Nita Strauss has been on fire lately. She just finished slicing up stages with Alice Cooper, dealin' out that Detroit Muscle on the Spring leg of The Coop's extensive 2022 US Tour. Last year, she dropped her first new solo music—the single "Dead Inside" featuring David Draiman of Disturbed—since her debut instrumental album Controlled Chaos in 2018. Also, let's not forget: that same year, she became the first female guitarist ever to release a signature model with Ibanez. Last week, in an episode of The Sessions with Renee Paquette, Strauss revealed the guitarist who inspired her the most – guitarist is Jennifer Batten.
Batten is the renown New York City session player who performed with Michael Jackson for ten years, from 1987 to 1997, taking part in all three of the King of Pop's Bad, Dangerous, and HIStory world tours, as well as performing with Jackson during his 1993 Super Bowl Halftime Show appearance. It was that performance that really opened Strauss's eyes to a world of possibility, as she told Paquette, "Jennifer, on the biggest stage in the world, playing at the Super Bowl with the biggest pop star in the world, just shredding her face off, technique, chops, attitude, and blonde hair. That was like, 'I can do that. I want to do that, because now she showed me that I can do that.'"
Strauss also noted "We talk a lot about representation now, in this day and age, and having a hero that you can look up to, that looks like you or feels like you, whether that means somebody gay, somebody trans, somebody black or white. However it is, you need somebody. A lot of people, not everybody, but a lot of people need somebody to look up to that looks like them, that feels like them they can relate to. And for me, that was my first moment, in that scene."
You can watch the full interview with Strauss below.