SONG REVIEW : ANIA TACKLES THE ETHICAL AND POLITICAL PROGRESSION OF GOVERNMENT ENTITIES ON NEW SINGLE 'POISON'
It is an extraordinary feat when a singer-songwriter is equally entrancing and alive in their word as they are on stage. Poland-born Ania is no exception to this statement, and embodies the quintessential representation of what it means to move and be moved by music. In her latest triumph “Poison,” Ania tackles the conspicuous entitlement and internal complexities that halt the ethical and political progression of government entities. Astute proclamations and direct confrontation from the USC graduate stand out among the romantically hypnotic guitar pickings that prove Ania is very much wise beyond her years: “Complications come from imitation/ Your privilege gets me down again.”
The video in and of itself is a wild trip of sorts with neon shades clouding the space surrounding Ania as she lyrically paints the portrait of a relationship gone astray; Indirectly telling the tale of a more politically-charged circumstance. With kaleidoscopic LA palm trees paired with graffitied pavement, it is reminiscent of a beloved, starkly color-graded, coming-of-age film. When set side-by-side with previous grit-rock singles “Doors Close” and “Runaway,” the heavy synth of “Poison” is a world of its own.
Despite the video’s illustration of a spiteful Trump-esque drummer behind center stage, Ania is very much a one-woman band. The master guitarist has demonstrated her flexibility and adaptability as she rotates her fellow band members in and out depending on availability. As she passes sincere gratitude to her all-powerful inspirations - Trent Raznor of Nine Inch Nails, St Vincent, Blondie, Tool, Rage Against the Machines, L7, Soundgarden, Nirvana - There is a casual sophistication and air of candor to her presence unlike any the music industry has noted prior. “Poison” serves to demonstrate that political statements do not have to be vehement and ear-splitting nor bombastic shows of individuality; It is the space between where Ania can be free of imitation’s “Poison.”
Follow Ania :
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/aniacakess/
Written by Grace Dallaglio
Grace Dallaglio is a recent graduate of the NYU Music Business program, with a love for lifting up and spotlighting up-and-coming creatives.
Jenn O'Hagan is the PR Director at Cyber PR. She and her team put together these articles for #TheCrush to help female musicians find the best, most up-to-date resources to advance their music careers.
The following blog post consists of 9 outlets for female musicians to submit their music to for feature, review, or interview consideration.
Independent Artist Buzz is a music blog that features music of all genres. With a passion for promoting female or female identifying musicians, their interview segment titled "7 From The Women" has been going strong for years. BONUS: These features may also garner a placement on their Spotify playlist "Female Is Not A Genre” - talk about a win!
Submit your tracks for consideration either via their website or through Twitter DM.
Website | Twitter
2. Women of Substance
Women of Substance is an online radio show and podcast hosted by the wonderful Bree Noble who has been producing the show for over a decade. Bree prides herself on sharing content from the best female musicians. WOS is looking for high quality content. There is a small fee involved for each submission but to be heard alongside the likes of the greats including, but certainly not limited to Imogen Heap, Fiona Apple, Tracy Chapman, and many more, makes it worth it!
WOS accepts submissions for general airplay as well as content for specific themes depending on the time of year; so if you're planning a release for a national specific holiday or event, you'll definitely want to submit your work here.
Submissions can be made via the link located on the top of their website.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
3. GirlTalk HQ
GirlTalk HQ is your source for all of the latest updates on female content. This impressive blog covers entertainment, politics, sports, fashion, and they even have an entire section dedicated to self-love and body image (as if we needed an excuse to love this platform even more!). This organization has a massive following and loves to promote all-things-female which includes your music and upcoming releases!
Submitting material for consideration will all be funneled through their email address firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are looking for a guaranteed promotion there are advertising opportunities that take form as interviews, social media posts and a collection of other forms of recognition. If this is a route you are interested in, the editors kindly request that you include "CREATIVE PROJECT PROMOTION REQUEST" in the subject line and email them at least 1 month ahead of your desired post date.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Audiofemme is a unique platform created to showcase the talents of female identifying music writers. With an ample amount of passionate freelance writers contributing to their site, these passionate and talented individuals have a knack for nurturing femininity of every kind. They feature interviews, reviews and premieres on their site. To submit your music, establish a relationship with the community and their writers on social media. You can contact individual contributors (known as Les Femmes) via their personal Twitter DMs.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
5. Women In Music
We can't rave enough about Women In Music - the leading, international non-profit for gender equality in the music industry. WIM hosts online courses as well as in-person events (when permitted), masterclasses, and more! There is an annual $75 membership fee which grants you access to countless perks which includes the ability to submit guest posts to their audience of almost 40k across their social media platforms. WIM is for all genders and gender identities interested in supporting and celebrating the female contributors to the music industry.
What are you waiting for? Join here to take advantage of this one-of-a-kind community.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
6. Girl Gang Music
Girl Gang Music is the go-to Spotify curator for all female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+ artists. They don't feature every single genre but they sure come close! They even have a playlist for female producers and audio engineers. They accept submissions via Submithub or via Instagram DMs but they like to feature people who are contributing to the community so you'll want to make sure you're showing them the love on their social profiles to help you be considered for their playlists!
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
7. Raw Femme
Raw Femme is an extraordinary platform that supports female and female identifying creatives of all varieties. During a typical year they host many wonderful events where women can showcase their art if they are chosen! Submission processes take place entirely online.
