In this edition, it is our goal to let aspiring young creatives know there are many roles available in the music and entertainment industry beyond performing onstage—it takes many people behind the scenes to make the industry tick. From songwriters, session musicians, lighting, producers, engineers, graphic designers, publicists, promoters, photographers, administrative assistants, managers, roadies, luthiers, teachers, executives, and the list goes on!
And as you will read in this edition, several of the women we interviewed started as secretaries and went on to run the companies in leadership roles, which is not uncommon nowadays.
So, each of our contributors offers a bit of advice in the hopes it will help any of our readers considering a career in the music industry.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
“If you have a passion for what you’re doing, it will bring about all the other qualities you will need, which will be the dedication and hard work to keep going when you’re so tired you don’t think you can do it any longer. The tenacity to keep going when you feel you’re being rejected or ignored because that will happen in the beginning. After the website had been hacked and destroyed in the early days, after all we had done so far, I was so down and thought it was over. But the thought of what I had worked so hard for, seeing it destroyed, I couldn’t let that happen. My passion for it brought out the desire and dedication to get it back up and running. And look where we are today! If I didn’t have that burning desire and tenacity, Guitar Girl Magazine wouldn’t be in existence today.”
“One of my favourite quotes is by Oprah Winfrey, “Do the one thing you think you cannot do, fail at it. Try again, and do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment; own it.”
Kathryn Cloward with Gretsch Tennessee Rose Guitar
“I have two pieces of advice to offer. (1) Stay true to yourself. Resist the urge to conform to what
everyone else is doing this because fads always fade away. Your unique qualities are your superpowers. (2) Think like a lawyer! Get everything in writing (email or time-stamped texts) and sign an agreement before you start work. There are a lot of shady people in this world who lack originality and integrity and will do whatever they need to get themselves ahead. I know this because I’ve lived it. Therefore, always talk about money, terms, and contracts upfront. People who are professionally minded with high integrity will welcome this clarity. Even if you are doing a song co-write with a friend, make sure you both have a clearly documented understanding of the percentages and registration of rights before you write a word or a note. Clarity from the get-go up creates long-term success.”
Gabriella “Guitar Gabby” Logan
“The best tool you have in your arsenal is your gut. Oftentimes, we ignore this because our emotions get in the way. Listen to your gut and give yourself grace when you mess up. You are enough! Stay true to who you are, no matter what.”
“Be great at what you do, and no one can blame it on gender. Confidence and persistence will win the day. Ignore the naysayers and learn from the best.
Know your worth. In the late ‘80s, I was interning at a national music magazine where a senior editor berated me for getting him the wrong Danish. Later in life, I realized the importance of self-worth. If someone only sees you as a vessel for their morning coffee, move on because you won’t learn from them—they’re too self-involved and sexist. Seek out more talented and accomplished role models. Strive for success and then get your own Danish on the way there—or whatever reward suits you for a tough day. Be kind to yourself because enough people will try and bring you down.”
“Learn about budgeting, finances, and investing. A little money can go a long way to fund your career, with some knowledge and planning.”
“Don’t be overly sensitive to outside opinions. Everybody has entirely different frames of reference for describing or judging things. Just focus on cultivating and refining YOU. A wise musician friend of mine once said that things will happen when you are truly ready, not when you think you are, so do the work and love the process. I’ve definitely found that it’s always more fulfilling to create than to promote.”
“Give yourself permission to fail. There will be many ups and downs, and having a positive attitude when you are down will take you a lot farther. Take risks and get out of your comfort zone. Look for opportunities to learn and grow. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Have confidence but stay humble. Always be kind to everyone you meet.”
“If you’re going to pursue a career in music, you should only do it if it’s in your blood and bones; because you love it and cannot do anything else. As much as it’s a ton of fun, it’s also a road fraught with struggle and sacrifice. Be prepared for that and be willing to accept that. I’m not saying this to be pessimistic or to deter anyone whatsoever from wanting to be a career musician. It’s just the reality of this business. You could do everything right and work harder than anyone else, but you could still not get the results you’re hoping for. Just be sure that the love for what you’re doing is enough and far greater than whatever the actual results may be.”
“Don’t be afraid to try something new. Learning as you go is part of honing your skills – you don’t have to have everything figured out before you put yourself out there for the first time. Don’t put too many expectations on yourself, because even though something might not go the way that you planned, that doesn’t mean it won’t still work out well.”
“My advice to any aspiring young women who may want to pursue the music industry is this: stay bold, be strong, and think creatively – be authentic and make yourself stand out for all the right reasons. Be passionate about your work, maintain a humble attitude, and build lasting, healthy relationships with those who support you. Go for it, and always hold steadfast to what you believe in.”
“Going into music is an artistic thing. Not everyone is going to see the world the way that you do. People might put expectations on your craft, not knowing anything about you, but as long as you stay true to yourself, you’re capable of any adversity that comes your way. Live what you do, love what you sew. Haters have opinions, but you can still find the fine line of critic versus negativity. It’s hard to be a creative, but if it was easy, everybody would be struming it.”