The WiMN Presents: Girls Night Out NYC with Lisa Loeb, Command Sisters & More

The Women’s International Music Network (theWiMN.com) presents “Girls Night Out NYC” – an evening of live music, fashion, education, networking and fun at The Cutting Room in New York City on Thursday, October 19, 2017. Featured performers include platinum-selling artist Lisa Loeb, sister duo Command Sisters, and Los Angeles singer/songwriter Jenna Paone

This all-ages evening will also feature an educational industry panel, on-site interactive sponsor displays, giveaways, raffles, a silent auction and much more. The event will support the Women’s International Music Network’s efforts to create a voice for women in the music industry.
 
The WiMN is holding a contest for the opening performance slot for this event. One lucky winner will have the chance to take the stage during this energizing event! Enter at thewimn.com/girls-night-out.
 
Girls Night Out NYC takes place on October 19, 2017 from 6:30pm to 10:30pm. Tickets are $38 and can be purchased at TheCuttingRoomNYC.com. The Cutting Room is located at 44 E. 32nd St. in New York City. This event is appropriate for all ages.
 
Sponsors include Martin Guitar, Casio, 108 Rock Star Guitars, M.A.C. Cosmetics, PRS Guitars, Sennheiser, Paul Mitchell, Luna Bars and more. The event will be live streamed on Parade magazine.
 
 

Orianthi Debuted Her Customized PRS Guitar At Skyville Live In Nashville

By Myki Angeline

Orianthi debuted her custom PRS guitar on March 20th at an intimate show with Melissa Etheridge at Skyville Live in Nashville.

Australian solo artist and guitarist, Orianthi has much to celebrate lately.  Not only was she named one of 50 Sensational Female Guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine, she recently received a customized 24-fret guitar courtesy of PRS Guitars, to which Orianthi is proudly endorsed.

To read the PRS Blog click HERE.

Visit Orianthi’s Official Website HERE.

Orianthi, who is known for touring with Carrie Underwood, Alice Cooper, and was recruited as Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist on his This Is It tour before his untimely passing, gained popularity as a solo artist with her first hit “According To You” back in 2009. In 2013 she received the “Inspire” Award at The WiMN’s first ever She Rocks Awards, and would later co-host with founder Laura B. Whitmore at our 2015 She Rocks Awards.

Orianthi’s gorgeous, new guitar was inspired by a favorite writing pen, her logo design, and her favorite shade of purple nail polish.  The Private Stock team at PRS took her ideas and crafted a one of a kind design! The lotus flower from her favorite pen was inlaid on the fretboard, and her name logo was inlaid on the body.

Orianthi debuted her custom PRS guitar on March 20 at an intimate show with Melissa Etheridge at the Skyfall Live in Nashville, TN.  See her performing with it in her video below.

Orianthi performs her cover of “Pride and Joy”!

 

 

 

Front and Center: Director of Artist Relations for PRS Guitars, Bev Fowler

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Director of Artist Relations for PRS Guitars, Bev Fowler

By Myki Angeline

bev-guitar-hsBev Fowler has become a well known name in M.I. for her relentless work in artist relations and events for Paul Reed Smith Guitars.

On any given day, you may find her on the phone with artists like Carlos Santana and John Mayer; performing emergency tasks like overnighting equipment to Mark Tremonti, Neal Schon or Zach Myers; or assisting with the preparations and  event strategies for trade shows like NAMM, Experience PRS, and more.

Her hard work doesn’t stop there. Fowler is also a philanthropist, and has helped raise 5 million dollars for the Living with Cancer Resource Program at the John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Maryland through PRS’ events and partnership with that institution. Spearheading it all? None other than Bev Fowler.

For more on PRS guitars, visit prsguitars.com.

WiMN: Do you play an instrument?

BF: Not currently. Growing up, I played the piano but unfortunately gave it up in my teenage years. I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar but haven’t managed to find the time to take lessons.

WiMN: What is your first recollection of being involved with music?

BF: Music was a big part of my life from my early childhood years. My dad had an extensive record collection and wide array of different genres. I always credit my dad for my ultimate love and appreciation for music as he exposed me to many different types of music at a young age.

WiMN: When and where did you enter the M.I. workforce?

