Women in Pro Audio: Victoria Cordero Women in Pro Audio: Victoria Cordero...
In the ever-changing landscape of live events and professional audio, some things remain the same: the ratio of women to men working behind the scenes, supporting the artists, and often working grueling hours is despondently low, which is why the L-Acoustics Women in Pro Audio series was created. It promotes diversity and inclusion, offering varied perspectives that enrich the industry. Women’s representation can inspire and empower future generations, showing that success is attainable regardless of gender. Additionally, acknowledging women’s achievements challenges stereotypes and helps to dismantle the gender imbalance in traditionally male-dominated fields – especially with professional audio engineers. Celebrating our fellow women’s contributions makes the industry more innovative and dynamic, leading to broader creative collaborations and advancements.
In this installment of the L-Acoustics Women in Pro Audio series, we’re excited to interview Victoria Cordero, a talented audio engineer, artist, and producer from Chile.
Despite falling in love with and respecting music at a young age, Victoria was unsure how it would unfold into a career later in life. Therefore, she had considered being a veterinarian, architect, or astronaut. “But then I decided I wanted to be a musician around twelve.”
But Victoria didn’t begin touring and getting into professional audio until she was 18, of course. “Eventually, one of my friends’ bands got the chance to make a record at a studio in Santiago, and as I came to watch, I became more and more interested in the recording process. The hardest part was leaving my hometown to attend college. I had no idea about anything related to the studio, as I only had experience as a musician.”
Like most technical-heavy industries, the gender ratio is not at an even percentage. Victoria believes one reason for this is due to the insecurities that women and LGBTQ+ individuals often feel, particularly in a male-dominated field. During her workshops and masterclasses, she observes that these groups are hesitant to ask questions and often feel insecure about lacking certain information, even when they have never been provided with that information in the first place. In Victoria’s view, this hesitation and insecurity are significant barriers to entry into the pro-audio industry for women and non-conforming identities.
“There’s so much to say about the experiences of women and non-conforming identities in the industry. I wish the industry narrative were deeper and more reflective of our experiences. As far as industry changes, as a Latinx audio engineer, I’d love the industry to be less USA-centered.”
Victoria advises other women starting in the pro audio industry to avoid treating it like a competition. She suggests, “Don’t get into it as if it were a competition or at least be your own competition.” She warns that constantly comparing oneself to others can often be harmful. “Appreciate your milestones, and be kind to others. Knowledge is power. Being a part of a community makes the best out of this job.”
She continues, “One of the most important things to me is staying curious and open to learning daily. For mixing, always trust your ears more than your eyes (while working on the computer) and listen to your bounces! Being friendly and willing at the studio is very important to me. When you’re just starting out, I think getting into a few areas (recording, mixing, mastering, management, editing, etc.) is a good way to discover what you like the most while gaining experience and knowledge.”
She also advises: “READ THE MANUALS. Learn to take breaks during the day, or your ears will lie to you. And learn how to use the gear you already have before feeling bad for all the gear you don’t have.”
When Victoria Cordero faces challenges in her job, her approach is multi-faceted and proactive. She emphasizes the importance of seeking advice from friends in the industry and conducting extensive research when tackling new challenges. “Additionally, acquiring tools for social interaction has been very important to me as an autistic person,” Victoria notes. She also believes in the power of directing conversations toward problem-solving and maintaining a positive attitude toward others as key strategies for overcoming obstacles.
If she could change one thing about the industry, it would be to make it “less shallow and more inclusive,” she says with a slight laugh. But on a more serious note, she expresses a desire to see artists and engineers raise their voices to create a safer and nicer environment within the industry.
Some of her favorite shows she’s worked on include touring and playing at SXSW, which she found particularly special. She also immensely enjoyed her role as a music director in her first Lollapalooza show, describing it as “crazy fun.” Then, she says, “A couple of years back, I got the chance to record, mix, and master a live EP for the Chilean project Jaco Sanchez; that one was really fun, too!”
Victoria Cordero’s favorite aspect of her work is “Feeling how liberating it is to express yourself through art. Music has always been the thing that makes me feel like I belong in the world, and I love that it’s endless. You’ll never ever listen and learn everything there is to know about music and sound, and that’s so interesting to me.”
She also marvels at some parts of her job. “As a person who comes from a very small town in Chile, it seems really crazy to have worked with so many artists and to be able to tour with them. And whenever my mom sees me playing live, it makes me proud. Also, when I’m at the store, and they put any songs I’ve worked on onto the speakers, that’s an incredible feeling.”
The Future of Professional Audio
For the future of professional audio, Victoria hopes to see increased inclusivity, not just in terms of gender but also for people with disabilities. She expresses her enjoyment in seeing the growth of communities built around music and hopes these communities continue to expand and open spaces for new groups who share a deep passion for music.