How She Got There: Daisy Spencer, NYC Guitarist & LGBTQ+ Activist

Name: Daisy Spencer

Age: 25

Job Title & Description: Musician/Guitarist

College Name & Major: The New School

Twitter Handle: @daisyspencer

Instagram Handle: @daisyspencer

Whatever you choose to do in life, you need to pursue it with endless passion and steadfast dedication. Achieving your aspirations is no easy feat, and NYC rocker and social activist Daisy Spencer is well-aware of that. Having been an active member of the New York City music scene since she was a teenager, she has been in a guitarist in bands such Brooklyn-based The Skins, and more recently, has played with artists such as Pink Sweat$ and ConBoy. Through her consistent dedication, she has been able to play at notable arts festivals such as Firefly, Electric Forest, and SXSW—all by the age of 25.

However, Daisy isn't just known for her musical talents. As an androgynous queer woman, Daisy uses her platform to speak for the marginalized voices of the LGBTQ+ community, performing at musical events sponsored by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Restore Civility. Her mission? To spread acceptance and awareness of the struggles faced by LGBTQ+ people—especially artists who face such discrimination and marginalization in the historically male-dominated music industry. Daisy isn't afraid to use her music, her voice to help anyone who deserves it. Today, Daisy talks to Her Campus about the importance of putting in your absolute best effort, how to remain self-reliant, and developing a thick skin in order to accomplish your dreams in such a demanding industry. 

Courtesy of: Ella Spencer

Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Daisy Spencer: I’m the guitarist for R&B singer Pink Sweat$ and indie band ConBoy. Before this, I was in Brooklyn pop/rock band The Skins. As a session guitarist, I like to think of myself as one of many moving parts that make up an artist’s team. All parts have to be synchronized and putting in the effort.

There is definitely no such thing as a typical day. Every day is different. For the past few weeks, I’ve been in LA rehearsing with Pink for our upcoming shows and SXSW. Other times, I might be traveling around the U.S. on tour (sometimes internationally), or in the studio with my band ConBoy.

HC: What is the best part of your job?

DS: Playing on stage live has to be my favorite part of the job, hands down. There’s no greater feeling than being in front of people who are enjoying what you’re playing. I feel so lucky and humbled to be able to be a working musician.

HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

DS: There isn’t really an entry-level job for being a musician, except just getting started by joining a band and getting your music out there. I guess the closest thing to an entry-level job for me would be my first band, The Skins. A few of my like-minded musician friends and I formed a band. Eventually, after years of playing together and networking in the industry, we got a record deal with Republic Records.

HC: What words of wisdom (well-known quotes, an anecdote from your boss) do you find most valuable?

DS: “If you put 100% in, you will get 100% back” — Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

I truly believe if you put in the effort, it will come back to you. Whereas if you only put in 25% or 50%, that’s all you’re going to get back in your results.

HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

DS: It’s hard to name just one. The music industry can be a little crazy and confusing. It’s easy to make mistakes especially when you start out young as I did.

One important lesson I learned is not to take things on face value because someone says “it's good for your career” or “it will make you succeed." Be careful about any contract or deal you sign as a musician; consult a lawyer or get a second opinion if you’re not sure. Hold people accountable when they aren’t keeping their promises and responsibilities.

HC: What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

DS: I cried when I met Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs when I played Firefly Festival in Delaware with The Skins when I was 20. That was surreal.

HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

DS: I don’t find myself hiring many people, but all musicians eventually need a team, which can mean a manager, accountant, publicist, stylist, and the list goes on (and gets bigger as your career does). For me, good communication and being able to separate business from personal is key. It’s all about making the machine run smoothly—everyone has their part, all I ask is to do your part well!

HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

DS: Something I’ve always believed is to is to put in your 10,000 hours and really hone your craft, whatever that may be. The music industry requires a thick skin. It’s very competitive and you will get told “no” a lot. Don’t give up.

The music industry is really all about relationships, [and] you need to network and expose yourself to different people in the industry to make things happen.

Also, learn how to make your own recordings and demos. You’ll save money [instead of] paying someone else to do it and it’s a good skill to have if you want to be a recording artist and need to start out DIY. Most musicians do. I highly recommend learning how to market yourself and your music on social media if you can’t hire someone to help.