Am I the only one who thinks Anna Lunoe’s pregnancy announcement made last week (billed as 2 Lunoes for the price of 1 all summer long) is a really big deal? Just last year she was the first solo female act to play EDC’s mainstage in the festival’s 20 year history. Think about that for a second because it’s as big a deal as the first LGBT-identifying individual or person of color playing that stage, and the fact that it didn’t happen until 2016 speaks volumes of a culture most of us think of as being incredibly progressive.
Only in the last three years have I even begun to raise questions about how few women are on most festival line-ups, and in the last 18 months stories have begun to come out about the overwhelming prevalence of sexual harassment in the music business. In January of last year Amber Coffman of the Dirty Projectors came forward and discussed her own experience being harassed by a prominent music publicist, which sparked a mass Twitter discussion about similar acts perpetrated by both that particular publicist and countless other industry personnel. The takeaway narrative these tweets revealed was deeply depressing – women in music have the seemingly universal experience of being treated at best like second-class citizens, and at worst as sexualized objects easily disposed of.
I brought up Anna’s pregnancy announcement to a group of women who work in dance music and none of them thought much of it – they said she’ll take some time off to have the baby and then she’ll be back, what’s the big deal? In theory they’re right, but in practice I think this may be a huge milestone for dance music fans as a whole, particularly female fans – our most prominent role model is becoming a mom, her body is growing another human being inside of it while she’s dropping bass and we’re raving face. Male DJs become fathers and it’s a non-event for fans aside from the occasional social media update. The North American expression of electronic music culture is so young it only saw its first female solo performance on the mainstage of its biggest festival just last year, how does that female becoming a mother evolve the narrative surrounding women in dance music?
To me everything Anna’s ever done musically has a delicacy to it, I can easily pick out her mixes and productions because there’s something distinctly feminine about her style which I associate with her alone. She’s absurdly talented, comes off as authentic and happy onstage and in the press, she’s beautiful seemingly without trying, and doesn’t shy away from her looks but also doesn’t make them central to her brand – she’s basically a perfect role model for women in dance music. Yes Gina Turner and Annie Mac have both already become mothers while keeping up their performance schedules, but comparatively Anna has a far bigger platform, more name recognition, and much bigger opportunities than either of them, at least in North America. While in the midst of what may be the biggest year of her career, right when the spotlight is on her brighter than it’s ever been, Anna is becoming a mom before our eyes. I can’t help but hope this is going to help our culture grow up a little bit by normalizing what it means to be a female in her position, especially because she seems so relentlessly authentic.
As a touring artist and radio personality she’s becoming an icon and, in the process, normalizing the presence of female DJs at the highest level. Because DJs play each other’s music in their sets, those with the most eyes and ears on them are able to effectively bring up other artists whose music they like. Anna fits in with Flume and Skrillex as a collaborator and peer, and those kinds of endorsements are the credibility every artist coming up in electronic music needs to make new fans. With the groundwork of established credibility laid, she’s having a baby and plans to keep touring through her pregnancy. Not only do we finally have a woman on the mainstage, within a year of achieving that milestone she’s doing the most natural thing a woman can do and thus making it impossible to dismiss both her gender and her badass-ery. Playing a DJ set in 100 degree heat on no sleep while hungover is one thing, doing it while there’s another human being growing inside you and your body is changing moment to moment is quite another. Oh, and she’s singing live now too.
We’re definitely way too close to this development to know what the long-term impact will be on dance music culture’s collective narrative and how women fit into it, but at the very least Anna is evolving that story just by being herself and living her life. There’s no denying the massive difference between her experience of becoming a parent and any of her male DJ peers, and I’m convinced that as she owns this part of herself and strikes the balance between career and motherhood, our culture will mature a little bit by bearing witness to the process.
Congratulations from the bottom of our hearts to both Anna and her husband Marc, and thank you, Anna, for being a shining example of positive personal and cultural evolution solely by being you. As a female fan, it means a lot to me to be able to look at a hero like her and feel inspired because her story tells me that becoming a mom doesn’t mean I have to stop having fun or being my most expressive, creative self. Here’s hoping there’s a Lunoe family b2b coming to Coachella 2027.