Debbie Harry: Female singers are valued much more than when I started

Lizzie Edmonds
Debbie Harry: Claire Rothstein

Debbie Harry has said female musicians are “so much more in demand” than when she formed Blondie.

The 74-year-old singer, right, started the band in New York in 1975 with guitarist, and then boyfriend, Chris Stein, and their hits included Heart Of Glass and Atomic.

In an interview with ES Magazine, Harry said of women in music now: “My God, they’re so much more in demand. Their product is more valuable. It still depends on if they have decent representation, though.”

But she criticised artists who seek success by being “overtly sexual”, saying she disapproved of “people who rely on that soft porn thing”.

Harry said Billie Eilish was “fantastic”, Lizzo had “a great personality”, and Taylor Swift was “really talented”. Lady Gaga, she added, was “a phenomenal artist. She does kooky stuff but she isn’t overtly sexual. You think of her as a musician first”.

Harry’s memoir, Face It, was published last year and she says she will tour it when the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

On her early career, she said: “When I started performing I was reserved and charming and sexy and then I realised I had to grab the audience, grab their attention. Once I realised that, there was no going back.”

Born in Miami, Harry moved to New York as a teenager. She and Stein were together romantically for 13 years.

Asked if she was dating, she said: “Very much so. There are less men around for people my age, though. They’re all married with children. What’s wrong with them? I think what’s going on, there’s more extramarital relationships and maybe that is the right way. I’m looking for something really chemical.”