Femme Shui
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Femme Shui

Phoenix, Arizona, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Phoenix, Arizona, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Rock Cover Band



The best kept secret in music


"Meet Joelle Guymon of Femme Shui"

JANUARY 14, 2020 Meet Joelle Guymon of Femme Shui in Central Phoenix

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joelle Guymon.

Joelle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been interested in music since I was a young child. I learned early that I could get attention as the fifth child by performing for my family and their friends. I had a natural affinity for singing so I began singing around the age of 8yrs old. I joined my first rock cover band when I was 14 and began teaching myself to play the guitar and bass. In high school, I continued my musical learning by joining the band program and playing percussion. I continued to play in cover bands throughout high school and college in the Cleveland, OH area. As an adult, I moved to Nashville, TN with one of my bands to try to pursue music and that is where I met my now wife, Rona Guymon. She was a percussion student at Vanderbilt University. We began playing music together and as our relationship developed we moved to Phoenix for other career opportunities. Rona is from Phoenix and went to South Mountain for Performing Arts and has musical connections here from her past. It’s in Phoenix where we met our current guitar player, Jody Broaddus about 15 years ago. The three of us started our cover band about 15 years ago and we were called Hookah at the time. Seven years ago we changed the band name to Femme Shui and started gathering musical momentum and followers. About five years, Rona reconnected with a high school bandmate named Rhonda Wooder, who plays bass and sings. She joined the band and has helped elevate our band in many ways. Today we play over four hours worth of music and have over 500+ local followers. It is common for us to pack the bar to capacity while we play songs that everyone can either sing or dance to. We strive to provide an excellent fan experience by having contests to win band swag (free) including shirts, hats, stickers, guitar picks, chap stick, etc. We focus on making sure our fans have the most fun possible!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Playing music for a living is difficult but we also learned it’s valuable to play music as an outlet and to have it as a way to connect to other people. As working professionals, it is difficult to be able to schedule enough practice time or to book gigs due to everyone’s hectic work schedules. We often get requests to play that we have to decline due to scheduling conflicts. There are also internal struggles each band has to deal with which include picking songs that are appropriate for the band and the audience and that will drive fan engagement. A healthy band works through all of those issues to continue to see the value in playing together and offering a great product to the bars that book us and to our fans.

Please tell us about your music.
Our band is known for bringing a party atmosphere to every show. The T-shirts we give away say “I partied with the band” and have our logo on them. We focus on ways to get the fans engaged through our social media accounts leading up to the gigs which helps to drive attendance. When picking songs to play we have two general rules: the fans need to be able to sing the song or dance to the song. This is how we keep our fans on the dance floor. We also ensure we have multiple contests for the fans to win prizes during the show. We typically have trivia questions, or dance contests, or costume contests. The band swag certainly sets us apart from other bands in the valley. Lastly, we focus on keeping drinks in the fan’s hands to help promote the party atmosphere. We promote the drink specials of the night but also promote “Holler and Swoller” in between songs. You won’t find a more engaging fan experience than at a Femme Shui show.

Is there something we can do as a city to improve the outlook for businesses like yours?
Live music in Phoenix is tough. There aren’t a lot of venues for cover bands and then there is a lot of band competitions. The pay scale for live entertainment is also difficult in Phoenix which makes it more of a hobby for many people. We focus on partnering with key venues that value the crowd we bring in and provide a reasonable pay scale in return.

Contact Info:

Phone: 4803071335
Email: rojoguymon@cox.net
Instagram: @femme_shui
Facebook: @femme.shui
Twitter: @femmeshuiband
Other: snapchat: femmeshui - Voyager Phoenix

"The 'F' is for Fun in Femme Shui"

