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Meredith Sheldon, Family of the Year

How would you describe your music?

Folk/pop songs with an indie/rock edge.. we have been known to incorporate electronic stylings... I think "American" is the best word for it actually.

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

Joe Keefe and I share lead vocals. On stage, I play guitar and sometimes bass. Our studio life is rather mad (in a good way...). We write predominantly as we record, so most of the time, Joe and I are engineering and producing while we all play, write, and record at once. Sometimes Joe and I bring things to the table that we have recorded independently, seeing as we both work well just being on our own in the studio. On the business side of things, Christina and I are very active on the internet/social networking front. It is a huge part of our band's philosophy to create personal relationships with our fans and stay up to date and available to everyone. She and I also hold down the merchandise duties for the band.

Describe your gear.

I am currently armed with a fender telecaster, a vox AC15 amplifier, a catastrophe of cables, a sennheiser microphone, and I mooch off of my band mates for the use of a bass and some pedals.

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?

"Absolutely. Some are good differences, some are sort of a drag... for instance, any time I have ever walked into a music store (maybe excluding the one in my home town where there are some very dear people!), even if I make it clear that I know what I want, the sales guys will almost always direct their sales pitch at my boyfriend, or if I am alone, will talk to me like a total amateur. And don't get me wrong, I don't know anything extraordinary, but sometimes its painfully obvious that they assume I a) don't really play seriously, or b) just have no idea what i'm doing. But that said, what the hell? Pick your battles. On the good side, there are ways that being a woman is really helpful, like in our band, we sort of figured out that it is more efficient after shows for the girls to go straight to the merch table to meet and talk with fans, while the guys load out the gear. It seems to be easier for people to approach a couple gals than a bunch of guys, and we're generally better at the pr side of the business. "

Related Themes: She's Got The Look

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

Yes and no... In this crazy time, when the industry has been turned upside down and put into a blender, I think that men and women have a very different sense of what they can do on their own than they did, say, 20 years ago. There's a lot of power in being able to write your own songs, retain all ownership of them in terms of publishing and masters, and for some people, being able to record yourself. I think its a big deal for women especially to feel like they can be a part of the musical beast without the help of a big authoritative man pulling all the strings. Though that definitely still happens.

Related Themes: Cashing In 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?

"Make something you really believe in. Be honest. "

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

My uncle is a great guitar player/songwriter and started teaching me when I was a kid, so I guess the desire stemmed from watching him, and of course, the early obsession with Jimi Hendrix..

Related Themes: The First Time