Guitar Gabby’s Roads to Empowerment

Atlanta-based musician-lawyer-entrepreneur Gabriella Logan—aka Guitar Gabby—has an engine that’s always humming. This is doubly interesting since Gabby used to build and break apart cars in her youth. The artist, who founded the growing musical collective known as The TxLips Band, works as an advocate, teacher, consultant, and more, striving to empower communities and grow collaborative possibilities wherever she travels.

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If Midas turned everything he touched into gold, Gabby turns what she engages with into another avenue on the creative roadmap. Gabby works, connects, and builds. Her latest achievements include partnerships with Netflix for acting and music roles in films like The Harder They Fall and Wendell and Wild (the main character’s look was also based, in part, on Gabby). For Gabby, there’s always more on the horizon. 

“I gain so much being involved in a bunch of different organizations,” Gabby tells American Songwriter. “The main thing is the ability to be on different levels and have different levels of power. Learning how to take that power and reappropriate it to communities and people. You can foster a stronger sense of community through that shared power.”

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes one to achieve a dream. Gabby knows this through-and-through. For example, she and The TxLips Band are involved in rock camps in Asheville, North Carolina, and Birmingham, Alabama, as well as dozens more. The umbrella collective has professional partnerships in the Detroit music scene. The group also has The TxLips Academy, which aims to educate young female-identifying musicians on the music business from a young age.

Indeed, as with the cars she would break down and build back up as a kid, Gabby appreciates the idea that learning about a subject’s foundations—its nuts and bolts, so to speak—is paramount. From there, much can be built, much can grow. 

“Empowering people through shared power,” Gabby says. 

Growing up, Gabby didn’t see much, if any, representation in the world of rock and roll. Sure the genre started with folks like Chuck Berry and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, but as the music business took control of the songs, more and more faces occupying the photos and album covers were white.

As her love of music grew, she began to study. First, it was piano lessons. Then, oboe and clarinet. She started writing music. Then her mother bought her a cheap guitar. She listened to grunge, bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Jimi Hendrix. She also learned classical guitar, which opened up her mind to its intricate sonic scaffolding. She absorbed the tools she needed to extract the songs from her head and lay them out for listeners. Then she could help to manifest the representation she’d always yearned to see.

“I didn’t fit in with any group of kids,” she says. “I was definitely the kid who sat in the bathroom sometimes for lunch, or sat at a table by myself. I had the opportunity to just learn myself more. Growing up my dad would always tell me, ‘Learn to harness your gift.’ He was challenging me to learn songwriting and guitar and music, as a whole.”

Her father and her grandfather were policemen in the Atlanta area. Her grandfather was also a businessman and taught her how to run a business. Her mother and grandmother were English teachers and so she learned a love of communication, how weaving just the right word could create a perfect message.

The beginnings of so much were planted in Gabby’s brain as a young person. The seeds of longevity. Another first was Gabby’s first guitar purchase, which she bought at a music shop near her home called Galaxy Music. In that store, she met her future friend, teacher, and guitar tech, Tommy. He taught Gabby how to take apart a guitar, and showed her what does what. Like the cars she used to manipulate, now she could understand the skeleton of her six-string. 

“I used to go to the music store and just watch him fix guitars,” she says. “Watching him dissect the guitar.” 

Another motivating factor for Gabby in her work and connective tissue-building is that she wants to create things that didn’t exist when she was young. She wants to help to fill in those gaps while also providing space for new faces. She writes for music publications, including Guitar World. Her Atlanta-based band features a rotating cast of musicians and the network the band has created includes a few dozen members from all over the globe. Similarly, within Atlanta, Gabby works to fuse genres like trap music and rock.

“Your journey is what you make it,” she says. 

As a lawyer, she focuses on environmental and music business work. She sees interconnected through-lines within each. A graduate of Vermont Law School, Gabby again focuses on the foundations of things. She wants to demystify concepts and bring them, broken down and manageable, to others. Concepts of sustainability don’t have to be scary. Music contracts don’t have to be scary. And one doesn’t have to pick just law or just environmental work or just the life of an artist, she says. Law school helped her to “think outside of the box.”

When you break a car down, you learn how the tailpipe is connected to the brake light. Same with learning the law. That’s when you know how it impacts the life of a conservationist or a soloist. Now that she has a strong sense of the foundations of the important things, Gabby’s career is very much growing. Coming up next is a new television show pilot about her life, set to shoot in January. Her band is working on new music, too. And there’s a tour on the way.

“I love the limitless possibilities that music gives, for us to connect as people,” Gabby says. “The one thing we have in common is that we’re all human beings. And the fact that we’ve been given this tool to connect with each other is very powerful.”  

Photo by Mel The King / Courtesy of Guitar Gabby

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