Hunter Hippel
The ‘F’ in Femme Shui is for Fun

When Joelle and Rona Guymon first met, there wasn't any talk about playing music together, let alone forming an all-female cover band.
"Her style of music at the time was very different from mine at the time," Rona, the 44-year-old drummer and occasional singer for the Phoenix-based lesbian cover band Femme Shui, said. "It didn't mesh."
Rona didn't necessarily grow up in a musical household, but had the genes of her country music singing grandmother and her guitar playing uncle in her, neither of which she ever met. It was her first record player that peaked, and possibly awakened, that interest in music.
"Things like that were important to me," Rona said of the record player. "I definitely had a passion for it [music] from the time I was young."
She started playing drums in sixth grade, and later attended a music magnet program at South Mountain High School. That was the moment Rona realized that music might be her thing.
"It was a hard decision early," Rona said. The school was a 30 minute bus ride each way from her home. "But I'm glad I made that decision."
From there, Rona attended Vanderbilt University on a percussion scholarship. After college, she found herself playing jazz and classical music with bands in the Nashville area. She also played softball in recreation leagues, which is where Joelle, the 50-year-old lead singer of Femme Shui, also found herself.
It was quite random for Joelle to find herself in Nashville. After graduating college in Ohio with a degree in education, she moved to the Music City "on a limb" in search of a teaching job, which she couldn't find in her home state. Having a friend in the area, Joelle knew she could hunker down there until something came up. After finding a one year stint, she also joined a recreation softball league, and met her future wife on it.
Joelle came from an even less musically inclined family than Rona. Her parents didn't care about music, but her four older sisters did.
"I thought they were cool," Joelle said.
But nobody in the family played, or really, really cared about music. Joelle played instruments throughout elementary and middle school, but never knew she had a good voice until she was 13, when a group of boys at her high school formed a band and were looking for singers and bass players. Joelle auditioned, and got it, but had to learn how to play bass.
"We couldn't find a bass player," Joelle said. "Which has been pretty true of most of my bands."
Joelle was surprised she got the singing gig, thinking her friend she auditioned with had the better voice. It was the first realization for Joelle that music might be her thing.
"I'm that person who fell into it because I liked it and turned out to be good at it," she said.
Even as she ended up in other bands throughout Ohio and in ones after her move to Nashville, she never really knew how good that voice was. It was after meeting Rona, whose musical background gave Joelle a trustful source of advice, that she truly realized it.
"I valued her opinion a lot because I knew the history she had," she said. "I found her opinion very valuable and started to believe it."
The two went from friends on a softball team to more than that, an experience that was new to both of them.
"Neither of us had dated women before," Joelle said. "We didn't identify as lesbian at that time. We really didn't have a clue about that."
It was Rona who had to bring Joelle in.
"I was scared to death of it," Joelle said of dating another woman.
She later realized that their connection was there all along.
But when it came to playing music together, it was Joelle who got the ball rolling.
"I had to convince her," Joelle said. The difference in drum styles, as Rona's background was in hand drums rather than drum sets, was the kicker.
"I feel like us playing together was one more way that we could share something together," Joelle said.
The two found friends that would join them, mostly through softball. That's how Jody Broaddus, the band's 51-year-old guitarist and backup vocalist, got involved.
Similar to Rona, Jody came from a musically influenced background. Growing up in Iowa, her small community revolved around music.
"You start in band when you're in the second grade," Jody said. "Everyone picks an instrument and everyone plays in the community."
Jody grew up a trumpet player, following in the line of her dad, grandfather and uncles. Both sides of the family were littered with musicians. Jody's mother and her sisters did four-part harmonies, and even put a record out. Her dad's band also put one out.
After moving to Arizona, she realized a dip in the taste for music within the culture. But Jody still followed her passion.
"We stuck with it," she said.
Learning different instruments was easy since her Iowa days taught her how to read music. But the last one she learned to play was ironically the guitar, which didn't occur until college.
"I just picked it up and just started playing," Jody said. "I taught myself how to play."
In addition to the trumpet, Jody's dad was also an experienced guitar player. The amp she uses still today was his. It's been used since the 1970s.
Out of all the instruments Jody picked up, the guitar stuck.
"You can do a wide variety of music with it," she said. "You can play by yourself and you can play with other people."
Camping trips with her friends were a big factor as well, citing the guitar's coziness with a campfire rather than an instrument like the trumpet.
Other friends of Jody's later on ended up starting a band, and like Joelle's old group, they needed a bass player as well.
"I had never played bass," said Jody. "I said I'd try it, and we ended up playing a show."
