Recently, I got to hang out at El Rancho Grande (Go and get the Super Burrito and a Margarita. Seriously.) with my old friend Rachael Batz, her husband Tony, and her daughter Skylar, an aspiring singer, songwriter, and musician. Skylar got started playing guitar at 11, after her father gifted her with her first electric guitar and amp. But her interest in every aspect of making music really comes as no surprise once you find out how mom Rachael was a bartender at the original Lupo's in Providence while pregnant with her. It was there that Skylar got her initial taste of live music, hearing back-in-the-day-insanely-popular groups like Run DMC play and having them sign autographs for her ("To the baby...") before she was even born. And let's not forget Tony who is in the telecommunications industry, also does sound work and was an in-demand DJ (beginning in the days of records and turntables, which, as you might already be aware are making a HUGE comeback right now.) for many years. Rachael and Tony together have also introduced Skylar to an outstanding variety of cool music, from old school rap (Sugarhill Gang anyone?) to 80's pop to jazz and Lenny Kravitz.
It was Skylar's meeting Hilary Jones, founder and director of Girls Rock RI, though that helped get her the tools she needed to get that much closer to her dreams of a real life, grown up career in the music industry (Ultimately, she'd like to be a music producer, 'the girl version of Pharrell Williams' she says.) She enrolled in their week long summer program, that not only teaches girls how to play instruments, write a song, start a band, and screen print their own t-shirts (That's a lot!), but also includes self defense classes and an overall emphasis on developing self awareness and self confidence (Uh, LOVE this!!!). This was how Skylar eventually found herself playing guitar and singing on stage in front of hundreds of people (at the GRRI's concert where the girls basically show what they've learned) and starting her own band (with someone she met at GRRI) called Good Job Elvis, who fyi have already played a gig with PVD's own Roz And The Rice Cakes.
More recently, this past summer, Skylar went back to Girls Rock RI as a GRIIT, or Girls Rock Intern In-Training (Is that awesome or what?), teaching voice and guitar to new students, and took classes at the prestigious Berklee College Of Music in Boston. She's also taking piano and drum lessons too. #TripleThreatAndThenSome Impressed yet? In her free time, she loves to sail. (So) Watch for more from Good Job Elvis and the lovely and talented Skylar Batz in the not-too-distant future. And remember you heard about her here on PattyJ.com.
Ciao For Now,
Photo Credits: El Rancho Grande photos courtesy of Richmond Jeffrey; Skylar playing music photos courtesy of her; The Girls Rock marquee at The Columbus on Broadway pic courtesy of Girls Rock website.