Lauren O'Connor Opens the History Books For Girls Rock Dallas

See also: Girls Rock Dallas gets some help from Amanda Palmer

You might have seen a little blurb here or there on DC9 about Girls Rock Dallas, a new non-profit summer camp for girls, in which they learn how to play, write, record and market their own songs. The first session starts July 23, and Lauren O'Connor is one of the ladies who rocks the operation.

O'Connor was a Media Tech student and has continued to build her career goal of recording engineering. But it would seem her role at GRD, which includes a workshop she's heading up at the end of the month focusing on stories of women in rock who've made it, is turning out to be one of the most important and fulfilling endeavors thus far.

How and why did you get involved with GRD? By seeing a link for Girls Rock Austin. I saw that GRD was just starting to come together and I wanted to be a part of it. It was so important for me to get involved because of how great of a cause it is. Also, being a female in the music industry, I found this to be a great stepping stone for girls to start getting involved in music and being able to express themselves musically. That itself is SO important. I emailed Rachel Michaud, our executive director. I've been involved ever since.

Rachel Michaud has tirelessly thrown herself into this, I hear. Without Rachel, Girls Rock Dallas would have never come together. She has worked so hard for this organization, and given all of us ladies something to be so proud of. I really don't feel like there have been any hard parts of it so far. We have had some challenges, but overcame them flawlessly. I think having organizations like GRD allows girls the opportunity to express themselves and motivate each other. It is so important for the girls to gain confidence so they can pursue any avenue in life that they want.

So, you grew up in a musical household? There was always music playing in the house ALL the time, and when I reached the age of 12, I started going to concerts with my dad. My brother is a drummer and always had his bands practicing in the basement. I was constantly around music one way or the other. My family is a huge reason why music is my life.

At Media Tech, you were the only female in all your music industry classes. Did that make it awkward or difficult? The only female in all of my classes that was actually pursuing music and not film. It was a great experience. With the school being not just by the books and having four different studios, I learned recording through analog and digital consoles, different types of microphones and placement, acoustics and so on. I still use some of the techniques now. The business of music class was very cool. We learned contracts and how to run your own label and studio. It was a great foundation for me. I even interned there for awhile afterward. Got to meet some amazing musicians and got a chance to mix some demos.

What about school experiences before that one? Any music ties there? I took some classes at University of Phoenix for business for a year before pursing audio engineering. I wanted to learn the business so I could run my own label someday. Once I realized I wanted to get into audio engineering, I got my certification and felt like I was on the right path. Maybe one day I'll go back to get my business degree.

If you did start up that label, what local music faves would you pursue? Well, some of my favorites are Calhoun, Faded Grace, Blackstone Rangers, The Chloes, Static Mind, The Zeppos, Responsible Johnny, Crazy Ivans, In Memory of Man, Fair to Midland.

Do you play any instruments? I play drums when I can and I'm trying to learn more behind the set. Also, I hope to learn the basics of guitar.

If you were the mayor of the local music scene, what changes/improvements would you implement? Have more local music festivals, open more clubs. I still remember years ago when Deep Ellum would have streets closed off even more so than now, and tons of bands playing. I would bring that back again. Also, more local radio and Internet shows to bring back the excitement of local music.

Where do you see yourself goal/career-wise in five years? Tough question. I really hope to be involved with music and maybe getting into teaching? I'm running a Women in Rock History workshop this summer at the camp. I also hope to be working in a recording studio and still be involved with Girls Rock Dallas.

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Alan Ayo