BF: At the age of 17, I was offered a part time job by an old family friend. I was a senior in high school with hopes of pursuing a college degree in psychology. I began working for a manufacturer’s rep firm specializing in Pro Audio & Sound Contracting as an office assistant but quickly worked my way up into an “inside sales position.” I eventually got my psychology degree but decided to pursue my career in the music industry instead. Through my 12 years of working as a sales rep, I had the privilege of representing pro audio brands such as Harman Professional, Sony Pro Audio and Rane Corporation.

WiMN: You’re currently the Director of Artist Relations at PRS. Did you hold any other position at that company before?

BF: Yes, I actually started my tenure at PRS as the Executive Assistant to the President. This position exposed me to all facets of the business including manufacturing processes, sales, marketing and accounting. As a result, I had many opportunities to interact with our artist endorsers and began establishing working relationships with many of them. I really enjoyed that aspect of my job and found myself wanting to work with the artists more and more. Eventually, I was presented with the opportunity to join and support the Artist Relations team.

WiMN: Describe a day in the life of Bev Fowler.

BF: Ha Ha! Every day is different! I often describe my job as a tornado and a constant whirlwind of things to do. Most of my day is spent in “reactive mode” handling various needs and requests from artists. Flexibility and patience is key. I work very closely with Paul Smith on the business matters as they pertain to AR and collaborate regularly with our marketing team in effort to support and promote our endorsers.

WiMN: What does it take for a musician to be a PRS artist?

BF: First and foremost, a genuine desire to be part of the PRS family. There are many factors that we take into consideration for an artist endorsement and they vary on a case by case basis.  We really pride ourselves on having a good, strong working relationship with the artists we work with and there’s a lot of give and take. We provide tools to the artist to do their job and in exchange we rely on the artist to influence the customer while also giving us brand exposure.

WiMN: Who are some artists that you have regular interactions with?

BF: Carlos Santana, Mark Tremonti, Zach Myers, Neal Schon, John Mayer, Howard Leese and Orianthi just to name a few.

WiMN: What are some challenges you’ve faced for being a woman in a male-dominated field, and how do you cope with them?

BF: Thinking back through the years I haven’t really experienced many challenges as they relate to me being a woman. From the time I started in the industry, I knew I had to work hard to earn the respect of my peers and once I did that, I have remained confident in what I do and gender conflicts have never really been a problem.

However, I do recall feeling a little hesitant when I became the Director of Artist Relations for PRS. Being the only female on the team was never uncomfortable for me but when I became “the boss,” I worried about how the structure change would be received by the rest of the guys in the department especially when you factor in seniority on top of the gender factor. I thought it was best to be up front and honest about my concerns and spoke to each one of my employees individually and much to my surprise, they all welcomed the change and seemed genuinely excited about me managing the department.

WiMN: Any other cool things you get to do aside from signing artists?

BF: Most of my time is actually spent marketing and promoting the artists we are working with. This gives me an opportunity to keep the creative side of me engaged. The best part of my job is the relationships that I have with the artists. Many have grown into friendships through the years and we’re like one big family. I absolutely love to put a group of endorsers in a room together, with guitars of course, and sit back and watch the magic that happens. It’s so neat to see them interact with one another in a casual setting and exchange licks, techniques, stories, etc. It puts a big smile on my face!

I also dabble a bit in philanthropy through our partnership with the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, MD. October 2016 marked our 17th annual “One Night, One Show, One Cause” event consisting of a golf tournament, live auction and concert. Since 2000, PRS Guitars has raised over $5.0 million for the Living with Cancer Resource Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The Living with Cancer Resource Program offers supportive care programming and education to cancer patients and families at Johns Hopkins MD.

WiMN: What are some positive changes you aspire to make in the industry?

BF: I don’t know if there’s anything I can personally do to have direct impact on the industry. The music industry has undoubtedly changed significantly through the years.  We’ve entered into a digital era where musicians are creating, recording, producing and marketing their music in a different way.  I fear that technology is only going to continue to advance and electronic music is going deter our future generations from picking up an instrument and appreciating music for what it really is… melody, rhythm and harmony. I wish I had the answers but I don’t so I’m just going to continue to put guitars in the hands of musicians and hope that the continued support of manufacturers like us will continue to enforce the need and desire for instruments.

WiMN: Who are some of your biggest role models?

