Fabi Reyna: community builder, multi-talented musician, hesitantly-self-described extrovert, tropical weather lover, radiant conversationalist... you’ll thank us for this one :-). Tune in to hear her talk connection, sound, and energy, as well as running her own media agency focused on women and non-binary guitarists and bassists– She Shreds Media! Yeah, you’re welcome...
Fabi, we’re so excited to get to chat with you! Your music is so passionate and enticing, rich with layers and rhythm. It lends itself so well to working with other artists (a long list of which come to mind yet one most surprising (or not?)– Sleater Kinney). Who would you say is one of your favorite musical influences, and when did you first see them in your music?
First off, thank you! It’s definitely important for me to always play from my heart and intuition so it’s good to hear that people out in the world are picking that up. Honestly, I’ve never had a relationship with music or the guitar where the influences, practices, or techniques are any one specific way. I’ve played so many different styles of music and as a result have found myself immersed in many different worlds, both musically and culturally speaking. One thing I’ve never related to with genres was the idea that only certain sounds, techniques, and people influence that style of playing because, at least for me, I’ve found that my experience playing classical guitar has helped me better understand the importance of dynamics when writing songs as a songwriter. And what I’ve learned from playing tropical, african styles of guitar like zoukous has connected me to the roots of cumbia and the essence of why it exists and what I need to focus on evoking when I play it. Similarly for Sleater-Kinney, being in a punk band and running She Shreds has obviously connected me to them. So, as far as one favorite influence I guess I don’t have one haha. No one comes to mind.
Much of what we listen to today has been influenced by, perfected by, or even just played and enjoyed by women. We know She Shreds was founded as a way to spotlight women and non-binary guitarists and bassists, as well as a full-on celebration of their historical and continued contributions. We have a lot to celebrate! What made you want to start a media agency with this focus?
I think—I mean I know for sure that I never dreamt of or wanted to start a media agency haha. Music offered me an outlet to express myself during a time that felt catastrophic, and as a result of that combination I was introduced—or through a series of random events happened to connect with a national community of women and queer people who felt the same and, similarly, needed this outlet to survive. Ever since then, starting around the time I was 15, I’ve been dedicated to creating spaces and building/nurturing communities that offer people living outside of conventionality a place to safely express, connect, and experiment. I’ve done and do that through organizing events, writing, creating and printing a magazine, hosting workshops, facilitating online discourse, writing and performing my own music, and who knows what else is to come. For me a media agency, She Shreds Media, encompasses all of the ways that we have and have yet to create community and encourage change within the systems we live in. But at the end of the day it really comes down to creating spaces/content/conversation where individuals can learn to trust themselves through music, and feel confident enough to change and connect with the world.
You have such a joyful and passionate spirit, it emanates from you on stage! One can’t help but to smile and dance at one of your Reyna Tropical shows. What do you do to keep the energy? In what ways do you nourish the dancer, the musician, the lover in yourself?
Aww thank you! Well first of all, that energy ebbs and flows and summertime (when you saw us play in Portland!) or hot tropical weather in general, is when my best self comes out. It took a long time for me to realize and accept that I get my energy from socializing and being around people, because most of the trendiest self healing methods discuss what to do when you’re alone. Although I definitely love and need my alone time, being alone or without collaboration for too long exhausts me. I really prefer to do most things in collaboration with at least one other person but when it comes to visualizing what I want or need I put time aside to be with my thoughts and sit with how I feel. I’m learning to balance those things in a career that requires me to move and travel constantly. It’s important to me to connect genuinely with those that come watch us play so for the most part keeping my energy requires me to hone in my boundaries energetically, which I admit I’m still learning to do. Shit’s hard!!
We know of music as tradition. We know the songs our mothers sang us to sleep at night as children, we have rhymes and beats passed through generations. It can also carry the weight of emotion, the utterly destroying pain just as much as the complete elation. Can you tell us about a time where music was the background to your complete elation?
I love most types of sound. As far as my childhood what comes to mind immediately are the sound of buses in Mexico, people talking (loudly) on the streets, fruit and vegetable vendors, the sound of the ocean, all of these sounds have melodies and thinking about my childhood, it’s hard to remember which melodies belonged to what but it’s all music to me. I remember more the moments of observation and internal discussion as a kid than I do my mom singing to me, but that’s because she was a single mom and that carries a lot of loss in terms of what’s passed down—especially in Mexican culture. I would say though that I’m the happiest being in a place, region, house, anywhere that loves and respects music deeply. For me that’s being in the caribbean, playing a show, making music, or just listening.
Fabi Reyna on Instagram: @suavecito_91
She Shreds Media: @sheshreds_media
Photographer: Marissa Boone @lmarissaboone