That show is where Jody was introduced to Rona and Joelle, who were out with their softball coach catching a gig. The softball coach knew Jody beforehand, and introduced the trio to one another.
When the three decided to start playing music together, adjustments were made. Jody got back to her roots moving from bass to guitar, while Joelle played bass and sung at the same time.
Three-quarters of the band, then called Hookah, a name that the group laughs about now, was set. But there was still a missing piece. The girls had put out Craigslist ads looking for another guitarist, but no viable option appeared. That was, until a lunch with one of Rona's friends turned into an offer.
Forty-five-year-old Rhonda Wooder might have the most musical background out of any of the members of Femme Shui. Like everyone else though, she grew up infatuated with music. She started guitar in high school, and used her bed pillows as a drum set as a little girl.
"I was addicted to MTV," Rhonda added. "Something within the performing aspect... I loved it."
Rhonda, who befriended Rona in high school, also got her start there. She took a guitar class, that being her first experience ever actually playing an instrument, and other classes that were part of the music magnet program.
"It was a huge opportunity that I was grateful to have at my high school," she said.
Rhonda then found herself a member of The Reign Kings, a local Phoenix band that gained considerable attention opening for national acts, and even dropped an album called "Bloom" in 2004.
"Our music is still circulated on Sirius XM Radio," she said.
But, as most bands do, The Reign Kings fell apart. Drugs and the prototypical band feuds caused the group to dismantle. After a long musical break, Rhonda hopped on with another band (Formed by a former member of The Reign Kings), then joined a corporate band which played weddings and other ceremonies, which provided an income high enough for it to be considered a full-time job. The day after she left the corporate band, she happened to have lunch with her high school friend Rona and her wife Joelle. They mentioned they were looking for a guitarist, and offered Rhonda the spot. She signed on as the bass player, which saw Joelle go from bass and singer to simply lead vocalist. For Rhonda, Femme Shui is like nothing she's ever been a part of.
"Playing in a band where you have to be 'on' all the time, you're expected to be 'on' at all times," she explained. "The pressure of that kind of got to me a little bit."
Femme Shui is all about the fun for her.
"The difference in that band [The Reign Kings] per say Femme Shui is that Femme Shui is pretty relaxed," she said. "We're going to make our mistakes, but it's not frowned upon. The crowd doesn't know that we messed up, but we know that we messed up."
And for everyone, that's all it can be. All four women have full-time jobs; Joelle is an executive assistant for a child care management company, and has also started a consulting company with a friend that specializes in training on diversity and inclusion. Rona travels all over for her Vice President of Business Development job at Protective Life, an insurance company. Jody is an attorney who deals with civil rights and personal injury cases, and Rhonda works in sales and business development. For them, Femme Shui is that escape from their hectic daily lives, which comes to fruition in their practices and gigs.
In a Phoenix home south of the Biltmore, music blasts out the open windows and through the walls. A sign hangs on the wall reads "RoJo's Lounge", with sarcastic warnings to the neighbors and cops below it. Femme Shui is practicing tonight, and everyone is able to hear them.
"We like to keep it up-beat," said Jody. "We don't want to be the sleepy guitar band."
Before practice starts, one of the band members looks out the window. Soccer practice is being held on the fields across from the home, and the band members wave at a man holding a baby going for a walk. All the chaos within the house doesn't translate out onto the streets, but it can certainly be heard.
The band practices as much as they can. With everyone holding down a full-time job, it can be hard for everyone to be together. Sometimes practice is held without the whole crew being together.
"We always try and power through, or work on things that we need to work on," Rona said.
Dinner comes before music for Femme Shui. A tradition that has been in practice for years, dinner before rehearsal wasn't really anyone's idea. It just kind of happened by accident. When Rona and Joelle lived up in the far north Phoenix suburb of Desert Hills, it was a hike for Jody after she got off work to get to practice at a reasonable time. Traffic was always bad, and she didn't have time to stop to get food as it would delay practice's start time.
"I just started cooking in anticipation," Rona said. "And it just kind of turned out to be a thing."
It serves as a time for the girls to catch up with one another, or for them to discuss band related things, such as ideas, gigs and whatever else the group is tasked with.
The meal is not complete without one very important supplement though: Wine.
"We always have wine at practice," Rona said.
Wine is so important to rehearsal that its consumption doesn't stop after dinner. Before rehearsing songs, Joelle will ask “How are wine bottles?” If people need more, they will take a break to take care of that.
Joelle occasionally takes a swig from her glass in the middle of a song the band is practicing. The swigs usually alternate between that and a bottle of water.
That song, 'Tell Me Why' by Wynonna Judd, is one of 12 songs the group practices on a Tuesday night before their gig on April 13th. It's an acoustic set they're performing for the crowd at Original Gravity. It's a bit laid-back compared to what they usually perform.
