Meet the Women Breaking Ground in Music

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We're partnering with Pandora Women for a second year to bring you an invigorating panel experience with five influential women breaking ground in the music industry. Stemming from all sides of the industry, these women will share their experiences navigating a male-dominated industry and laying the foundations for female representation in music and media.

Join us on Friday, April 7th at Pandora HQ for a unique conversation and drinks by Health-Ade Kombucha.

Learn more about our performers and sponsors below.


Namaste Shawty

DJ, Curator, Founder of Las Brujas Radio

Anytime she steps into the DJ booth, Namasté Shawty, keeps the energy high and the party live. She's known to play a tailored set for a specific party vibe while still staying true to her narrative and style. She uses music as a source of positivity and, through intentional entertainment, facilitates a femme-centric space where people can get their life on the dance floor.

As founder of Las Brujas Radio, Namasté Shawty uses that platform to cultivate a conversation, share experiences and entertain listeners about culturally relevant issues surrounding self-care, emotional health and spiritual practices. Fun and beautiful with a powerful stage presence, she brings the sass and feminine drive to the male dominated industry.

Keep up with Namasté at @namaste_shawty.

Nicole Johnson

Industry Relations & Artist Marketing at Pandora

Nicole Johnson started her career answering phones at WKTU-103.5 in NYC (an iHeartStation). She then moved over to the Urban Promotions Department with Clive Davis record label J. /RCA Records. In 2010, she made the decision to transition to network programming and helped launch the BET network Centric as the Sr. Director of Music and Talent for Centric and the BET Experience. Today, Nicole works with Pandora in Industry Relations. She has brought artist like SZA, Khalid and Logic to the Pandora stage with events in LA and NYC. Nicole has a proven track record of delivering sought-after celebrity guests and being an out-of-the-box creative thinker who can spot emerging trends and talent while understanding audience desires. Her philosophy is “No excuses just results” and that's exactly what she provides.

Keep up with Nicole at @nicole732.


Gurj Bassi

Senior Director, Artist Relations at Pandora

Originally a journalist from London writing for music and pop culture publications such as Elle Girl, Heat, Popworld, OK!, Top Of The Pops and the legendary UK pop bible Smash Hits, Gurj Bassi relocated to New York City in 2005 as an A&R Manager at TVT Records, scouting new talent and signing bands, before joining Atlantic Records in 2008 as Digital Marketing and Editorial Content Manager. She worked closely with a variety of artists such as Skrillex, Chromeo, Cee Lo Green, as well as running digital marketing campaigns for the Twilight and Greys Anatomy Soundtracks.

In April 2012, Bassi joined Republic Records, a division of the world's leading music company Universal Music Group, as their Senior Director of Digital Marketing. She led digital strategy for an all-star roster of multi-platinum, award winning artists such as Lorde, Colbie Caillat, The Avett Brothers, Pearl Jam and The Hunger Games Soundtrack to name a few.

Bassi is currently two years into her current role as Senior Director of Artist Relations at streaming service Pandora where she works closely with Universal Music Group labels and artists to ensure they’re well represented on the platform, in addition to sourcing artists for programs in support of their Sales, Consumer Marketing and Live Music Initiatives.

Keep up with Gurj at @gurjbassi.


Piper Payne

Mastering Engineer & President of SF Chapter of the Recording Academy

Piper Payne is a mastering engineer in Oakland, CA, where she works on albums for independent artists and major labels. Piper is the Owner and Chief Mastering Engineer of Neato Mastering and she is a Co-Founder and the Chief Product Officer for Second Line Vinyl, a new Oakland-based vinyl pressing plant opening in April of 2018. She is the President of the SF Chapter of the Recording Academy and serves on the P&E Wing Advisory Council. She is also on the committee of the AES SF Chapter and is an active member of Women's Audio Mission. Piper is an audio professor and guest lectures often about mastering and recording.Piper began her career with a BFA in Audio from The University of Michigan, continuing her graduate education in Audio at the University of Stavanger in Norway. She has apprenticed under some of the best-known Mastering and audio mentors in the world, including Bob Katz in Orlando and Michael Romanowski in San Francisco. Piper moved to San Francisco after working at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada as the Senior Audio Associate in a work-study program that had her climbing glaciers for film sound design and recording jazz orchestras in the same day! Her focus is mastering and she lives for quality and equality in audio.

Piper has a diverse background in musical styles. As a drummer, she knows that the best outcome of every project is that it has to feel good. As an engineer, Piper is focused on technical quality and correctness. But, at the end of the day, mastering is about format conversion and quality control so the project gets just what it needs.

Keep up with Piper at @sf_mastering.


Nastia Voynovskaya

Music Editor at KQED Arts

Nastia Voynovskaya is a Russian-born, Bay Area-raised journalist exploring the intersections of art and activism. She currently serves as the music editor at KQED Arts. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Noisey, Creator’s Project, Paste Magazine, and SF MoMA Open Space. Previously, she served as music editor at East Bay Express and online editor at Hi-Fructose Magazine. She also DJs.

Keep up with Nastia at @nananastia.

Moderated by Ruth Gebreyesus

Writer & Producer

Ruth Gebreyesus is a writer and producer based in Berkeley. Her writing has been featured in The Fader, KQED, East Bay Express, and San Francisco Magazine. She also creates exhibits and presentations on online black creative production, the latest of which is being hosted by Rhizome at the New Museum in New York. Ruth also hosts Link in Bio, an internet radio show where she explores film, art, music and culture with her guests.

Keep up with Ruth at @kotetakotet.