The Austin Woman team reminisces on the first time they fell in love with music.


Claire Heleniak

Social Media Specialist

My first musical memory takes me back to when I was young, dancing as my uncle or dad played guitar for my cousins and me. By the age of 4, I started playing on a kiddie drum set, then later joined band, where I played flute in middle school at O. Henry. Through band at O. Henry and Austin High, I got to experience playing with bands like Saints of Valory and marching in the London New Year’s Day Parade. I now play piccolo in the Bobcat Basketball Band at Texas State University. It’s an amazing experience that I love and where I’ve met some of my best friends in the entire world. Even when I’m not playing an instrument, I’m listening to playlists of some of my favorite artists, Taylor Swift and SZA, to name a few.

Nina Gloria

Production Coordinator

Is it funny to say that my first musical memory is of my dad? Growing up, and still to this day, there’s always a guitar riff that fills the house. If there’s one thing my dad loves just as much as his family, it’s playing the guitar. My dad started his rock band 21BLACK in 2004, and it has been so inspiring to see him perform for almost the past 20 years. I remember the long days and late nights being there to support the band, and I will always cherish those memories I have of watching my dad do what he loves. I’ve learned to admire the sounds of classic rock from a young age, and you can imagine the shock that came from adults when saying that I knew songs from Van Halen and Deep Purple as a kid. That’s what makes music so special—its ability to transcend time and be enjoyed by many generations.


Shuronda Robinson

CEO, Co-owner

My first musical memory was of my grandmother singing in church. No instruments. Syncopated rhythms that would carry you to another place. Hand claps. Foot taps. Call and response. Wooden benches as drums. The growl, the grit, the wail and vibrato flowed out of a woman who came from a people who knew struggle and triumph. Church was the place to take all of that struggle and joy and push it out from your diaphragm to let Jesus know you were His. The energy those notes created were eternal. I find myself humming fragments of what I remember from those times to be in the presence of my ancestors.


Isabella Urby

Marketing and Events Intern

I can still picture the moments with my first experience listening to music. At a young age, I used to go on drives with my mom; I was like her little best friend. We would listen to various musicians and artists as we drove in her white truck with the windows down through our small hometown of Del Rio, Texas. I became familiar with artists like George Strait, Maná and Lionel Richie thanks to her CD collection. My introduction to music was during the warm Texas summers, singing and laughing as the sun would set. These are some of my best memories of spending time with my mother. Looking back, I realize she probably had no idea how significant those times would be to me. As we would sing along to the radio, it felt like those unique moments were created especially for us.

Cy White

Managing Editor

It was my sixth birthday. I remember my dad saying, “Turn around and close your eyes.” I had no idea what he was up to, but I remember thinking it was totally weird that he would ask me to close my eyes. After maybe a minute, I hear the opening piano glissando of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” I completely lost my mind. I can’t rightly say what caused my obsession with Michael Jackson, and of course by extension The Jackson 5, but I was absolutely hopeless. According to my family, I would nearly black out when Michael came on the TV. (Mind you, I don’t remember any of that…though I guess if I blacked out that makes sense.) My dad buying the CD version of Greatest Hits, the original Jackson 5 greatest hits album from 1971, and saying it was mine was both the most amazing gift I’d ever gotten to that point and my very first memory of falling (quite literally) head over heels for music.




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