Arizona Chicks With Picks

Founders of Chicks with Picks, Rhonda Hitchcock and Pandy Raye
by Frank Ippolito
If there were a school of rock for woman musicians, Chicks with Picks would be graduate school.
In late October of 2007, two veterans of the music industry, Pandy Raye and Rhonda Hitchcock, decided there was a need to mentor musicians, specifically female musicians, to help them build an audience, improve their songwriting, and most importantly, learn from the mistakes that they had made over their own careers.
Starting with just a handful of “Chicks” from all genres, including duos and full bands, Chicks with Picks has now blossomed into an organization that has helped and featured over 350 artists. They’ve also held festivals featuring local talent with national headlining acts.
But CWP is much more than showcases. They offer workshops for its members that cover topics on every aspect of the music industry including songwriting, recording and the business of music.
I recently had the chance to speak with the Arizona Chicks with Picks co-founders:
Lisa & the Factory performing at a Chicks with Picks showcase

Frank Ippolito: What’s the motivating force behind Chicks with Picks?
Pandy Raye: There’s power in numbers. When you’re a solo act or group, it’s easy to feel like you’re alone. But when you have an organization behind you, which believes in you, believes in your music and follows through with support, that’s powerful.
FI: How has this affected the local music scene?
PR: There are more voices out there. Amazing voices that may have not been heard and now they have a stage without all the baggage that comes from trying to book shows.
FI: What does the future hold for CWP?
PR: WE are trying really hard to make a difference with music. Giving back to the community is a big deal for us – that’s why we started our Chicks with Picks Foundation.
There is a true sense of community when speaking with Pandy and Rhonda. I got the sense that they are in it for all the right reasons.
And although they declined my membership application into Chicks with Picks, they did give me an honorary membership. Watching “Grey’s Anatomy” has finally paid-off.
For more information about Chicks with Picks and to find out about membership visit their website. And make sure to check out their calender for upcoming shows!