Who Set the Tone?

We asked some of our favorite artists to tell us about an innovative woman (or women) in music whose contributions inspired them to pursue their craft—and the ways in which they hope to carry on the legacies of their musical heroes.

Lzzy Hale talks Heart

"I listened to a lot of my dad's music growing up. It was mostly male-fronted. My mom stepped in and bought me a handful of CDs—including The Road Home by Heart. My life was forever changed by that album. The ferociousness of the Wilson sisters inspired me, and without them I would not be the singer or guitarist I am today.

"Now, 22 years after I first was introduced to Heart, I am extremely humbled to have my own seat at the "women in rock" table. I've looked into the eyes of young girls at my own shows and have seen the fire light up in their soul. I'm so proud to be a woman and proud to be living proof that no dream is impossible."

Check out Lzzy Hale's website here.

Juno talks Bibi McGill

"I had never seen a Black woman play a guitar like that before. When Bibi walked out on that stage with Beyoncé's original Suga Mamas and took her solo, she owned the stadium. It was breathtaking. When I played for Fifth Harmony, I walked like I owned the stage because that's what I saw her doing 10 years ago.

"I also admire her resilience and strength, and try to mimic it in my own career. Since she went through the door before me, she made it a little bit easier for me. The seed she planted continues to grow, and I want to plant that seed for future generations as well!"

Check out Juno's website here.

Lisa Bella Donna talks Wendy Carlos

"In 1982, my stepfather played me Switched on Bach and Sonic Seasonings on his Advent quadraphonic stereo system. The unfolding efflorescence through those speakers evoked a realism arguably more organic than anything else I had ever heard before. The music, sound, and all of the symmetry of its movement made a lifelong impression on me. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to be a composer of electronic sound.

"Wendy Carlos did so much more than just set precedents of electronic music composition, performance, and recording. She projected a myriad of possibilities of the miraculous. I cherish her and her constellation of music immensely."

Check out Lisa Bella Donna's website here.

Lindsey Stirling talks P!nk

"I went to a P!nk concert in 2015 and fell in love! Through what she says and does on stage, she inspires her audience to love themselves for being exactly who they are. She's so creative and pushes the envelope not just musically, but physically. I mean, she's literally doing aerial acrobatics while singing. Do you know how much strength that takes? I sure don't, but I bet it's a lot! When I'm planning a new show, I often think 'What would P!nk do?'

"The example she set for me is what makes me want to inspire people to accept themselves for their flaws and have the courage to see their strengths."

Check out Lindsey Stirling's website here.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith talks Derbyshire, Ciani, Spiegel, and Monk

"I first learned about Meredith Monk when I was in college studying composition. I learned about Delia Derbyshire, Suzanne Ciani, and Laurie Spiegel when I discovered analog recording and synthesis. All of them exude tenacity and dedication.

"All of them have taught me about finesse, resilience, and innovation. I see these qualities as torches I can pass to future generations of music makers."

Check out Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's website here.

Molly Tuttle talks Gillian Welch

"I first heard Gillian Welch's music when I was a teenager. My dad owned her album Revival and it ended up on my iPod. So I decided to listen to it one day. After that, I became obsessed with her music.

"I love that she sounds like no one else and has stayed true to her vision throughout her career. Her work inspired me to write songs and constantly strive to create my own voice with my music.

"She is known as a songwriter first and foremost and has inspired countless people like myself to pick up a guitar and start writing. I hope that's a gift that I can pass on to future generations."

Check out Molly Tuttle's website here.

Suzi Analogue talks Patrice Rushen

"Not only has Patrice Rushen had a successful, multi-faceted career as a pop and dance artist, but her compositions successfully blend the genres of jazz, funk, and soul into a lane just for her. She's also been the music director of many live events including Janet Jackson tours and the Grammys (she was the first woman to fill that role). Her work ethic, skill, and positivity inspire me to follow the joy that I find in music culture and bring my dreams to life without limiting myself.

"She taught me to be prolific and fearless in music, especially as a Black woman… her legacy is to never stop reaching new heights."

Check out Suzi Analogue's website here.

Nandi Bushell talks Cindy Blackman, Sheila E., & Jas Kayser

"I watch a lot of YouTube videos and listen to a lot of music with my Daddy. I'm a big Lenny Kravitz fan. Cindy was in lots of his music videos. She always looked so cool and powerful. I did a cover of 'Kiss' by Prince and learned about Sheila E. I saw her ripping up the drums with high heels on—awesome! I've been following her ever since. Jas is my friend and one of the best jazz drummers in the world. We jam together. And actually, Lenny Kravitz introduced us!

"They all rock! I like rocking out, too. They all make me smile when I watch them play the drums. I like making people smile when I play the drums, too. I just want to have fun jamming to music, and if people like watching and listening? That's great! I get really proud when people tell me I inspired them to learn an instrument."

Check out Nandi Bushell's YouTube channel here.

Adeline talks Meshell Ndegeocello

"A common thing about artists I admire the most and it's that they are so unapologetically themselves. Meshell has a sound that is truly unique. She creates an aura around her music. Everytime I listen to her, I am traveling into her world. And it's a beautiful world!

"What stands out the most to me is her vulnerability. It's so pure and honest and so rare. As a bass player, her tone hits me—it's just the perfect tone! Her timing is also my absolute favorite. She's so laid back. I think about her when I play and try to sit in the perfect pocket. I think "play it like Meshell would."

Check out Adeline's website here.

We Are KING talk Patrice Rushen

"We’d heard her classic songs like “Remind Me” and “Forget Me Nots,” but when we started studying jazz as kids, we had teachers that introduced us to her ensemble works, and we had the opportunity to see her perform in jazz clubs in our hometown. She was a huge inspiration as a pianist especially, and seeing her perform and teach when we eventually met was super formative.

"All of her music just feels good. She makes any genres she explores feel personal; it sounds like every element and instrument was handled with care.

"Her works are timeless, and her influence can be heard everywhere. Melodically, rhythmically, vocally; there’s so much to explore on each of her albums."

Check out We Are KING's website here.

Malina Moye talks Sheila E.

"I grew up in Minneapolis and was raised on Prince, the “Minneapolis sound”, and the work of Sheila E. She specifically inspired me to take more risks on stage and in my sound. She made me realize you can be a beast on your instrument while bringing a sense of sexiness and incredible fashion to what you’re doing. I love being a woman. I love flashy, form-fitting, and sparkly things. Sheila E. is extremely talented and absolutely gorgeous and owns it. And I find that powerful.

"Through her example, I learned the value of staying true to yourself, knowing your worth, and owning your space—even if it makes others uncomfortable."

Check out Malina Moye's website here.

comments powered by Disqus

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

iOS app store button
Android play store button
Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.