Name: Nikki Cordero
Bands worked with: Rainbow Girls
FEMMUSIC: How did you become a tour manager?
NC: I became a TM out of the necessity of my friends. We’ve all been a band of sisters for years, and the group finally got to a point where they needed an extra hand in everything. I started out helping with the sound when necessary, and eventually quit my normal job and hopped on in the van.
FEMMUSIC: What are the biggest challenges of being a tour manager?
NC: My biggest challenge has been learning what it is that is needed of me. I don’t have anyone showing me the ropes, and the band has always done everything for themselves, so we are all working together to figure out what’s needed. Not to mention making enough money to survive. That’s a big challenge for sure.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges does being a woman tour manager present?
NC: I feel like the challenges I’ve faced as a woman TM have not been significantly more than the challenge of learning a new position in the first place. Maybe I just haven’t gotten to that part yet. Establishing myself as the person in charge at every show hasn’t been easy. If there are any men in the room associated with the band, they will be looked to first by the most often male sound engineer or venue owner. We’ve toured with our booker in the UK, and he was always the first person they would walk up to. Thankfully he is aware of such prejudice and respects my position.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?
NC: Absolutely. Being a woman clearly indicates to many men that I have no understanding of what sound engineering is. Not just how it should sound, but the technology as well. It is incredibly frustrating to be condescended about how monitors work. Especially TMing for an all female band. We are often treated as if we are doing some “cute little project” as opposed to a genuine artistic and business venture. The difference in treatment is clear as day when we’re touring with a standard electric male band. Not to mention our ability to carry our own equipment. We are all fully capable, and appreciate the offer of help, but it more often than not comes across as “you need help” instead of a kindly gesture.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry itself?
NC: Man, if there could be some sort of minimum wage for musicians that would be amazing. I’ve had my hand in the food industry; there are a million people trying to be cooks, or even chefs! And there is a payment standard that must legally be followed. There are a lot of people out there trying to make music, or trying to make it as a full band, but there’s no law for paying artists.