If you’re looking for an evening that inspires, energizes and perhaps even brings a tear to your eye, the She Rocks Awards at the NAMM Show fits the bill. Scheduled for January 20 at 7pm at the Hilton Anaheim, the event will celebrate the accomplishments of women in the music community, delivering an inclusive approach to honoring worthy individuals from all corners of the industry.
Yes, the ceremony will have star-studded performances and a stellar red carpet. Actually, though, it’s the intimate moments, and the confessions of struggle and accomplishment, that are most memorable.
Launched in 2012 by the organization that I lead, the Women’s International Music Network (The WiMN), the She Rocks Awards has filled a gender gap in the industry. Helping to address the lack of women in the music industry, the She Rocks Awards shines a spotlight on role models so that other women know there’s a path to success.
Growing from, in 2012, a breakfast event with 200 attendees to, in 2017, a multimedia evening extravaganza, the ceremony will celebrate its fifth anniversary with more than 800 guests. The event promises to offer an entertaining mix of performances, short award acceptance speeches, tributes and more. Past honorees include Chaka Kahn, Sheila E., Jennifer Batten, Colbie Caillat, Orianthi and many others.
And The Award Goes To…
The She Rocks Awards isn’t meant as a contest where the audience waits in suspense to see who will win. Instead, the awards honor and recognize each recipient for her individual accomplishments. Deliberately seeking to be diverse, the She Rocks Awards pays tribute to women from many roles within the industry. As of press time, this year’s honorees are as follows.
Beverly Fowler is Director of Artist Relations for PRS Guitars, a manufacturer of high-end musical instruments and equipment, headquartered in Stevensville MD. Her focuses are expanding and maintaining brand equity within the community of accomplished and emerging artists and musicians.
Four-time Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding has performed at the Oscars, the Grammys and the Nobel Prize ceremony, as well as several times at the White House. A composer, bassist and vocalist, her catalog includes seven collaborative and five solo albums. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Spalding, at age 20, became the prestigious school’s youngest-ever instructor. Through her groundbreaking albums, she is still teaching those who listen.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Karrie Keyes has spent 20-plus years as the monitor engineer for Pearl Jam. In 2013, she cofounded Soundgirls, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering the next generation of women in audio. She was the monitor engineer for The Red Hot Chili Peppers from 1990 to 2000, and she’s worked with Sonic Youth, Fugazi and Neil Young.
Charyn Harris, MBA
An alumna of Berklee College of Music, Founder of Project MuszEd and Conductor of Music Programs for A Place Called Home in south Los Angeles CA, Charyn Harris toured as keyboardist for iconic R&B legend Barry White. She’s also performed with MC Hammer, The Cranberries, Jonathan Butler, Al B. Sure!, Doc Powell and Luciano Pavarotti, among others. Harris is active on several boards, and she supports a variety of arts initiatives.
Dani Markman has been A&R for Walt Disney Records/Hollywood Records/Disney Music Group for more than 20 years. Prior to that, she was a professional opera singer, performing with opera companies around the country, particularly Boston Opera and Pittsburgh Opera. In her career, Markman has enjoyed working with and mentoring artists, writers, producers and musicians of every age. Helping them to define who they are as artists and working with them to craft their careers is perhaps one of her greatest joys.
Serving the Los Angeles music community at large since 1988, Leanne Summers is a summa cum laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, and she’s served as President of Los Angeles Women in Music. The CEO of LEANNE SUMMERS ENTERTAINMENT and All Things Voice!, Summers is a professional singer, a sought-after vocal coach, a producer and a clinician with more than 40 years on stage and behind the scenes.
Lisa Foxx is an on-air radio personality who can be heard on 104.3 MYfm in Los Angeles, as well as on its sister station, Star 101.3 in San Francisco CA, on the iHeartRadio network. For the past 25 years, she’s been the voice of many top stations up and down the California coast. She started in college and rose to fame in the ’90s in Los Angeles, where she and Ryan Seacrest tore up the afternoon airwaves on Star 98.7.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist…trailblazer, icon and Guitar Player Certified Guitar Legend 2014 award winner…. Lita Ford is all those things, and so much more. A teenager who played lead guitar in the groundbreaking band The Runaways and then became a Grammy-nominated solo artist, Ford recently published her long-awaited autobiography, “Living Like A Runaway.” In April, she released “Time Capsule,” a compilation of previously unreleased songs from the 1980s.
