Nita Strauss Recalls ’Really Bad Advice’ in Early Career: ’I Started Really Dressing Down’

Recently, Nita Strauss appeared in a video published by Knotfest’s official YouTube channel for the “She’s With the Band” segment. Among other things, Nita discussed working as a female guitar player in a male-oriented environment. As she explained, there’s also been a lot of “bad advice” that eventually felt like she should hypersexualize her appearance in order to earn her spot in the industry and be taken seriously. Nita recalls (transcript via Guitar.com):

“Early in my career, I got a lot of really bad advice. I had so many people telling me what I needed to do in order to be successful in this industry… people saying: ‘You need to show more skin’ [and] ‘If you have a boyfriend, you can’t say that you’re dating anybody because you need to appear available’, all this kind of stuff.”

Nita also added that this pressure ultimately led her to entirely change her appearance. As she explains:

“I started really dressing down. I dyed my hair darker … to stand out less. I’d wear a men’s large t-shirt onstage and baggy cargo shorts and started touring with heavier bands.”

“[But] I kept getting pulled back and forth through this dichotomy of ‘No, you have to be the sex symbol.’

Further down the interview, she also revealed what she would say to her younger self if she had the chance. Nita said:

“Once I just started embracing who I actually am as a person, that’s when great opportunities and great successes started coming to me. [… So] stop trying to fit into what other people tell you you should be, and just be who you are.”

In another recent interview, Nita Strauss reflected on being a “hired gun” in all the bands that she’s playing in. When asked what being someone’s guitar player is like, she answered:

“Playing with the artists that I do, I’m not technically a band member. Being a hired gun, it’s really ‘step in and fill this role,’ whether it’s playing Alice Cooper songs or reimagining rockers from Demi Lovato songs.”

“What I bring to each of those different gigs is that sense of professionalism I’ve learned across so many years, and how to step into each role, fill it nicely and tightly, and help bring that artist’s vision to life while still bringing my own personality and energy to the show.”

NITA STRAUSS - The Wolf You Feed ft. Alissa White-Gluz (Official Music Video)

Nita, who’s been playing with pop singer Demi Lovato since the summer of 2022, also added:

“I have learned so much from Alice and Demi. One of the things they both do really well is they take the forefront, but they give each band member an introduction and time to shine.”

“They don’t take the entire spotlight for themselves. That’s something I try to do with my solo band as well, to make sure it’s a collaborative effort and everybody knows it.”

As far as the impact these gigs, where she’s playing someone else’s material, have on her own playing skills, she said:

“First of all, any time you’re playing guitar, you’re improving, no matter what it is. Whether you’re playing power chords or technical metal, if you’re playing guitar, you’re getting incrementally better each day.”

Heart Attack, Demi Lovato, Nita Strauss, Atlanta, 10-23-22, 4K

“Playing straightforward rock songs has given me a much better sensibility of song structure, and not playing too much, or adding too much, and all these things guitar players do just because we like to show off and have fun! It has taught me a lot about letting the song breathe.”

“Simplicity is key in a lot of Demi’s songs, especially the older ones, which were originally pretty straightforward pop songs that have been reimagined in this heavy-rock way. The simple, catchy chords are still there, and it’s finding things that work around the melodies, because melody is king in pop and rock songs.”

“It’s about finding that simplicity and embracing it, rather than saying, ‘This is only four chords. I have to play a bunch of notes over it.'”

Photo: Sven Mandel (Alice Cooper – 2017217191342 2017-08-05 Wacken – Sven – 1D X MK II – 1562 – AK8I2190)

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 Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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