"We normally play full band, full electric," Joelle said. "So we kind of have to rework some of our songs to make it more fit for this venue."
Despite that, Joelle finds a way to kick it up a notch. The wine might have a little something to do with that.
To give the songs a bit of a kick, the group is getting creative. The set-list practiced includes a couple mashups. One has "Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson interluding to "Black or White" by Michael, and the other is a combination called "Feelings", that includes "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd and "Feels Like the First Time" by Foreigner.
Every song, but specifically these two, involve a lot. The transition is key, and it involves everyone knowing two different rhythms without stopping.
It is these rhythm changes that lead to the most stops and starts throughout. As "Dirty Diana" introduces "Black or White", the group stops multiple times. Once right after the intro concludes, once 15 seconds in, and finally after the whole thing ends. It is the guitar that is being debated. Its sound is at the center of it, and Femme Shui will rehearse as many times as needed to get that sound right.
But this starting and stopping is not rare. In fact, only two songs the entire night were played all the way through. Adjustments even occur in the middle of the song. Rona will switch percussion instruments mid-song, just to give it a different flare, try something new, or make what is a necessary adjustment. These mid-song adjustments aren't just something Rona makes though. During times when no lyrics are sung, Joelle will talk with Rhonda about how the song is sounding, or whether it needs to be sped up or down.
It seems as if the song isn't just a song. It's a song and a conversation at the same time. That conversation is the reason this Tuesday night practice exists.
But practices aren't totally serious. The wine certainly makes sure of that. However, other factors play a part as well. Those conversations that sometimes start during the song pick up immediately after it ends. Any slight comment about any random thing can lead down a totally different avenue, putting everyone off track and leading Rona to have to say something.
"Conversation," Rona said immediately when asked about practice going off the rails.
"It just kind of happens during weeks," Joelle said. "We all have these things that happen in our lives that is outside the box, these 'I can't wait to tell these guys this one' kind of stuff."
Occasionally during songs, other instruments will make an unexpected appearance. Since it's in her vicinity, Jody will hit the Mark Tree percussion instrument, a chime-like structure that is played with fingers or a stick, out of nowhere, just to screw around. Despite it not fitting in whatsoever, Jody does her best to make sure it occurs in beat and in the right moment of the song. It draws a laugh from everyone else.
In essence, Jody's Mark Tree hit is a perfect microcosm for what the band represents. Practice is meant for serious business, but it is also really just a get together for four women who happen to make music collectively.
Driving in, you wouldn't guess Original Gravity is there. A narrow lane carves its way around the building and into the back. Parking is limited. The beer bar is tucked on the bottom floor of a central Phoenix strip mall. Inside, it's like an unfinished basement. Concrete walls that aren't painted. The pipes and roofing clear when looking up at the ceiling. But it has a modern feel to it rather than a dumpy one.
Inside, the place is packed, and it's no wonder why. It's Femme Shui's gig night, and they know everyone there. Like, almost everyone.
"It's like a reunion," Joelle said.
The fanbase is dedicated. Estimates have the group knowing 90 to 95 percent of the crowd. Whether it's true friends, family, or people they've gotten to know throughout the band's history, "Everyone seems to know someone here," Jody said.
Before the show starts, the girls do a couple things. First is warmup. Guitars are strummed, drums hit. Speakers and microphones checked. As the group is beginning their warmup song, Joelle walks around the bar with the microphone in-hand singing (Something that was not uncommon throughout the night). But this time it is different. She's checking the acoustics within the bar, listening for her voice and the guitar. It's a takes a couple tries to get it right.
"We wanted to make sure the sound was full and could be heard everywhere in the bar," Jody said. "In the back and around the corner, there were some issues [as to whether] you could hear all the sound."
Even though it's just warmup, the crowd is already engaged. People are nodding their heads. Joelle, as she's walking the bar, singing and listening for the guitar and her voice, is simultaneously hugging people and saying "Hi."
Once the sound issue is fixed, the others do the same. Rona "makes her rounds" while Jody says "Hi" to others. Rhonda slams a burger while sitting next to her mother, who is about to witness her first Femme Shui live performance. Everyone is talking to someone. The girls seem and act as if they are in the bar to do what most people are there to do: Talk, drink and see a performance.
Four minutes before 7 p.m., the scheduled time of the performance to start, Joelle looks down at her watch. It reads 6:56 p.m. She looks up from it and says, "Alrighty."
Show time.
Things begin rampant and then trickle down. The group's first song, "Burning Love" by Elvis Presley, gets the crowd moving. Just as Femme Shui likes to see. But after "Save Me San Francisco" by Train, Joelle tells the crowd they need some shots. It's a little dead. People are paying attention and clapping afterward. But there's no dancing.