Shirley Manson is a singer, songwriter, musician and actress. Best known as the lead singer of the multi-award-winning alternative rock band Garbage, she has gained attention for her forthright style, rebellious attitude and distinctive voice. The band’s debut album, “Garbage,” was released in August 1995, and it sold more than four million copies, buoyed by high-charting singles like “Only Happy When It Rains” and “Stupid Girl.” The band released its sixth studio album, “Strange Little Birds,” in June. Manson is an activate advocate for children’s cancer research and AIDS research, and she participates in fundraisers for those causes and others.
Tracy Leenman has more than 20 years’ experience in the music industry and more than 45 years as a music educator. The Owner and Founder of Musical Innovations in Greenville SC, she’s taught in private and public schools at the elementary through college levels. Most recently, she developed the Music Business Department at Newberry College in South Carolina, and she served as an adjunct instructor from 2013 to 2015. She contributes frequently to music industry and music-education magazines; she does clinics and teacher in-services around the country, covering a variety of topics; and she’s a regular presenter in the NAMM Idea Center.
As the trendsetting Director of Artist Relations and M·A·C Pro Membership for M·A·C Cosmetics, Monique Boyer provides product support and education in the areas of music, editorial, theater, performing arts and television. For the past 10 years, Boyer has directed makeup support for many of the biggest names in music; among them are Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Sia, Missy Elliot, Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Tori Amos, Heart, Kelly Clarkson and Wynonna Judd.
Music and marketing make the world go ’round for Rebecca Eaddy, Marketing Communications Manager for Roland Corp. U.S., a manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments. As a member of the PRS Guitars marketing team from 2006 to 2011, and a member of the Roland and BOSS marketing team for nearly six years running, Eaddy has contributed to campaigns that reach millions of musicians in the U.S. and around the world.
Introducing ‘She Rocks, Vol. 1’
This year, the She Rocks Awards provides a home for another celebration: the release of an all-female guitar compilation, “She Rocks, Vol. 1.” Featuring an assortment of top guitar talent, the compilation is being released on Steve Vai’s Favored Nations Entertainment label; Vai is serving as executive producer, and former Guitar World Editor Brad Tolinski is producer. The WiMN and I advised on, and helped create, the artwork for the project. Many of the performers will be at the She Rocks Awards this year to celebrate its debut and to perform material from the album. Artists include Orianthi, Yasi Hofer, Kat Dyson, Sarah Longfield, Lita Ford, Lez Zeppelin, Jennifer Batten, Nita Strauss, Steph Paynes, Nili Brosh, Gretchen Menn and Yvette Young.
But Wait…There’s More…
Last year, the She Rocks Awards house band, Rock Sugah, stole the show. They’re back this year, featuring funkified fabulousness from Divinity Roxx (bass), Kat Dyson (guitar), Lynette Williams (keys) and Benita Lewis (drums). The opening act, Brandy Robinson, is the winner of the #SaveAGuitar Opening Act Contest. With food, drinks, fantastic gift bags and more, it promises to be a truly special evening.
The She Rocks Awards brings the industry together in a positive, uplifting way with generous support from sponsors such as Neumann, Gretsch, Avid, Breedlove Guitars, Seymour Duncan, PRS Guitars, Roland, Zildjian, Guitar Center, Casio, Schecter Guitar Research, Sabian, Gator Cases, Berklee Online, 108 Rock Star Guitars, The Music People, Linear Systems and others.
Sarah Command, who performed during the 2016 awards finale, remarked, “Being surrounded by top industry leaders in music, who are all women, is extremely inspiring. These awards shine a light on some of the most groundbreaking women in all facets of the industry, and they’re significant in showing young artists, like ourselves, that you can achieve your goals with hard work, determination and supporters cheering you on. The She Rocks Awards is truly one of the most respected, unique and purposeful events in our industry.”
Learn more and get your tickets now at sherocksawards.com. A NAMM badge is not required to attend. And, yes, men are welcome, too!
Laura B. Whitmore is Founder of the Women’s International Music Network (The WiMN) and the creator of the She Rocks Awards.