Nothing moves us like music.
Music Mavens transports readers around the world (and beyond)—to a jazz performance in Genoa, an instrument lab in London, a Tokyo taiko dojo, a New York City beatbox battle, and even a film scoring session aboard the starship Enterprise, to name a few. Along the way, it spotlights artists whose work spans musical genres and industry roles, including composing and songwriting, performing and conducting, audio engineering, producing, and rock photography.
In Music Mavens, 15 extraordinary women reveal how they turned their passions into platforms and how they use their power to uplift others.
Their musical resumes will inspire, but the way each artist lives her life is the real story.
"An antidote to the erasure that can limit young people’s conceptions of what is possible...and expand the world of music." — Kirkus Reviews
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What an amazing resource for young people of any identifying gender to learn about the pathways and possibilities of the music industry! Representation abounds in Music Mavens: 15 Women of Note in the Music Industry. The trailblazers in this book come from such varied socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. The authors, Ashley Walker and Maureen Charles, take care to reveal each person's thought processes and life decisions that led them to where they are, digging beneath the surface and providing more points for readers to empathize, identify and connect with their stories. Moreover, all aspects of the industry are embodied in these stories, revealing the nuance of the craft, reaching beyond the stories of fame we too often hear about in mainstream media.
This book makes visible the varied paths, obstacles and triumphs each person faced and their unique journey into finding their purpose, expression, and livelihood in music. Music Mavens unpacks industry and art form vocabulary seamlessly within each person's narrative. This is no dry textbook--yet as one learns about each person's story, they absorb learning about the art form and profession....Moral of Music Mavens the story: there is a place for everyone in the future of the music industry. Message to youth: including YOU!
This collective biography, based on interviews with the subjects conducted by the authors, showcases diverse women in the music industry. As each approachable profile traces the music maven’s career path, influences, and guiding principles, readers will appreciate the range of genres represented, note how few of these women came from musical families, and consider the challenges these women have faced working in a male-dominated industry. While the collection does include singers and performers, such as Janet Dacal (a Cuban American singer on Broadway) and Kaoly Asano (the leading percussionist in Japan’s GOCOO band and founder of a new style of taiko drumming), it also features Irish American beatboxing champion Kaila Mullady, who uses beatboxing skills to help children with speech therapy, and Australian-born and partially sighted Lia Mice, whose work as a musical instrument designer focuses on inclusion. The overall effect is a rich and inspiring mix of talent and career directions. Boxed information lends further accessibility by explaining related terms, genres, and musicians. A playlist featuring each musician wraps up this high-interest volume with educational value. —Angela Leeper
What a difference “Music Mavens” would have made in my life had I read it in my formative years...
“Music Mavens” is full of women who are trailblazers, women who were encouraged by the dominant demographic to go for it even in the face of some nasty disparagers. The most under-the-radar hostility was hurled at beatboxing champ Kaila Mullady. She won in a field that was not, and still is not, female friendly. When she triumphed, the young man she “beat” came over to her and said, “You only won because you’re a girl.” On the flip side of the coin, Kaila was encouraged and mentored by Kid Lucky, a master beatboxer who was secure enough in his talent that he could be generous to Kaila.
The tome has something for everyone, nationally and globally. If relating to human beings simply because they are human is your jam, this book is full of every career you can think of in the music industry, and then some: engineering, composing, music photography, performers, and more. And, if you’re inspired by someone with a similar cultural background like Vietnamese, non-binary, or Latinx, you are in for a massive treat.
Read Ellen's Consider This: Music Mavens column in the Pasadena Weekly.
Role models for young people are vital. Music Mavens takes inspiring role models and blends their triumphs and challenges into pathways that set a musically interested young person on their journey with a sense of hope - and some very pragmatic life lessons along the way.
Super super honored to be a part of this project by Maureen Charles and Ashley Walker and to be surrounded on the page and between the covers of this book by these 14 bad-ass musicians. It’s no secret that the music biz is a boys club. These women are trailblazers and they are my heroes. If you know a girl who plays music — a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, a sister, a friend’s daughter — this is the book for them!
Writing The Biography Collection Music Mavens
by Ashley Walker & Maureen Charles
In this feature in the Women's Writers, Women's Books online magazine we discuss the challenges of writing about the vast music industry: "...We wanted to take readers on a journey from their comfortable corner of the music world to stages and studios they’ve never imagined, revealing unseen journeys to the big mics and mixing desks of the industry."
Read Music Mavens author interview featured on the Cynsations blog in its April 2022 series, on writing YA nonfiction where we discuss our collaboration and research processes.
Go to Girl Talk HQ for excerpts from Chapter 1
Maureen delivers talks tailored for Creative Writing Students, Performing Arts Students, and Youth Groups (age 12 and over) at schools, libraries, book festivals, and conferences. She is located in Southern California, willing to travel throughout the US., and can also deliver virtual presentations. Talks can be scaled from 20 to 90 minutes. Youth presentations focus on writing creative nonfiction or career pathways in the performing arts.