In 2004, Shiragirl was an all-girl band working to make a name for itself in the punk rock world. Leader Shira Yevin was well aware that the music industry was overwhelmingly populated by men — The uber-popular Vans Warped Tour rarely had single female acts.
So Yevin took Shiragirl and her pink RV, parked it across from the Warped stage and crashed the party. The public — and the press — loved it. The phrase Gritty In Pink was coined and the Pink Stage became part of the tour.
“Ultimately we put more than 300 female musicians on stage, including Joan Jett,” Yevin said. “2018 was the final tour. We had gotten a lot of press, but the inequity remained.”
Flash forward to 2021. Yevin and the Gritty In Pink crew had helped female musicians fulfill their need to perform with online concerts and hosting monthly Instagram Live fundraisers called Gritty Rocks Live (GRL).
And Yevin had time to expand the vision, creating a network of female artists, songwriters, producers and technicians. But there were missing parts — expertise and investment.
Enter Sunstone Management and the Long Beach Accelerator.
“Through a friend, I knew John (Keisler, Sunstone CEO),” Yevin said. “At first I didn’t think we would qualify. But my friend pushed me to explore it. So I reached out to John, and he connected us.”
Yevin said that her first interview with the Long Beach Accelerator was with a woman. Then she found out that the LBA executive director is a woman as well — Andrea White-Kjoss. It became clear the accelerator was supportive of women- and minority-owned businesses.
Yevin was in Puerto Rico in the period when the LBA was to decide the third cohort participants.
“I expected to be accepted — positive visualization,” she said. “When I woke up one day, there was an email. It said congratulations. I ran out on the beach, I was so happy.
“It legitimized my life,” she added. “Sunstone is an amazing partner. They believe in the vision. They are so much more than a check. They are moral support.”
That vision already has expanded. Gritty In Pink shares a Slack channel with LBA. The company is working build a marketplace network — called InPink — to connect women who work in all aspects of the music industry with decision makers in the business and other professionals who want to hire diverse women.
Eventually, Yevin said, the goal is to widen the network to include freelancers in all fields, communicating, connecting and providing a market for talented women.
And the music is still alive — and growing as well.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in January 2020, Gritty In Pink had just launched a live event series. It lasted for three months.
But the live online events, along with frequent communication, kept the musicians together. And while Gritty In Pink was growing through the accelerator, Yevin landed superstar Melissa Etheridge as an advisor.
Now Gritty In Pink is going live again, and in a big way. On Sept. 15, there will be a Gritty In Pink All GRL Jam event at The Echo on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. And the worldwide producer Live Nation is partnering in the venture.
Yevin still is the only full-time employee of Gritty In Pink, although there are about 15 part-timers and more interns. Now based in Studio City, Yevin said she “brings my New York hustle to LA.”
That hustle is being magnified by the Sunstone network, Yevin agreed.
“Just last night, we were networking [with] Zero Infinity One (an extended reality startup working with music venues),” Yevin said. “We’re always helping each other.”
For more information about Gritty In Pink, go to grittyinpink.co.