BF: Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to say Robin Roberts. I often think back to her acceptance speech at the 2013 ESPYs when she was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. I got goosebumps as I listened to her describe her life journey as a female sportscaster and news anchor, her contributions to women’s basketball and of course, her fight with breast cancer. Her words were very powerful and her demonstration of strength, determination, self-confidence and courage in everything she set forth to do was very inspiring.

WiMN: Do you think it’s true that “there aren’t enough female guitarists”?

BF: I wouldn’t necessarily say “there aren’t enough female guitarists.” I think there are a number of female guitarists who have not been recognized by the music industry. It’s rare that you see a female on the cover of or featured in a M.I. magazine and on the rare occasion that it does happen, the female artist is usually compared to a male guitar hero.

I have had the good fortune of working with some pretty incredible female guitarists and bassists, Orianthi, Jennifer Batten, Donna Grantis and Rhonda Smith to name a few. The more exposure we give female musicians, the more influential they will be on women and young girls who are aspiring to succeed in their music career. On that note, I have noticed moderate improvement the last 3-5 years and hope the trend continues.

WiMN: What are you looking forward to most at the 2016 She Rocks Awards?

BF: I’m extremely humbled to have been chosen as a recipient for a She Rocks Award. It is truly an honor and I look forward to the opportunity to network and with other women in the industry.

WiMN: Let’s wrap up with one of your favorite quotes…

BF: “A pyramid isn’t built from the top down. The apex is attained only by laying strong foundation stones, one by one. The same is true of achieving a lofty objective. The crucial thing is to lay the first stone, to take the first step.” – Daisaku Ikeda

Front and Center: Roland Corporation U.S. Marketing Communications Manager, Rebecca Eaddy

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Roland Corporation U.S. Marketing Communications Manager, Rebecca Eaddy

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 6.35.48 PM

By Pauline France

Rebecca Eaddy knows the musical instrument industry like Shakira knows her dance moves.

With more than 10 years of experience in marketing, publicity, artists relations, licensing, and more, Eaddy has been pivotal to developing impressive campaigns for companies like PRS Guitars and her current employer, Roland Corporation U.S.

During her years with PRS, Eaddy helped produce the company’s section of the Smithsonian Channel program, Electrified: Guitar Revolution. She was also responsible for managing licensing agreements between PRS and the wildly successful video game, Guitar Hero, all of this while managing the company’s magazine, their Signature Club loyalty program, and more.

Nowadays Eaddy focuses on publicity, advertising, and social media for Roland Corporation U.S., and is heavily involved with product placement, artist relations, and important offsite activations like the American Country Music Festival.

Learn more about this marketing powerhouse in our interview below, and visit www.rolandus.com for more information on the company she proudly represents.

WiMN: Where are you from originally?

RE: Maryland feels most like “home” to me, but I was born in South Carolina. My family moved to Maryland when I was two, and I lived in the state for more than 25 years. So, steamed blue crabs, the Chesapeake Bay, the wild ponies of Assateague Island, Thrasher’s French fries, and Fisher’s caramel popcorn are part of my DNA.

One of my first memories is of my dad letting me try an oyster right off the grill in our back yard in Salisbury, the small town on Maryland’s eastern shore where I grew up. Back in those days, my mom and I would sit in the back of my dad’s pickup truck in beach chairs while he drove us to the beach. The Eastern Shore is a magical place for a kid. If we weren’t on our way to Ocean City, we were heading to Assateague Island with a caravan of 4x4s, parents, and kids for a bonfire on the beach, or we were watching crabs race at the Crisfield Crab Derby, or watching wild ponies swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. I live at the beach in Southern California now, and I still have to remind myself that the ocean is west out here.

WiMN: What attracted you to the world of marketing and communications?

RE: Music drew me into the world of marketing and communications initially. I was inspired by a very talented group of artists living in Annapolis, Md., who were musicians, painters, poets, writers, and the like.

I interned at WRNR, a cool indie radio station in Annapolis recommended to me by that group of artists, during my senior year of college. I loved being a part of the marketing mix that supported the indie music scene in town. I wasn’t a graphic design major, but I rolled up my sleeves and created some pretty far out fliers for station events and learned more about the broadcast advertising and sales processes. That led to my first job out of college at CBS Radio in Towson, Md., which led to management positions at two advertising agencies and later to PRS Guitars.

