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Rupa, Rupa & The April Fishes

How would you describe your music?

global fusion--a mix of styles blended together to make one human face. french, indian, latin, reggae, ska.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

bandleader, decision maker, doctor, accountant, friend.

Describe your gear.

i have a gretsch JR 6120 guitar with a vox AC15 amp for electric. for acoustic, i have an esteve nylon string guitar with a regular guitar neck (good for small hands). i like BOSE chromatic tuners. and i use a sennheiser E835 mic on the road.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

"there are tiny things like sound guys often assume you don't know what you're doing. like you don't know how to EQ your instruments. i have been strong-armed with money by menacing dudes at the end of hard nights.

but the WORST comment came from an agent from a very reputable company in the US when he said, ""you know rupa. you're going to have to decide. do we market you as sexy-rambunctious? or intellectual? which one?""

i said ""both. why do you oversimplify me? why are there so few images of women in music who are sexy, empowered, rambunctious and smart? why are those things mutually exclusive?"" if a dude was smart, accomplished in another field and a musician, would he have such a marketing dilemma. "

Related Themes: Old School vs. New School

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

there are more women now. and there appears to be a broader kind of woman musician on stage. from the lesbo-folk style to the raging hiphop artists. from soft and inviting to divas lighting stuff on fire. i see a broader range of woman musician these days which is GREAT ! because it's not just about being a woman with a guitar. it's about what they are saying and how they are saying it.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

i would tell them the same thing i'd tell a guy starting out in music--to educate themselves and to not be afraid of their power. we are artists and we have something valuable to say. we must know our equipment, our roles, our responsibilities. we must know what our record contracts say--before we sign them. we must know how we want to be represented and not let the culture machine eat us up and spit us out in their packaging. we must educate ourselves in our business because it's what we do and we can't expect people who are making money off of our work to work in our soul's interest. and we must know that when we are given a microphone or a place to play, we are given a gift and a responsibility to communicate something powerful. to do it with dignity and with the awareness that the younger generation is watching and learning.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

because it's chordal and supports my voice.

Related Themes: The First Time