"Tell Me Why" by Wynonna begins, and two girls walk in and immediately start singing it. From there, momentum builds. The outdoor patio, which is full due to the nice weather but somewhat shuttered from the space in the front of the bar where the band is playing, has people nodding their heads to the music. "Grenade" by Bruno Mars has waitresses dancing and moving to the music as they serve drinks; it draws the loudest cheers of the night so far. After that boost, Joelle once again tells the crowd they need more energy. And they bring it to "Vacation" by The Go-Gos. For the first time all night, both sides of the bar are moving to a song. Joelle recognizes it, and decides that to keep it going, she needs to get more involved as well. So during "Runaway" by Bon Jovi, Joelle gets up and sings while walking the bar. Claps from the tables along the back break out, people have their hands up, waving to the beat at the bar, and a fan even sings a lyric of the song.
That energy spurring from both ends leads Joelle to take "Who Knew" by P!nk to another level. A fan takes out their phone to snap a photo. It's Joelle's most passionate song so far; she's really into it, just as P!nk is in the song's final verse.
After the song concludes, a drink is handed to Joelle. She didn't buy it.
Those two songs, "Runaway" and "Who Knew", seemed to be the catalysts of the night. They turned things around and got the crowd really going. The energy never lowered after those performances.
"We try to design the sets to increase the energy and end on a high," Joelle said. "We hope once that energy gets there that it stays till we stop."
Next, the band takes things in a bit different of a direction. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood and "I Saw Her Standing There" by The Beatles are the next two songs. The diversification is something the band cherishes, and is something their fans do as well.
"I like the diversity of their playlists, and the interesting way they perform songs." said Jack Monson, a long-time fan of the band's. "They're with the crowd. They're with the audience."
The whole bar is singing those two songs. And another first of the night occurs: A dance floor forms right in front of the band. At the time, it only occupies six-to-eight people. But no matter the volume, it's exactly what Femme Shui wants.
During the song, Joelle joins in. She's dancing just as much as everyone not holding a microphone is, and is taking photos, all while singing. Her energy is unbounded.
"She has always been an Energizer bunny," Rona said. "She her entire life has always had energy. Her mother is that way to this day, and she's 80-something-years-old. I think it's just in her genes."
By now, all the members in the band have some form of alcohol next to them, and Joelle is giving the audience drinking tips.
Those tips pay off by "Crazy" by Gnarles Barkley. Whistles echo the bar throughout the song, and the crowd goes literally crazy as Joelle does toward the end. Then during "Come To My Window" by Melissa Etheridge, Jody hits her infamous Mark Tree, which is making its first appearance at one of the band's gigs, and Joelle is up again walking around the bar, dancing with fans and having them sing the lyrics, even though they don't know them.
It's almost as if Joelle uses her laps around the bar to prep for what's coming next, because the group's next song is "Walk Me Home" by P!nk, a classic of theirs. As soon as the first chord of the guitar is strung, the crowd recognizes it immediately. The band plays the music quietly before crescendoing it in, but it doesn't really matter, because the crowd has practically taken the song from the band before it even starts and is performing it themselves.
Though an obvious answer, Joelle asks the crowd the name of the artist. A free shirt is thrown out to the crowd, something the band tries to do as much as possible.
"We are always trying to give gifts and do giveaways in a funny way," Joelle said.
Dogs bandanas and underwear have been thrown in the past.
But one giveaway in particular is perhaps the group's most infamous though. During their performance of "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry later on, chapstick with the band's logo, Facebook page link and the words "I Kissed a Girl!" is thrown out to the crowd as Joelle sings the first lyrics of "taste of her cherry chapstick", which was changed to say "Femme Shui" instead of "cherry". Like missiles, the tubes reach the back of the bar, as handfuls are thrown at a time.
The tradition started as a joke to go with the song when it came out, and it hit off well with the audience.
"It goes over so well," Joelle said. "That's the one gift we always have, because people like it for some reason."
It's in such high demand the fans are asking for it during prep before the gig even starts, well before the song is sung.
By now, as the band approaches its break, the energy has reached what feels like a high point. A run of "Ex's & Oh's" by Elle King, "Roots" by Alice Merton, "Lips Are Movin" by Meghan Trainor and "Sin Wagon" by Dixie Chicks has the crowd widely entertained, so much so that they finish off "Sin Wagon" with singing, clapping and dancing. Even the patio crowd is heavily engaged. As the song ends, a round of drinks is brought to the band and Joelle picks up a guitar for "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. It's her first time touching an instrument all night.
"I enjoy playing guitar, but it does free me up a lot not to play guitar," Joelle said. "There are some songs that Jody might be doing that are a solo line. On 'All Summer Long', she played a lot of lead guitar on that, so we need to fill up the sound of it more, so adding an acoustic guitar in there, it sounds better.
