MEET THE ARTISTS
Sarah Command // Command Sisters
Lexii Lynn Frazier // Chloe X Halle, Pink Sweat$, & more
Melia Maccarone // Melia
Maggie Noelle // Magnolia Boulevard
Lauren “LT” Taneil // Beyonce
PRS: Can you recall what or who initially inspired you to pick up the guitar/bass?
Sarah Command: Orianthi was actually the one who inspired me to really pursue playing lead guitar! I remember looking up to Steve Vai/Satriani as a kid... and I LOVED them. But there was something so motivating and inspiring about seeing a female up on stage shredding a guitar. I’ll never forget the day I watched Orianthi solo in “This Is It.” She made me feel like hey, I can do it too. (And in heels!)
Lexii Lynn Frazier: I knew I wanted to be a guitar player at 12 years old after I had first seen Eddie Van Halen performing live. It was a video of Van Halen performing at US festival in ‘83 and he was playing their song “Little Guitars”. I haven’t stopped since.
Melia Maccarone: Initially it was Billie Joe Armstrong. Green Day opened the door in terms of me getting heavily into rock music. It was the beginning of everything. I really wanted to learn to play and play the right way. I begged for lessons for two years after I saw him pull someone on stage and thought, next time that’s going to be me. Sure enough, 4 years later, I was pulled on stage at a Green Day show in Albany and played “Jesus of Suburbia”. By the time I got my lessons , I was increasingly interested in lead playing as well as writing music.
Maggie Noelle: My family was always pretty musically inclined. A lot of my memories of family events as a child are filled with moments like watching my Papaw, uncles or cousins play guitar together. However, my Mama was the first person who actually ever sat me down & explained what a chord was. She taught me G, C & D and then I continued on from there on my own. The first song I ever learned was “Angel from Montgomery” by John Prine/Bonnie Raitt & I’ve been playing that tune ever since. So I give a lot of thanks to my mama for inspiring me & encouraging me to play the guitar & also for giving me great taste in music.
Lauren “LT” Taneil: I come from a musical family and so my Daddy, Garry ‘Michi’ Robinson, inspired me to play bass. He taught me everything I know and put me and my sisters in his school of music and artist development training as young children. He grew and molded us into a band that can sing and play. That led me to many opportunities playing for many artist such as Beyoncé, Normani, Brownstone, Jasmine Sullivan, BET’s Black Girls Rock, Keisha Cole, Fantasia, Kelly Price, 112 and many more! Thank you Daddy!
PRS: In your opinion, what would you say are the greatest strengths and weaknesses of your own playing?
Sarah Command: Strength I’d say is playing with emotion. My sister writes most of the lyrics, so guitar solos and melodies are how I express my feelings about love and life. I try to emote those emotions in my playing. Weaknesses... definitely being afraid of theory. I‘ve never been tested for dyslexia... but I struggle with a lot of the symptoms and it really took a toll on reading music and learning theory. Once I stopped being intimidated by theory and started playing with my emotions/ear vs technique/theory - I was able to become a better player. Everyone has their own way of playing music I’ve learned!
Lexii Lynn Frazier: The greatest strength in my own playing is that I will always play for the music. My feel for a note, a riff, or a melody is something I am very proud of and I will always write parts that will complement the music in its entirety, rather than just strictly looking at myself. It’s not about how many notes you can play in a matter of time or how many tricks you can perform while doing it - it’s about feeling something and being able to translate that soul to those around you and listening. My biggest weakness is that I will overthink and doubt myself while performing. I can completely blank out sometimes when I get too nervous. I play the best when I clear my head but sometimes it’s very hard to do. I am definitely my own worst enemy.
Melia Maccarone: My greatest strength is that I always aim to cover another player just to see how they solo. I think it expands your own approach and I like to challenge and be out of my comfort zone. I think because of that, I’ve been told I have my own unique sound when I’m playing. My weakness is perfectionism and an all-or-nothing approach. I think because of that sometimes I overthink or get into my own head.
Maggie Noelle: My biggest weakness is most definitely the fact that I should find the time to practice more. I find strength in focusing on the rhythm of a song and feel that I can better hear melodies because of this.
Lauren “LT” Taneil: My strength is my groove and pocket. I love locking in on tight grooves that feel good and have everyone bopping their heads. I also enjoy entertaining. I love being a showman on stage. I don’t enjoy doing crazy solos as much. So, I always try to incorporate strong grooves when soloing so that people can relate to what I’m playing and make them feel good. I think I’ve gotten this far in my career by sounding good and looking good at the same time while on stage. The stage is my 2nd home.
PRS: What emerging guitarists male or female, have attracted your attention recently?
