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Tuesday, July 01, 2008 

GoGirls Elite Interview with Cailyn Lloyd

Nothing sounds sa-weeter than a woman on some strings. Add one that that really knows how to play - well, Cailyn puts the best to the test with her skills. We hope you enjoy this Q & A with one of the best female blues guitarists in the independent music world, that has as many influences as one would expect. - Editor, Annette Warner

GoGirls: I absolutely adore women with some good blues chops. What has been the most challenging for you in music, as one of, comparatively to males, few women in this business who truly exceed at lead guitar skills?

Thank you! Being taken seriously. I found many of my emails for auditions went unanswered compared to male players I knew. I have a lovely blue PRS guitar and I am still frequently asked, "Is that yours?". Who would ask a guy that? When I show up for a gig, I am sometimes dismissed by the owner until he/she realizes I'm in the band and not somebody's girlfriend. Then, more often than not, they assume I'm a singer. More men than I care to count have said, "When it comes to female guitar players, I start with very low expectations". I have no problem taking them to task and directing them to Jennifer Batten or Katrina Johansson as a place to start looking at female players differently. To be fair, many of the guys I've played and jammed with have been very supportive and haven’t condescending. The sheer volume of great female players is slowly changing the view that serious lead guitar is only something guys can do.

GoGirls: Tell us about your latest project "New World in Blue" - how has it risen from your experiences?

The title piece is an adaptation of a classical piece by Antonin Dvorak that I have loved since childhood. I have long wanted to re-interpret classical music with modern instrumentation but lacked the skills to do so. In the past two years, my guitar skills, the technology to make great recordings at home, and the ability to self-produce all converged, allowing me to fulfill a long-time dream. I never really foresaw producing a CD (or EP in this case) for general release and review. This was something I was going to hand out to friends and family. Given that, it has been gratifying to get some air play and favorable reviews on the CD. More than anything, this was huge learning experience in every facet of CD production and distribution. I have two more full length CDs in the works. One will be a blues-rock album with vocals and the other a progressive rock album that will be fully instrumental and based on classical music by Vaughan Williams, Dvorak, and Mussorgsky.

GoGirls: Tell us about your band, and how it came together.

Interestingly enough, I auditioned as a bass player because I was unable to find a guitar position--I enjoy playing both equally as it happens. However, when they heard me play lead, it was quickly decided that I should play some guitar, which I do on about a third of the material, including the Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson, a highly technical piece that I did not think I was capable of playing, even a year ago. Essentially, we are a cover band but we put our own spin on a lot of the material. They are all fun to work with and there are no egos involved which often ruins a good band situation. We're working on establishing fans and a dedicated audience. As time permits, we will incorporate more original material into our show.

GoGirls: What do you enjoy doing most in music? And what would you consider to be your ideal place in relation to your goals?

I enjoy composing/recording and performing equally. My goal is to maintain a balance between the two, keeping a lively gig schedule and to continue working on a long list of ideas I have for songs and concept CDs. Curiously enough, the two are entirely separate and the recording I will continue largely as a solo endeavor. I am however, looking for a female vocalist to collaborate with on the next blues-rock CD that I do, which is just underway.

GoGirls: What were you thinking about at the age of 10?

I was very serious, a childhood geek, so I was into astronomy and meteorology and the like. I was also obsessed with music, teaching myself piano and taking violin lessons. The guitar came later. In some ways, not much has changed. I’m still obsessed with music, but I take time off in the spring to chase storms on the Plains.

GoGirls: What kind of places are you playing this summer?

We have a busy summer, schedule the highlight of which will be our three days at Rockfest in Cadott, Wisconsin. Otherwise we are playing the usual assortment of clubs and festivals. While I am trying to promote New World in Blue while I'm out there, we're only performing one song, Little Wing, from the CD.

GoGirls: What can your fans expect to see that differentiates you from other musicians?

That is a tough question and hard to answer modestly. I play with a lot of intensity and feeling. I'm not the greatest technical player but hope I make up for that with the sheer energy that I put into my performance. People tell my style is very polished, a product of my time in London and long hours of practice. I still try to practice 1-2 hours a day in addition to performing and recording and I'm always trying to expand the scope of my playing both in style and scale. I think I bring something unique to our gigs in that there are still very few female guitarists in this area. I surprise people and delight a lot of women who are happy to see a woman on stage who can play. Most of all, I have a lot of fun when I perform. I hope that comes through above all.

GoGirls: What do you do to take care of yourself and stay healthy on tour?

I don't live the stereotypical musician lifestyle. I don't drink or smoke, and I don't eat fast food. I eat a well, mostly fruits and vegetables, and exercise--all the usual suspects.

GoGirls: What would you like to see happen for independent artists and their music across the board?

It's already happening. The day when artists can connect with fans and new audiences directly without agents or record companies is here now. Thanks to MySpace, and the multiplying forms of digital release, the ease of recording and self-producing, the revolution is taking place now. When I was younger, the record companies had all the power. If you didn't know someone or have luck on your side, getting noticed was near impossible. That has changed and I won't be terribly sad if record companies become irrelevant.

GoGirls: On GoGirls music....

An inspiration and a great resource. Madalyn does a fabulous promoting both GoGirls and female musicians in general. In the end, perhaps GoGirls will evolve to something that is genderless. As female musicians reach equality and are respected, I wonder if we will have the need for organizations that promote female music preferentially or exclusively.

More on Cailyn Lloyd at http://www.myspace.com/cailynrox


Good to see more chicks playing blues. Thanks for the interview.
Blues guitar
player,singer,writer,producer,owner Lil'Queenie Guitar line for women.

I love to play violin since I was a kid. My dad took me to a violin lessons but unfortunately I got into an accident and found out that i cannot play anymore. With the help of my dad, I still menage to pursue my dreams by helping young ones to enhance their talents on violin.

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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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