The world of marketing and communications ultimately gives me the opportunity to work in a space where business and creativity intersect. Beyond music, I have a passion for storytelling, strategy, design, words, and data crunching, so it’s a perfect place for me.

WiMN: Are you a musician? If so, what do you play?

RE: I’ve always loved to sing and performed as a soprano in regional select chorus groups in my teens. These days I can, on the very rare occasion, give myself goose bumps singing something particularly well in my car, but I mostly have fun making myself laugh when I belt out a clam. My range is narrow but singing is something I sincerely enjoy.

The first musical instrument I ever learned to play was clarinet, in third and fourth grade, and I got a little pink keyboard for Christmas a year or two later. I taught myself how to play “Lean on Me” on that keyboard, and then later tricked my parents into thinking I was playing the demo that came on it. The first instrument I purchased on my own was a used electric guitar from a cool store in the Washington D.C. area called Atomic Music. I actually bought a tiny amp, the guitar, and a distortion pedal all for $100. I used to strum along with artsy movie sound tracks and Portishead tunes for fun to try to teach myself how to play. But playing guitar is so much harder than it looks! Some people make it look so effortless.

I’m embarrassed to say that I got frustrated early on because I didn’t immediately become a guitar prodigy. I was so quick to pick up most other things in my life like sports and academics, but guitar was such a challenge. I’ve promised myself I will write and perform one original song on guitar in my lifetime. I love melodies, lyrics, and words, and I’ve co-written lyrics to a few songs, but I haven’t dedicated enough time to learning an instrument to consider myself a musician. I know the time will come eventually, though. Music is in my soul for sure, and it will find its way out.

WiMN: How did you get your foot into the music industry?

RE: I met an amazing group of artists and musicians when I was a senior in college. Through them I was introduced to several people that worked at Paul Reed Smith Guitars, including Paul Reed Smith himself. Paul would often sit in with local bands who played regularly in downtown Annapolis. I’ve always been extremely passionate about music, and that passion, along with my previous marketing experience, and my being a part of that live music scene, helped me get my foot in the door at PRS.

WiMN: What did you do at PRS and how long were you with the company?

RE: I was a manager on the PRS Guitars marketing team for nearly six years. In my role there I focused heavily on advertising and media relations, but I wore many hats working on projects that brought visibility to the brand.

I helped produce the PRS section of the Smithsonian Channel program, Electrified: Guitar Revolution. They shot a portion of that program onsite at the PRS factory in Stevensville. When Guitar Hero approached PRS, I handled the licensing arrangements and the build-out of the guitars featured in the game. I also helped launch and managed the official PRS magazine, Signature, and the PRS Signature Club loyalty program.

WiMN: What are your primary responsibilities at Roland Corporation U.S.?

RE: I focus on publicity, advertising, and social media in support of new product launches and events, but I’m very involved with product placement, artist relations, and have been spending more time offsite at company events the last two years. Roland generally launches 30 to 40 new products each year and participates in 20+ events around the U.S. annually, so we stay pretty busy.

Most recently I attended the Bridges benefit hosted by the Children’s Music Foundation. Roland helps them raise money to reach at-risk kids with transformative music programs. A few weeks earlier, I was backstage with the Roland and BOSS team at the American Country Music Festival for a Cause giving VIP musicians a chance to check out our new gear. It was awesome to see the musicians letting loose on instruments they don’t typically play, and going gaga over some of the new gear. The musicians went bananas over the new BOSS SY-300 guitar synth. Just about every musician either laughed out loud or shouted something explicit when they first gave it a go. And the musicians were so happy to have the chance to jam and improv on gear that they don’t typically play, and to collaborate with their musical peers in ways that they never have before. They were really inspired and grateful, and the music they were making was incredible.

There is never a dull moment at Roland, that’s for sure, and I get to work with lots of talented people who all love music as much as I do. That’s pretty amazing. The number of new product launches for us this year will be 200+ when you factor in the debut of the premium BOSS and Roland accessories lines. We’re in major growth mode right now, and it’s an exciting time for the whole Roland team.

WiMN: Have you noticed any trends that are favorable for women in music since you began your career in M.I.?

