Guitarist Opens Up on Negative Reactions She Got for Joining Machine Gun Kelly, Addresses Gatekeepers in Rock Music

In the spring of 2022, Sophie Lloyd officially joined rapper-turned-pop-punker Machine Gun Kelly in his live band. Previously known for her YouTube channel, Sophie is also working on her solo music and has already released a few pieces, including a collaborative track with Trivium’s Matt Heafy.

Nonetheless, she received some criticism from the general guitar-oriented population online for joining Machine Gun Kelly’s band. In a recently published interview for Ultimate Guitar, Sophie addressed these reactions. She touched upon the issue when asked about how important social media was for her success, to which she replied:

“Honestly, I owe my whole career to it. I didn’t set out to do it that way; it just sort of happened. I made a YouTube channel because, as I said, being in that small town, there was no real music scene, so I had to take to the internet.

“No one around me liked rock music, so that was my way to connect with other people that had like-minded interests. I used it as a video diary for myself and to track my progression.

“But this was before YouTube was a thing that you could earn money off, but I kept at it. And then, for some reason, it ended up blowing up one day. From there, I carried the following over to Instagram; that’s where all of my followers have come from. It’s amazing that I’m able to reach people from different parts of the world and connect with them.

“When I was younger, just sitting in my bedroom, it was amazing to be able to build a fan base that way, but the thing is, with the internet, there are good and bad sides to it. There are always negative aspects or negative comments and all of that. But I’m quite lucky that I’ve got quite a good core fan base. So, it’s been nice to be able to interact with people, especially with the introduction of Twitch, to get to know your followers.

Sophie Lloyd - Fall Of Man (feat. Matthew K. Heafy) Playthrough

Later in the interview, she was asked to explain how she deals with these negative reactions. Sophie offered:

“Machine Gun Kelly is definitely a very controversial figure, and that was something I had to think about going in for sure. But when I met him and actually got to know him, my view of him changed to seeing that he’s awesome and great.

“And I know many rock people will be dismayed, but I really do like his music as well. I don’t think we need to gatekeep music as much as we do like. If you think something is shit, then all well, you’re going to think it’s shit.

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb (SHRED VERSION) || Sophie Lloyd

“At the end of the day, I liked the message that he’s putting out through his lyrics. For me, that’s a very important thing, and I like his message. Encouraging people to be themselves and do the right thing – and that’s something he does – is something that a lot of people aren’t necessarily doing.

“So, maybe a lot of people weren’t happy with me joining, and I’m okay with that. But most people were encouraging, and they understood that it was a fantastic opportunity for me.

Nonetheless, solo works still seem to be Sophie’s main focus. When asked about whether she will continue with Machine Gun Kelly in the future or whether she’s primarily driven by her solo career, Sophie replied:

“My main goal, love, and passion lie in my solo music. I love writing my own stuff, and I still love doing YouTube as well. My passions are still creating content and writing things, so that is what I’m most excited about. I’m elated about this album coming out, as it’s been in the works for like three years, or however long it’s been. To be releasing and drip-feeding the songs just feels so good, especially when the uptake was so incredible with ‘Do or Die.’

Sophie Lloyd - Do Or Die (feat. Nathan James) Official Music Video

“But yes, I will also be continuing with Machine Gun Kelly this year. I’m flying out this month to do a couple of shows over in Arizona. I enjoy both, and it’s nice to have both as different outlets. I never wanted to be a touring guitarist full-time because I love being at home, and I love being surrounded by family and my cats. So, I don’t like traveling too much, but it’s such an incredible experience that I feel so lucky to be able to do with such amazing people.

Elsewhere in the interview, she was asked whether she things that social media is the only way for guitar players to be noticed these days to which she replied:

“It’s crazy with social media – especially Twitch – you’re chatting with your fans, and they become your mates. It’s a unique way that people are getting to meet artists, so I think we’re gonna see a lot more people come up that way, especially with TikTok and stuff like that.

Sophie Lloyd - Delusions (Official Video)

“I’ll be honest; I feel a bit too old for TikTok; I can’t quite hack it [Laughs]. But I’ve seen so many people make their name there, so I do think it’s a major factor. Pretty much all the songs in the top 10 in the U.K. are TikTok viral songs. It’s crazy that things can just blow up on there and be massive, so I think we’re definitely going to see a lot more of that. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing, though.

Regarding her content and how it’s tailored to growing her online following, she said:

“There are a few things, but the most important thing is to post content consistently. The hardest thing to do is post that first video and stick with it. You have to keep posting, which isn’t easy and used to be harder.”

Machine Gun Kelly introduces Sophie Lloyd, Baze, AJ, Slimxx, Rook [Live 4K] (Fargo - July 27, 2022)

“But with TikTok, I think it’s easier than ever to go viral nowadays for random stuff that you wouldn’t even think of. What’s also important is finding a niche and making it your own.”

“I do a lot of shred versions of stuff, and that’s what people know me for. And then, I do Metal Mondays on Instagram, where I created this series, and now my followers know what to expect because I stuck with that.”

“Lastly, collaborating with other people and other musicians and getting to know people is very important for growth. But I have to be honest, it’s a lot of luck, too. With many of these things, luck comes into play, but if you keep posting, chances are, on TikTok, you’ll get a viral video. You just have to hope it’s for something cool, not just a video of you dancing with your cat or something [Laughs].”

Photos: SophieGuitar.comBennyasheldon (Machine Gun Kelly at a concert)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.