Hayley Williams says “it’s amazing to see” the changing perception of female musicians in rock music

The Paramore frontwoman spoke candidly on the influence she's had on female representation in the genre

Hayley Williams has spoken on the changing perception of female musicians in rock music, saying that “it’s amazing to see.”

The Paramore frontwoman has become one of the genre’s leading figures in the past decade; a presence that has challenged the idea that rock music is still a male-dominated corner of music.

Speaking to The Rock Sound, Williams recognised the clear influence she has had on the genre, especially in terms of paving the way for other female rock musicians to enjoy success.

Asked how it feels to see such musicians as PVRIS’ Lynn Gunn and Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall having the chance to tour together, Williams said it was “an amazing thing to see.”

“It’s incredible to watch those people really thrive at the same time,” Williams said. “There are so many women doing well, making great art and getting recognition, which is fully deserved. I don’t like to think I’m responsible for anything other than the songs that Paramore has written, but if these people have drawn any inspiration or belief from what I’ve done then that’s awesome.

“What is even more amazing is that there’s now going to be another generation of young women who are looking up to people like Lynn and Jenna. When I was starting out in a band I had to take parts of my inspiration from males, because there weren’t enough women to really go around. I had to look at male musicians that I admired or looked up to and go, ‘I think I can do this just as well as they can,’ but I had to find my own way of relating to them.

“That so many young women will now have more immediate relationships available, and that there’s so much more to be inspired by can only be a positive thing.”

Williams also commented on how it feels to be making the same sort of impact that Gwen Stefani and Shirley Manson had on her as a teenager.

“I remember seeing bands like No Doubt and Garbage when I was growing up – bands with strong, confident women at the forefront – and feeling like these were people I had more in common with than anybody I’d ever met in school. I looked at them and went, ‘I can do that, I have that in me.’

“To be able to have that same sort of impact on somebody else is just incredible, especially because there was a time when we almost never saw bands with female vocalists, or even female members at all. It sounds preposterous, but in the grand scheme of things female rock musicians on any sort of wider scale is a very new thing. It’s only in the last few years that people have stopped viewing the notion of a female onstage in a rock band as some sort of novelty.”