I interviewed Gabriella Logan (Guitar Gabby) who founded and manages the all-Black Woman, Afro-rock band Txlips. The band describe themselves as “…a dynamic group of diverse Black women across the U.S. whose mission it is to challenge the boundaries set for women in the music industry as well as to inspire girls and women worldwide to be an unstoppable force.”
Leslie: In a nutshell, what kind of music do you play? What’s behind your name ‘The Txlips Band’?
Gabriella: We are all types of genres but mostly Rock n Roll. The name “TxLips” (pronounced Tulips) represents the diversity of women. There are many different colors and shades of tulips but they are each unique and beautiful in their own way. The “x” represents no boundaries because we believe that women are unstoppable forces and have no boundaries to their greatness. We want to inspire women everywhere to live in their greatness and be a powerful force in this world.
Leslie: What are the ways your music subverts race, gender and sexuality stereotypes?
Gabriella: My music shows that black women are and have been behind the scenes of rock n roll for some time. From examples such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, we are walking in the path that she bravely paved by showing the world what black women are capable of. We carry that out in our performances and I carry that out in my business model of the band being a collective. There are over 10-12 women worldwide that are in the band and we each have our own genres and styles of playing but when we come together, we show the world we can and do play it all. The music industry places women in a box and we do not subscribe to that. I like to bring that out in my music, branding, and on the business end.
Leslie: How does the band work creatively together to write, play live and record tunes, please? Who brings what to the mix?
Gabriella: I actually write all the music, most of what the world has and will hear I wrote over 10 years ago. From our last EP, Queens of The New Age (2018) and what the world will hear on the next TxLips Band full length album, Prison of Life (2020), you will hear the various styles of playing that each member brings to the table. I spend a lot of time creating demos and teaching the band the music over the course of a year or so, then we get in the studio and hit record.
Leslie: What experiences lie behind your strapline ‘Owning Your Craft in the Music Industry’?
Gabriella: I gained a lot of experience from starting my own business. I learned how the music industry works and how to create my own path from scratch which was and still is hard but I have learned a lot and wanted to share my experiences with others. I believe it is important to craft your own journey because you learn a lot from your mistakes and that can only help you grow and get better at what you do in the long run.
Leslie: Could you, expand, please, on this quote about your own life: ‘From self-managing to studying law, Guitar Gabby lives and breathes the hustle’.
Gabriella: I work a lot and I work very hard at my dream. When I created my band’s first tour with our first few international dates I was working full time, I was in law school full time and touring full time. I had to create a schedule that was conducive for me to get all things accomplished. Once I graduated (in 2018), I began picking up more clients to manage in the Atlanta area. I currently still manage people in the Atlanta area and am in the midst of working full time, finishing my 2 albums, and planning my bands international album tour 2021-2022.
Leslie: What have been your best and worst experiences, working in the industry as radical black women?
Gabriella: I have to be honest, some of the best and worst experiences working in this industry so far have come from the people I have had in my band over the last 5 years. I am a very nice person because I care about people a lot but before that, I am a business woman and I conduct myself as such. Because I have dedicated my personal money and time (two extremely valuable things you can’t get back in life) to this band and taking care of the people who have and will be in it, I sacrificed having many things I wanted in order for these ladies to be a part of my journey. I have and sometimes still deal with old members trying to throw dirt on my name or the things I worked extremely hard for. Many times I get attacked on social media because people do not understand the model I set up for this band or the reasons behind it. My care has definitely come to bite me in the ass sometimes but I learned many valuable lessons I would never trade for anything in my journey so far. For me, the best experiences have been learning my own strengths and weaknesses and how to regulate them better as I continue towards my ultimate goal.
Leslie: What have you learned about yourself from being in the business of playing music?
Gabriella: I have learned that everyone is not your friend. My parents always told me this growing up but because I want to see the good in everything and everyone, I had to fall on my face and learn to pick myself up and continue marching forward. I learned that I have to hustle twice as hard to get half of what men in the industry typically get. It’s all together hard work but I honestly would not trade anything I have learned so far for anything in this world.
Leslie: Who have been your best audiences – why them?
Gabriella: About 2 years into me starting TxLips, we were approached by the legendary Indigo Girls to open for them at a show in Atlanta. I was in absolute shock but it was one of the best experiences ever. This led to us opening for them their 1.5 year tour in many different cities across the U.S. I have to say the crowds we have had for every single one of those shows have been phenomenal because they give such an amazing energy to us during and after our performances. Our 3rd show opening we did our own rendition to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana and this was our very first time even doing this cover. At first the crowd was not sure what to think but by the time we got to our special twist in the song, the crowd was ROCKIN! Check the cover here….
Next week I interview Bridget Pitt, anti-apartheid activist, environmentalist and novelist.
ABOUT LESLIE TATE’S BOOKS:
- Heaven’s Rage is a memoir that explores addiction, cross-dressing, bullying and the hidden sides of families, discovering at their core the transformative power of words to rewire the brain and reconnect with life. “A Robin Red breast in a Cage / Puts all Heaven in a Rage” – William Blake. You can read more about/buy Heaven’s Rage here.
- Purple is a coming-of-age novel, a portrait of modern love and a family saga. Set in the North of England, it follows the story of shy ingénue Matthew Lavender living through the wildness of the 60s and his grandmother Mary, born into a traditional working-class family. You can read more about/buy Purple here.
- Blue tells the story of Richard and Vanessa Lavender, who join a 90s feminist collective sharing childcare, political activism and open relationships. You can read more about/buy Blue here.
- Violet is about late-life love. It begins in 2003 with Beth Jarvis and James Lavender on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s openness, Beth feels an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister… Signed copies of Violet can be bought here.
- The Dream Speaks Back, written by Sue Hampton, Cy Henty and Leslie Tate, is a joint autobiography exploring imagination and the adult search for the inner child. The book looks at gender difference, growing up in unusual families and mental health issues. It’s also a very funny portrait of working in the arts, full of crazy characters, their ups and downs, and their stories. You can buy a signed copy of The Dream Speaks Back here.