Women’s Day ’23 – Alice Leon’s Story

I remember in the early 80s waiting for my band to go on in a small club in Greenwich Village New York. There was a band fronted by what I deemed a very old woman, she must’ve been about 40. I thought to myself oh my god if I’m still 40 and playing in these tiny little clubs I will have been a failure and where was her self respect? I didn’t realize at the time that my judgment of her was a me problem.

As I entered my 30s I began lying about my age because I thought it would be harmful to my career. Ironically I was offered a development deal by Sony records when I was 35 years old. I told them I was 27 as I was convinced they would drop me if they found out. Again that was a me problem.

When I turned 40 the New York Times was coming to my house to do an article about a new album I had independently released and when the reporter and photographer asked me my age I refused to tell them. Regardless they found out and printed it in the article. I was devastated. A me problem once again. What I wasn’t aware of during this time was that I was simply reacting to all the societal cues I’d been fed by the media that youth and beauty for women is tantamount to talent and experience.

That for women there is an expiration date for being beautiful and sexy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if iconic aging women musicians would embrace the natural aging process like Robert Smith of the Cure or Mick Jagger of the Stones instead of mutilating their faces and promoting make up and hair products that basically tell us we’re not ok as we are? For me Carole King has been a guiding star because she’s always been true to her self as a musician, songwriter and is aging with style.

She dares to say to all of us that if you have a problem with a vibrant 80 year old woman on stage, that’s a YOU problem. I have watched many women leaving the music business feeling that their time has come and gone while so many men that I know are still at it. Now as I’ve entered my 60’s my voice is as strong as ever, I have over 100 club dates this year, teach songwriting to at risk elementary school children to help support curriculum, write personalized songs for kids in hospitals via the Songs of Love foundation and continue to release my own albums.

I finally have the confidence to walk on stage knowing that if anyone is going to judge me because I’m a woman of a certain age it’s not my problem… it’s theirs.

http://www.aliceleon.com http://www.thesongs4u.com

Women’s Day ’23 – Alice Leon’s Story