A Podcast About Women in the Music Industry – “We Have to Learn How to Be Main Characters”

აპრილი მედია / ვახო ქარელი

Diaci is a podcast series founded by female music enthusiasts that gives space to women in the music industry and introduces the personalities of musicians beyond their work to the public. Three women are involved in making Diaci: Gvantsa Uturashvili, who the listeners know as the host, and two Salomes, Vardanashvili and Otarashvili, who are behind the camera. Making podcasts isn’t their only kind of work — all three have other main occupations and work on the podcast in their spare time. Gvantsa is a music journalist and, besides, has a profession in the IT field, Salome Vardanashvili is a photographer, and Salome Otarashvili is a graphic designer. All three are united by being music enthusiasts and observing. At the end of 2023, Marta Geliashvili left the team, who was also the host of 2 episodes and a social media manager.

Gvantsa, Salome and Salome tell Aprili Media that initially the podcast was about female alternative and underground musicians, but as the episodes were recorded, the focus expanded and now it covers women involved in the music industry in general.

“Many people think that there are no women in alternative music and not only. Of course there are! We wanted to give a platform to these women, introduce these women to everyone and listen to them. Our wish was for them to start talking about life’s challenges, and also to create a kind of archive”, – Salome Otarashvili

Now I can say that Diaci is a kind of reason for starting communication and making friends - Salome Otarashvili

Aprili Media / Vakho Kareli

Gvantsa adds that their goal is to show who are specific female musicians, how they make music, what they love about music in the podcast.

“Our goal and mission at this stage is to listen to all women who are in the alternative space, so the podcast is only about their thoughts, feelings and desires,” says Gvantsa.

The podcast is dedicated to women in the music industry, although several guests identify as non-binary. The team also doesn’t rule out inviting non-binary people on the podcast in the future.

Diaci is a podcast that talks to women in the music industry. Although, for me, the gender binary is also constructed by society, when you’re labeled as a woman, it doesn’t mean that someone has to limit you. We want the people to see this too”, says Salome Vardanashvili.

Diaci’s goal is to create a support system among female musicians themselves and to put topics on the agenda that challenge practices that are harmful to women in music spaces. Probably, none of these practices are new to any female musician, and they have dealt with at least some of them. This might include excluding and erasing representation of female musicians, or inviting women based solely on gender, so that organizers can present themselves as more progressive; Also, objectification and sexualization of women’s bodies; unequal pay in relation to men; sexual harassment and exploitation of women; limiting access to various resources based on gender; more acute forms of ageism, etc.

In addition to trying to start a conversation about these challenges and barriers, the podcast is also just plain fun for women. Gvantsa says that she sees how male musicians have fun and this fun is productive too. According to her, men can have a jam session, make an amateur video and create a product that will get 100 thousand views, which is a prerequisite that someone will definitely book them for a live. With this in mind, women also want to have fun and do business.

“A lot of ideas, initiatives and breakthroughs come from playing. My wish is that we learn to have this fun together and create a culture of it. Along with fun and togetherness comes the self-confidence that every woman needs to present herself well”, Gvantsa Uturashvili notes .

We are not raised as main characters and we have to learn how to be main characters. We teach this to each other – Gvantsa

Gvantsa Uturashvili; Photo: Aprili Media / Vakho Kareli

According to Salome, she sees self-confidence and a great support system that men have created for each other when she gets in touch with boy bands. According to her, there is no similar support system for women for the simple reason that these women do not even know each other.

Gvantsa, Salome and Salome met each other during the pandemic, in 2020. They were friends, but not as actively as now. The idea of ​​creating a podcast was born in the fall of 2022, when Salome and Gvantsa were at one of the closed live events, where there were many people from the music industry, but less women.

“Gvantsa looked around and asked where girls were. When we started listing female artists and two hands were enough for it, we felt bad ourselves that we didn’t know more about female musicians!” – says Salome Vardanashvili.

The name of the podcast originates from a somewhat controversial term, “Sidzvis Diatsi” (a woman of sin). The name “Diatsi”, aka “woman”, in addition to indicating the content of the podcast, according to the authors, is a laconic and sonorous word, although the main reason why it was chosen is the ironic attitude associated with this term in the country – they want to claim back the original meaning of the term and to remove the negative connotation from it.

Salome Vardanashvili; Photo: Aprili Media / Vakho Kareli

Some respondents have touched on many social and political issues, including feminism and politics of care, experiences of being a woman, migration, class differences, and so on. For example, Keren Batok went back to the 70s and talked about who prevented women from taking the stage. We don't want the flow of conversation to be created artificially. It depends on the perception, age and experience of the respondents — Salome Vardanashvili

As they say, the podcast guests talk directly about their work, but also they want to introduce the artist behind the work to the public. The direction in which the conversation will go during the course of the podcast is mainly related to the respondents and their desires – whatever desires the respondents come up with, the host adapts to them.

