Girls Make Beats (GMB) is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to empowering the next generation of female DJs, producers, and engineers.
Founded in 2012 by audio engineer Tiffany Miranda, Girls Make Beats hosts educational seminars, production courses, summer camps, industry panels, and more for girls spanning the ages of 7 – 17. In addition to providing ways for students to further their careers as music producers, DJs, and audio engineers, Girls Make Beats has evolved into a powerful outlet for girls to unite and collaborate within the music industry. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Tiffany Miranda on the organization’s roots, their recent music placement in the major film Coming 2 America, the future of music, and more – read on for highlights, and check out GMB’s hand-selected Collection of sounds here.
To start, can you tell us a bit more about Girls Make Beats’ roots, and how the organization grew to where it is today?
I started Girls Make Beats in Miami in 2012. The reason I created the organization was because I initially started in the music industry as a recording artist at the age of 15, and personally experienced the lack of women in the creative control aspects of music. I was the lead singer in my high school jazz band, inspired by the greats such as Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Etta James, and Ella Fitzgerald. I appeared on shows like American Idol and The X Factor – and as I started to make my way through various recording studios, I quickly realized how male-dominated the creative process was.
At the age of 18, I decided to take matters into my own hands and invested in my own home studio, where I honed my music production and audio engineering skills. Wanting to build my professional resume, I started to do internships at various Miami recording studios. I faced many challenges around being taken seriously because of my gender, and was overlooked for opportunities. Often being the “only woman in the room,” I stuck to the grind and eventually worked my way up, engineering for hip hop superstars like DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Lil Uzi Vert, French Montana, and more.
Parallel to my journey, I started Girls Make Beats nearly nine years ago to create a space for young girls to explore the male-dominated fields of music production, DJing, and audio engineering. Girls Make Beats humbly began with my sister Christine and I hosting career day workshops at schools consisting of one laptop, one MIDI controller, and one DJ controller.
After years of networking, programs, and pairing with Miami Chapter Leader Stichiz, LA Chapter Leader Whitney Taber, and major music manufacturers, Girls Make Beats has since grown into a fully-equipped classroom where each girl has access to state-of-the-art hardware and software. Transcending beyond the classroom, we connect our girls with music industry professionals such as top label execs, recording artists like Janet Jackson and Janelle Monae, and more. We also offer real-world music placements through our supporters such as Roc Nation, ViacomCBS, and more. We are constantly evolving our curriculum and relationships with industry partners to expand our reach and help more girls.
On the note of real-world music placements – it goes without saying that Girls Make Beats’ direct involvement in a major film like Coming 2 America is an amazing feat, and truly a testament to the great work you all do for your community. Can you tell us about the details of that opportunity, how it came together, and how your community was involved?
We are beyond excited about the opportunity to have a music placement in the new Coming 2 America film! The opportunity came about as we were working on our Girls Make Beats compilation album entitled She is Queen. The body of work is collaboratively comprised of music from the women and girls in our program, highlighting women of various cultures. One of our advisory board members, Randy Spendlove, who is the President of Worldwide Music and Publishing at Paramount Pictures and a supporter of our organization over the years, made the placement possible. The song chosen, “Queendom” featuring MEANGIRL, was our ode to funk music.
For the piece, we were inspired by a guitar riff we found on Splice. We also found a few cool grooves and fills that played a role in the final production of the track. The song started to take on an Austin Powers vibe, and the vocals became very ’70s inspired with its funk flair.
Where (or who) are the latest generation of young music creators looking to when it comes to inspiration, learning, and developing their craft?
Technology has definitely changed the landscape of how the future generation is learning and creating. Instead of the traditional route of radio, the new generation is sourcing inspiration for their music from songs they discovered through digital music service providers such as Spotify and SoundCloud. Also, in lieu of traditional training, our girls are using technology to learn on platforms like YouTube, blogs, forums, and Zoom workshops, and from each other through collaboration.
Why are the types of opportunities and access that Girls Make Beats provides so important in breaking barriers in today’s landscape?
Beyond teaching girls technical and creative skills, our program promotes confidence building, sisterhood, and collaboration. Music is so powerful! It influences so much of what we do, say, and wear, and how we communicate in society. Our program aims to position girls to be more involved in the initial conception of the music creation process, so they are more accurately reflected in culture.
What does Girls Make Beats envision the future of music to look like?
At Girls Make Beats, we envision an equal creative ground for women and girls to be accurately seen and heard in music through their own stories, lyrics, and beats!
How would you summarize Girls Make Beats’ mission and vision? What are your current areas of focus?
Our mission is to be a global movement to empower young girls to become the next generation of music creators. We teach young girls how to become music producers, DJs, and audio engineers, but most importantly, we teach them confidence and show them they can break glass ceilings. We work with girls ages 7 – 17, and primarily serve girls of color in underserved communities. Our vision is to empower girls to use the power of music to effectively change the narrative of how women and girls are portrayed in society and culture.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Girls Make Beats is a global movement! Our programs are expanding worldwide in 2021 and beyond. For those who would like to get involved, you can support by visiting us here to register a student, donate, or stay up-to-date with our latest content, such as our podcast and upcoming events. Our programs are mostly scholarship-based, so any contributions help us sustain our programs. Lastly, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @girlsmakebeats.
Explore samples handpicked by Girls Make Beats:
March 8, 2021