Shiragirl are a pop-punk band that are trying to make a difference. Frontwoman Shira Yevin not only sings and plays guitar in Shiragirl, she also runs the Gritty in Pink collective that seeks to empower women in entertainment and beyond. It’s been a while since Shiragirl released any new music, but for the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Shiragirl got together to record a very special track. “Rights Back Right Now” about the importance of fighting for the right to choose that was unjustly taken away. New Noise sat down with Yevin of Shiragirl to talk about her new song, the band, and the important work that Gritty in Pink is doing.
So, with this song, “Rights Back Right Now,” it seems pretty obvious what the song is about. But can you tell us about the process of writing the song?
Well, I’ve been a big proponent of speaking out on women’s rights for many, many years. And being an activist is an important part of being an artist to me. And last year, as you know, Roe v. Wade was overturned, June 24, 2022. (I) woke up to the news, (and I) just dropped everything, went down to the U.S. courthouse to protest, and decided to team up with a local organization to do an emergency flatbed protest concert the next day, right in front of the courthouse.
It was amazing when we hit up the team, our sound tech, and all our musicians, to be part of this, how many people just jumped in and said, “Yes!” And they also dropped what they were doing, because they understood the importance of the moment. So it was an incredible show that we put together. We did a lot of political covers; we covered from Melissa Etheridge to Rage Against the Machine. Some of the artists wrote songs just for the occasion. We actually had Fat Mike from NOFX come down; he wrote a song just for the occasion.
At the same time, my band had been working on a new tune. And we wanted the vibe to be dancey, but also I felt this was something really important to write about at the time. We wanted it to be meaningful. And I remember, very clearly, coming back from the protests, and just feeling so inspired. I hadn’t felt that way for a very long time, seeing women and our nonbinary artists and our whole community—not just women, male allies (too)—seeing everyone coming together for this very important moment in history to fight back for our rights. So I just started writing the lyrics right then and there. And I’m a huge Le Tigre fan, (so) I sort of I imagined it that vibe of political, dancing music.
So you have a lot of hopeful messages in your song, like “Defeat is temporary.” Where do you see that hope right now for the future on this issue?
That was a conscious decision; we wanted to keep it positive. I’m a big believer in being the change you wish to see and putting out the energy into the world of what you want to visualize for the future. And so, it’s easy to get caught up in despair and hopelessness when everything seems so bad. But you kind of have to zoom out and say, “OK, we have to find a way out of this.” For example, the midterm elections, people did come out and vote in favor of abortion rights and against these politicians. A lot of these swing states went the other way because it’s gotten too extreme now. So, I do believe that there’s going to be a reckoning, and this can’t go on forever. We have a new generation of voters every year right turning 18 and really infusing new energy and commitment into voting and activism. And so, do I have the answers on how we’re going to get there? No, but I do have hope for the future. And I do think defeat is temporary.
You talked a little bit about being an activist; is there anything else you’ve been working on to stand up for abortion rights?
I think that we’ve gotten a little complacent, especially a year later. I thought when Roe v. Wade was overturned, it was going to be protests in the street every day until something happened. And it really didn’t go that way. A lot of the groups focused more on voting they weren’t really doing those take to the streets type of actions, and so it wasn’t visible. And I think women, because we’re peacemakers and tend to be more passive, we’re probably not going to go start a riot, but maybe we need to.
I’m fully in favor of starting a riot, yes.
But where is it? We’re over a year later; where’s the riot? The riot never happened. I went to the women’s march in LA, in April, which is where we shot most of this music video. And it was amazing, because Kamala Harris showed up, but the turnout, to me, it wasn’t as big as it should have been. And everyone just goes on with their lives, and a lot of people in California, I think, rest on their laurels because they think “Well, we’re good here. We have the rights.” But I don’t think that way. I’m thinking for the young girl in Texas. What’s she going to do?
But, with Gritty in Pink, we do events with female musicians, and we have women’s rights groups come and table at our events. We’ve raised money for different organizations, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, they’ve come to our events table. So yeah, I always try to keep that presence going and keep the conversation going at all these events that we’re doing.
You started to get into this a little bit, but can you tell us a little bit about the Gritty in Pink collective and what it is and what it does, exactly?
Gritty in Pink is an organization on a mission to achieve gender equity and equality in the music industry and beyond. And we are building the INPINK Marketplace, which is a talent hub to hire women and nonbinary creatives and professionals working in every aspect of the music industry. And our big vision is to be the global destination to hire women in every industry. And essentially just removing that excuse of, “Well, I couldn’t hire a woman because I didn’t know any.” It’s connecting the industry, not just to women, but to a community of diverse female creatives and professionals. And we have what’s called diversity tags on our site. So if you’re looking for a queer creator for a Pride Month campaign, or a woman of color to host a Black History Month event, INPINK makes it easy. So there is no excuse anymore.
So what is next for you? For Shiragirl, for the collective? What are you working on next?
I have been really focused on building Gritty in Pink as a community. In July, we’re going to actually be playing the FairWell Festival up in Central Oregon. It’s, like, a country rock festival with Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson. And we’re bringing the Gritty in Pink All Grl Jam to the festival. The All Grl Jam is a residency that we do in LA with Live Nation. And it’s 50 women and nonbinary musicians performing theme cover songs. So we just did a huge pride jam. We did one for women’s month. So we do these different theme jams. And now we’re excited to start bringing them to the Live Nation festivals as we partner with Live Nation, who’s actually invested in our platform. And we also have Melissa Etheridge as a strategic advisor, very proud to have her on the team, huge pioneer of queer rights and women in rock. So just building our team and getting more people to know about the INPINK marketplace and to buy on, and to hire women and do things differently.
That’s great. So that’s pretty much all the questions I want to go over. Is there anything else you wanted to add?
Something that I’m excited about the song, I think it’s showing that Shiragirl’s sound is evolving. I’ve always been into different styles of music. We love punk rock, but also, my background is in dancing and theater. And this song intentionally has a very dancey vibe to it. I love artists that that fuse different styles.
This song was a collaboration between myself, my drummer Raine Palladino, our guitarist Constance Antoinette, and Lenny J as a producer. Everyone’s super busy. Constance tours; she just went on a tour with Demi Lovato. She’s in a few different bands. Raine is a psychology professor at Hunter University in New York, she teaches women’s psychology. Everyone’s very busy doing a lot of things. Obviously, I’m working on Gritty. So it was magical alignment of the stars for us to come together and collaborate on this track.
The single is now streaming on all platforms. Shiragirl will be holding a virtual release party at 12:00 Pacific today on Instagram Live, so make sure to follow Shiragirl on Instagram as well as their Facebook and Twitter for future updates.
Photo courtesy of So Finch Photography