RE: It seems like there are more women product specialists and clinicians in M.I. than when I first started in the industry a decade ago. My guess is social channels like YouTube and Facebook have helped the ladies break through and make better inroads. It’s been subtle, but it’s been nice to see the shift.  And what Laura Whitmore, Pauline France, and the team at The WiMN are doing to keep the ladies connected and inspired is pretty incredible.

WiMN: If you could give advice to your younger self, what would that be?

RE: I would tell my younger self to remember to take a few minutes each day to reflect on the smaller bits of progress I make on a daily basis rather than getting upset about the things I wasn’t able to complete. And that marketing is one of the most creative and fun career paths a person can take. Keep that top of mind, even when the “To-Do” list wraps around the block and everything was due yesterday.

WiMN: What is your favorite song to sing at karaoke?

RE: I think it would depend on my mood, but if I was happy, I’d probably lean toward something silly from the ’80s like Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” or something sweet like Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” If I was feeling sappy, something like Death Cab for Cutie’s “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark.”

The song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was actually the first 45 I bought with my own money back in the day, and Ben Gibbard from Death Cab is one of my favorite singers. His voice and lyrics mesmerize me. And Bob is just the man!

WiMN: Let’s close with your favorite quote.

RE: I don’t really have a favorite quote, but one of my favorite song lyrics of all time is the opening of Jeff Buckley’s song, “So Real.”

Love, let me sleep tonight on your couch
And remember the smell of the fabric
Of your simple city dress

When I think of this lyric, it reminds me to be present and to seek out the joy in life’s minor details.

Front and Center: Meghan Efland, Purchasing Manager at PRS Guitars

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Meghan Efland, Purchasing Manager at PRS Guitars

meghan1

PRS Guitars’ Meghan Efland is in the business of shopping, negotiating and relationship building. While it may sound glamorous, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into her day-to-day responsibilities.

After studying anthropology in college and working for a museum as an archaeologist, she joined PRS Guitars to manage a team that purchases everything for the business, except for wood. Efland and her group manage the business’ inventory control program and negotiate transportation contracts, select suppliers for tooling and components, schedule orders to meet production schedules, and the list goes on and on.

Being a purchasing manager is a position that requires a lot of skill, and Efland has mastered that skill quite gracefully. It is an honor to showcase her below.

Learn more about PRS at PRSguitars.com.

WiMN: What got you started in the music industry?

ME: I studied anthropology in school and worked for a state museum as an archaeologist. There was a budget freeze, so there was no chance of me getting benefits anytime in the near future. I set out to find a “real job.”

My dad works at PRS and he mentioned that there was an opening, so I applied and got my first position in the business in HR and Safety. I wanted to be more involved in operations, so when an opening came up as a MRO Buyer, I jumped on it and joined the purchasing team. It was a great learning experience because I got to work closely with the project manager on our 84,000-square-foot building expansion.

Before PRS, my dad had a business making custom furniture, so I grew up in a woodshop burning myself on hot glue. I’m a hands-on person and I like the challenge of figuring things out.

WiMN: Are you a musician? If so, what do you play?

ME: I played saxophone when I was younger. I have tried to learn guitar, but it just hasn’t clicked for me. Right now, I’m just a scream-singer on my morning commute.

WiMN: You are the purchasing manager at PRS Guitars. Can you break it down for us?

ME: Shopping is my job! My team purchases everything for the business except for wood, we manage the business’ inventory control program and negotiate transportation contracts. We select suppliers for tooling and components, schedule orders to meet our production schedule, work on product cost downs and the development of new products.

WiMN: What is the best part about working at PRS?

ME: Working in purchasing, I’m in all kinds of factories – injection molders, metal shops, etc. – and for the most part as I’m walking through, I think to myself, “I could never work here.” The PRS factory is a special place and very different than so many of the factories that I’m in. We’re like a big family and there is so much pride in the products we make. When I walk through the shop, there is always a guitar that stands out and a person who puts a big smile on my face. I love that all of our work goes into making something that someone will find great joy in for years to come.

WiMN: Describe your coolest day on the job.

ME: A day where the word paisley is not mentioned.

Cool days at work are when a product all of us worked together on launches and everybody wants it.

I also really love meeting with suppliers face to face. I email and talk on the phone regularly with so many of them, but I only get to see them in person every so often. This job is all about building relationships and I enjoy that immensely.

WiMN: Is there anything you wish you knew when you first started your career in the music industry?

