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Punk Singer Shira Yevin Working for the Next Generation of Women in Music

Yevin is the embodiment of hustle in the music business. In 2020, she founded Gritty in Pink, a female-led organization that empowers and connects diverse women in all aspects of the music business, from the artists to the recording engineers to the sales people at the merch stand. 
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August 4, 2022
Shira Yevin Photo by Erica Vincent

Shira Yevin isn’t just a punk rock singer. She is an entrepreneur, activist and artist — a true multi-hyphenate.

Yevin is the embodiment of hustle in the music business. In 2020, she founded Gritty in Pink, a female-led organization that empowers and connects diverse women in all aspects of the music business, from the artists to the recording engineers to the sales people at the merch stand. 

According to Gritty in Pink, only 21.6% of music industry professionals are female artists, 12.6% are female songwriters and only 2.6% are female producers. The numbers were even lower back in 2004 when Yevin took a stand that would change her life forever. She was working for the Truth Campaign (to stamp out teen smoking) as the MC for their stand at the Vans Warped Tour, a traveling punk rock music festival, and she noticed that nearly all of the punk bands were made up of men. 

“I would ask people, ‘Where are the girls?’ And some of the people I would ask would say, ‘Well, girls don’t play this kind of music,” Yevin said. “I was like, ‘I know that’s not true.’”

Yevin would bring the subject up to Kevin Lyman, the founder of the Warped Tour, who loved the idea of an all-female rock stage, but it wouldn’t likely take shape until the 2005 Warped Tour. Not wanting to wait another year, Yevin took matters into her own hands as lead singer of her band Shiragirl. 

“We drove our pink RV into the [Warped Tour] grounds in Fullerton, set it up across the skate ramp and started playing,” Yevin said. When Lyman noticed, Yevin and her bandmates held their breath, fearing retribution. 

Instead, Yevin’s bold move earned them a spot playing on the rest of the summer festival’s tour. 

“I always was a person that gave people an opportunity, you know, and [Shiragirl] kind of barged it, which is cool,” Lyman told The Journal.  “The easy thing was letting them do the first one. But when they wanted to do more, [I said] let’s see if [Shira] could pull it together. And she did.”

By the 2005 Warped Tour, there was a stage dedicated solely to female bands, the Shiragirl Stage.

“We had over 250 girl bands [during the 2005 Warped Tour],” Yevin said. “We came back in 2006, and Joan Jett was on the tour.”

Shiragirl would go on to tour over the subsequent years, opening for punk legends including NOFX, Joan Jett and Rancid. In 2018, the Shiragirl stage returned for the final full-summer Warped Tour.

She did theater at Kutsher’s Camp Anawana, a Jewish summer camp in the Catskills. With Gritty in Pink, she gets the opportunity to perform and give a leg up to other women to do the same. 

Looking back, it comes as no surprise that Yevin would combine her talents in such a way. When she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, she majored in both communications and theater. She wasn’t always into singing. As a child, she was much more into ballet, jazz and tap dancing. She did theater at Kutsher’s Camp Anawana, a Jewish summer camp in the Catskills. With Gritty in Pink, she gets the opportunity to perform and give a leg up to other women to do the same. 

She brought her business pitch to Lyman for feedback. 

“I made a 20-page [pitch] deck and I brought it to Kevin and I had this huge vision — and it wasn’t just a tour,” Yevin said. “I wanted to do an online network and a media content studio and lifestyle products.”

Lyman was impressed and encouraging. He said whenever he meets with Yevin, he can just “sit there and be a sounding board or a mentor to her as she’s building out her newest projects.” To this day, Lyman describes Yevin as family. 

“Now with what Shira’s doing with Gritty in Pink, you have to give her a complete credit where credit is due, and she just keeps moving forward,” Lyman said. 

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gritty in Pink organized a virtual concert series called “Gritty Rock Live” (GRL, a play on the 1990s MTV show TRL — “Total Request Live”). GRL would bring over 200 female musicians to fans via live-streams and Instagram-live fundraisers. 

In addition to consulting and advising one-on-one with females in the music industry, Yevin organizes concerts. She created the annual Gritty in Pink All-Girl Jam, featuring dozens of female-fronted musical acts as well as the internationally-touring “Punk Rock and Paintbrushes” art festival.  

“She’s very passionate about moving females forward in all sorts of things in business, as well as in the music industry. And she took that lead and she does with all the best intentions,” Lyman said.

Yevin’s impact in the music industry is apparent. The Gritty in Pink team is growing. Clients include pop singer Juno, punk band Bad Cop Bad Cop, hard rockers Doll Skin, bassist Eva Gardner, R&B singer Shea Diamond and indie rocker Madeline Rosene. Gritty in Pink has over 250 artists with 27 million collective followers on Instagram and TikTok. 

The Shiragirl Stage is even immortalized in a Warped Tour exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. 

Yevin is doing all she can to ensure a place for females in every aspect of the next generation of the music industry. 

“[There are] a lot of emerging artists, and we have seen artists that we scouted out in the beginning and they go on to, touring the world,” Yevin said. “And I have an incredible team. It’s not just me. The team really has an eye for talent. And so we’re proud of that.”

Gritty in Pink’s next All Girl Jam is on Thursday, September 15th at 7:00 pm at The Echo. Tickets are free but you must register before attending: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/all-grl-jam-90s-tickets-395022130827

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