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Women’s History Month: Indie-Pop R&B Group gloss

Officially formed in February of 2020 due to the lack of female representation in the music industry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania indie pop r&b girl group, gloss is the band to be on the lookout for this year.

Their most recent single “Play Myself Again,” inspired by artists like Macy Grey and Q-Tip, is an upbeat track that focuses on the beginning stages of a crush.

Bassist Harlee, drummer Mollie, vocalist and keyboardist Sophie, and guitarist Corinne (the cherry on top), have created a feel-good music group that is relatable, danceable, and groovy. They are planning on releasing their debut EP soon!

They simply want their music to make people feel understood.

We are excited to be featuring gloss for Women’s History Month! Continue reading to learn more about their experience as women in the music industry, their inspirations, and more!

Talk to us about your single “Mariposa” and your newest single “Play Myself Again”! What was the inspiration behind both songs? What’s their story?

Both songs were written pre-pandemic. ‘Mariposa’ started with some chords and bassline from our bassist, Harlee. Through that we developed and refined it to what you hear today! The lyrics in ‘Mariposa’ are meant to tell the story of two people who were once close but became strangers over time. Some of our inspirations for this song are Mistki, James brown, Khruangbin, and The Meters.

Similarly, ‘Play Myself Again’ started with the piano intro written by our drummer, Mollie. ‘Play Myself Again’ is a fun, upbeat jam about the beginning stages of having a crush and not knowing if the feelings are reciprocated. Some inspirations for this song are Phony Ppl, Macy Grey, Q-Tip, and Vulfpeck.

We were originally planning on releasing the singles early last year, but because of the pandemic we quickly had to brainstorm a way to record and release our music while being in different parts of the country.

How do you feel like you have grown between the release of these two songs? Closer together? Finding your path as a band?

Through the releases we have had a chance to develop as friends and as a band. Most of the musical growth we have done has been apart. Throughout the pandemic we’ve been writing and sending song ideas back and forth. We have definitely grown closer, even with the distance! Recently Mollie and Harlee moved to Philadelphia and we have plenty of time to write, practice, and develop more goals as a group, which has helped a bunch! Our biggest goals are to write as much as we can, and play live as soon as it’s safe!

Since March is Women’s History Month… let’s chat. What are some of your favorite women musicians and why? Who’s inspired you?

Some of our favorite female artists are Esperanza Spalding, Nai Palm, Solange, Raveena, Kadhja Bonet, Sister Sledge, HAIM, Taylor Gordon, Sarah Thawer, Carly Rae Jepsen, Brittany Howard, Emily King, St. Vincent, Kim Petras, Bjork, Jill Scott, Caroline Rose, Remi Wolf, Mazie, Dua Lipa, Genevieve Artadi, Amy Winehouse, and U.S. Girls. They are all incredibly strong, talented women who deserve every ounce of recognition!

Outside of musicians, who are some women creators you are inspired by (photographers, designers, etc.)?

A lot of our peers are female identifying creators who inspire us. A great example is our cover artist, Destiny Flores. She is an amazing multi-media sculpture artist based in Philadelphia. Others are Olivia Wilde, Victoria Vincent, Autumn Alwood, Arielle Coupe, Mira Mariah, Rowi Singh and Jacquelene Acevedo.

Have you ever been treated less than equal because of your gender in this industry?

Yes. Oftentimes when we show people (usually men) our music, we get comments like, “Oh wow, this is an all girl group?” or, “You guys actually sound good.” How we present ourselves certainly plays a role in how we are treated. We have found that because we appear to be ‘traditionally’ feminine, people make negative assumptions about our skill levels as musicians. When we first started to rehearse at school, our peers didn’t take us as seriously as they do now.

What would you say to a woman new to the industry or just getting started?

You definitely need a strong head on your shoulders and thick skin. Don’t get discouraged by misogynists. Don’t be afraid to call people out, but don’t bash your female competitors solely because they are female. From a young age, we’re taught that there is only space for one girl in a band. This can lead to two women being put against each other, which can create internalized misogyny among the community. We wish more women would collaborate rather than see each other as a threat.

Similar to a few questions ago, are there any women who helped inspire you to become a bigger part of the music industry? What resources would you recommend to help grow and learn?

All of us have supportive music mentors that have helped us set foot into the industry. Sherrie Merricle, Mollie’s private drum teacher, has taught her to always be confident and believe in yourself. Preparedness is very important. You never want to be the one at the gig who doesn’t know their stuff. Sophia’s voice teacher, Mary Ellen Desmond really helped her find her voice and confidence. She also showed her how to command a space filled with men and be the smartest in the room. Dolly Parton and Esperanza Spalding were also huge influences that talk a lot about being women in the industry and embracing themselves and being unapologetic, which helped a bunch. Harlee hasn’t been taught by many women due to the lack of female bassists in the industry. However, she has had many great mentors who have taught her to focus on the people who will respect her rather than who will not.

What are some small things everyone can do to promote equality in the music and arts industry?

Everyone should actively work to reverse their biases against women that we all have been conditioned to uphold. The biggest part of changing systemic issues is to recognize how you contribute to them.

If you wrote a thank you letter to yourself, what three things would be on that list?

Thank you for not being afraid to try new things and not being afraid to fail.

Thank you for following your dreams no matter what anyone said.

Thank you for trusting yourself.

A fun question inspired by “Mariposa”. If you were a butterfly, what kind of butterfly would you be?

Sophia would be a yellow Monarch, Mollie would be a blue Morpho, and Harlee would be a Painted Lady!

What can we expect from gloss in the future? New music? Collabs?

Our debut EP will be out by the end of March… We have also been working on a lot of new music and hope to release it in 2021. Collabs would be super fun! We haven’t planned any, but we hope to do some in the future!

If you had to share one last thing it would be…

We just want to thank everyone who has supported us thus far and to stay covid cautious so we can perform for you all very soon!!! <3

gloss will be releasing more music soon! Keep your eyes and ears open! In the meantime, stream “Mariposa” and “Play Myself Again” on your favorite platforms!

And hey! Be sure to tune into their takeover on our Instagram account on March 12, 2021!

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