On January 20, 2017, men and women gathered at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel, during the NAMM show, to celebrate and honour 14 inspirational women in the Music Industry.
Opening Photo – She Rocks :Divinity Roxx on Stage , Photo by Brittany Ballantyne
This was the 5th anniversary of the event, and it was a reason to celebrate.
At this NAMM show in particular, growing support for women in the music industry felt to be at an all-time high, with a healthy dose of “it’s about time”. She Rocks, led by founder, Laura B. Whitmore, presented women from all areas of the industry – from performance and A&R reps, to manufacturing and sound engineering – with awards for being pioneers and for inspiring others.
They spoke of what it was like to be one of few women working in a sea of men – some with stories of struggle, fighting to get the respect they had already earned, while others were grateful for the strong and supportive male friends and co-workers around them. The messages were positive, filled with inspiration, strength, and hope for the future. They spoke of teaching young girls to follow in their footsteps, and of being the mentors that they wish they’d had when they were young.
Though this night was, coincidentally, the eve of the Women’s March, it was only mentioned in passing, and not dwelled upon. This was not a night of politics. This was a night of music, recognition, and celebration.
Bass player/vocalist, Divinity Roxx, had a big night. First leading the killer house band, Rock Sugah, then launching into her single, “We Are” from her 2016 solo album, ImPossible, and finally, presenting fellow bass player/vocalist, Esperanza Spalding with her Inspire Award.
Esperanza Spalding, gave a moving, inspirational, and inclusive speech:
“I think that women intrinsically understand that, what we create, lives in this world. It walks, it breathes, it affects the world… And perhaps (we) can offer to the men and to each other, a reminder that we’re ALL creators. What we make, and the choices that we make with what we create, create the world around us. They have lives. They can change lives. They can destroy lives. So let’s remember to be good parents and foster what we create.”
Shirley Manson, keeping it real, remarked that,
“Granted, it’s commonly accepted that we can sing. But if you play an instrument, write, engineer, or produce music, too often there’s still an air of skepticism about our abilities in this field. My personal approach to combatting this form of sexism is simply to keep going. And the more of us who do that; the more common it becomes. More importantly, the longer we keep doing that, by not disappearing, but by thriving, that is the ultimate in having the last word…. Women like Ronnie Spector, by enduring you lead by example. By being, you inspire. Thanks to all the artists who came before us and here’s to the great ones who are to come.”
Legendary rock guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, Lita Ford, was presented with the Icon Award and closed the night with a rocking performance of her huge hit, “Kiss Me Deadly.” Behind her, guitarists appearing on the She Rocks Vol. 1 compilation CD played along, and Lita gave each one of these talented ladies a guitar solo.
FULL LIST OF PRESENTED AWARDS:
• Tracy Leenman, owner of Musical Innovations music retailer, Enterprise Award, presented by Rand & Cindy Cook
• Dani Markman, Director, A&R, Disney Music Group, Vision Award, presented by Christine Devine and Radio Disney DJ Lela Brown
• Charyn Harris, conductor of music programs at A Place Called Home, Motivator Award, presented by Asya Shein
• Beverly Fowler, director of artist relations and events at PRS Guitars, Spirit Award, presented by guitarist Kat Dyson
• Leanne Summers, president/CEO of LAWIM (Los Angeles Women in Music), Achiever Award, presented by Gayl Murphy
• Shirley Manson, lead singer from multi-award winning band, Garbage, Powerhouse Award, presented by journalist Brad Tolinski
• Karrie Keyes, founder of Soundgirls and sound engineer for Pearl Jam, Mad Skills Award, presented by Heather Rafter
• Monique Boyer, director, global artist relations/PRO membership at M.A.C. Cosmetics, Champion Award, presented by Samantha Maloney, drummer and Vice President of A&R for Warner Bros. Records
• Esperanza Spalding, Grammy® Award-winning bass player, singer/songwriter, Inspire Award, presented by bassist Divinity Roxx
• Rebecca Eaddy, marketing communications manager for Roland Corporation U.S., Enterprise Award, presented by Guitar Player Magazine editor, Michael Molenda
• Lisa Foxx, radio personality at My FM on the iHeartRadio network, Dreaming Out Loud Award, presented by Lisa Loeb
• Ronnie Spector, iconic artist, Legend Award, presented by the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus
• Sarah Command, singer/songwriter and half of The Command Sisters, Next Generation Awards, presented by She Rocks founder Laura B. Whitmore
• Lita Ford, legendary rock guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, Icon Award, presented by Nick Bowcott of Marshall Amplification
Visit online at thewimn.com/events/she-rocks-awards/