Judy Collins, Shelly Peiken, Noelle Scaggs and more were honored at the 2023 She Rocks Awards, which were held at The Ranch in Anaheim, Calif. on Thursday (April 13).
The 11th annual event, sponsored by The Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN), honored the accomplishments of a diverse group of women representing all facets of the music industry.
The event kicked off with a set from Toronto-based band The Beaches. The all-woman quartet won their second Juno Award, rock album of the year, last year for Sisters Not Twins (The Professional Lovers Album).
Laura Whitmore, founder of the Women’s International Music Network and She Rocks co-producer, welcomed those in attendance.
The night proceeded with Legend Award honoree Collins, who quoted favorite Mae West lines (“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful,” “Restraint is fine if it doesn’t go too far”) in her acceptance speech. She capped her speech by leading the audience in an a capella rendition of her 1971 hit “Amazing Grace.”
Collins has a 59-year span of Grammy nominations. She was nominated for best folk recording in 1964 for her third studio album, Judy Collins #3, and was nominated again last year for best folk album for Spellbound, her 55th album. She won a 1968 Grammy for her hit rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”
Dreaming Out Loud honoree Peiken encouraged the crowd “to not be afraid to grow up.” Peiken is a two-time Grammy nominee, for co-writing Meredith Brooks’ 1997 smash “Bitch” and for best spoken word album for Confessions of a Serial Songwriter.
“I’m just finding my time at this point in my career,” Peiken said. “And there are many more adventures ahead. It’s truly an honor to be in the company of giants past, present and future.”
Powerhouse honoree Scaggs of Fitz & the Tantrums spoke of her inspiration for starting the organization Diversify the Stage (DTS). “I wanted young people to feel like they had a place in the industry,” said Scaggs. “It’s incredible to see our community standing up in ways I never got to see growing up; women are in greater positions of power to build new ways of thinking and actions that are truly moving the needle and bringing confidence to young people who may have felt they didn’t have a place here, or that the glass ceiling could never be broken. It’s important that young people see their reflections in this industry, to have people who share their identities, who have a familiar journey, this is what the DTS mission is, ensuring no human will ever feel dis-included in this space, because they see their reflections, in front and behind the scenes.”
Champion Award honoree, Stacey Ryan, COO of the School of Rock, spoke about the work needed to elevate more women into executive positions, and the importance of organizations like the Women’s International Music Network for mentoring young, up-and-coming women in the music industry. Her award acceptance was followed by an all-female School of Rock Band performing En Vogue’s 1992 smash “Free Your Mind.”
The night culminated with a performance from guitarist Gretchen Menn, She Rocks Inspire Award recipient, who led her band in an original song followed by a rendition of Led Zeppelin’s 1972 classic “Rock and Roll” with fellow Zepparella member Holly West on bass and lead vocals helmed by guest Laura Clapp.
Founded in 2012, the Women’s International Music Network unites women who work within all facets of the music and audio industries. The organization produces the She Rocks podcast, the LIVE: Front & Center web series, WiMN She Rocks Spotlight Showcase Series and the She Rocks Awards, and is founded by music industry veteran Laura B. Whitmore. For more information, go here.
Here’s a complete list of 2023 She Rocks Awards honorees:
Legend Award: Judy Collins, singer/songwriter icon; Grammy-winner and two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee
Powerhouse Award: Noelle Scaggs, co-frontperson for Fitz and the Tantrums and founder of Diversify the Stage
Dreaming Out Loud Award: Shelly Peiken, Grammy-nominated songwriter
Tone Setter Award: Mary Spender – guitarist, singer, songwriter and YouTube star
Mad Skills Award: Michelle Bell – vp of creative for Roc Nation
Vision Award: Lisa S. Johnson, photographer and author of 108 Rock Star Guitars and Immortal Axes
Groundbreaker Award: Katherine Wing, vp of marketing for Roland, drummer
Champion Award: Stacey Ryan, chief operating officer for School of Rock
Excellence Award: Helen Culleton, chief operating officer for Audiotonix
Inspire Award: Gretchen Menn, guitarist and founding member of Zepparella
Heart and Soul: Brad Tolinski, former Guitar World editor and author