The TxLips Band: Challenging the Boundaries

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The TxLips Band is a diverse group of Black female and non-binary musicians whose mission is to challenge the boundaries set in the music industry as well as to inspire girls and women worldwide to be an unstoppable force in the music industry. This international touring collective was started by Gabriella “Guitar Gabby” Logan in 2016 after receiving a call from former Crime Mob member Diamond. Her need for a female guitarist opened up the opportunity for Logan to create the TxLips. 

The mission? To shift the way this industry defines Black Girl Magic. Driven by the desire to see more BIPOC women taking control of their musical futures, this collective inspires people everywhere to be themselves, no matter what.

The TxLips Band is more than just a collective of boss musicians. TxLips Gang members Megan Maloney, Tiye Cochran, and Bri Newsome share what motivates them each day to inspire the next person.

 Photo by Ravin Vision 

Tiye Cochran is a Brooklyn native who has been playing guitar for 10 years and is just getting started. Raised in Atlanta, Cochran uses her talent to inspire those around her to find their purpose in life.

Tiye, you kickstarted your journey with the TxLips Band last year, and it’s been a great ride so far. Let’s talk about music and what it means to you. Do you believe music helps to bridge gaps between people around the world?

Honestly, music means everything to me. It is the second most powerful force within my world, the Most High being the first. When I’m feeling low and disconnected from my purpose, I put on some Janet Jackson or SWV [Sisters with Voices], and I am immediately transported to a world of endless possibilities and excitement. As a ’90s kid, I had the privilege of growing up in what I consider to be the best years for hip-hop and rock. I got to watch Biggie and Kurt Cobain in real-time. I’ll never forget sitting in front of the TV as a first-grader watching MTV and seeing Lenny Kravitz rocking out, swinging his locks, singing “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” My mom grew up in the ’70s/’80s, so she shared her love of all the greatest disco, pop, rock, and R&B from those eras.

Being exposed to so much musical diversity gave me a taste for greatness, no matter what the    genre. I love to be a living canvas for all of the artistic expressions that bring people together in ways we can’t explain in words. People who can’t speak the same language are able to sing and enjoy the same songs. That’s the power of music.

The music industry has been suffering during the pandemic. I know you have your own show called All Rappity Raps, which is a talk show dedicated to highlighting the amazing music birthed out of Black culture. Tell us about how you tie music and current world events together. How has this been a tool of unity during the pandemic?

I believe necessity is the mother of invention. COVID-19 came and hit us with the need to get more creative in how we reach audiences during quarantine. Prior to the pandemic, we were hosting our monthly show in person at an Atlanta venue. When quarantine started, we were forced to figure a way to stay visible with our fans and supporters, which eventually led to me hosting our show daily on Instagram Live. What initially seemed like a curse turned into a major blessing.

#TheCheckIn IG Live version of the show helped us to extend our reach and truly build with other creatives across the world. The change in format also helped me to grow as an artist and greatly broaden my scope as an all-around entertainer and host. I use the platform to shed light on current topics affecting the artist community while engaging the guests and audience members in open-ended debates. Building this platform during quarantine has given me more to look forward to as an overall entertainer as I continue to build and nurture my career.

Let’s talk about your versatility across genres. You play guitar in a rock band (TxLips) and you rap. How would you describe your style, and what are influences on your sound?

My style is a hybrid of all of the artists I love and hold dear to my heart. I am from Brooklyn originally, but I was raised in Atlanta. I love and respect the artists I grew up listening to: Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Biggie, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. These are the rappers I would say influence me the most. I love to emulate their style, flow, and delivery. What I love most about the aforementioned artists is that no one was afraid to be different. No matter what anyone had to say about them, each of them was unapologetically themselves. I strive to do just that, do and be me, no matter what.

Photo provided by artist

Shifting gears to Bri Newsome, who is a bass-playing member of the TxLips Band and wants to remind people everywhere to: “Do what makes you happy! Don’t listen to what anyone else has to say in judgment of your personality or who you are. Do you.”

So, you just joined the TxLips Gang earlier this year. Tell our readers where you are from, how long you have been playing, and what bands inspire your style.

My name is Bri, and I’m from Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve been playing bass for about five years now, and most of my style is influenced by artists such as My Chemical Romance, Rico Nasty, Rage Against the Machine, and City Morgue. I tend to be drawn to upbeat, high-energy songs that are combined with aggression because I feel like it reflects my personality in a way. A lot of people say I’m a pretty upbeat person, but I think I’m more edgy than people may think! It’s kind of like a dual personality type thing, but rather than trying to pick one side of who I am, I decided to show all of me rolled up into one.

