Going Against the Status Quo

ChenaChena 1

Age: 20
Occupation: Intern at Outerloop Management
Hometown: Beltsville, MD

Describe your love of music:

I’m very reserved, I think so much and deeply about things and I’m an indoor cat, not an outdoor one. Music has always been how I express how i feel and has been

there for me when no one else has.

When did you learn to play guitar?

I picked up the guitar at 14. I used to want to be a singer and felt that I’ll be more interesting if I played an instrument. So one morning I woke up and decided to learn guitar, so I went to the library and got books about it that same day. I always respected people who knew how to play an instrument well because they worked hard at it. To me, you aren’t very talented in music if you can’t understand it in the most organic way or you haven’t taken any time to make it for yourself…without the help of a computer, effects, etc.

Can you tell me about your internships in the music

Chena with Killswitch

Chena with Killswitch Engage


It’s important to get in touch with the right people if you are into music. I had a friend who interned at the Fillmore and she recommended I get in touch with the manager’s assistant. It’s fun, especially if you go to a lot of shows like I do. They can be a money pit. But if you are on the inside, your contributions are compensated with a free entry. Currently I’m at Outerloop Management, where we manage pretty successful metal/rock bands such as Periphery, Darkest Hour, Dying Fetus, Crown the Empire, WCAR. Both internships have to do with marketing 70% of the time and the rest is administrative stuff, making sure the bands have what they need to get on the road and keeping track of expenses. Requirements for jobs like that is to just be passionate about music and be willing to learn. Also a business background/knowledge is great.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

My favorite music is metal, fusion jazz, finger style acoustic and classic rock. Some of my favorite artists are Into

Chena with Chuck Billy

Chena with Chuck Billy

Eternity, Carach Angren, Guthrie Gowan, Greg Howe, Paul Gilbert, Anathema, Carcass, Alter Bridge and Killswitch Engage. My favorite artist of all time would be Stevie Ray Vaughan because I credit him for teaching me how to play guitar just by listening and mimicking what he did. Currently, I can’t get enough of the incredible Andy James.

Advice for other girls wanting to get into music?

Don’t worry about trying to fit in, go out there and explore with an open mind about all types of music. Not the type society says black people are supposed to like. Especially for us ethnic girls, don’t let anyone tell you whats “ok” for you to do. Going against the status quo is powerful, and having your own opinions is empowering. It’s surprising to people that I’m a black girl who’s passionate about heavy music and shreds on guitar. I’ve made friends with very important people in the community because being different is interesting. So go pick up and instrument that’s for “the boys” and become really good at it.

Chena with Jeff Loomis

Chena with Jeff Loomis

Where do you want to be in the future?

Well I love playing guitar because it makes me happy, so whatever I am doing in life (even if its a normal person job) I still want to be playing in a band and be involved with the metal/fusion jazz community. In a perfect world, I would have gone to Berklee or Musicians Institute, but my parents are African…no way that could work out. But I still want to work towards my rock star dreams and hope I can do that full time some day.


Want to see more of Chena? Follow her on instagram @chena_roxx or email her at chena716@gmail.com