Next is "Pontoon" by Little Big Town, which keeps dancers occupying the front. It adds to the heavy dose of country the band is playing tonight due to their acoustic set.
"It translates easier to the acoustic shows," Joelle said of the volume of country music. "A lot of people like country, so we just try and add songs we find fun for the crowd."
After performing "Love Runs Out" by OneRepublic, which featured Joelle laying on the couch with fans, it's break time, announced by Joelle telling the crowd that they need five minutes to get more drinks.
The break is exactly how the beginning of the show was. The girls are practically celebrities in the bar. They're hugging and talking to everyone, or saying "Hi" to people who came in after the gig started. Or they're meeting new people, which happens about 10 times per gig.
One new member of the crowd, Cindy Obrzut, who is out with friends, has never seen the band before.
"From the picture I saw [of Femme Shui], I was expecting some good performance." Obrzut said. When asked if she got that, a stern "Yes I did." was spoken back.
"The band was excellent," she added.
After the break is over, Femme Shui hops right back in as if no hiatus ever occurred. "She Talks To Angels" by The Black Crowes is the first song of the second half. Another hat is thrown out to the winner of another trivia question, again it being which artist sings the song. During the song, Joelle raises her glass to the ceiling and asks who is thirsty. Everyone puts their drinks up as well. It's one big mutual agreement.
By now, the group is hitting their set's stride. This is the meat of the set, equipped with either classics or crowd-engagers. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton brings out the moves from the crowd, as Joelle says of two dancers up front, "That was the best dancing I've ever seen."
The next song, "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock sees some changes, to the song and the band. First, the lyrics "It was summertime in Northern Michigan" are changed to "It was summertime in the Great State of Ohio", and Rhonda later sings a full verse.
The change in lyrics is homage to Joelle's childhood.
"I'm forbidden as an Ohio State fan to say the word 'Michigan'," Joelle said. The football rivalry between the two schools is considered one of college football's best and most historic.
Rhonda's verse in the song "happened naturally", with its origin stumping her as she thought it over. While its origin is unclear, it does represent teamwork within the band. When Rhonda and Jody come in on back-up, it helps Joelle carry something she is not able to.
"When you're listening to an album on the radio, they have layers and layers of the lead singer's voice doing the harmony," Rhonda explained. "So if Joelle feels that she cannot hit the next line because she's still trying to carry over the last line, I will jump in and start that [next] line."
The energy keeps up with the added flares, so much so that it has dancers claiming they pulled a muscle, the back tables alive as ever, the Mark Tree still in use, Joelle and band members laughing due to crowd shenanigans and the patio tables making comments about how good the band is. It's just the right amount of energy needed for the gig's final stretch.
"Does everyone have a drink cause it's getting on now!" Joelle screams.
The first song of the final stretch is a mashup of Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana" and Black Or White". A fan comes up and sings a whole verse of the song, with the crowd egging her on. Later, "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond is dedicated to Rhonda's mom, who begins the bar's claps. The most singing all night comes out of it.
Despite people clearing out of the bar at a higher rate as the clock nears 10 p.m., those who remain keep the energy high. These are the die-hards that are left, and they're going all out. A massive crowd forms at the front, of which Rhonda's Mom is up and dancing in. Middle fingers fly through the air during "Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green. And Rona handles P!nk's rapping verse during "Perfect", making the crowd practically lose its mind.
"I like to rap, it's actually one of the genres of music I really like," Rona said. "When we figured out there was a rap in the song, it was kind of natural for me to try it and see if I can do it and play at the same time."
She was able to, and since then, Rona has always laid the bars down of that verse.
Before "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin starts, Joelle thanks the crowd for coming out. It's their final song, and is another classic of theirs.
Once the song ends, some clear out and others stay. Femme Shui picks up and then heads to the bar, to mingle and drink with fans who just watched them play for a solid three hours. Besides the die-hards, the bar is pretty clear, a stark difference from the scene that had occupied the space for the past three hours. But for Original Gravity owner Holly Knudsen, the night is an absolute success.
"It was way bigger tonight," Knudsen said of the crowd compared to a normal gig. "The energy they bring is undeniable."
And for Femme Shui die-hard Annette Chapman, the gig wasn't any different than any of the countless others she's been to.
"They enjoy making the audience a part of their group and enjoy having fun with them, whether it's in their own home or out at a bar," Chapman said. "They try to be a part of the audience."
Being that, part of the audience, is an evident trait of Femme Shui. From the mingling before and after shows, to creative giveaways, to parties held at Rona and Joelle's house for practice, it's clear the group isn't trying to make it big or be superstars.
"We don't take ourselves too seriously," Rhonda said. "We just want to have fun." - Hunter Hippel


