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Monday, August 02, 2010 

Interview with GoGirls Founder Madalyn Sklar

Now it's time to turn the tables on our fearless leader, Madalyn Sklar, and make HER the interviewee. Enjoy this candid interview!

What prompted you to start GoGirlsMusic.com?

I was exposed to the Internet back in mid-1995 before most people had heard of it. At the time, I was tired of getting ignored at the local guitar shops. I thought it would be cool to start a network of female musicians where we could talk about our experiences. I wanted to know if others were going through what I was. It quickly grew into something really big, which I never expected. There was not a lot of thought put into developing GoGirls. I came up with the idea and created the web site in one night. It was official launched January 3, 1996.

So you didn't have a business plan or vision?

No, not in the beginning. It was more of a hobby. I learned HTML programming in late 1995 and actually launched my own web design company the same time I started GoGirls. I initially used the GoGirls site as a place to play with new code I was learning. I wanted to bring female musicians together and saw the potential of using the internet to do it. As it grew I realized that it was much more than a hobby.

When did you start playing guitar?

When I was 11 years old I heard Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" on the radio and knew I had to play guitar. I really wanted to learn that song. My mom took me to a local guitar shop and bought me a no-name junior acoustic guitar. I was in heaven. I took lessons but they didn't teach me the Jim Croce song. LOL. I was in love with playing and played every day. Whenever I was down, playing would lift me up. At 16 I got my first electric guitar. I drove my parents nuts because there was only one way for me to play and it was LOUD. LOL. Luckily in 1982 I got my hands on a Rockman so I could play without disturbing anyone. I played off and on for many years. By the time I started GoGirls I wasn't playing much. I realized that my true calling was working with and helping musicians.

What are some significant milestones in the GoGirls history?

July 1999 - The start of the GoGirls Yahoo Discussion Group. This took our community to a whole new level. I wanted something that was more than a message board and more interactive. When Yahoo Groups came out I was like "wow, THIS is how you bring a community together!"

Fall 2000 - The first year of the GoGirlsMusicFest, which are benefit showcases we put on annually throughout the U.S.. It started in June 2000 with a handful of volunteers along with myself working up ideas to bring together artists from our community and having proceeds go to charitable organizations. That year we produced 11 shows all over the country and raised over $18,500. It was amazing and so fulfilling. From that point on I knew there was nothing I couldn't do and so I referred to myself as the fearless GoGirls leader.

November 2000 - The Rockrgrl Music Conference in Seattle, WA. This was GoGirls first presence at a large music conference. It was incredible bringing our community together at a conference devoted to "women in music". The experience was amazing. It made me realize that these types of events were crucial to elevating our community and reaching more people.

March 2001 - The beginning of our annual "Invasion of the GoGirls" during SXSW in Austin, TX. Basically the powers that be at SXSW were not interested in us. I wasn't going to let a "NO" keep me from showcasing our great community talent during the largest music conference event of the year. So I started our own wildly popular annual event and never looked back!

December 2002 - GoGirls Elite was born. This is our paid membership where for $35/year you can take advantage of our many great perks such as being eligible to showcase at our events, submit a song to our annual compilation CD, get airplay on our Ustream radio show, receive valuable industry information and more.

February 2006 - I got my first GoGirls tattoo while at Folk Alliance in Austin, TX and in a moment of solidarity three friends who were with me, all members of GoGirls, decided to get one too. That was amazing to me! Now all these years later there are 27 of us around the country (3 of them guys!) who sport a GoGirls tattoo. I'm speechless by this show of support.

What's next for GoGirls?

I'd like to see more chapters crop up, especially outside the U.S., and get more people involved in this great community. We are 100% volunteer-run which is great yet challenging at times.

More about GoGirls at http://www.gogirlsmusic.com/ and Madalyn Sklar at http://www.madalynsklar.com/

Copyright © 2010 GoGirlsMusic.com


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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.

    Madalyn's Sites:
    * GoGirlsMusic.com
    * Social Networks for Musicians
    contact: madalynsklar(at)gmail.com


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