Sarah Command: Technically not emerging but Angie Swan is a shredder we’ve been lucky to meet on our music journey! She’s been taking the world by storm on tour with David Byrne. She’s the definition of an incredibly skilled player who makes the audience feel so much at the same time! She makes them feel included in the music! It mega inspires me.
Lexii Lynn Frazier: An emerging male artist I admire a lot is a friend of mine, Justus West. An incredible player and producer with an ear for anything and everything. A female player I’ve always admired is Orianthi. Although she’s been around for a while, she is coming back from a music hiatus of a few years and I’m so happy to see her back with a new album soon having overcome many obstacles.
Melia Maccarone: I’m a big Nita Strauss fan. I see the progression of her career and playing and it is so inspiring to me.
Maggie Noelle: I’ve always loved & respected Brandi Carlile’s music & lyrics... but WOW, The Highwomen. Holy hell, is that empowering or what?! Also a huge fan of Marcus King & his band right now. He’s a soulful powerhouse vocally & instrumentally who’s out there killing it. (We were blessed with the opportunity to open up for them back in Feb. - when I was 7 months pregnant & it was so much fun!)
Lauren “LT” Taneil: Aron Hodek, he’s absolutely amazing! Very inspiring and will make you want to go practice lol!
PRS: What is your preferred PRS model and why?
Sarah Command: The second I picked up my S2 Starla I instantly felt at home. I’m 5’1, and don’t like to do arm day at the gym... haha. So heavier guitars were always a problem for me. My past guitars took a toll on my performance abilities for longer sets. Once I began performing on stage with my PRS, I felt free with my playing. It totally made a difference! My Starla is light, has a beast of a tone, and is so playable. (It is also totally Instagram picture worthy so that’s a major perk.) My guitar is an extension of me so you could say I’m attached! (Stoked to try out the new SE Starla though!!)
Lexii Lynn Frazier: My preferred PRS model is the SE Custom 24 "Floyd." I’ve been playing this model since I was 14 and it has always been reliable and versatile enough to accommodate any genre or style of playing while still being simple and affordable enough to allow anyone to pick it up and start learning!
Melia Maccarone: S2 Custom 24 - I love having those extra couple frets to bend and play on. I love high screaming bends and that gives me more opportunities to do that. The neck is also so easy to play on.
Maggie Noelle: Because I like a clean sounding tone, I love my S2 Vela because of it’s soulfulness & adjustability. My whole life until recently (3 years ago or so) I have played acoustically, so electric guitars didn’t come so naturally to me. My Vela makes it easy to play and I love that comfortability.
Lauren “LT” Taneil: I like the Grainger 5 String Bass because it gives me everything I need to play live and for recordings. It’s not too heavy. I like the tone, the clarity, and the power it gives me and it’s comfortable to play. It gives me that punch when I need it as well as the smooth tone when I need it. I love the electronic options and I also love the aesthetic of the bass. It’s so beautiful!
PRS: What advice would you offer to the legions of aspiring female guitarists out there yet to be heard?
Sarah Command: Don't overthink - just PLAY! I spent years questioning my worth as a player. Comparing myself to the technically skilled players around me. But I realized over time that audiences want to feel something from your performance. If you play 3 notes with conviction, that’s sometimes better than shredding all over the neck when you’re not comfortable. Do it for the love of music. You deserve to play and be heard!
Lexii Lynn Frazier: To fellow aspiring female guitarists: It’s important to know that the music always comes first. When your love for music and playing your instrument comes before anything else, you can never be defeated. Not everyone will agree with what you’re doing and that’s completely okay. You must believe in yourself and always stay true to your beliefs and character. When you’re in it for the right reasons, the rest will come in time.
Melia Maccarone: I would say don’t let anybody tell you that you cannot do something or compare you to others. Find your own sound, play from the heart and soul. At the end of the day that’s what people resonate with.
Maggie Noelle: NEVER. GIVE. UP. and don’t ever let anyone steal your thunder... oh, and practice more often.
Lauren “LT” Taneil: Don’t wait on anyone to help you, help yourself. Find a way to win. Constantly adapt to circumstances. Don’t get too comfortable. Study your craft. Build your character. Believe in yourself and a higher power. Be yourself. Google and YouTube are my besties, use them!Read more
With over 280 days of sunshine a year, California not only provides a great tan, but also a prime location for supporting our West Coast artists and cultivating new relationships with musicians in the area. For that reason, we've built a PRS showroom nestled in LA's CenterStaging - a premier rehearsal and backline facility.
We interviewed PRS Director of Artist Relations, Bev Fowler, for some insight on this location, how it helps meet the needs of our artists, and how our company views relationships with musicians.
