Self Production

Creativity and process, triggers and surprise


  • Paula Wolfe



Self-Production, Songwriting, Composition, Performance, Mixing, Creativity



Instinctively I have always kept my own music making and producing separate from my research. However, in three recent presentations  I have tentatively drawn on my own self-production practice to consider firstly, how it has intersected with what has been a more conventional ethnographic research approach and secondly, to shine a spotlight on the creative process itself examining, in particular, on those ‘triggers’ in the production process that serve to evoke a fresh emotional response necessary for an acceptable recorded performance, particularly when the material is very familiar.

Drawing on current practice, this article builds on this work to examine this notion of  ‘surprising oneself’ and to argue, that not only is it a key facet of the art form but is wholly necessary for the artist-producer to maintain a fresh approach in the compositional, performative and subsequent editing and mixing process.

Author Biography

Paula Wolfe

Dr. Paula Wolfe is a researcher, guest speaker and lecturer in the fields of music production, the independent music industry, creativity and gender. She draws on both ethnographic and latterly autoethnographic practice-based research.

Her book Women In The Studio: creativity, control and gender in popular music sound production (Routledge 2019) the wide ranging impact of music production as a gendered field of practice. It was nominated for The Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research Award 2020 from the Association for Recorded Sound (ARSC) and the IASPM Book Prize 2021.

Practitioner as well as scholar, Wolfe is also a highly critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and producer who has been self-producing and self-releasing her music on her own label, Sib Records, since the early noughties. Her fully reworked back catalogue is due for release later this year.