One thing I love about you is your social media! It is always so engaging and fun to look at. There is an element of nostalgia that comes from the 2000s band songs that you cover. How would you describe your creative process when you start developing content?

My creative process is simple; I try to not think too much and go with the flow of what I am feeling or seeing in those creative moments. I never really have a concrete plan laid out, and I’m perfectly okay with that! A lot of people ask me how I make music or how to get better with playing, when in reality, I’m always asking myself that question as well. Oftentimes, I end up trying new things, and I allow the journey to take me where that takes me! If I don’t like what I’m doing, I’ll scrap it and come back to it later, but if I do like it, I’ll put it out to the world and cross my fingers, ha-ha.

The TxLips Band represents Black Girl Magic every day through each of the TxLips Gang Members. Each person has their own style, voice, vibe, and taste pallet. Talk to us a little bit about why you joined the TxLips Band and what unique thing(s) you bring to the table?

I just wanna show everyone that Black people exist in every form imaginable. I didn’t realize what I was doing could be so inspirational to young Black girls until I looked back and remembered how out of place I always felt when I was younger due to the lack of representation. I just want everyone like me to be themselves unapologetically. I also want them to remember that if they feel comfortable in their own skin and they’re having a good time, nothing else matters! You know yourself better than anyone else.

Photo by Bobby Roebuck

Megan Maloney is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has been playing the guitar for 14 years. “I fell in love with the guitar mostly because of the music I grew up with. My parents had a very eclectic taste in music. I grew up listening to classical, Brazilian, Cape Verdean, jazz, R&B, salsa, rock, and other styles of music. My sister had a guitar she never played. I remember picking up the guitar and trying to learn along with all these different styles of music. It was then that I realized guitar was a versatile instrument. Later on, after hearing guitarists like Zakk Wylde, Slash, Jimi Hendrix, Walter Giardino (Rata Blanca), Lita Ford, and Prince, I fell deeply in love with lead guitar. I could hear how they poured their soul into their playing, and I wanted so badly to do the same.”

I have loved having you play in both the TxLips Band and your own band, the Phoebes, which was exciting for me to see you form. We both have different sounds when it comes to music, so tell us a bit about the style that the Phoebes play and what you all are working on now in the studio.

My band is called the Phoebes, and we are made up of mostly female members. We are a blues-rock band based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and got started by accident, actually. One of my all-time favorite punk bands is the Ramones, so one day during the pandemic, I set out to start an all-Black female Ramones tribute band. People were really into the idea of that, and some even helped me find our current drummer. Shortly after, two of my singer friends saw the post and said they were in. We searched all over for a Black female bassist but never found one in our area, so I asked my uncle, a professional rock bassist, to sit in, and he’s been in the band ever since. We are new but have a lot of energy and desire to continue building our fan base. We recently got the opportunity to play for the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society Blues Festival, which was an amazing experience that has led us to working on our first album in the studio. 

I would imagine playing in various bands with different styles of rock requires different pieces of equipment, so let’s talk gear! What is your go-to setup for live shows?

So when it comes to pedals, I love the authentic tone of analog pedals. My current go-to pedals are the MXR Super Badass Distortion and the VOX Wah. I like to keep my guitar tone thick and bassy. My favorite guitar is my Ibanez RG with a Floyd Rose. It has the perfect balance of bass and highs to cut through the distortion and give a really thick tone.

My go-to amp right now is the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. It’s the perfect amp to use when you are on the move and have to get from one gig to another quickly. This tube amp doesn’t take up a lot of space but packs enough power to play any stage.

You are a pretty busy person! Between a full-time job and the bands you play in, what is your advice on maintaining a healthy life and still enjoying the music you love playing?

Schedule, schedule, schedule! I’m in nine bands and work a full-time job. Life would not work if I didn’t stick to a strict schedule. I always put rehearsals on my calendar, even when they occur on a regular basis. I schedule time to practice at home before a rehearsal, so I show up prepared.

Each band is color-coded with dates, times, locations, and instruments to avoid mistakes. Most importantly, I schedule time off. Being a musician is hard. It’s time-consuming but fun. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can easily get burnt out. Make sure you schedule vacation time and stick to it.