What led to the decision to open a showroom on the West Coast?
BEV: Ultimately, we wanted to be able to expand our ability to provide support to our existing artist roster as well as establish relationships with new artists. The LA area is so heavily populated with musicians and being based in MD, it was becoming very difficult to support the needs of our artists who were based in LA or passing through to do TV performances. We were spending an exorbitant amount of time, energy and resources fulfilling gear requests from the East Coast and it just wasn’t efficient. Not to mention, having a footprint at a facility like CenterStaging opens up the door for so many new opportunities with artists.
How did you choose the location?
BEV: The CenterStaging location in Burbank is a premier rehearsal facility that specializes in production for television and live performances. There are a number of artists who frequent this facility and having the PRS showroom onsite serves as a place for us to establish new relationships, maintain and support our existing endorsers while also giving the PRS brand exposure within the music community there.
How do we stock the showroom?
BEV: We have a wide variety of guitars and amplifiers in stock and on display for artists to get their hands on. The showroom is acoustically treated and is a great place to experience the playability and tone of our instruments.
Is there anyone on-site to manage the gear and meet with artists?
BEV: Yes, Winn Krozack runs operations out of this showroom and is onsite M-F from 9am to 5pm and also by appointment if necessary. Winn has been with the company for 30 years and is a walking encyclopedia of everything PRS. He has vast product knowledge and can always help to align the perfect guitar and/or amplifier with our artists.
Walk us through the process of getting an artist fitted for the right guitar or amp for their gig.
BEV: Most of the time, artists already have an idea of which model they are interested in. However, there have been many times where an artist will come in looking for a specific model and walk out with something totally different once they’ve had a chance to play and compare the various guitar and amp models we have on hand. Providing a hands-on experience for the artist is always the most ideal way to ensure they’re getting the right guitar or amp for their needs. The one-on-one interaction gives us the ability to understand the artists needs from a playability and tonal aspect. However, there are times when an artist is not able to get that hands-on experience and we have to rely on our knowledge and experience to provide them with the right tools to do their jobs.
*Since Winn is our boots-on-the-ground guy in California, we asked for his input on this question as well!
WINN: The first thing I do when I work with an artist is to get to know them musically. I ask them about their #1 guitar and amp, if they use pedals, and what kind of music they like to play and write. I prefer that they bring their guitar to the showroom so I get to feel what they feel with their instrument. It is important to understand an artist’s potential guitar prejudices, as they might not even know they have them. A lot depends on what instrument they grew up with, and which school of guitars they came from - Humbuckers or Single Coils, or both. After I understand what “musical home” is for the artist and their rig, I ask them about their creative needs, but most importantly - how can I help them?
I call guitars sonic crayons. There are infinite sonic possibilities, and my job is to find out what they need, educate them on the possibilities, and assist them in their musical quest to find their ultimate instrument. It always must come from a spirit of helping. First, I find appropriate guitars that they may like and be inspired by. You can always tell if they like the guitar because it’s still in their lap after 2 minutes. Liking or disliking a guitar is usually a quick intuitive response. Inspiration is priceless.
The difference between liking and loving a guitar is in the 2% to 5% range. I work to get the artist in love with their guitar. There is nothing like it. If the artist loves their guitar, they will never put it down, and they will show everybody.
How do you view the relationship between our brand and artists?
BEV: I often refer to an artist endorsement as a “marriage”… it’s a commitment that involves loyalty and dedication. It’s a two-way street and should be mutually beneficial to both parties. The moment that the two-way street becomes one-way, the relationship is compromised. I’m happy to say that things do not come to this point often, but if you approach your endorsement with a company as an investment or marriage, the desire to commit and support should be at the top of your priority list. Not free gear! We are not a company who puts all of our eggs in one basket, and we value all of our artist endorsers regardless of the level at which they are endorsed.
What is the trickiest part of working in artist relations? The most exciting part?
BEV: We are always looking for new faces to add to our roster and landing new artists (particularly those who have a long time relationship with another brand) can be challenging at times. It’s like trying to read a crystal ball… it’s impossible to keep up on the next “who’s who” in every genre of music. We have to trust our gut, take chances and know that we’re going to win some and lose some.
It is very exciting and rewarding to know that our products inspire musicians to create, produce and perform music. PRS endorsers know that they can rely on their guitars and amplifiers day after day and night after night to help them do their job. With all this comes the relationships that we have been fortunate enough to develop and maintain with our artist endorsers. #prsfamily
Here are a few more behind-the-scenes views of CenterStaging and its rehearsal and backline rooms:Read more