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Bridget Kearney Taps Into The 'Exhaustion' Of Being A Woman In New Song

BRIDGET KEARNEY: My name is Bridget Kearney. I am the bass player, and I write songs for the band Lake Street Dive.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAKE STREET DIVE SONG, "BEING A WOMAN")

KEARNEY: I wrote the song "Being A Woman," and the full expression of that sentence in the song is being a woman is a full time job.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

International Women's Day is this Monday, March 8. And so we caught up with Bridget Kearney to talk about this song sung by their band member Rachel Price and what being a woman means to her.

KEARNEY: It starts out, and it's pretty sparse, just drums and bass and a marimba. One of the things that the song expresses is exhaustion.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEING A WOMAN")

LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) Being a woman is a full-time job. I wake up in the morning...

KEARNEY: The groove that we're playing is somewhat of a nod to a bouncier pop song feel, but played in a tired way, which is a musical expression of putting on a smile and getting through the day, but feeling this weight on your shoulders of the exhaustion.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEING A WOMAN")

LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) And I work all day. And I work all night. Being a woman is an uphill climb.

KEARNEY: I think there's some songs out there that are about, oh, no, I have to wear high heels, and I have to put on makeup and this type of thing. And those things are important. But we wanted to expose some of the starker, more devastating large-scale issues that women face in the world. Pay scale issues - so like the second verse is, being a woman is an uphill climb, 80 cents on the dollar, and you need every dime.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEING A WOMAN")

LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) Because you got a little baby and she cries all the time...

KEARNEY: That's a very simple, basic fact, but it hasn't been fixed yet. When a crisis happens and a family needs either the mother or the father to stop working to take care of matters at home, we're still in a place where it's most likely going to be the woman who does that. And that's because these things sometimes are seen as women's work. But also, if, like, a man is more likely to be paid more for his job, then he's the one that's going to keep his job, and the woman is going to be the one that goes back to working at home for free.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEING A WOMAN")

LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) No lunch breaks, no minimum wage, yeah...

KEARNEY: There is a moment that the energy explodes on the bridge of this song. And that is what happens sometimes when you put up with something, you put up with something, and then you just kind of explode. Like, no, this needs to be fixed.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEING A WOMAN")

LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) But look at the view from my glass ceiling, barely see that sunlight stealing through.

KEARNEY: This song is personal. I'm 35 years old, and I think that I came to identify as a feminist sort of later in life. It was something that I was somewhat resistant towards because I didn't want to think that my identity was something that was disempowered. And so I was trying to pretend that these issues didn't exist and then eventually realized that that wasn't helpful. So writing this song and putting it out is, I think, kind of adding my voice to that chorus of the women that came before me who were shouting for things to change.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEING A WOMAN")

LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) Being a woman is a full-time job. Being a woman...

SIMON: Bridget Kearney, talking about her song "Being A Woman." It's on Lake Street Dive's new album called "Obviously."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAKE STREET DIVE SONG, "BEING A WOMAN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.