Joanna Newsom: “A lot of the writing about my music is done through a lens of straight-up sexism”

She has also denied that she is planning on starting an acting career

Joanna Newsom has discussed sexist treatment of her music in a new interview.

The Californian multi-instrumentalist and singer, whose fourth album ‘Divers’ is released next Friday (October 23), highlighted how her music is discussed differently to her male peers’.

“It’s an infantilising thing that happens,” she told The Observer. “The language is minimising and narrowing of possible narrative depth… it was so disturbing to me when I was younger.


“A lot of the writing about my music is done through a lens of straight-up sexism and, in other cases, just a coding of feminising of things,” she went on. Giving an example of how male songwriters are treated differently, she mentioned her “early, early days”, when she was making similar music to folk musician Devendra Banhart.

“He and I had some aesthetic similarities,” she said. “But where for him people would use words like ‘eccentric’ or ‘psychedelic’ and for me they’d use ‘fairytales’ and ‘unicorns’.”

NMELeah Pritchard/NME


As well as noting “I’m very into Game Of Thrones”, Newsom also discussed her career as an actor, which started with 2014’s Inherent Vice. She became involved after her friend, director Paul Thomas Anderson, asked her to. She clarified that she was not planning to do more acting work unless she is specifically asked to play a role.

“Since Inherent Vice, I’ve mostly been asked to audition or read for things and I have not done that, because it’s not a world that I really want to get into. I’m too old for this shit. This is not a moment in my life where I want to start hustling. Seeing if they think I’m the right person for this HBO thing or whatever.

“It’s just a thing that, if it happens naturally, if it’s like the situation with Paul where he was like ‘I think Newsom’s the man for the job,’ then I’ll show up and do it.”