The She Rocks Awards at the NAMM Show 2024 is a distinguished event honouring women’s impactful contributions to the music industry. Celebrating female leaders, from artists to executives, this annual gala recognises achievements and inspires future generations of women in music.
With a variety of honorees, performances, and presentations, the event highlights the critical role of women in music and fosters a community that values representation and inclusivity.
Today, the 12th anniversary is being hosted at the Anaheim Convention Center, where an array of music icons, artists, industry professionals, fans, and media will gather.
MetalTalk’s Shannon Wilk was on the red carpet as the guests arrived. As a young musician, writer and photographer, she was in the perfect place to revel in the inspirational atmosphere.
Laura Whitmore founded the Women’s International Music Network, which is known for the She Rocks Awards and Mad Sun Marketing. With a career starting at CBS Records, Laura quickly advanced from marketing assistant to marketing manager and artist relations for Korg, Marshall, and Vox.
“It feels a little bit crazy,” Laura told Shannon when asked how it felt to have put on such a successful event for so many years. “When I started, I had no concept of what the future would bring. Now that we’re here, especially this year in this huge venue, it feels pretty fulfilling.”
Laura is quick to reply when asked about her biggest piece of advice for young entrepreneurs, female entrepreneurs, female musicians, and people in the industry. “I would say, you got to show up,” She says. “I think … 75% of success is showing up. I think a lot of times, people get discouraged… they’ll get one negative comment and stop them from their next step. You got to pick yourself up and keep going and keep showing up. I can’t tell you how many things have happened because I was like, oh, I guess I’ll go out tonight, and I’ll talk to those people, or I’ll go to that panel or whatever. So, show up.”
Britt Lightning is Vixen’s lead guitarist. As the Musical Director at Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp, she empowers others to explore their rockstar dreams alongside music legends. Britt hosted over 200 online masterclasses with stars like Roger Daltrey and Alice Cooper during Covid-19.
“It’s so great to see you, rock star,” Britt, who is being honoured tonight, told Shannon. “It seems surreal,” she says of tonight’s award. “Totally surreal. I’m pinching myself. It’ll seem real, maybe tomorrow.”
Vixen fans will have to be more patient for a new album. “I want to know that too,” Britt says when asked about a possible release date. “You know, I’ll just say not any time in the very near future because all the songs haven’t been written yet. But we’re working on it slowly but surely.”
The ceremony is not all about hard rock and Heavy Metal, but Debbie Gibson became the youngest artist to write, produce, and perform a Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit with Foolish Beat at just 16. This is a record she has held for over 30 years. She has sold over 16 million albums and starred in 17 musicals, including Broadway’s Les Misérables and the West End’s Grease.
Debbie is being honoured at this year’s ceremony. At the time of Debbie’s earliest success, I asked what was running through her mind at that time. “First of all, I love that you’re 17 and doing what you do,” Debbie told me, “Amazing. A 17 year old mind and emotional being is not quite equipped.
My mom managed me, my late great mom, which helped a lot. Helped keep me grounded.
“But I always have, then and now, stayed focused on my craft and tried to kind of block out the overly positive, the overly negative, until I try to find my own centre and my own sense of self.”
As the night is just beginning, you can feel the atmosphere building. Singer/songwriter Kelsy Karter walks by. What is the most valuable thing for her in finding her identity as an artist? “Being able to help others find theirs,” she replies.
Tonight, Lindsay Love-Bivens from Taylor Guitars was being honoured. Lindsay works with the Artist Relations team as the Artist and Community Relations Manager. Her role emphasises developing, growing, and strengthening relationships with artists in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) community.
“I think it’s cool,” Lindsay told us about being honoured tonight. “I’ve been to the She Rocks Awards the last few years, and I know that they’ve honoured different women and artists in the music manufacturing industry. So, I know it’s not foreign to be in this category. But it is really cool just to be one..being noticed.”
I suggest it is unusual for award shows to recognise people behind the instruments or behind the mic. “I think representation matters,” Lindsay says. “There’s not a lot of us in the music manufacturing industry, so I think showing it is important.”
MetalTalk will report on the evening ceremony soon.
The National Association of Music Merchants, known as NAMM, hold the 2024 edition of their show from 25 January 2024 to 28 January 2024 in Anaheim, California.
This is a world-famous trade-only business show catering to domestic and international dealers and distributors restricted to owners, suppliers, journalists, employees, endorsed artists, and guests of NAMM member companies.
All MetalTalk NAMM 2024 coverage can be found at www.metaltalk.net/tag/namm-2024.