beats by her

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” ― Victor Hugo

Being a woman in the music industry isn’t easy. It takes courage, hustle and steel determination to make it through the challenges they face daily.

Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga demonstrate that it is indeed possible for female musicians to find long term success in the music industry, but do they only represent the minority and not the majority of talented ladies that are actually on the scene?

Despite the millions of “little monsters” and “beyhive” loyalists around the world, gender inequality continues to be a big issue in the music industry.

But regardless of the biases that still remain, there is a silver lining. Talent is talent no matter the race, gender, creed or religion.

#BeatsByHer will introduce you to women locally, and eventually around the country, that truly put the “ustle” in hustle.

These ladies grind with purpose, grace, style and immeasurable talent.

The City Influencer’s mission is to share the important stories that are not often told by mainstream media. We are on the ultimate quest to discover innovative ways to inject diversity into the normal, everyday conversation.

For our inaugural feature, we’re connecting you to four Dallas women with four distinct looks and sounds. But the one thing that they all share in common is a sincere love and passion for the craft of making music for the people.

SAM LAO

beats by her, sam lao

credit: I’sha Gaines

I am a rapper/singer and I’ve been making music for almost four years now. It began as a personal healing project for myself and I wasn’t really expecting it to go anywhere or for people to like it, but I started performing and gaining fans. My first EP, West Pantego, was released in 2013 and earned me DOMA nominations for Best New Artist, Best Video and Best Hip Hop Act as well as D Magazine’s 2014 Artist of the Year. I released my second project, SPCTRM this past February and the response has been extremely positive thus far. In the next few years, I hope to have a few tours under my belt and be comfortably settling into being a household name.

What is it like being an artist in the Dallas music scene?

Overall, I think it’s really great. Dallas’ music scene is thriving right now and there are a lot of great artists releasing quality work. For the most part, I’ve had great experiences but the hip hop scene can still be a bit of a boys’ club. No one ever expects me to be a rapper; a singer perhaps but a rapper no way. It can work in my favor though because people automatically have low expectations of female rappers so it’s easy to blow them away when I finally get on stage. The biggest misconception about me so far is that I’m an Asian man lol.

sam lao, beats by her

credit: Jeremy Biggers

beats by her, sam lao

Baby Samantha

What or whom inspires your creativity?

Art as a whole inspires me. I paint, draw, sculpt and do graphic design on top of music so all aspects of art resonate with me. When I see something beautiful or something amazing that I can’t do I am compelled to create. It’s an overwhelming need to make something beautiful to contribute and to hopefully inspire the same feeling in someone else.

How would you describe your personal style?

sam lao , beats by her

credit: I’sha Gaines

My style is very fluid and really depends on my mood. I can move easily between dolled up glamour and more relaxed tomboyish looks and be fully comfortable in both.

Your top go-to places for fun?

I’m admittedly a home body but when I do go out, I enjoy hanging out down in Deep Ellum and going to Beauty Bar on Thursday nights. I also enjoy stuffing my face with the buttermilk pie of the month at Emporium Pies and getting fancy and indulging at Uchi on special occasions.

Sam’s Beats HERE.

See Sam perform LIVE at TCI’s Anniversary Bash next Tuesday evening in the heart of downtown Dallas. Details HERE.

BROOKE ASHLEY

brooke ashley, beats by her

credit: I’sha Gaines

My career has evolved substantially over the last eight years. I started in Nashville and Florida doing demo work with other artists and songwriters and also singing for professional sporting and military events. College brought me to Dallas where over time, I was able to meet other talented individuals that have really helped to shape and mold me into a better artist.

Currently, I am finishing my first album that I have been writing and recording for the last two years. I plan to hit the stage soon, locally and nationally, and eventually internationally. I love all aspects of the creative process so I plan to focus all of my time and effort into creating good music that people will enjoy. I definitely plan to win a Grammy in the next five years!
What or whom inspires your creativity?
Believe me when I say that EVERYTHING inspires my creativity…including the people or places around me. I’m a very emotional person, so I often write a lot about my life experiences, my relationships or my perspective on things.
What is the biggest misconception people have about you musically?
I am definitely stereotyped on a regular basis. Being a girl from the south with a “twang”, people often assume I sing country music lol.

brooke ashley, beats by her

What is it like being an artist in the Dallas music scene? What have your experiences been like, either good or bad?

It is so motivating being an artist on the Dallas music scene! There are some seriously talented and underrated musicians here doing their thing. The majority of my experiences have been absolutely amazing. Being extremely selective with who I work with and surrounding myself with only the best has helped too, but just like with any other business or industry, there are some individuals who just turn out to not be good people. Luckily, I was raised to have a thick skin and not let being burned or disrespected by others impact me and my character or perspective.
Brooke Ashley beats by her
What are your top four tips for aspiring artists looking to get started?
  1. Seek to work with people who have similar goals, qualities and work ethic as you. You will most likely be working with these people long term and in order to have a successful working relationship, you need to be able trust them personally.
  2. Always be a student first. You will never learn anything if you already know everything.
  3. Know what you want, but more importantly DO NOT want from this industry. If you don’t know what you want and there is no true objective, the odds of being successful are extremely low.
  4. Work hard regardless of your circumstances. There will be a lot that will discourage you, but as long as you continue to work hard you will be prepared to accept your opportunity when it arrives.

 

brooke ashley, beats by her

credit: I’sha Gaines
jewelry: Ash & Ames

Brooke’s Beats HERE.

Be the first to hear about Brooke’s upcoming album HERE.

