Gabriella Logan, aka Guitar Gabby: Leading the Charge for Diversity and Inclusion Within the Music Industry

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Photos by Dionne McDonald
       

Gabriella Logan, aka Guitar Gabby, has been tapped to lead the diversity and inclusion efforts here at Guitar Girl Magazine. Not only a musician, Gabby is also a graduate of Vermont Law School, and she puts that combined knowledge to work in navigating the music industry. 

Influenced by Black creatives before her, Gabby has made it her mission to use her passion for music and law to create a platform for young women and non-binary musicians to learn more about the music industry and to be a voice for Black women.

Gabby is the founder, manager, lawyer, and lead guitarist/vocalist of the collective the TxLips Band. Gabby tells us in a previous interview, “I saw a large gap in the music industry and wanted to do my part in filling that gap by creating a platform strictly by and for Black women that would allow us to tour and play music as much as we love without having to give up the other mandatory hats that women have to wear in life.”

You’ve been recently tapped to help with the diversity efforts here at Guitar Girl Magazine. What does that role mean to you, and what do you hope to accomplish as the Diversity Editor?

It means a lot to me because growing up, I, like many other girls and women out there, did not see myself and others being represented in the press the way we should be. From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a part of changing this within the industry; I just wasn’t sure how. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized how the severe lack of representation affected me. I took a personal vow to make sure I did my part to change that within the industry, and I am so thankful to be able to do that from multiple sides of the industry. I am helping to direct the narrative of how Black women are represented in press, especially with this magazine, because I do believe that the platforms by which we encourage and uplift women are important, and having a platform that is by women for women is important to me.

As the founder of the TxLips Band, can you share with us a little about your background in music and forming the group, and also talk about its mission?

Yes! So I started this collective by playing in a music video for former Crime Mob member Diamond. It initially was just supposed to be one music video, but it turned into her need for a backing band, so I worked with her manager at the time and started the band. Shortly after, I began managing the band, which led to me starting the TxLips Band (initially spelled 2 Lips). 

I quickly learned two things from this experience. The first thing I realized was that people who are not musicians or are not familiar with working with musicians do not know how to manage musicians. There were often times that her management missed things that we musicians needed in order to do the job we were hired for. This was part of what sparked my interest in management. 

The second thing I realized was that there was a huge gap (bigger than I thought) in the industry for Black women rocking out on instruments. I recalled never seeing Black women musicians in magazines, on TV, on billboards, etc. I immediately remembered how hard it was for me in middle and high school when it came to listening to rock music. I started the collective to ensure that there was a platform for Black women and non-binary musicians to participate in what they want, when they want, and without having to sacrifice life’s other demands. The TxLips Band’s mission is to represent the girls out there who feel like a lot of other women out there. This is our time to do us unapologetically and shine for the world to see. 

Also, as a lawyer, how does your background in the legal field cross into the music industry?

So, I always wanted to be on the educational side of the legal field because I saw from firsthand experience how artists were and still are being robbed of their rights, ownership, and creativity. I didn’t want that to be my story, so I set out to learn the industry from all sides to figure out how to best protect myself for the long journey I knew was coming. 

All of what I do within the legal field has to do with educating musicians and artists to have a better understanding of the things they sign and the trajectory of their careers. I also consult and work with entities to help them maneuver through situations that may arise. 

What has been one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve encountered so far in your career?

I would say one of the most rewarding experiences thus far has been receiving my first cover of a print magazine last September on Performer magazine. This was a major goal/mile marker for me when I set out on this globetrotting journey years ago. It is important to me that more women of color are on the faces of these magazines to help inspire the next generations of rockstars reading. 

What about the most challenging experiences, and how you overcame those obstacles?

One of the most challenging? I would say learning how to keep people at arm’s length. There were so many speed bumps and ditches that I had to learn from, which definitely broke me down but helped me keep rebuilding myself to be stronger than ever. 

As touring came to a halt during the pandemic, what did you do to stay creative in your music career, and how did you stay connected with fans?

I shifted gears to developing out the nonprofit leg of my company. The TxLips Academy has been something I was passionate about building from the beginning. We have been quite busy with planning for summer camps and partnering with Girls Rock Camps and other music schools around the world to bring workshops on the business side of music and protect music for kids. 

We also shifted to a lot of virtual shows, which has been a much-needed slowdown compared to the craziness that comes with touring. We are working on an unplugged record store series now as we gear up to hopefully get back on the road in the near future! 

We also had the amazing opportunity to work on a Netflix original movie featuring an all-Black cast. It’s a Western, and we are so excited for it to come out in Fall 2021. 

As you’ve covered in the Carrying the Torch for Black Girl Magic interviews, I’d like to ask you some of those same questions, as you are in a role that can help encourage, inspire, and empower up-and-coming young Black musicians. Is there a specific Black creative that inspired you to become a musician, and why?

Yes! I would start with Beyoncé because of her constant drive to succeed and to be an amazing role model to young girls. I am also a huge fan of her versatility in music. It has given me ideas on how I can switch up my flow. 

I am also deeply inspired by the strength and resilience of both Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lady Bo. For them to push through the way they did in the industry during the time they did has always been a reminder to me that this male-dominated industry can take you out if you allow it to. Their stories remind me that Black women are the backbone for many things and people in this industry. We can, do, and always will shine. 

Why do you think it is important to pay homage to the Black creatives that came before us? Why do you think the world needs to learn about Black history?

Because we are the blueprint! There is so much in this world that was birthed out of our culture, and it is important that the world is reminded of our history. Our history is American history. 

What does it mean to be a Black woman to you?

It means being a pillar of strength first and foremost for myself. We often forget to take care of ourselves and put ourselves first. To be a Black woman is special, and I love every moment of the skin I’m in. 

On to gear, how do you define your guitar tone?

I define it as the sound that connects the listener to who you are and what you are trying to say through the guitar. I love warm, reverb-based tones with a touch of distortion to give the edge element of my rockstar vibes. I am endorsed by PRS Guitars, and my SE Custom provides the perfect tone foundation to build on.

What gear are you currently playing, and what do they bring to your style of music? 

When it comes to guitars, I play a mixture of PRS, ESP, Gibson, and Ibanez. I switch up my guitars based on the sound I am going for. I endorse PRS and ESP, so my guitars of choice are: ESP LTD M-50FR, ESP LTD H-1000, PRS SE Custom 24, and PRS SE Akerfeldt. When it comes to acoustics, I play my PRS SE T55E and my Gibson J-45. 

What is your “go-to” guitar for songwriting, and how do you approach the songwriting process?

Most of the time, I pick up my PRS SE Akerfeldt. That guitar holds a lot of meaning for me, and it reminds me of where I started. It is the guitar I use when I am working out song ideas. 

When it comes to songwriting, I tend to start with being inspired from something I experience or things I see happening around me. I pull from those moments to create a foundation as I move into finding the words that describe how I feel. I write out my lyrics and then compose the music behind that based on what I am hearing in my head. I then spend time finding what chords and manner of playing will align with the lyrics and message I am working to convey to the listener. It is a journey, but the end goal is something that listeners can relate to. No matter who you are, where you come from, or where life has you. Humans are more alike than we are different, and music helps to connect us. 

Based on what you have learned so far from the various interviews you’ve been a part of and the organizations you belong to, what qualities do you believe young women need to have as they enter into the music industry?

Self-love. That is number one for me because that self-love and knowing who you are, despite the moving world around you, will be the thing that carries you through until the end. 

What’s next?

I am working on my next studio album, and I will be releasing my music video for “The Dead Pool” later this year!