Felicia Lockett: filling the void with music and passion

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Felicia Lockett has eaten the same breakfast for eight years: Grape-Nuts, oats, flax and sunflower seeds, sweetened Cheerios and a banana with peanut butter. 

How is she content eating the same routine meal? Clearly, she doesn’t need to derive happiness from her breakfast. Instead, she is in love with her daily routine. 

When Lockett discovered music in her school, she learned the clarinet like most students. She soon felt a deeper connection to the arts and learned other instruments by listening to any music she could find. 

Years later, she would harness her talents toward a global movement.

“It’s incredible to think that little old me from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, is changing the world,” she said.

Lockett co-founded Lehigh Valley Girls Rock, or LVGR, and is the executive director. LVGR is dedicated to empowering girls, women and nonbinary/trans people through music. Lockett said this mission is personal for her since she found an avenue of self-expression through the arts as a child and wants Lehigh Valley children to have the same experience. 

Lockett wasn’t always a leader. She discovered music on her own and used it as a social crutch in school, later discovering its communal capabilities. Along the way, she became comfortable with herself and moved to Bethlehem, where she discovered Girls Rock. She then established herself as a leader and founded LVGR in pursuit of her passion. 

“After Felicia became LVGR’s executive director, she really helped the organization blossom,” said Jennifer Alpha, board president of LVGR. “She is one of the most dedicated people I know.

Lockett is outdoorsy, and most of her hobbies revolve around nature.

 “I really like to take walks in the woods — it’s so calming and easy to think out there,” she said. “I’ve also gotten into birding in the past two years.”

She loves spending time in her garden with her dog, watching reruns of “Unsolved Mysteries” and playing the drums. She has a drum set in her apartment and often jams out, though she isn’t currently in a band. 

She was born into a conservative area and household in Schuylkill County. 

“I was ready to leave,” she said with a laugh.

As a young girl, Lockett hosted imaginary art shows in her room and also tried writing and drawing. Her works were creative and imaginative.

Music captured her interest ever since she joined a band in fourth grade. She brought her love for music home with her and turned her bedroom into a sanctuary to learn new instruments from CDs. 

Lockett said being a band geek was a huge part of her identity in high school and she played almost every instrument that her school had to offer at some point. 

She said music was critical to her being able to make connections and socialize in school.

“I was bullied as a kid and didn’t really find my people until later in high school,” she said. “As a teenager, it became easy to connect with others who were passionate about music. That’s who I wanted to surround myself with.”

Lockett moved to Philadelphia when she was 19 and later to Bethlehem at 22. There, she found the Secret Art Space, a venue that she deemed her sanctuary. She said she could go there and feel surrounded by her people, escape from the rest of the world and be immersed in music. 

It was at the art space where Lockett experienced the power of music as a community-building catalyst and became motivated to start an organization.

“This can be a tool for community building and not just for making friends,” she said.

At the Secret Art Space, Lockett met Kelsi Page, a co-founder of LVGR, and the two formed a band.

Lockett was unfamiliar with the Girls Rock movement, but Page had volunteered at its branches in Pittsburg and Austin. 

“I remember being bummed out that there wasn’t a Girls Rock branch in Bethlehem, and a drummer from another band suggested that we start one,” Page said. “Felicia jumped at the idea. How could she say no?”

Lockett committed to bringing Girls Rock’s values to the Lehigh Valley with Page. They noticed that there weren’t many local bands with female or trans representation.

Lockett said it was a hardcore macho environment, and she knew that she could change that. 

Seven years later, Alpha and Page said Lockett became a   community leader in the Lehigh Valley doing what she loved.   

To her, it wasn’t work; it was her destiny. 

She is so thoughtful about making sure that she supports others,” Alpha said. “I find myself reminding her to take time for herself because she prioritizes caring for others.”

Running camps since 2014, Lockett has handled everything from setting up shows to securing instruments to fundraising and storage obligations. 

Page said Lockett is so determined and puts her heart and soul into everything she does.  

Lockett encourages children to be themselves and wants them to discover their power, strength and inner beauty. 

She prides herself on facilitating that. 

“I’ve been able to witness the transition of gender diversity in the DIY music scene,” Lockett said. “We’ve helped put that in motion and seeing it happen is amazing.”

Lockett admits that music changed her life, but more importantly, she changed the lives of others. She wishes someone played this role for her and strives to fill that void for Lehigh Valley youths.

“Be the adult that you needed when you were a kid,” she said. “You’ll be sure to change lives.”

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