Still working on that hot first release.



Who said girls just wanna have fun? Girls also wanna ROCK! 

FEMME SHUI is an all-female Rock/Pop/Country cover band that takes stage performance and audience interaction to a ridiculously FUN level! This Phoenix, AZ band includes Joelle Guymon Lead Vocals, Jody Broaddus Guitar/Vocals, Rona Guymon Drums, Rhonda Wooder Bass/Vocals, Lindsey Ohls Guitar/Vocals have been playing together in various bands for over 15 years.  FEMME SHUI focuses on putting the FUN back in the live music scene in Phoenix.  Their motto is No slow songs! Their fans appreciate their song choices which range from modern pop/rock, to country, to classic rock but more importantly their fans enjoy the interaction with the band at each show. To ensure optimum fan engagement, the band gives out branded swag during the show! Their huge local following ensures a packed house! From "Holler and Swallers", to shots in the middle of a song, to dance contests, to bringing up singers, they ensure everyone enjoys the show. Femme Shui stays busy by playing Arizona bars and restaurants, festivals, charity benefits, and private parties.  They also have a great fan following on Facebook and Instagram which is where all of their gigs are posted. 

Although the band has been playing together more than 15 years, it actually started long before that. Rhonda and Rona went to South Mountain High School for the Performing Arts together and played in various jazz and performance bands together. They never lost touch and recently were able to reconnect musically and Rhonda joined the band! Joelle and Rona met in Nashville, TN in 1995 while Rona was studying Percussion at Vanderbilt University (she graduated in 1997 with her music degree).  They began playing music together in 1996 and the rest they say is history!  Rona is the only formally trained musician in the group and she and Rhonda are also the only AZ natives in the group too. However the other members have amazing skills as well. Jody is a multi-instrumentalist, mostly self-taught, who comes from a long lineage of Bohemian musicians from Iowa.  Joelle is a natural talent with a powerful voice who also taught herself how to play bass guitar and is from Cleveland, OH. Rhonda is an amazing bass player who also provides great harmonies.  She has played with national headlining bands and is an important addition to Femme Shui.

All of the members of Femme Shui maintain active lives between their stressful day job professions and playing music for the fans which is why their emphasis for the band is on FUN! 

So the next time you would like to have FUN while listening to live music, be sure to contact FEMME SHUI!

Band Members