We all know that LA has an incredible music scene, but asides from the huge acts that dominate the charts there’s a whole independent scene that has been a subject of fixation to me for quite a while. One group in particular, Play Like A Girl seems to be at the forefront of every cult-favorite band right now. The group puts on shows featuring female performers, but other than that they host workshops, run their own label, and promote the hell out of up and coming acts. I talked to founder Kimi Recor about the birth of the project and where she sees it heading.
Kimi Recor wanted to be a poet, but when she thought that wouldn’t be a suitable career she turned to music. She started singing in her boyfriend’s band and that’s how she fell in love with music. “The relationship didn’t last by my music sure did,” she laughs.
Eventually when labels got interested in her she noticed a certain trend, misogyny. She says, “I feel like for along time I dealt with misogyny in the music world, but I just kind of internalized it. I was like it’s fine. It’s just how it is.”
Often things were more about her appearance than her music. It was an awful experience but one that led her to reach out to other women and build connections.
Kim explains, “You’re like not only has this horrible thing happened to me but if this is something that’s happening to me and I am a privileged person, essentially, what are the experiences that other women must be having which could be even ten times, a hundred times worse than this.”
She started thinking about how to help all her other ladies in the music industry, whether they were musicians or label reps, people in the industry and performers. She saw all of these female music festivals happening but wanted something that was happening all the time.
She says she thought to herself, “I wish there was a place every month where you can go and like, meet other rad female artists and feel like if you’re performing there, you don’t feel like weird shit is going to happen. And it’s like a safe space essentially for women.”
Like most girls she was told she plays well for a girl, or she plays like a girl and it was considered an insult. So she turned it around and made it a haven for women in music.
She says, “I wanted to fix it and take it back from being this awful thing. So, it’s like, ‘Yeah, of course I do and it’s awesome.’ It kind of started like that and then I just came up with it as an idea and I just roped a bunch of my friends into helping me with it and then like since then it’s just kind of grown into what it is now, which is like a label and we’re doing workshops, and we’re doing two to three shows a month. And yeah, I didn’t actually think that this would happen. But it did.”
Their workshops are open to everyone but they like to focus on women, giving them the opportunity to share their insights and knowledge about the industry. Men are definitely allowed and welcomed, but their goal is to support women and empower them. They’re broken into all the sides of the music industry, like touring, business, songwriting, and even mental health. They have shows at least twice a month. They’ve started a label too, really covering everything.
Kimi says that down the line she’d love to continue to foster the community they’ve built and keep adding more programs and more shows. Her best advice is to throw yourself into whatever you’re passionate about and don’t let mistakes set you back.
She says, “Just keep going. I think especially for women, we judge ourselves so hard and I think there’s this expectation that you have to do it better because you’re a woman. Because you’re trying to prove yourself and it’s like just do it. Even if you’re not good just pick up the guitar and just throw yourself into it. Even Play Like A Girl; None of us know what we’re doing, but we’re just going to Google what we need to know and throw ourselves into it and be passionate about it. If you make a mistake, you take it in, learn from it, and move on. What I do see is that people make mistakes or people hit a roadblock and they’re just like, ‘Nope. I can’t do it perfectly so I’m not going to do it.” Nobody does it perfect. There’s not one person that has had like the perfect career or had the perfect situation. It’s just how you deal with it.”