DANA HARPER

dana harper, beats by her

credit: I’sha Gaines

I feel like for the first time I have a more clear understanding of who I am which helps me define what I want to say. I recorded my first album “Be Alive” when I was 18 years old and although my views about life, love, and the world have changed a little, the basics are the same. The material I’m working on currently is all about self love and nurturing your mind, body, and spirit. Working hard to attract positivity in all aspects of your life and consciously being exactly who you are.

What is it like being an artist in the Dallas music scene, good or bad?

I’ve had opportunities to play with some of the most talented people in the game that also call Dallas home. I’ve played venues in Dallas that hold a lot of history and I am grateful for that.

On the hand, at times it’s hard to be an independent artist in Dallas when people don’t want to pay for your artistry. You constantly hear people asking when you’ve got new material coming out but when you have a show and charge for tickets, or when someone has the opportunity to support you people go ghost. I don’t believe in that. When it comes to my friends who are working towards something they’re passionate about I try my hardest to financially support them whenever I can; even if that means no $5 iced coffee. And I think our community could improve in doing the same for its local talent. (No shade, no tea. Just a lil’ transparency)

How would you describe your personal style?

It honestly depends on which way the wind is blowing. Comfort is key for me but I’d say I channel a mix of urban, hippie, and rocker goddess when it comes to my personal style. On any given day you may catch me sporting Dr. Marten’s with a kimono, boyfriend jeans and a turban or wearing all black…you never know.

credit: K Rish Skonhet

credit: K Rish Skonhet

What or whom inspires your creativity?

Diversity inspires me. evolution of artistry inspires me. I love that my music is a direct outlet for what is going on in my life; that I am able to express an emotion that others can relate to. and that my music helps me connect with someone that I may not otherwise have had the opportunity to ever reach. The other big inspiration for me is my family. I know it sounds cheesy but I plan on taking care of my parents the way they did for me growing up. I want them to know that the daily sacrifices they made for my siblings and I were never in vain. I know my family is proud of the accomplishments in my life this far but I’ve got more to give!

dana harper, beats by her

“Be Alive” release party, 2011, Granada Theater

Your top go-to places for fun? Locally or nationally?

Locally I love hanging at many of the bars in Deep Ellum; pretty much any spot that’s got soul/ jazz popping off and I’ll be there. The Prophet Bar is one of my favorites. I used to sneak in there with one of my friends when I was in high school and I still love hanging there now. It has a super chill vibe and people really just come to hear bomb music. Nationally, I frequent NYC quit a bit! In my opinion, NYC has one of the most captivating energies. You can’t help but get swept up in the pace and excitement that is all around you. I usually go when I’m in need of a reboot or motivation. I’m automatically inspired when I’m there.
dana harper, beats by her

credit: I’sha Gaines

 Dana’s Beats HERE.

BIANCA RODRIGUEZ

bianca rodriguez

credit: I’sha Gaines

I’ve been singing since the age of three. Professionally since 2013. I had just gotten over a breakup and put a small tape, Solitude, together to help me through it. My friends were the ones who insisted I put it out. It’s been a crazy ride ever since then.  All of the connections and relationships I’ve formed are all because of that tape.

I just put out my latest release, “Layers.” It’s my most personal to date. My producer, Sir Tim and I worked diligently to get this one finished. It’s just a sampler for what’s to come. I’m also featured on Robert Glasper’s, Miles Davis tribute album, “Everything’s Beautiful.” That’s my most notable accomplishment to date. My music is definitely evolving. I can hear it in my voice and I see it in my writing. I’m a lot more comfortable and I trust myself. The next five years will probably be some of the best times of my life. I’ll speak it now. I’ll be doing music full time. Traveling, touring and writing for major artists. I’m also learning piano; I’m working to be proficient at it. I just want to be able to live off of my pen.

What is the biggest misconception people have about you musically?

That it comes easy. I get writer’s block heavy. Once upon a time, I couldn’t write for eight months. You just have to push through it. I’m also thoroughly an awkward salamander on stage. I never know what to do with my hands. I still get nervous. Luckily, I’m working with someone on my stage presence.

bianca rodriguez, beats by her

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is fun and funky. I love big hair and I love color, hence the big red hair. I’m starting to venture out a bit. I still get called cute, which is for puppies and small children. But I hope to glow up one day and morph into sexy. But until then, I’ll take cute lol.
bianca rodriguez, beats by her

Your top go-to places for fun? Locally or nationally?

Everything I wanted to mention was food places because on the inside I’m 6’5, 250 pounds, but I don’t want you to see me like that. My idea of fun is getting some ribs to-go and chilling at Half Price Books or like a true artist, “grinding in the studio.” Ha ha ha. Beauty Bar on Thursday’s with Sober is always jumping. I love a good time at Klyde Warren Park. I’m all about crafting the fun. Grab the homies, some food and some tunes and let’s link. You’ve just inspired me.

bianca rodriguez, beats by her

credit: I’sha Gaines

What are your top four tips for aspiring artists looking to get started?

I can actually do you one better that you can apply to all facets of your daily life. My producer amd I have adopted the mantra, “Consistency, Visibility & Product” into our routine and it’s definitely paid off. Consistency: stay working and stay fresh. Always continue to challenge and re-invent yourself. Visibility: get out & network, network, network. I’d say about 90% of things I’ve gotten was because I’d laid the groundwork down for it beforehand and it finally manifested. Product: this one is huge. I find I’m taken more seriously because I have a body of work. It shows you’re serious about your craft.

Bianca’s Beats HERE:

A special thank you to Peak and Elm Restaurant, Makeup Artist Paige Anderson and I’sha Gaines, founder of HoneyBeNatural Magazine and our photographer for this special feature.

beats by her

The next edition of #BeatsByHer drops in July. Inquiries, click HERE.

 

Beats By Her