As the authors of the podcast say, considering the social background in the country, there are many stressful periods, but they also note that taking responsibility and initiating changes from one’s own communes is a prerequisite for global changes.

“There are moments when you are ashamed that instead of being at protests, you are doing something else, but if you want to change something, you need consistency and you should not stop. Since this issue worries us, it is necessary to continue working on it”, — Salome Vardanashvili.

“I believe that in order to make a change in any field, I have to do my job. It may not change anything on a large scale, but sometimes a friend will come and tell me that yesterday a guy would not stop saying that there are no female musicians, and I showed him your page. It is important for me to be able to create such an environment around me, in which I will introduce small changes”, – Gvantsa.

Salome Otarashvili; Photo: Aprili Media / Vakho Kareli

“There is something always going on in this country. That’s why you won’t be able to do anything and will stay in the same place if you stop. You should not wait for someone to save you and start making changes in the field that you love with your whole heart. You have to start the change yourself. In our case, if we started the podcast with 4 people, now we reach many more. Even if it changes something for one person, it already means a lot”, — Salome Otarashvili.

The very fact that women are given a platform and they speak is already a statement. Maybe a person doesn't talk about her experiences or views, but if she exists as a female musician and talks about it, for someone it's already political — Salome Vardanashvili

They say that on the one hand, they have their community behind them, which is reflected in the continued support that is always there for the artists who are featured on the podcast after recording, and on the other hand, they often come across people expecting the podcast to stop soon. This has to do with their gender — people are surprised that a podcast is created from beginning to end by women. Even from the podcast guests, we have heard surprised a question, is no one helping you?! And it has been said many times by the men that they can talk about this or that topic better than Diaci’s female guests. However, according to the podcast’s creators, gender bias, instead of demotivating them, is more likely to do the opposite, and make them want to never stop doing it. They constantly have open communication with each other and try to create a pressure-free work environment, in which if someone is on the verge of burning out, they can rest, and if any problem arises, they will definitely find a way to solve it.

“There have been times when I would have preferred to sleep on Sunday, but when you go to the recording and realize that this hour was a good experience for the musician, you also fill good – it’s a kind of a therapy. Yes, it’s cold and my feet will freeze, but that’s okay,” Gvantsa.

We create such memories while recording the podcast that when we look back in 10 years, we'll definitely say, that was a good day, it was nice — Gvantsa

Part of the people who watch the podcast will notice that each episode is recorded in a different location each time. This is not accidental – besides the fact that the choice of location suits the guest, women have a problem with centralization and are happy to leave the capital when the guest wants to do so.

“We think the word “decentralization” is a bit problematic, because the periphery does not need a center for development. The periphery can have its center. Therefore, if there is an opportunity to record outside the capital, we definitely do it. There was a case that we went for one day to record the respondent and came back”. — Salome Vardanashvili.

“For example, Anushka’s episode is very interesting. She came to Kharagauli for the podcast, and we also joined her. We try our best to record these people in their own environments, they are much more authentic and true there. For example, in Ketrevan’s episode, it was planned that the Mother of Georgia should appear, because in that episode there was talk about the desire to be or not to be a mother. There are specific reasons why podcasts are recorded where they are,” Gvantsa.

February 27 marks 1 year since the first episode of the podcast was released. It is said that before they came to the decision to record, they talked about the idea for a long time, sometimes over coffee and sometimes Lobiani, and discussed exactly what they wanted to do. Therefore, people who want to create their own community and share their interests with people are advised to be well-defined in what they want to do, to maintain consistency, gather the right people and, if necessary, ask for help.

Aprili Media / Vakho Kareli

“If you don’t understand the purpose of what you want to do, it won’t last long, because at some point you will get tired of doing it and you won’t want to continue. After being tired, the frustration will be too great. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re doing and why, and ask for help. Don’t push yourself and have fun”, says Gvantsa.

“If you have an idea, use whatever resources you have at that moment, don’t wait for the perfect one. If you promise to gather like-minded people and start a thing together, I think it is necessary that everyone thinks, believes and feels the purpose why you are starting. Do what you sincerely want to do. Also, it is important to translate your message into a visual language and create the identity of the project”, says Salome Otarashvili.

“We have a tradition that we bring phrases our podcast guests from different episodes. I bring Keren’s phrase: ask the question, how can I be unlimited in limited conditions?!”, adds Salome Vardanashvili.

Diaci is fully based on enthusiasm and volunteer involvement. The technical supporter of the podcast is Tempo Radio, also created by the enthusiastic friends, and the sound design of the podcast belongs to Mariko Turman Mikeladze.