Record producer Ethel Gabriel broke barriers throughout her sweeping career in the music industry, despite obstacles like sexism, financial ruin, and now memory loss. The film portrays how this remarkable woman–and the music and technology she ushered in–has persevered. Gabriel’s story has never been told until now, just as the music industry is starting to reflect on its own issues with inclusion and diversity.
The film chronicles Gabriel’s inspired life from a trombonist and bandleader (playing for wounded soldiers during World War II) to her sweeping career as A&R Rep and record producer for RCA, to working with icons of music like hip-swingin’ Elvis Presley. We uncover how Gabriel, now 97, broke barriers throughout her career en route to becoming the legend she is today.
Weaving archival footage with music that she discovered and produced, we juxtapose Gabriel’s memories with interviews of influential music industry figures and family members. The film portrays her huge (yet largely unrecognized) influence on music and technology as well as the path she forged for women in music. Even as the memories fade, Ethel Gabriel’s music and legacy remain.
The film began in early 2019 when Ethel was interviewed by filmmakers Caroline Losneck and Christoph Gelfand for SoundGirls.org, an organization that supports women and underrepresented groups in the audio industry. We are currently in production, and have interviewed Ethel’s family, former RCA colleagues, and significant figures in the recording industry today. We are aiming to complete the film by Ethel’s 100th birthday, in November 2021.