Strong 16: Celebrating Female ESP Players on International Women’s Day 2023
Strong 16: Celebrating Female ESP Players on International Women’s Day 2023
March 8 is International Women's Day, a global holiday celebrated annually to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. While thousands of women around the world play ESP every day, here are a few of them that merit special recognition.
At just 22 years old, this Italo-Cuban metal guitarist is also a lefty, making her all the more unique in the world of rock guitar. She started playing at age 8, and has been performing as a touring and recording guitarist since her mid-teens. Thalia also showcases her talents on YouTube and Twitch. Most recently, she’s joined fantasy power metal band Angus McSix.
“I always saw ESP guitars as the perfect guitar for playing metal. The sound, thanks to awesome specs and my favorite EMG pickups, is what you need for getting in the right spirit for playing from power metal to death metal. Besides this, I can't help but mention the consideration for left handed players, that not every guitar brand has, the beautiful aggressive shapes and colors that all these guitars have, even if they’re just black satin or holographic violet, this is what comes to my mind when I think for a proper metal guitar. I can say that these guitars suits me perfectly, I feel like a unit when I shred with them and I want to thank the brand and Stefan from the European ESP branch for always believing in me and supporting me at the best.”
Many rock musicians have been influenced by neoclassical riffs and lead lines, but Lena takes things a step further, doing metal-influenced covers of famous classical pieces by composers like Brahms, Bach, and Handel. This Leipzig, Germany-based rocker uses a 27-fret scalloped Horizon straight from the ESP Custom Shop, and is now teaching guitar as well as recording music and playing shows.
When a person uses the name @shredanie for their social media, they’d better have the chops to back it up. That’s not a problem for Nashville-based rocker Stephanie Bradley, who can play circles around most people, and only slowed down a little to give birth to her son Sammy in May 2021. Stephanie continues to post tons of great shred content across the realm of social media.
A lifelong multi-instrumentalist and producer, Melissa Evila grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and spent time working with various bands and as a session player before forming the appropriately-named B.A. Sisters with her sister Sabrina. Attacking multiple styles, Melissa blends heavy metal, ’80s pop, punk rock, and electronic music in her original music.
Jéssica di Falchi
This Brazilian guitarist has had a skyrocketing career path so far. First gaining recognition for her work in Brazil-based tribute bands for Metallica and Iron Maiden, in 2022 she started as a touring guitarist for death metal band Crypta, getting huge accolades for her performance skills in last summer’s festival tours. Jéssica has since joined the band as a full-time member and her future looks bright!
Moriah Formica of Albany, NY gained national exposure in 2017 when, at age 15 as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice, she stunned audiences not only with her big rock-and-roll voice, but her ability to perform in true rock style, backing herself on rhythm guitar using her LTD Deluxe EC-1000. For the past few years, Moriah’s focus has been on her all-female rock/metal band Plush.
The world of progressive metal isn’t a common direction for many female guitar players, but once Chilean musician Red Frandany found the music of bands like Rush, Dream Theater, Periphery, Animals as Leaders, and Meshuggah, her musical path was crystal clear. Red has released music as a solo artist, and in 2023 has joined the band of Chilean singer-songwriter Dani Ride.
Hailing from Berlin, Germany, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Böse Fuchs always has an aggressive edge to her performances. This ESP artist entertains thousands of music lovers via YouTube and Patreon, using her wide range of guitars and basses. More recently, she’s been cranking out original music with her band Böse Fuchs & Sly and is also soon to be seen on a headline tour through German clubs with her second project Erdling.
“I've been using ESP Guitars for more than 12 years now - best decision I made. Love the quality and design. Especially from their 8-string models.”
Taking musical inspiration from the classic metal bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Marta is the founder, main songwriter, and rhythm guitarist for Poland-based metal band Crystal Viper. She’s also launched a solo career, and has seamlessly made the transition to bass, showing all the instrumental talent that she’s always had in droves.
Joining Andrew W.K.’s band in 2016, Amanda Lepre hails from the southernmost point in Texas, and makes Austin her home. An excellent player in many styles, Amanda can smoothly transition between metal, progressive, and pop sounds, evidenced in both her work with Andrew W.K. and her own band, Descendants of Erdrick, who specialize in doing killer arrangements of video game music.
Exploding onto the scene with her ferociously powerful playing in the Pittsburgh-based metalcore/hardcore band Code Orange, Reba Meyers has since become the first female artist to have an ESP Signature Series guitar available worldwide. Having received a “Best Metal Performance” Grammy nominations in 2018 and 2021, Code Orange continues to stun audiences at every tour stop, due in no small part to Reba’s merciless performance style. In February, Reba and Code Orange released What Is Really Underneath?, a remix album of their acclaimed 2020 album.
Atlanta-born Diamond Rowe plays with a level of intensity and precision that anyone can respect. In 2017, Diamond shattered both gender and race barriers by being one of the only female and African-American metal guitarists featured in all three major US guitar publications. Her band Tetrarch has been the highlight of many festival shows over the past year, and we’re looking forward to a follow-up to their 2021 album Unstable.
Martina Nixe Riva
This guitarist and composer hails from Como, Italy, a beautiful city at the foot of the Alps. Formerly in the Italian rock/alt-metal band Killin’ Baudelaire which then shifted to Hand of Juno, Nixe decided to branch out on her own in 2022, and we’re excited for whatever musical direction she takes next!
Alex Szmeja is an ESP player from Poland, and is better known to her more than 300,000 YouTube subscribers simply as Alex S. This ESP player has created hundreds of guitar-based videos that have been viewed by thousands and thousands of people over the past nine years, with great playthrough covers of bands like Gojira, Lamb of God, Sylosis, and Rammstein.
“The reason I'll always stand behind ESP is that they always make high-value and beautiful guitars that are built for heavy riffage that I love the most and they never disappoint to rock out.”
A member of Taiwanese metal band Chthonic for over 20 years, Doris has been part of the ESP artist family since 2010. Holding down the low end for Chthonic’s intense music, Doris has been the bassist on seven of the band’s eight studio albums as well as being a contributor to their songwriting and production. An exciting and dynamic bass player on stage, Doris continues to influence musicians around the world.
Born in Linyi, Shandong Province, China in 1998, Yanan Zhang started on classical guitar at age 11. At age 15 she switched to electric, and almost immediately, her talent began to shine through. Passionate about power metal and progressive fusion, she founded the "Hello Guitar" Music Studio and has quickly become one of China’s foremost guitar talents, with online broadcasts that reach over a half million people. Yanan’s musical heroes include John 5 and Takayoshi Ohmura.