Living My Purpose: An Interview with Shiragirl

Photo courtesy of Luckyshot Photos

Shira Yevin, known among the music industry as Shiragirl, has long been an advocate for gender equality in music. It started with the Shiragirl Stage at Vans Warped Tour and blossomed into work for charities, women’s marches and more.

Lately, she and her Shiragirl band mates have been looking hard at the digital dystopia of the present day and asking whether this world of phones and computers is optimal, or even sustainable.

Shiragirl’s latest single, “Antisocial Media”, stems from a text message thread the band started to discuss the pros and cons of digital spaces. Yevin said the phrase, and bassist Alex Windsor replied that it was a perfect song title. After coming back with a solid guitar riff, it was a collaborative effort to finish the song.

“I just wanted to talk about how social media has impacted all of our mental health, even more so during the pandemic,” Yevin said. “This is how we had to stay connected; we hung out virtually and we put in a lot more screen time. I think that there are certain benefits for social media but I also think there are certain hazards and there can be some negative consequences of overuse and it can be addictive.”

The band wanted to portray the positive and negative effects of social media in the accompanying music video, directed by Heather Ballish. There's the glam world - a highlight reel of the happy, colorful moments. Then there's the grim world, full of emotions that are difficult to admit out loud. They wanted the yin and yang to demonstrate how endless hours of scrolling can damage anyone’s mental health.

“I think sometimes we’re just so sucked into it that it's hard to take a step back,” Yevin said. “Don’t feel like you don't exist if you don't post today. It’s about getting to a healthy place with it.”

One of the positive effects of social media has been seen as Yevin brought her female-led platform, Gritty in Pink, to an online community after three in-person shows in January, February and March of 2020.

Gritty in Pink’s mission is to achieve gender equality in the music industry by striving to empower women through music performance, partnerships and networking opportunities. After three successful events, they moved to livestreams to accommodate the ongoing pandemic.

“We started building the community and we were able to take that bond into the quarantine and build upon it virtually,” she said.

So far, Gritty in Pink has featured over 200 female, transgender and non-binary artists and raised thousands of dollars to charities such as Keep A Breast and ACLU. It has seen women come together to support other women - connecting, collaborating. Any aspect of the industry is invited to be part of this community and share their resources with one another to help achieve that gender equality.

Shiragirl and Gritty in Pink are shining examples of giving voices to those who struggle to be heard. Their missions continue to push boundaries in the music industry, and help bring equality to a community that so desperately needs it.

“I'm really proud that I've been able to continue on my mission of achieving gender equality in music,” Yevin said. “It has taken some unexpected turns, but it means a lot to me to be able to feel like I'm living my purpose.”