Play Like A Girl: The Bulls, Night Talks & Kera and The Lesbians

Play Like A Girl: The Bulls, Night Talks & Kera and The Lesbians

Play Like A Girl is billed as "a once-a- month lady-powered showcase that celebrates some of the raddest female acts around. ALL ARE INVITED to this ALL-AGES show." Its first iteration welcomed The Bulls, Kera & The Lesbians, The Regrettes, and Night Talks to a sold out crowd filled with music fans young and old.

Founded by local artists, PLAG hopes to connect and inspire a new generation of creatives by highlighting some of the women doing it best. In addition to the musicians on stage, the group have curated vendors and installations that fit with the mindset of the growing collective. Lorna Alkana set up a table on the patio inviting attendees to add their flair to a growing interactive, surrealist coloring book, with the earliest marks going three years back. A bake sale was hosted by Trade School LA, a community-run organization that offers classes to the public using a barter system instead of money. Each of the two emphasize the importance of building together with each other.

After seeing them play at the show, we were burning to know more about the artists that were the focal point in bringing us together. Learn about each below and be sure to follow them for future updates.

Anna Bulbrook, The Bulls

When was the first time you picked up an instrument? How did you learn to play?
I was four when I started playing the violin. My brother played and I usually wanted to whatever he did too. My parents did the heavy lifting to get us started: taking us to lessons, to orchestra rehearsals, practicing with us. Their direction was pretty crucial because what four-year-old wants to practice violin instead of run around outside? I started playing piano and taking ear training classes shortly after that. And now, a couple decades later, here I am.

What female figures in the music industry do you most look up to?
I think Bjork is a 360-degree artist: an incredible singer and performer, a conceptual artist, and an all-around unique talent. She is purely her, and no one else. And I admire Beyonce. What a boss! She performs with every single thing she's got, plus she has turned into a curatorial powerhouse. Her artistic output has only improved over the years, getting cooler and more mindful. Plus, how many people does that one woman employ? It's insane. And she seems like a lovely person to boot. I also think Wendy Goldstein (Executive Vice President of Republic Records) is an incredible example of a powerful and beloved woman who's further along in her career on the business side. She's the badass boss who signed The Roots, Common and Gza, among others.

What has been one of the biggest challenges you've had to overcome in the music industry?
Well, no matter what your gender, it's hard to make music for money. It's the most insane concept to me that there is a dollar value applied to art, to ideas, and to personalities–but there is. I think the ups and downs are so intense, that navigating the experience and surviving emotionally is maybe the hardest part. Writing songs, playing instruments, performing: those are things you can work on and get better at if you do them enough and are willing to be self-critical. But thriving despite being on the music industry rollercoaster and maintaining your peace and your confidence in yourself and in your output without being a narcissistic jackass? That's the hard part.

What instruments do you currently play? And, if you had to pick any you could learn instantly, what would you choose?
My main instrument is the violin (and the viola, I suppose). I also sing and I play a bit of keyboard. I'd call it "just enough" keyboard. I am a devoted tambourinist, a very rudimentary guitarist, and I can screw around on the bass... I'd never hire myself out to play guitar or bass or anything. If I could instantly become an insane pianist or keyboard shredder–and not the Jack Nicholson in Groundhog Day way–I would. You can do so many cool things with keyboards... Though guitar is fun, too.

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Kera Armendariz, Kera and The Lesbians

When was the first time you picked up an instrument? How did you learn to play?
When I was three my mom made me my first guitar using a smash paddle and rubber bands; the same paddle she used to spank us with. A little dark, I know, but that was my first guitar. As I got older, I graduated from a paddle to a pink plastic guitar from Toys R' Us. My parents never had any money and sacrificed a lot to buy me my first real guitar one Christmas. I still consider that day the best day of my life. I was self taught growing up and would learn by watching the worship band at the church I used to go to. As I've gotten older, I have invested the time to take lessons again because I feel I'm at a point where I can always learn more and become even better at my craft.

What female figures in the music industry do you most look up to?
The two I look up to and feel inspired by are Cate Le Bon and Monika.

What has been one of the biggest challenges you've had to overcome in the music industry?
Working in a predominately white male dominated industry with being a queer individual.

What instruments do you currently play? And, if you had to pick any you could learn instantly, what would you choose?
I can play piano, bass, and a little drums. If I could learn any instrument instantly it would have to be the Hurdy Gurdy or the cello.

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Soraya Sebghati, Night Talks

When was the first time you picked up an instrument? How did you learn to play?
I first started singing seriously around the age of eight, after listening to a lot of Billie Holiday and David Bowie. When I got to my first voice lesson in the fourth grade, I was told that I sounded like I had nodules on my vocal chords. So to speech therapy I went, where I had to learn how to breathe, speak, and eventually sing properly all over again. My voice has been back with a vengeance ever since. I also attempted to play the cello in elementary school, but quickly realized the cello was bigger than I was and that it wasn't going to work. In middle school and high school, I took guitar lessons once a week and luckily it's really helped with my songwriting process.

What female figures in the music industry do you most look up to?
About 70% of the music I listen to is actually from female artists, so the list is long, but I'll do my best to keep it short. My favorite artist of all time is Björk, and I absolutely look up to her for a number of reasons. I really appreciate that she's always mentoring other female artists, who are usually women of color, and helping them learn about the industry and assisting them with getting a foot in the door. I also really love that she's the one who's primarily behind the composition and production of her music. Another artist I love who has complete musical autonomy is Grimes. Lianne La Havas is also really doing cool things with her music while simultaneously showing the versatility that women of color can also have in music.

What has been one of the biggest challenges you've had to overcome in the music industry?
This is the most obvious answer, but I also think it's the most prevalent: it's really difficult to be heard and taken seriously as a woman (especially of color) in music. There are a lot of times where something I've suggested isn't actually attempted until a guy backs me up or comes around to my idea, and it's really frustrating at times. I've also walked into venues and been asked if I was the girlfriend of a band member, where I know none of the guys in my band will ever be asked seriously if they're just the boyfriend of a musician. It all gets difficult at times, but I just use those instances as motivation to work harder.

What instruments do you currently play? And, if you had to pick any you could learn instantly, what would you choose?
I currently sing and play guitar, and occasionally I bruise myself playing tambourine too hard. If I could pick up any instrument right now and learn it instantly, I would pick the piano so I could fulfill my lifelong dream of playing jazz standards with Jeff Goldblum.

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Make Music Pasadena 2016

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