ME: I wish I had continued either playing the saxophone or had taken music lessons when I was younger for guitar or piano. I just need to make time now and do it – no excuses.

WiMN: Can you share a moment where you had to stand up for yourself as a woman in a competitive and male-dominate field?

ME: For the most part, even though the music industry is a very male-dominated field, everyone that I work with has been great to me. I have a great group of co-workers, suppliers and peers in the industry. In our business there are more and more female managers, but I still find myself being the only woman in the room in many of our meetings. I’ve had to prove myself, but I think that’s all part of the job whether you are a guy or gal.

WiMN: If you could give one piece of advice to a young woman entering this career, what would it be?

ME: Don’t let yourself be intimidated but also don’t be arrogant. It’s that balance of confidence that will get you where you want to go.

WiMN: Describe the music industry in five words or less.

ME: Ever-changing, Inventive, Inspiring

WiMN: Let’s wrap up with one of your favorite quotes.

ME: I know I should probably quote a woman, but I was listening to the Beastie Boys recently and have had the lyrics, “Life ain’t nothing but a good groove, a good mixtape to put you in the right mood” stuck in my head, so I’ll go with that.

Front and Center: Director of Artist Relations and Events, Paul Reed Smith Guitars, Bev Fowler

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here

Front and Center: Director of Artist Relations and Events, Paul Reed Smith Guitars, Bev Fowler

Bev Headshot 2013

Bev Fowler has become a household name in the music industry for her relentless work in the fast-pace fields of artist relations and events for Paul Reed Smith Guitars.

On any given day, you may find her on the phone with artists like Carlos Santana, and Orianthi; performing emergency tasks like overnighting equipment to Mark Tremonti or Zach Myers; and also preparing event strategies for trade shows like NAMM, Musikmesse, Experience PRS, and more.

Her hard work doesn’t stop there. Fowler is also a philanthropist, and has helped raise $3 million for the Living with Cancer Resource Program at the John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Maryland through PRS’ events and partnership with that institution. Spearheading it all? None other than Bev Fowler.

For more on PRS guitars, visit: prsguitars.com, facebook.com/prsguitars, twitter.com/prsguitars, youtube.com/prsguitars, and https://plus.google.com/+prsguitars.

WiMN: Do you play an instrument?

BF: Not currently. Growing up, I played the piano but unfortunately gave it up in my teenage years. I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar but haven’t managed to find the time to take lessons.

WiMN: What is your first recollection of being involved with music?

BF: Music was a big part of my life from my early childhood years. My dad had an extensive record collection and wide array of different genres. I always credit my dad for my ultimate love and appreciation for music as he exposed me to many different types of music at a young age.     

WiMN: When did you enter the workforce in M.I. and where?

BF: At the age of 17, I was offered a part-time by an old family friend. I was a senior in high school with hopes of pursuing a college degree in psychology. I began working for a manufacturer’s rep firm specializing in Pro Audio & Sound Contracting as an office assistant but quickly worked my way up into an “inside sales position.” I eventually got my psychology degree but decided to pursue my career in the music industry instead. Through my 12 years of working as a sales rep, I had the privilege of representing pro audio brands such as Harman Professional, Sony Pro Audio and Rane Corporation.

WiMN: You’re currently the Director of Artist Relations at PRS. Did you hold any other position at that company before?

BF: Yes, I actually started my tenure at PRS as the Executive Assistant to the President. This position exposed me to all facets of the business including manufacturing processes, sales, marketing and accounting. As a result, I had many opportunities to interact with our artist endorsers and began establishing working relationships with many of them. I really enjoyed that aspect of my job and found myself wanting to work with the artists more and more. Eventually, I was presented with the opportunity to join and support the Artist Relations team.

WiMN: Describe a day in the life of Bev Fowler.

BF: Ha Ha! Every day is different! I often describe my job as a tornado and a constant whirlwind of things to do. Most of my day is spent in “reactive mode” handling various needs and requests from artists. Flexibility and patience is key. I work very closely with Paul Smith on the business matters as they pertain to AR and collaborate regularly with our marketing team in effort to support and promote our endorsers. In addition to managing the AR department, I am responsible for the coordination and management of various events and tradeshows such as NAMM, Musikmesse, Experience PRS and dealer events.

