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Helvetiarockt: SUISA supports the voice of female musicians in Switzerland

Helvetiarockt: SUISA supports the voice of female musicians in Switzerland
Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth
Women are still underrepresented in music, on stage and as producers. For this reason, the association Helvetiarockt has been standing up for women in Pop, Jazz and Rock in Switzerland. Since 2019, SUISA is a partner to and supports Helvetiarockt and participated in the “Female* Songwriting Camp” at the Fri-Son, Fribourg, last August.

The share of female SUISA members is a little more than 15 percent today. Even though there is a slightly rising tendency – the share of women among new members was at 20 respectively 21 percent – compared to the population share of women which is more than 50 percent, women are still underrepresented in the Swiss music business. That is actually surprising because there is no reason why professions in the music sector should just be a man’s thing.

In order to counteract this imbalance and to ensure that the female musicians are heard, the association Helvetiarockt was founded in 2009. Helvetiarockt has been supporting female musicians for ten years to set foot into the music business and to network successfully. To that end, the association organises a wide range of workshops for (future) female artists, producers and composers. It also offers networking opportunities for female musicians and provides important educational work in order to promote the equality in the music business. Helvetiarockt raises awareness among event organisers and therefore places female artists, female DJs and bands to festivals, clubs and corporate events.

SUISA, a partner of Helvetiarockt

SUISA has been a partner of Helvetiarockt since 2019 and supports the association within the scope of a sponsoring commitment in terms of finance and visibility. As a Cooperative Society for female composers, lyricists and publishers of music, the focus of this cooperation for SUISA lies especially with the “Female* Songwriting Camps”. This year, Helvetiarockt and SUISA also cooperate at the Cully Jazz Festival (27 March to 4 April 2020).

Helvetiarockt has been organising the “Female* Songwriting Camps” since 2015; in the meantime, they take place twice a year, in August, at the Kulturzentrum Galvanik in Zug and in the Fri-Son in Fribourg. During the five-day camps, experienced female songwriters support female participants in group workshops, individual coaching sessions and for the self-study of composing, writing lyrics and arranging. What is more important than finished songs being the outcome at the end is that the female participants can extend their songwriting abilities and build up a network with other female musicians.

Up to now, 42 female musicians visited the “Female* Songwriting Camps” of Helvetiarockt, many of whom, such as Kimbo, Sasa or Anna Mae are now very active. “We were able to ‘empower’ a few female songwriters, and that is a beautiful thing”, says Muriel Rhyner, who is in charge for projects such as the “Female* Songwriting Camps” and the “Female* Producing Circles” at Helvetiarockt. It was her, who called the Songwriting Camps to life five years ago and has been running them since – together with Élodie Romain aka Billie Bird since 2019.

SUISA was present at the “Female* Songwriting Camp” in the Fri-Son and accompanied the coaches as well as the eight participants during the two days. The Songwriting Camp was well received among the female musicians. “At the juncture I was at, it was really important to me that I could meet other people who do the same as me, and that there were professionals who could provide advice or take a look at what I was doing at that time”, says Ines Martenet. Another participant, Emelyne Pannatier, came to the camp with specific questions surrounding the recording process of songs since “she mainly had problems with the structure of a few songs”.

Two “Female* Songwriting Camps” planned in August 2020

Helvetiarockt has also scheduled two “Female* Songwriting Camps” for 2020: from 3 to 7 August in the Kulturzentrum Galvanik in Zug and from 17 to 21 August in the Fri-Son in Fribourg. You can register via the Helvetiarockt website:

Just as Ines Martenet said in the video: “You just have to come by!”

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