London Grammar’s Hannah Reid Fought Her Way Through Sexism And Stage Fright In Music Arena

London Grammar is an English indie-pop band formed in Nottingham in 2009. The band consists of Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman, and Dominic ‘Dot’ Major.

Hanna Reid, the singer of the English indie-pop trio London Grammar being professionally trained as a singer has the finesses for her job. Despite having a head start in her musical career, the singer struggled a great deal to get around her stage fright. Making no mistake about her confidence in her skills, going up on the stage with irrelevant criticism takes up quite a bit of mental energy.

The creative drive of an artist can be fueled by constructive criticisms. On the other hand, deterring remarks on the physical appearance during a show can take an emotional toll on the performer artist. Reid, for that matter, has explicitly been a victim of it, after the Radio 1 Breakfast show passed on sexist comments about her appearance on their tweets. 

The surging of performance anxiety was so strong that the songwriter started practicing the Emotional Freedom Technique to overcome it. For all that, it’s meritorious that Hannah is bucking up and making things work out for her.

Sometimes the nerves don’t lift at all, and I just feel horrible, and panicky throughout.

Reid, who in her lyrics has addressed quite a lot of these issues, has put forth the disadvantageous position that women are put in. The criteria to succeed in the music industry for female songwriters are far-fetched and inconsiderate towards their talent, and Reid has gone through her share of putting up with these issues.

The singer even shared the experience of not being taken seriously because of her looks. In several instances, people from the audience have come up to make judgments on the clothes she wears. On one occasion, the sound engineer turned her down during a live performance when she said that the bass was louder than necessary.

Contrariwise, he would address the technical issues made by her male bandmates without a hitch. It was only later when the audience told the band that the bass was too loud that Hannah realized that it was yet another sexist assumption about women not knowing their thing. To make things worse, all these experiences made her almost desexualize herself and think she wasn’t cut out for the music industry. Reid is especially outspoken about these sexist experiences in her song ‘Californian Soil’. 

It even crossed Hannah’s mind that things would get difficult if she needed to validate herself every time she was in a room full of men regardless of her songwriting talent. Despite all this, rather than giving up on the band, the frontwoman of the trio courageously took charge of things. Similar thoughts crossed the mind of Lindsey Jordan, the singer from Snail Mail

When it comes to the future for female musicians, Reid wants to be hopeful and her outlook is positive overall. When push comes down to shove, she has been making music despite the looming bias and her stage fright.

I’d like to see a sweeping change across all of the record labels where they become much more inclusive and diverse. And there needs to be a cultural change. Women get put into boxes quicker than male musicians do. There’s this idea of the male genius. I feel like male musicians can get away with a lot more.

London Grammar has had huge mainstream success, with their 2013 debut album, If You Wait, ranking number two on the UK Albums Chart and being certified as double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Shortly, the band’s second album Truth Is a Beautiful Thing (2017) peaked at number one on the UK Albums Chart. Their latest album  Californian Soil, released on 16 April 2021, became their second consecutive number one album in the United Kingdom.  

The unsurmountable commercial success also brought the band an overwrought schedule, especially endless tours that made the band on the verge of being burnt out. With their increasing demands, they were hardly able to keep up with all the touring, so much that Reid decided not to board the plane to Australia. Dot, who was the drummer of the band, was the last to know about their decision and recalls saying to Rothman “I’m getting on the plane“, to which Rothman replied “You do that and I’m going to fucking kill you. We’ve got stuff to sort out.” 

The singer was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which was the culprit for her fatigue during their panic-stricken touring. 

Their struggles of trying to keep up have helped the band make heedful decisions for their latest release Californian Soil. Young artists are brimming with enthusiasm and can overexert themselves because they too have a breaking point. The trio, well aware of their limits, have carefully planned out tours that won’t get in the way of their physical and mental health.

As it happens, they are even set to tour throughout the year 2022 for their latest release. The band has booked lots of performances for the year in many countries like Australia, France, Germany, and the UK.

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Sandesh K.C
A musician in the making specializing in songwriting and musical composition. Recent Engineering graduate and music writer trying best to keep the spark for my passion alive.
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