Meet The First Female Member of Guns N' Roses

Melissa Reese is the newest face in rock ‘n’ roll. She is a rescue dog owner, a classically trained pianist and is being lauded as the band’s “enhancer”: she is the first female member of legendary hard rock ‘n’ roll band, Guns N’ Roses. But her musical career began at the age of four as a classicist. Reese’s parents heard a Bach piece being played on the piano in their house. They assumed it was one of their older children, and were shocked to learn it was four year old Melissa, who had never taken piano before and had learned the entire classical piece by ear. Melissa was modeling herself after her older sister, and now she’ll be a role model for girls everywhere.

Joining the band in 2016 as their second keyboardist (she also plays the band’s synthesizer, sub-bass, background vocals, and programs all electric sounds for their live performances), Reese had two weeks to learn 50 songs before their tour, often working 15 hour days in order to be ready. But she has more than proved she is up to the task.

Making waves in a male dominated field is never easy, and is even more difficult when the job is in the spotlight. Reese was quoted by LA Weekly saying,  “I’m one of the only women doing what I do, so I use the hate to fuel my composing, or just rip onstage.” Bravo. Haters gonna hate. Despite the hate from fans and others, she says the band has been more than welcoming to their first female member. In her recent interview with Cosmopolitan, Reese said, “Axl specifically is so proud [to have a woman in the band].”

Axl Rose, front man for Guns N’ Roses, went so far as to say, “If anybody tries to talk shit or this or that, I have your back.”

During a time in Hollywood where men are being outed as serial abusers, it is cathartic to hear of the mentorship and camaraderie Reese has experienced in the music industry. Reese has even reminisced on a time she almost puked on stage, and afterwards the band got her a blue bucket to match her hair.

Despite encouragement from new band members and her parents, Reese says that being locked out of “the boys club” drove her to do better, try harder, and truly commit herself to her art. Reese told Cosmopolitan  that she pushed through gender barriers by telling herself “I have just as much knowledge, I can work harder, I can do this just as good as you, if not better.”

Meeting with Axl Rose and Dizz during her auditions for the band was incredibly intimidating and she had to psych herself up by reminding herself of her accomplishments. She reminded herself, “You’re Melissa Reese. You’re a composer/producer/musician/singer. You are schooled, you know your theory, you can read music.” It is no surprise Reese doubted herself when she had no female rockstars to idolize when she was younger. But thanks to her determination and talent, the same won’t be true for future generations. Reese says she has been messaged by parents thanking her for inspiring their daughters to continue learning piano and other musical instruments. Reese recently said,  “I hope when I’m old and grey, some fuckin’ chick comes up and takes over the world and I’m just like, maybe I had .00001 percent to do with helping hurl her over the fence.”

Courtney Love once said,“I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming.” With Melissa Reese being the new face of rock ‘n’ roll, we can expect that 2017 will be the year they finally do.

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