We talk to so many inspiring women every day. It’s awesome in the true sense of the word. Here we share the stories of 14 women who have launched their vision into a business that serves the music community. From non-profits, to gear manufacturers, music retailers and more, be inspired by these female makers!
Tish Ciravolo of Daisy Rock Girl Guitars
Tish is the founder of Daisy Rock Girl Guitars, a company that focuses on guitars for girls! It was her vision to put a guitar in the hands of any girls who wants to play. Her thoughtful designs and cool aesthetic are in a class all their own and there’s no doubt her singular creativity have inspired many girls to play. She also travels the country sharing her story and advice. “Since Daisy Rock Guitars is the only girl guitar company in the world, I can inspire and empower by telling my story to high schoolers, college students and female entrepreneurs. I tell them about my experiences along the way – the good and the bad – and the amazing way everyone can change the world to be a better place,” she says. “I like to say, if I can do it, so can you! Make a plan for what you can share and what you would love to hear and go for it!”
Pamela Cole and Leigh Maples, of Fanny’s House of Music in Nashville, Tenn.
Cole and Maples have owned and operated Fanny’s House of Music for eight years. Motivated by a mission that music stores should be comfortable for all, including women and young girls, Fanny’s House of Music has become one of Nashville’s top destinations. What are some of the things people can experience at Fanny’s that can’t be experienced elsewhere? “Being one of the few female-owned and operated music stores, you’re going to see women and men working together in all positions….sales, teaching (not just piano), repair. Hopefully you’ll feel an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement. On Fanny’s walls you’ll find photos of women actually playing instruments. And of course there’s vintage clothing,” they comment.
Janet Deering of Deering Banjos
When Greg and Janet Deering launched Deering Banjos in 1975, they started on their path to become the leading banjo manufacturer in the United States. Janet now holds the position of CEO at Deering Banjo Company, and earned her way to the top through lots of arduous work – she’s done everything from bookkeeping to sanding, but has always managed to find time to play banjo along the way. When asked what type of advice she would give to women with aspirations within the music products industry, Janet says, “Don’t give up when you are discouraged – just keep on going. Perfect your craft to the highest level of professionalism and you will succeed if you are persistent. Success takes time – it won’t happen overnight.”
Not only is the talented Ms. Tandon CEO of Tandon Capitol Associates, she is also a Grammy-nominated artist with a dream to have very human seek the light within themselves. Her latest album, ‘Shivoham – The Quest’ melds an Indian aesthetic with folk, classical and more for a transformative experience. “Of course the music is important, but the big dream I have is that this will spark conversation. Because on the planet today what we all need is to find the light within ourselves. How can we radiate peace and harmony and be a connected world of love, light, laughter if we ourselves don’t see that,” she shares.
Julie Robbins of EarthQuaker Devices
Julie is a co-founder and Vice President of EarthQuaker Devices, the makers of the guitar effects pedals that are used by guitarists worldwide. With creative applications, design and marketing, the company shines in a crowded market, and Robbins is a big reason why. “When we are doing our marketing, I am always pushing my team to present the world we want to live in. So it isn’t all white guys with beards,” she explains. “My employees are super respectful and total sweethearts. When we were small, I used to be the only woman. When we started growing I was able to hire more women, and I think that is really important. We are not as balanced as I would like but its closer than it has ever been.”
Karrie Keyes of Soundgirls
Karrie Keyes is an audio professional, regularly touring with Pearl Jam as their monitor engineer. But it’s her role as co-founder of Soundgirls.org that really has us excited. This organization’s goal is to get more girls and women comfortable in the recording and audio industries. The world needs more female producers, engineers and mixers and Soundgirls is here to make sure they are trained and ready to go! Karrie affirms, “Women must work harder, smarter, and be tougher, and by being those things is how you overcome adversity. Since starting SoundGirls I have learned that the issues women face are not limited to women; it affects all marginalized people. The industry needs diversity.”
Dale Krevens of Tech 21
Tech 21 Vice President Dale Krevens started the company from the ground up in New York City with pedal builder Andrew Barta back in the late ’80s. Two decades later Krevens continues to inject her fabulous energy into the brand. But of course, this isn’t her first walk around the park. She says, “In the past, I had worked in several male dominated businesses, where I encountered my share of the usual flirting/harassment, discrimination, condescension, and omission. I’ve never been a militant feminist, or militant anything for that matter, because all it does is alienate people. My tactic has always been to have a firm handshake, stand my ground, and above all, maintain a sense of humor.”
Lisa S. Johnson of 108 Rock Star Guitars
Photographer Lisa S. Johnson takes amazing photos of famous guitars and delivers them in the most artful way imaginable. Her book ‘108 Rock Star Guitars’ is a gorgeous culmination of her years of backstage photo shoots. Check out shots of guitars owned by Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Bonnie Raitt and many others. Why 108? Lisa explains, “Our sun, moon and planet Earth are all connected by the number 108 in the distances from each other. There is so much to discover about this number that there is actually a Wikipedia page dedicated to it. Just Google 108, and you will be intrigued with your findings. I chose to capture the guitars of 108 different artists to lend this cosmic number to the book. Music is a cosmic experience, takes us out of our bodies at times so it felt more real to use 108 than using the standard 100 or 101 greatest guitars.”
Jennifer Batten is perhaps most recognized as the guitarist for Michael Jackson on his many legendary tours. He guitar chops are undeniable and she continues to tour and record. But the reason she’s on this list is that Batten has delved into multimedia, producing video, workshops and more that tie into her inspiring musical chops. She’s funny, talented and approachable. And she’s out there every day sharing her energy. If she comes to your town, check her out! Jennifer shares, “When I joined Michael Jackson’s band in 1987, I thought the female musician revolution was upon us. Wendy and Lisa were in Prince’s band, and Billy Idol had a couple of different women playing keys in his bands. Then…nothing. Now 30 years later, I think the real revolution is starting to take off. It’s still extremely lopsided and unbalanced gender-wise, but now that anyone can post their performances on YouTube, you see tons of young girls kicking ass.”
Becky Gebhardt & Mona Tavakoli
Becky and Mona are not only fantastic performers in the band Raining Jane, who tour with Jason Mraz, they also run the Rock Camp for Girls Los Angeles. Through their programs they bring girls together to create and share music all in a safe and nurturing environment. Mona shares, “I think the most rewarding part about working with young women in music is being able to witness through them how much is changing in the world. I am watching girls of every background come together create together and sing together.”
Vanessa Ferrer of Merch Cat
While many female musicians don’t want to be mistaken for the “merch girl,” Vanessa Ferrer is all in. As the founder of Merch Cat, Ferrer developed a musician friendly one-stop tool for artists to sell and manage merch at live shows. Her app also features a website reporting component for tracking and analyzing inventory and venue sales. Vanessa has had her own challenges and shares this thought, “I’m aware of the stigmas and stereotypes, but I try not to let it intimidate me or allow myself to feel insubordinate. I put myself forth as an equal and I think that resonates with people. I believe it’s a really exciting time for women in music and women in tech, as there are a lot of initiatives currently out there to support us. We need to use those and our “womanhood” to our best advantage.”
Crystal Morris of Gator Cases
Crystal Morris and her father, Jerry Freed, founded Gator Cases, which has grown to be the leading manufacturer of case solutions for the music and pro audio industries. Morris has helped the company soar with her focus on building strong relationships within the music industry, and truly believing that music is the universal language. Ready for anything, Morris boldly drives forward and says, “You just have to dive in. It is an industry full of wonderful, passionate people. Build long term relationships and help each other be successful.”