Prepared by Rinny for Blackgirllonghair.com
This year Blackgirllonghair.com will be partnering with Chicagodefender.com to provide in-depth interviews with entertainers who inspire us. Today we feature Bibi Mcgill, the lead guitarist in Beyonce’s all-female band.
You live in Portland now. Is that where you’re from originally?
B: I’m from Denver Colorado, Born and raised and graduated from College there. I’ve lived in L.A. and moved to Portland, OR 5 years ago. I wanted to be closer to nature.
What is your earliest memory with music or guitar?
B: I would have to say I was probably somewhere between 10 and 12 and I remember listening to music and hearing the guitar. That was what I was attracted to. It wasn’t singing or the drums but guitar. I’ve gone through genres of music from funk, to heavy metal to gospel to hip hop to electronic music. I love all kinds of music. It’s hard to pin-point a favorite artists.
What would we find in your music player right now?
B: A lot of electronic music. I listen to dupstep, Glitchhop, Electronic music is so vast. There are so many different categories of electronic music. My all-time favorite guitarist would be Randy Rhoads of Ozzy Osborne’s solo project.
You are the lead guitarist and music director in Beyoncé’s 10-piece all- female band. Many female musicians would kill for that job! How does it feel to be doing this?
B: I feel like we’re making history. It’s an honor to have been chosen to be a part of this. It has changed the lives of not only us but of men, women of all ages and backgrounds all over the world. It’s been inspiring to everybody. It’s opened up a bigger door to allow the floodgates of women to come through and shine in the music industry.
How did you get a gig like that?
B: Beyoncé decided she wanted to have an all-female band despite many people telling her she couldn’t do it. She decided at the last minute to have auditions. I received so many calls from all over the world telling me to audition.
Recently you performed as part of Beyonce’s “Live at Roseland” tour. How do you keep up your energy during such intense performances?
B: I just have a lot of energy period. We’re on a rough schedule back to back to back. We’re rehearsing all day. Then I head to make-up and then we have a 2 hour show. When I’m not on tour, that’s when I use the time to build up my energy. I take a lot of time to be alone and with nature. I love outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, the ocean, garden. I generally don’t like to come off the road and just start hanging out with friends and getting into all sorts of social things. I really take as much time as possible to let my body, mind and emotions.
I’ve read that you’ve been practicing yoga for over 12 years now. What drew you to your current practice?
B: I was always curious as to what it was. I knew it was some kind of mystical spiritual practice. I knew it was good for me. I’m attracted to those kinds of things. Anything that helps me be a better person and a more enlightened person. I am attracted to it.
On the road, I practice yoga every day because that’s the only way I can keep balance. When not on tour, about 3–5 times a week I feel clear. I feel lighter. You feel energized. There are thousands of health benefits with yoga. You can lower your blood pressure. Doing yoga will bring your body back to balance.
And you also eat mostly Vegan.
B: I’m not all vegan. I eat mostly vegan. It’s pretty easy to do anywhere in the world. I’ve found vegan restaurants all over I prefer to eat vegan for 2 reasons. I feel lighter and cleaner. Vegan organic food has less toxins in it. When you eat vegan food, your mind is clean, your body is clean. Your vibration is higher. However there are times where I want to eat pizza. It might even have pepperoni on it. I have a weakness for pork ribs. I choose not to eat meat because we live in a society which sends animals to mass slaughter. Meat is the number one leading cause of heart disease in America.
Last year, you started your own line of chips, “Bibi’s Kale Chips”. How did you get this idea?
B: When I moved to Portland, I immediately created my own garden. I grew everything in my garden, tomatoes, collard greens, corn and kale. At the end of the season I had a lot of Kale so I noticed people where making Kale chips but the recipes were boring. I like garlic, salt and spices. I like my mouth to burn. I made my first batch and started to give it to my friends and their reactions were jaw-dropping. After getting so many positive reactions from my friends, I decided to put it on the market by January 2011.
I want this to be big. I want people to have a healthy snack that tastes good. It’s my goal to replace potato chips by 2015. I’m looking for investors. I’m offering a 29% return on investment.
