The girls are *going* to be alright: Dublin Rose talks music industry bias

By Anastasia Black

Dublin performing live at the 2023 QUT Student Guild Battle of the Bands. Photography by Ethan Seddon.

In the dim light of the Vermilion recording studio, QUT’s very own, student-run record label, singer Dublin Rose sits with neatly crossed legs and glasses framing her face. Absentmindedly playing with the ends of her chin-length hair, the 20-year-old says, “It’s true that people assume less of you when you’re a girl in music.”

Rarely not donning bootcut jeans and a range of frilly, sparky or floral tops, Dublin is confident expressing herself as “stereotypically girly”. From starting musical theatre with her best friend Alice at age eight to exclusively living with her mum and younger sister – or “little girl family”, as she fondly puts it – Dublin has been surrounded and influenced by women for as long as she can remember. So, when she started pursuing music, she was surprised by the significant gender discrepancy. “…You see both female and male artists on stage. But behind the scenes, there are men everywhere.”

Initially performing solo for seven years, Dublin now plays with a backing band consisting of Jake Rennie, Pat McClement, and Sami Rety. Despite the band’s close friendship, Dublin says she often feels sidelined and underestimated being the only woman, and that the industry is “incredibly male-dominated”, “isolating” and “overwhelming”. Her band members have also noticed this. “I’ve been to venues where they mansplain how everything works, and it’s uncomfortable,” noted guitarist Jake Rennie.

Dublin and her bandmates – From left to right, Pat McClement, Jake Rennie, and Sami Rety. Photography by Ethan Seddon.

Dublin’s close friends echo her frustrations. “Men tend to devalue women…,” says Chelsea Costar, a close friend of Dublin and frontwoman of alt-rock band, Strayfold. The 19-year-old recounts when she’s witnessed male producers interfering with female producer’s work. “He fully grabs her hand and takes it off the mouse so he can use it. Tell me this is not just male narcissism in the studio.”

Clearly, Dublin finds solace in her close network of female musicians. She emphasises female friendships are refreshing and that “sessions with the girls are more collaborative”.

Between her female friends, ideas flow freely, and praise adorns every other sentence. “I have never seen Dublin get mad…” says music student Ruby Campbell. Chelsea quickly follows, “She’ll ask, ‘Can I be mean?’ and her ‘mean’ is a teaspoon compared to mine.” The girls, too, recognise the importance of celebrating women’s successes. “…There are such limited opportunities; even if someone I am not close with got something over me, I would still be happy if it’s a woman,” Ruby says.

Dublin and Jake Rennie at the 2023 QUT Student Guild Battle of the Bands. Photography by Ethan Seddon.

The “female experience” has been at the crux of every major pop culture moment of the past year – think Greta Gerwig’s Barbie or Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour. While these aren’t going to change the issues women grapple with, the popularity of female-centric media shows that women desire to seek control of their often-trivialised vulnerabilities. Dublin’s music resonates with these ideas. Confident in her self-expression, the singer aims to create a space for joyful femininity. Inspired by Swift, Fiona Apple, and Lana Del Rey, she, too, strives to be an artist where others say, “Wow, she just gets it,” adding that she enjoys when other women express their love for her music.

Dublin’s girlishness and positivity are appreciated by her bandmates, too. Jake, who also produces with Dublin, chuckles as he explains that working with her allowed him not only to make music outside his usual range but also to listen to Taylor Swift again. As for her creative process, Jake adds, “I never get burnt out, creatively or emotionally. She’s always happy…sometimes it freaks me out how positive she is…but we are always amped to do something [with her].”

Despite facing obstacles surrounding her gender, Dublin’s unapologetic “girly” expression remains central to her music. “I want to be an individual… I want to celebrate kindness and positivity. I don’t know my exact message, but I want being a woman to be a part of it.”

If you want to find out more about Dublin Rose and her music, you can check her out on Vermilion or follow her on Instagram at @dublinrose_


Anastasia is a second-year Creative Industries student (majoring in Entertainment). Enjoyer of all corners of pop culture, concerts are Anastasia’s home away from home, and her Letterboxd account is a serious commitment at this point in her life. Interested in non-fiction writing and media analysis, she is often found dissecting cultural phenomena, from the latest Taylor Swift album to gender norms. Find her on Instagram @stasiablack_

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