In-demand session player Ari O‘Neal on how she landed some of the biggest gigs in music

Ari O'Neal
(Image credit: Devyn Glista)

“The secret behind getting so many gigs as a session player?” ponders American guitarist Ari O’Neal, who – in her years of playing for Beyoncé, Jay Z, Lizzo, Alicia Keys and more – would know a thing or two about finding work as a musician. 

“Post, post and post,” she continues, stressing the importance of making it as easy as possible for people to find you. “I’m always active on my social media pages, it’s really important... As is being different! I want to play like I’m an old black man, and still look like a Barbie [laughs].” 

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).