Let’s talk about hair. Your afro commands attention. How do you care for it on a daily basis?
B: I’ve tried just about everything over the years. I’ll try something and it will work for me for about a month or two and then I don’t like it anymore. A lot of products started out being natural and as they’ve gotten bigger they’ve included additives. I wash my hair with Pantene conditioner. I create my own hair oils with olive oil and Doterra Certified Therapeutic Grade essential oils. These oils are so pure you can actually ingest them. I use my home made hair oil everyday to keep my hair moisturized. Doterra essential oils are the only oils in the united states that are certified therapeutic grade oils.
Have you ever considered starting your own skincare or haircare line?
B: I actually make my own skincare products. I have thought about it, but first things first with Bibi’s Kale chips. I believe in natural care.
Is it hard to maintain your hair while touring?
B: It’s much harder to maintain while touring. I have to wash it more often because I perform 5 or 6 times a week. Which means I have to was it more so it’s a little drier. My hair is happier when I’m not on tour.
How do you feel about people touching your hair?
B: I don’t like that. Before they can even finish their sentence they’re touching my hair and inviting their friends to touch my hair. I don’t mind if they admire it but touching it without asking isn’t cool.
Have you always been natural or did you transition later on?
B: I transitioned about 10 years ago. My mom gave me my first relaxer when I was maybe 10 because it was easier to deal with. I wanted to swim so I got a relaxer. As an adult I was in rock bands and I wore my hair natural but I also wore weaves, braids and wigs. Then finally I thought it was just way too much work. It takes your whole Saturday to get your hair done. I got fed up with having to take my whole Saturday to get my hair done. My dad was a barber. My mom was a hairstylist and my sister is a barber. So I grew up having my family do my hair. This was at a time when afros weren’t cool and I didn’t care. I was going to let it grow out and add chunks of red streaks. After I did this, I went to see some friends at a concert and the minute I walked in they reacted, “Oh My God your hair is dope!” I started getting more work with the Talent Agency I was with. More people wanted to put me in commercials, tv shows and modeling gigs. Embrace your natural beauty.
You are a guitarist, CEO of your own food line and a yogi. How do you find time to do it all?
B: I never have time. Technically, I’m not on tour right now. Beyonce just had a baby. Even though I’m not on tour, I wake up in the morning and don’t stop until late at night. I don’t stop. I don’t know how I do it.
Do you have any advice for women and young girls who are pursuing creative goals?
B: Whatever it is you want to do: hairstylist, dancer, musician, have your own business.… think about it. Think about the reasons why you want to do that. Be realistic. If you can’t sing very well, it’s probably not the best idea to try to become a pop icon. Find out what you want to do and be realistic as to what your talents are. Get training. Educate yourself. Find the knowledge behind anything you want to do. Then Go for it. Don’t just sit around and talk about it. Follow your dreams. If you believe in yourself, you’ll be able to create exactly what you want.
What is next for you?
B: I’m really focusing on Bibi Kale Chips. I’m really focusing on DJing which is something I’m really excited about. Now is the time we should focus on being conscious on how we’re living. I’m really interested in building communities, living off the grid and not being dependent on the government for anything. I’m interested in growing my own food and barter and trade. I’m interested in moving to Hawaii and living off the grid. Pursuing my path, staying creative and sustaining my music interests. If I had to sell my house and all my belongings today, I would find some land to share and live in a tent. I’m not afraid to start over, I can always make my life more simple.
Where can we find out about your kale chips?
B: BibiKaleChips.com- Locally produced in Portland, OR.
Do you offer yoga locally only or will you also teach classes nationwide?
B: I am available to teach workshops and retreats worldwide as well as private classes. I’m in the process of putting together instructional yoga videos that will be available to download digitally every week for a small fee. For more info: Yogabibi.com
Any last words of wisdom?
B: It’s really important to stay in the present moment. Realize that everyone is in this together because we are all ONE entity. People look at the person on the other side of the world and think that we’re separate. People look at the person in the car next to them and think they are separate from them. We’re all the same living being. A lot of stuff is boiling up on this planet right now and people are becoming more conscious. If you can look at the person next to and realize that we’re not separate it will change the way you see and treat that person.