WiMN: What does it take for a musician to be a PRS artist?

BF: First and foremost, a genuine desire to be part of the PRS family. There are many factors that we take into consideration for an artist endorsement and they vary on a case by case basis.  We really pride ourselves on having a good, strong working relationship with the artists we work with and there’s a lot of give and take. We provide tools to the artist to do their job and in exchange we rely on the artist to influence the customer while also giving us brand exposure.

WiMN: Who are some artists that you have regular interactions with?

BF: Carlos Santana, Mark Tremonti, Zach Myers, Neal Schon, Howard Leese and Orianthi just to name a few.

WiMN: What are some challenges you’ve faced for being a woman in a male-dominated field, and how did you cope with them?

BF: Thinking back through the years I haven’t really experienced many challenges as they relate to me being a woman. From the time I started in the industry, I knew I had to work hard to earn the respect of my peers and once I did that, I have remained confident in what I do and gender conflicts have never really been a problem. However, I do recall feeling a little hesitant when I became the Director of Artist Relations for PRS. Being the only female on the team was never uncomfortable for me but when I became “the boss,” I worried about how the structure change would be received by the rest of the guys in the department especially when you factor in seniority on top of the gender factor. I thought it was best to be up front and honest about my concerns and spoke to each one of my employees individually and much to my surprise, they all welcomed the change and seemed genuinely excited about me managing the department. 

WiMN: Any other cool things you get to do aside from signing artists?

BF: Most of my time is actually spent marketing and promoting the artists we are working with. This gives me an opportunity to keep the creative side of me engaged. The best part of my job is the relationships that I have with the artists.  Many have grown into friendships through the years and we’re like one big family. I absolutely love to put a group of endorsers in a room together, with guitars of course, and sit back and watch the magic that happens. It’s so neat to see them interact with one another in a casual setting and exchange licks, techniques, stories, etc. It puts a big smile on my face! 

I also dabble a bit in philanthropy through our partnership with the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, MD.  October 2014 will mark our 15th annual “One Night, One Show, One Cause” event consisting of a golf tournament, live auction and concert. Since 2000, PRS Guitars has raised over $3.0 million for the Living with Cancer Resource Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The Living with Cancer Resource Program offers supportive care programming and education to cancer patients and families at Johns Hopkins MD. 

WiMN: What are some positive changes you aspire to make in the industry?

BF: I don’t know if there’s anything I can personally do to have direct impact on the industry. The music industry has undoubtly changed significantly through the years.  We’ve entered into a digital era where musicians are creating, recording, producing and marketing their music in a different way.  I fear that technology is only going to continue to advance and electronic music is going deter our future generations from picking up an instrument and appreciating music for what it really is… melody, rhythm and harmony. I wish I had the answers but I don’t so I’m just going to continue to put guitars in the hands of musicians and hope that the continued support of manufacturers like us will continue to enforce the need & desire for instruments.

WiMN: Who are some of your biggest role models?

BF: Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to say Robin Roberts. I often think back to her acceptance speech at the 2013 ESPYs when she was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. I got goose bumps as I listened to her describe her life journey as a female sportscaster and news anchor, her contributions to women’s basketball and of course, her fight with breast cancer. Her words were very powerful and her demonstration of strength, determination, self-confidence and courage in everything she set forth to do was very inspiring.

WiMN: Do you think it’s true that “there aren’t enough female guitarists”?

BF: I wouldn’t necessarily say “there aren’t enough female guitarists.” I think there are a number of female guitarists who have not been recognized by the music industry. It’s rare that you see a female on the cover of or featured in a MI magazine and on the rare occasion that it does happen, the female artist is usually compared to a male guitar hero. I have had the good fortune of working with some pretty incredible female guitarists and bassists, Orianthi, Jennifer Batten, Donna Grantis and Rhonda Smith to name a few. The more exposure we give female musicians, the more influential they will be on women and young girls who are aspiring to succeed in their music career. On that note, I have noticed moderate improvement the last 3-5 years and hope the trend continues.

WiMN: Let’s wrap up with one of your favorite quotes…

BF: “A pyramid isn’t built from the top down. The apex is attained only by laying strong foundation stones, one by one. The same is true of achieving a lofty objective. The crucial thing is to lay the first stone, to take the first step.” – Daisaku Ikeda