Katherine Wing is living her best life and inspiring women while doing so. As a musician, she is currently the drummer for the Los Angeles-based band Blood Candy. While in corporate America, she is the Channel Marketing Manager for Roland, a world renown leader of electronic instruments, digital recording and audio devices.
Her life long journey into music has played a significant role within her business career. In 2008, Katherine graduated from Arizona State University, receiving her B.A. in Communications and immediately started working in Public Relations. Her career in music business began in 2009 at Guitar Center where eventually she was promoted to being their Marketing Partnership Manager. She left Guitar Center in 2016 for a career with the Roland Corporation U.S. where she remains today.
As a working woman in the music industry, Katherine has the rewarding perspective of working with the most innovative music equipment and technology that she can apply to her artistic side as a musician. Her keen, diligent work ethic combined with her talents as a musician are why Katherine is an inspiration to women everywhere, and this week’s Front and Center feature.
WiMN: You work for a company that is one of the leading innovators in electronic musical instruments. What role did music play in your own life growing up?
KW: Music played a huge role in my life growing up. My mom played piano, sang in choirs and performed regularly in community musical theater. My dad played harmonica. My sister and I were in choir as kids and at seven years old, my mom started me in piano lessons. Then I played trombone in school band for a few years. At age 16, my mom bought me my first drum set, which changed my life! Growing up, my mom and dad listened to everything, which made me fall in love with all types of music. They listened to The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Patsy Klein, The Supremes and Fleetwood Mac to Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Bach. Growing up, music was everywhere in my life.
WiMN: You’re currently the Channel Marketing Manager for Roland. Share with us what you do in that role, and the skills required for this type of position.
KW: As Channel Marketing Manager, I work with our partners, meaning dealers to third party advertisers in the US. I work with key dealer accounts managing advertising and marketing programs. I also coordinate media buys for both Roland and BOSS US. I’d say you need strong communication skills, the ability to juggle multiple projects simultaneously, assertiveness to drive deadlines and capacity to work well with multiple teams, both internally and externally.
WiMN: You have been an active drummer for over 14 years. What inspired you to learn that instrument, and are you a part of a band now?
KW: As a kid, I always thought drummers were the coolest band member in music videos and live concerts, plus you get to hit things. I’m lucky to have a mom that inspires me to be musical and who has supported my dreams and aspirations. My current project is called, Blood Candy – an all-female shoegaze/post-punk band based in Los Angeles. We have a brand new, full-length album dropping at the end of summer.
WiMN: How did some of your previous positions, such as a marketing manager for Guitar Center, and in public relations help to prepare you for your current job?
KW: Communication has been a cornerstone throughout every aspect of my career. And just like being a musician, building relationships has been key, which has helped me shape fantastic connections within the industry, whether it be with other musicians or industry partners. I’ve been able to hone my writing skills and learn how to confidently pitch and present ideas to complete strangers. Working in this industry has also given me the opportunity to expand upon my ever-present love for incredible gear. These skills are imperative for my current position at Roland.
WiMN: Have you seen any new trends in the ways people are making music or the types of products that are currently hot? Especially with Roland products.
KW: I love the DIY approach everything is leaning towards right now. There is so much cool gear out there at the moment that allows musicians to create music in any space. My band Blood Candy recorded our demos last year at home. More and more musicians are able to expand their sound by incorporating electronic elements into their set, including drummers. For example, I play the Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad with my acoustic drums for Blood Candy’s live shows, and it’s really added a new vibe to our set.
WiMN: Throughout your career working in the music industry, have you personally seen forward momentum in terms of girls participating in purchasing instruments that were traditionally played mainly by males, especially as a drummer yourself?
KW: I’ve been playing live shows for about a decade. I can say from when I started to now, especially within the past few years, there are more female musicians in general. My first band was an all-female rock ‘n’ roll band called The Green Lady Killers. When we first started playing live, often times we’d be the only band that had women as members, especially all members. Fast forward to my current project Blood Candy, we often play shows with many female artists on the bill, including bands with all female lineups. So, to answer the question – yes, I have seen forward momentum in terms of females purchasing instruments that have been considered traditionally male, such as drums and guitar. That being said, when Blood Candy plays shows, there are times we notice we’re the only females on the bill. It’s been great to see progress, but there’s more room to grow.
WiMN: Finally, was there any piece of advice you received that not only stuck with you, but was part of the driving force that shaped your career today? Do you have any advice to share based on your own journey in this industry?
KW: Always take the high road, especially in compromising situations. When you make a mistake, own it. My journey has led me to realize it’s most important to always be yourself.