Tia Korpe: Founder of Future Female Sounds
Since age five or six, Tia Korpe knew she wanted to create music, often using her dad’s Roland Keyboard and tape recorder to create her own mixtapes. Fast forward to age 16, when Tia dropped out of high school to pursue a music career and ended up studying at a youth music production school. At the time, she was heavily influenced by DJ Premier’s choppy beats and ended up performing all over Europe in cities like London, Stockholm, Paris, and even Beirut. In 2015, she created the World Is Yours festival, the first ever inter-regional urban arts festival in the Middle East. Korpe brought together skateboarders, street artists, DJs, MCs, and B-Boys/B-Girls in Amman, Jordan - an often overlooked city with underdeveloped creative potential. After giving over the World Is Yours festival to her local partner, Tia was able to focus on launching Future Female Sounds.
In December of 2017, Future Female Sounds (FFS) was born. FFS is an uplifting and collaborative network of female and non-binary DJs, which is in the process of going global with headquarters in Copenhagen. As a community creator within the music industry, Tia has learned that the female DJ community has great support for one another, but not from the industry as a whole. However, she doesn’t let this stop her. Her goal for 2019 is to launch a global DJ workshop tour, beginning in the Middle East and Emirates. While in the process of managing this tour, Tia hopes to create a DJ space for girls in Saudi Arabia.
Tia is very excited for the future of Future Female Sounds, as the organization has received very positive feedback globally from female DJs, who often offer to contribute. Within this role as a community creator and influencer, Tia has learned that intersectionality and sisterhood within the music industry are more important now than ever. A sponsor from the start, the Tuborg Foundation, funds FFS’s MONTHLY MIX series, which showcases new and up and coming female and non-binary DJs. Although Tia just recently became a mother, maternity leave isn’t stopping her. She finds her work to be so rewarding that she pushes through the added stresses.
Lidija Jurovich: Could you give me some examples of difficulties or challenges you faced in the music industry as a female, especially within “club culture” and DJing?
Tia Korpe: There are a variety of challenges such as equal pay (as a female DJ), respect or rather lack of it, from co-workers (male DJs), sound engineers and bookers who think you don't have the technical knowledge, or think you can’t move a crowd, to more systemic challenges such as the top-down music industry mainly consisting of cis white males patting each other’s backs, and booking or promoting "friends" or primarily male artists, as well as the general sexism and male chauvinist attitude towards how a female should look/act/be. Personally, I come from hip-hop culture and have been active since the 90s. In a way, it's almost become worse. I had to fight very hard to “earn my stripes” as a female in the game, and nowadays with social media's heavy influence, I think it's even harder for young girls to be strong and not need that male validation.
Jurovich: Which feminist focused platforms and businesses are you currently working with? Which ones are you hoping to partner with?
Korpe: We are currently working with a few Scandinavian feminist platforms, and are connected to networks like female:pressure, but would love to branch out. As always, it's a challenge when you're a very small organization/team. If I had more time to grow our network I would love to work more with SheSaid.so, Girls I Rate and UN Women's program as well as PLAN International’s “Because I am a girl". I already reached out to Girls Who Make Beats in the US and hope we get a chance to partner in the future. Other than that, we are open to any other businesses who see the long-term investment in funding alternative education and empowering young girls globally.
Jurovich: What would be one piece of advice you would give to a budding female social entrepreneur in this day and age?
Korpe: To not be afraid to believe in your ideas and to just go for it. Some women have a tendency to over analyze and over prepare everything before launching a project or new idea (myself included), and that usually means your time is spent on perfection, instead of valuable network building or fundraising.
Jurovich: Could you give me a few recommendations for some female DJs/artists to check out?
Korpe: There are SO many! I love seeing the female DJ community grow, and it's so diverse as well! I'd like to mention Honey Dijon, the dope DJ who also happens to be black, a woman, and trans. She doesn't just pack dancefloors with skills, she represents true diversity. From the US, I also want to mention DJ Perly, who actually was the first female to win the US DMC's; her scratching is great. Also check out DJ Zinhle from South Africa, our very own (Future Female Sounds) DJ Bonita from Kuwait, and, of course, all the female DJs we are currently highlighting from Denmark here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/futurefemalesounds/live_videos/?ref=page_internal
Author: Lidija Jurovich
Lidija is a rising junior at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Non-Profit Leadership. Growing up on the West Coast, Lidija has learned that traveling and meeting new people is one of her favorite things to do. She hopes to create her own non-profit clothing company with proceeds benefiting victims of child abuse or pursue a career in marketing for empowering and inclusive clothing or beauty companies. Currently, she is a brand ambassador for Aerie, where she works to promote body positivity and empowerment on UMD’s campus.