The 12th annual She Rocks Awards concludes another year of honoring groundbreaking women and innovators from all across the music and audio industries. The night kicked off with the red carpet parade as honorees and their escorts walked down the aisle packed with media reporters. Cameras flashed as the stars waltz through. The celebrated ladies gave interviews to most of us media beggars. I stood with my microphone and camera rolling at the midpoint of the line. Rising music stars walked down the red pathway and stopped by most every reporter with a question. The ladies that were escorted down the red carpet were not to stop for every reporter. The reporters were chosen in advance for stars like Debbie Gibson and Susanna Hoffs. I was one of those lucky reporters. I was given the chance to interview the most honored of the night, Ms. Debbie Gibson. She was being honored with the highest of all, the Trailblazer award. The Trailblazer award is awarded to a female artist who acts as a music industry pioneer by using her platform to spotlight unheard voices and break ground for future generations of performers.
The parade of honorees and gracing the red carpet included: Lyndsey Parker (red carpet host, journalist, tv host), Adam Weissler (Emmy award winning producer and producer for EXTRA), Jimena Fosado (musician and opening act), Myki Angeline, Bonnie Gallanter, Laura
Whitmore (founder of She Rocks), Brad Tolinski, Monique Boyer (Mac Cosmetics), Aija (vocal producer/Selena Gomez), Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles), Lindsey Sterling (violinist/dancer), Cassandra Soto (co-chair Women in Music), Lindsay Love Bivens (Honoree artist), Kelsy Karter (Honoree frontwoman for Kelsy Karter and The Heroines), Britt Lightning (Honoree guitarist for Vixen), Holly G (Honoree founder Black Opry), Jamie Deering (Honoree CEO Deering Banjos), Bonnie Macintosh (Honoree keyboardist and artist for Post Malone, Selena Gomez), Sylvia Massy (Honoree multi-platinum producer for Tool, System of a Down, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Melinda Newma (Honoree Billboard's Executive), Laura Karpman (Honoree Oscar nominated film composer), and Debbie Gibson (Honoree and recipient of the Trailblazer award for multi-platinum chart topping artist).
The most memorable interviews were with the mesmerizing and theatrical stage performer and singer Kelsy Karter. She walked through the aisle with her bandmates tagging behind. She graced the floor in a lovely long pale pink dress that was simple but fantastically perfect and feminine. She approached the reporter standing beside me. She was graceful and in charge. The reporter asked a question that she did not like. She gave a face of distaste and told him he needed to find better questions to ask her and noted, "Something more original." Those words got my attention. I chimed in before she walked away, "Kelsy, I believe I have the most original question of the night." That definitely got her attention.
She approached with a smirk as though she was already pleased. I cleared my throat and looked back at the camera that glared over my shoulder. I smiled and looked back at her. "Kelsy, if I were to play a song, your favorite song, from your most recent album BACKWARDS... what would it sound like? What would it say?" She immediately smiled ear to ear. Her bandmates finally cracked smiles and began to talk about things it would sound like. Kelsy wasn't sure if it would sound like anything describable. I responded, "Would it sound like Led Zeppelin?" She laughed and said, "Yes like that. That is the most original question for sure. Thank you." Honestly it wasn't the question I anticipated asking but it sure was perfect.
Debbie Gibson was another great interview and my biggest interview ever. She has been an idol of mine since High School. It felt like we were friends just catching up on the red carpet. It was as if I had known her all my life. Debbie is a class act. She holds herself with poise and with self respect. I asked her what it took to reach and maintain her success as a musician especially being a woman in an industry that is so brutal when it comes to longevity and making a living at it. She gave a very honest answer. She explained how she couldn't possibly stop playing music no matter what life threw her way. "Life has its up and downs, but I always knew what I wanted to do and I had the support from family and friends who helped me make it a reality. "
She went on to say that the ups and downs never prevented her from making music all these years. She always needed to make music no matter where she was in life or what was going on. She also spoke highly of her fans and people who have been part of the music. She said, "Treating people with humanity and appreciation is really the key to being successful for a lifetime."
As the night went on, the fun continued in the ballroom with the awards ceremony and music that rocked. The women on stage inspired with their powerful speeches. Everyone had a different story but they all sort of felt similar. Many of the speeches ended with a heartfelt tear from the eye as they spoke words about their mothers. Every other honoree told stories about how their mothers played major roles why they are up on stage receiving an award. These power speeches created a strong sense of unity amongst everyone in the entire room.
Honorees inspired with speeches of diversity and importance of supporting communities that amplify underrepresented voices. Sylvia Massy spoke about her work with a group of Iranian female musicians and the need for working globally to end oppression. Composer Karpman made history last week by being the 5th female composer nominated for an Oscar from her work on American Fiction. She stated, “Things are not upwards, they are not sideways; it goes up and down and backwards and forwards.” In her moving acceptance speech honoree Lindsey Stirling went on to say that, “Events like this are so important because the idea that there are only so many places for women at the table becomes archaic. When women stand together and celebrate one another and we state that if there is only one chair at this table I will bring up another one, I will make more room."
The grand finale was Debbie Gibson performing with guitarist Ariel Bellvalaire. They got the crowd moving and dancing along. The energy was high up to the very end. It was a night we all cherish.
THANK YOU TO ALL THE WOMEN WHO MADE THIS EVENING SO SPECIAL FOR EVERYONE. I HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL NEXT YEAR AGAIN FOR ANOTHER EPIC NIGHT OF MUSIC, SISTERHOOD, AND CELEBRATING EACH OTHER.
by Lucky Bailey 01/30/2024 *Lucky U TV and myCelebWatch
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