I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the Anaheim Marriott for the She Rocks Awards on that Friday morning during the 2014 NAMM show. I mean, this was only the second time The Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN) put together this event and I was walking into the ballroom as a volunteer photographer for the first time to help them document the women being honored.
I have to admit my expectations were not that high but I was pleasantly surprised. WiMN founder and She Rocks Awards producer Laura B. Whitmore successfully brought together a large ballroom filled with music icons, artists, fans and more to pay tribute to the women who stand out within the music industry.
Maricela “MJ” Juarez
“The world needs to know that there are women out there making a difference in the music industry,” said Whitmore from the podium. “I am thrilled to recognize these deserving musicians, educators, and industry leaders.”
Those women recognized this year were:
Champion Award: Beth Marlis, senior guitar faculty member and Vice President at Musicians Institute
Endurance Award: Robin Walenta, President and CEO of West Music Company, also the first woman to serve on NAMM’s Executive Committee
Legend Award: Maricela “MJ” Juarez , Seymour Duncan’s “pickup winder to the stars”
Inspire Award: Gaby Moreno, Latin GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter
Vision Award: Dinah Gretsch, Executive Vice President and CFO of the Gretsch Company
Mad Skills Award: Janie L. Hendrix, CEO of Experience Hendrix
Icon Award: Sheila E. (Escovedo), world-class percussionist
Next Generation Award: Malina Moye, Rock/Soul singer/musician
The She Rocks Awards opened with a couple songs by the teenage duo The Command Sisters, then another short set with Latin GRAMMY-winning artist Gaby Moreno about half way through and then Malina Moye and her band got everyone on their feet for a Hendrix-tribute of “Foxy Lady” to close out the show.
In between the performances were the acceptance speeches from these amazing and deserving women that represent several facets of the music industry. My favorite quote of the morning though came from Sheila E. “Some people say ‘you play good for a girl,’” she said. “That’s not really the case. It just so happens that we’re all great musicians, we just happen to be female.”
This year, the She Rocks Awards added a silent auction and a portion of the silent auction and ticket sales proceeds will benefit the Girls Rock Camp Alliance and the whole thing was filmed for an upcoming TV special.
For the most part, the 2-hour awards show (served with a nice continental breakfast and lots of coffee) was quite uplifting and entertaining though it could have certainly benefited from a more professional audio and lighting setup. I am sure they will have that figured out by next year.
Overall, the whole thing was pretty impressive, especially when you stop to consider that The WiMN has only been around since 2012 (founded by music industry veteran Laura B. Whitmore) and produces additional events like the annual Women’s Music Summit and the WiMN ASCAP Expo Showcase on top of the She Rocks Awards.
Unfortunately the show went a little long so I had to tear out of there right at the end to get to a 10:30 appointment with one of our sponsors but I am glad I got to be a teeny tiny part of the festivities and I am really looking forward to what they do next year and hopefully I will be able to be a part of it again.