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"I have been fronting Mick Fleetwood’s band for the last 18 years. He is the ultimate rock star". -Gretchen Rhodes

Posted: January 15, 2024
Shyness is driven by both biological and environmental forces. Babies are born with different temperaments, and those with an extremely sensitive temperament are more likely to go on to be shy. Yet supportive, sensitive parenting can buffer against developing shyness or social anxiety

Photo cover provided by: Sean M. Hower

Shyness is driven by both biological and environmental forces. Babies are born with different temperaments, and those with an extremely sensitive temperament are more likely to go on to be shy. Yet supportive, sensitive parenting can buffer against developing shyness or social anxiety.

I believe to a degree that parenting can have an impact on shy children or babies. However, there are some tendencies that are difficult to get over. I come from parents with extremes on both sides. My father is introverted, and my mother is super extraverted. 😊 We often were embarrassed due to my mother’s ability to say or do anything that she felt compelled to do. In some ways it rubbed off on me, as I say whatever comes to mind. My opinions can get me into trouble. However, I am not one to hold back, even if it’s at the cost of someone’s feelings. I am confident, and honest. Yet, an introvert when it comes to speaking to people in person. I have been encouraged to use my voice for radio and podcasts. Though there is something about writing that holds my interest the most.

I find it interesting that those with a level of shyness are often ones that have experienced much success. Even though they are shy to perform in front of others, they tend to excel at it. Public speaking is a fear that many people have. However, it is something that I personally excel at. Yet, I am described as shy with my closest of friends and family.



I wonder how others overcome their shyness to become successful in many professional sectors in the music industry. For example, take our guest today, Gretchen Rhodes. Is she shy? Possibly. No matter because she can overcome her fears, to work effectively in front of the public. This is just one question that we have for Gretchen Rhodes. So please tune into our conversation with her today.

ABOUT GRETCHEN RHODES

Gretchen Rhodes is an American singer/songwriter who has made waves amongst the music industry. Her sound is a powerful blend of soulful blues and rock that captivates audiences far and wide. While she may be trained in the classical tradition, Rhodes has found her true passion is fronting rock and blues bands.

Playing in front of a live audience is what I live for. The transference of energy is incredible…and to be able to express my Soul and touch the souls of others is unlike anything I can describe. It’s a palpable rush…

Rhodes has toured extensively with the founding member of Traffic, Dave Mason, and the founder of ‘the Blues Brothers’ and Rolling Stone ‘s 29th greatest guitar player of all time, Steve Cropper as well as performing often with rock icon Steven Tyler. She has also worked in many avenues of music with Kenny Chesney in his ‘Life on a Rock’ album and ‘Wild Child’ music video. Additionally, Rhodes has fronted the Mick Fleetwood Band for the last fifteen years and continues to do so to this day.

I love making music because, aside from my family, music is my Life. It always has been. It is the most basic expression of myself and if I couldn’t do so a huge part of my life force would fade away.

Rhodes currently has a new EP out called ‘The Space in Between’. She is continuing to perform live shows with the Gretchen Rhodes Band. They are also in the process of writing more music and plan to release new music all throughout the year.



INTERVIEW WITH GRETCHEN RHODES AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: Hi Gretchen. I must start out by asking you how did you overcome your shyness to perform in front of an audience?

Gretchen: I believe that as a young child I was shy and super insecure. I don’t think it was any more than a normal amount, but I was not one to just go out of my way to approach a new kid at the park for example.

However, I liked singing. Both of my parents were music teachers and they helped to reinforce and nurture my love of singing. Within those dimensions I believe I gained the confidence to start singing in front of people. My 1st solo was when I was 7 in front of our 200-person congregation singing Silent Night at Christmas time.

Guitar Thrills: When did you learn that this was going to be an issue for you? Also did It make you hesitate to pursue a music career?

Gretchen: I think that because public speaking was a fear that I had always had, I didn’t want to sound inarticulate or “stupid”. If I was singing, then I felt fine. The nerves were turned into adrenaline. I hesitated doing gigs because of having to speak to the audience in between songs. But over time it becomes less about talking and more about just being yourself. And if you’re yourself then you are relatable. And people can accept that.

Guitar Thrills: Everyone is different and will battle shyness in their own way. However, what would you suggest to anyone trying to overcome shyness?

