow the company to support emerging female and queer talent. We also seek out other women to work with, like the women who run The Green Room Lounge, our sponsor bar.

In this vein, Blackcat have created Blackcat Lounge as part of Mardi Gras season at Sidetrack Theatre.

So why do these two amazing women care so much about women’s visibility in the performance scene?

There are loads of women performing really fabulous empowered art. I think in Australia though, there is a real reverence of masculinity, especially in comedy. The line up for the Sydney Comedy Festival has hardly any women. You’ve got Magda Szubanki and Catherine Deveny and Marieke Hardy and others, but really comedy is extremely male dominated. And those women get so much sexist crap for putting themselves out there.

You can read more about women in comedy here and here.

Maeve suggests you check out a bunch of Sydney feminist performers: Maxine Kauter and Shannon Haritos, drummer Lauren Allison, bassist Hannah James, Ali Hughes and Leonie Cohen, and the women who organise and perform at Chicks with Picks.

Is reading this making you itch to get out and start creating? Maeve has some advice:

The best advice I could give is to go out and make art! Make sure you constantly work on your art and skills and craft, because you can always be better. Think of the audience’s experience: your art isn’t about you, it’s about them. It’s a job! You will need to be a project manager, a writer, a marketer, a user of social media, your own accountant… And you need a thick skin.

She also reminds us of the importance of friendship and being connected:

If I didn’t have Phoebe I wouldn’t do this. You need someone who gets you.

Get to it.

5 Responses to “Lady Sings it Better”
  1. Femmos, you can check out Maeve’s full responses here at the Lady Sings site:

    Well worth a read.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] course, I wrote an epic tome on the subject… Highlights can be found here, on their blog. Make sure you click ‘F for […]

  2. […] latest at the F Collection is a post on the brilliant broads of Lady Sings it Better.It features an interview with founder and artistic […]

  3. […] SE Asian and Australian settings! How exciting. Megan Clement-Couzner interviews Maeve Marsden of Lady Sings it Better, an Australian queer feminist cabaret act who do their own takes on songs traditionally performed […]

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