She Shreds and Guitar Center Present a Panel on Identity, Representation, and the Future of Guitar.
On June 20th, She Shreds’ founder Fabi Reyna teamed up with Guitar Center in Hollywood to present the panel, “Transforming the Music Industry: A Conversation with Five Guitarists Shaping Music & Culture”—a feat that, as many of us who have ever stepped into the store know, seems like an advancement in and of itself.
Opening with an introduction by Jeannine D’Addario, Guitar Center’s Chief Marketing Officer, she emphasized the importance of listening to new perspectives, learning from others’ challenges and journeys, and how, as leaders in the music industry, the company can advance and give rise to all voices.
Curated and moderated by Reyna, who began by acknowledging the land of the Tongva tribe (currently known as Los Angeles), and read the She Shreds mission statement to set the tone of the conversation:
She Shreds is centered around creating, owning, and redefining space to be safe and inviting to all musical expressions, identities, and abilities. There are no preconceived expectations or assumptions on what talking about gear and music or playing guitar should look and/or sound like. We, as a community, can promote the inclusivity of discussing these topics in whatever language we choose.
Panelists Yvette Young, Francesca Simone, Lydia Night, Yuna, and Cecilia Della Peruti addressed a wide range of issues, including identity with the guitar and within the music industry, the importance of visibility and representation, writing our own narratives, vulnerability, music as political and cultural documentation, gear, and much more.
“To me, shredding is really about emotion, and evoking emotion,” says Reyna. She goes on to say that for the past 40 years, the guitar industry has defined what guitar playing means as something that not everybody relates to, and with this panel, hopes to further the definition.
Ultimately, we at She Shreds believe, along with the panelists, that the future and permanence of women in the music industry relies on education, representation and visibility, listening to and believing in women, giving us jobs and opportunities (especially women of color), and continuing to have these conversations.
Watch a full video of the panel below, followed by addition photos and more info on the panelists!
Or watch a seven minute snapshot here.
Yvette Young is an artist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist best known for her band Covet.
“I’m constantly a work in progress. Who I am, my identity, what I want to do, is in flux. And it’s okay to be flux. We all grow and change as people, we get new experiences, and we realize we want different things out of life as we live our lives. One thing I always think about is intention, and what I want to do with art and music… Success feels like when I don’t lose sight of that, when I realize that I am doing something I really love to do.”
Francesca Simone, more often known as Simone, hosts the YouTube channel The Blue Jay Sessions, where she collaborates with other musicians. She is the guitarist for Beyoncé and Kehlani, and is currently working on a solo album.
“I realized that none of this technique shit matters, it’s really about telling my story in the most raw way. Having that come through is what’s going to make me sound good. I was doing everything right, but it wasn’t soulful—and that’s why I started playing guitar.”
Lydia Night is the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter in the Los Angeles-based band The Regrettes, whose new album, How Do You Love?, is out August 9th.
“You want the representation out there, you want to be this woman doing it, but it’s so hard to find the balance of what’s too much, where’s the focus constantly going, how can I make sure I’m representing who I want to be representing and they’re seeing this. But if you’re a young women only seeing [the media] talk about that, that’s almost just as damaging. It needs to be somewhere, but not the headline.”
Yuna has topped Billboards, won multiple awards, and collaborated with the likes of Little Simz, G-Eazy, and Masego. Her new album, Rouge, is out now.
“Being a Muslim woman from Southeast Asia, that tends to be the main focus instead of talking about my music and my work… That’s who I am, but at the same time, I’m an actual singer-songwriter, and I make good music, and I work really hard to be where I am today. I want to be known for my work, but at the same time, I do want to inspire other girls to do well in music.”
Cecilia Della Peruti is a multi instrumentalist and composer who leads the band Gothic Tropic. She’s toured with Charlie XTX, Børns, and, most recently, with Beck.
“Everyone strives for perfection, and you think there’s something wrong with you when you hit a wrong note, but the first thing I say is, ‘Don’t be afraid to hit the wrong notes, because then you find where that note is.’ I love the mistakes… embracing mistakes make you a better player.”