Gretchen: Basically, along the same lines as stated before. Just be yourself. Don’t take yourself so seriously. We are all just human beings. Some are more talented in ways that others are not vice versa and so forth. But at the end of the day no 1 person is better than anyone else.

Guitar Thrills: How many roles are you able to accommodate due to your eagerness, energetic personality?

Gretchen: I have learned which roles I want to do. There are things I know I do NOT want to do, and it’s been hard to admit that. I do not want to do the business side of music. If I must, I will. But learning how to delegate and let go is also very important. The roles I will always want to do are of being a mother, Wife, Singer/Songwriter, Creator, Daughter, and Good Friend.

Guitar Thrills: One other thing that sticks out to me is that you performed with Steven Tyler. How did that come about? What was the experience like?

Gretchen: I have been fronting Mick Fleetwood’s band for the last 18 years. He came and sat in with our band 11 years ago when Mick’s restaurant 1st opened. I’ve been singing w him ever since when the time arises. Steven is amazing. He is the ultimate rock star. Always fun always inspiring and always generous with the mic. He doesn’t have to have me sing verses of his songs or invite me to sing with him, he just makes it happen!

Guitar Thrills: Who has been an inspiration in your life as an artist? Have you had a chance to work with those artists that have been an influence on your music career? Other than Steven Tyler. 😊

Gretchen: Honestly 1st and foremost my parents have been my biggest musical influences. My father was an incredible pianist and conductor, and my mother has one of the most beautiful Alto voices I’ve ever encountered. Besides that, I grew up listening to mostly classic rock. A lot of Fleetwood Mac ...which made singing their songs with Mick easy. 😉 Stevie was always a huge inspiration so singing her songs while she watched me was a little intimidating to say the least. Over the years we’ve become friendly, and I am over the moon to be able to say that she was inspired to put a song she saw me sing, into the set list of the last Fleetwood Mac tour...Black Magic Woman.



She even announced it at the KC show that my family and I attended. So gracious. That was a Rock and Roll mic drop moment for sure! Besides, that, I’ve recorded and played with Kenny Chesney, John Densmore, Richie Sambora, George Clinton, and Pat Simmons from The Doobies to name a few and all of which I greatly admire. I was also on tour with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Dave Mason and Steve Cropper for a few years. Those 2 men greatly influenced me and taught me so much while on the road. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am now.

I very much admire Bonnie Raitt. However, I haven’t ever been able to work with her. I also just shared the stage with Grace Potter when we did a fundraiser with Lukas and Willie Nelson. I’ve always loved her voice and songwriting. Fingers crossed we work together one day!

Guitar Thrills: What has been your biggest achievement as an artist?

Gretchen: I think writing and collaborating my own songs has been something I am most proud of. And then being able to work with Steve Cropper and his team Eddie Gore and Justyna Kelly in Nashville was a dream come true. Steve produced my last 3 singles, Cupid’s Arrow, Dusted and Done and Sisters Forever.

Guitar Thrills: What brand of guitar do you normally use and why?

Gretchen: Well, honestly, I am a terrible guitarist, but I am continuing to learn. I have an old Ovation that I use to play for myself when no one is listening. When I get better, I’ll treat myself to a beautiful Gibson.

Guitar Thrills: What projects are you currently working on?

Gretchen: The 1st project is one I’ve done with Mick Fleetwood, Carmine Rojas and Larry Dvoskin produced by Kerry Brown. Kerry owns Licorice Pizza Records and a vinyl pressing plant. It is a tribute to Peter Green and Christine Mcvie. The A side is 3 Peter Green tunes, and the B side of the vinyl is 3 Christine blues songs that she wrote when she was in the Chicken Shack in the 60’s.

The 2nd project is a 6-song original EP that I’ve written with Blues guitarist Gennaro Porcelli. I’m leaving to record in Italy in a few days and I’m super stoked! Gennaro is an incredible guitarist and collaborator, so I have high hopes for what we produce together.

Guitar Thrills: I know that this is your first interview with us. We will continue to keep tables on your career. It has been a pleasure to converse about your talented career. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help promote your projects moving forward.

Gretchen: Thank you so much for your interesting questions and overall support! You guys are awesome, and I can’t wait till next time!




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