Recently they have debuted their latest feature "Femme Friday” - a Spotify playlist that they update weekly, showcasing 10 women and non-binary musicians! Submissions can be made through the form directly on their website.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
8. Rubyfruit Radio
Rubyfruit Radio is an online radio/podcast that is dedicated to supporting and sharing the music of female artists, female fronted bands, and non-binary artists of all genres. In addition to being added to an episode, attention is given to the artists selected across all social media platforms. Submissions should be in the format of MP3 attachments or links where MP3s can be downloaded and sent to email@example.com. You'll want to make sure that your metadata and ID tags are accurately labeled otherwise it will not be considered.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
9. The Crush: #WomenCrushMusic Blog
And last but not least… Chances are if you’re reading this you’re already familiar with the extraordinary platform that is #WomenCrush Music, but in case you’re new here don’t worry - we’ll give you the low-down! #WCM is an amazing non-profit organization dedicated to helping women further their careers in the music industry. They particularly help songwriters with their monthly showcases and events as well as hold weekly webinars. The information and opportunities here are endless. These include, but certainly aren’t limited to their #TuneTuesday, #WomenCrushWednesday, and #FeatureFriday segments on this here blog in addition to accepting guest posts.
Ready to submit? You can pitch your idea for a guest post using this form, or send your tracks over to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Written by Jenn O'Hagan
From event coordination and marketing, to community management and performing, the PR Director of Cyber PR , Jenn has glanced behind-the-curtain in many areas of this industry. Well-versed in all things Cyber PR, Jenn works with artists to identify if they’re a perfect fit for our company and if so, which services will be the best match. Find out more about Jenn and Cyber PR here.
Wait - what? How is this horrible virus that’s killing everyone and has me going crazy an opportunity? Read up and you’ll see!
I am Luciana Garcia, a singer, songwriter, and performer from Chile based in Los Angeles, CA. and I know first-hand that every obstacle is an opportunity if we choose to see it this way.
Let me tell you a little bit more about me. I was not born and raised around musicians and I haven’t been taking piano lessons since I was 4. In fact, my only music experiences were following what was popular and crying because Justin Bieber and I aren’t soulmates.
When I was 15, I discovered my passion for singing. But I was rhythm-blind and tone-deaf. Both musicians’ curses simultaneously, yay! Being blind to rhythm means I couldn’t clap along to the beat of a song because I had no perception of it, being tone-deaf means I couldn’t sing in tune because I couldn’t hear what note I was supposed to be singing. So I faced rejection. Tons and tons of rejection from family, friends, teachers, etc. and being my insecure, please-love-me-I’ll-do-anything teenage-self, listened. I suppressed my need to sing.
Many therapy sessions, an eating disorder, and depression later, I had my aha! moment. I decided that despite these obstacles, I was going to be a musician. There was no easy road ahead but I was done suffering. I needed to sing like one needs oxygen and I was suffocating without music.
Today, I am a working musician and a full-time student at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, CA. I finally sound good, can sing in tune, and have killer rhythm! I am working every day to fulfill my purpose; to empower humanity through music.
So how does this relate to what you might be going through now? Because, like everything in life, the obstacles were the way. Starting a music career being rhythm blind and tone-deaf has been one of the biggest opportunities for growth. I’ve developed a strong work ethic, persistence, passion, a value for every note I am able to sing in tune, respect for music, all things I didn’t have. I assure you I wouldn’t have lasted a second in the professional world of music if my journey didn’t start this way.
How exactly do we turn our current circumstance into an opportunity?
Four things; create, grow online, get to know you and connect with other humans. Create a new business idea, a song, a painting, and then go share it with the world! We are all stalking you on Instagram eagerly waiting for your creations.
Grow online. Look for webinars on this topic, e-mail me and I’ll send you some, search for ways in which successful people in your field are adapting and apply them, reach out to podcasts to be interviewed, the list goes on! There are so many fans, clients, and customers spending a lot of time online, go appear on their radar!
Get to know you. Although it sounds nice and simple to go be efficient right this second, it is important to acknowledge the way we feel, whether you’re feeling motivated and strong or lonely and anxious. These days, I find myself swinging between both sides all the time. This is an opportunity to feel your feelings, learn even more about who you are, what affects you, what doesn’t and to let go of self-judgement. However you feel at this moment, it is okay. Acknowledge your pain, sit with it for a moment. No one ever healed by ignoring or suppressing an ugly feeling, it’s time to let it out! I know it is extremely scary but I also know you are strong and you can do it.
Innovate in the ways you connect with friends and family. This is the time to make that phone call to the auntie you always forget about, the time to wake up and send everyone “Hi! Hope you have a great day :)” messages, the time to be honest and raw about your feelings, to pause and listen to people be honest about their feelings. Human connection is such a powerful thing. You and I know it, we’ve felt it! I want to remind you it’s possible even if we can’t see or touch each other.
My dear, just because you’re human, you have the potential to do anything and everything you can imagine. I believe in you! Go be incredible and tell me about it. Go feel your bad feelings and tell me about it too. Let’s bring each other up, stand in the light during this health crisis, let’s be the light. Let’s see the opportunity in COVID-19.
Stay in touch with Luciana!
Email : email@example.com
Written by Luciana Garcia
Luciana García is a Modern Rock singer and songwriter with one mission; to empower humanity through music. Her Latin origin and her love for pop and rock are intertwined in her music. Her debut single 21st Century Baby has a strong and clear message: no matter your gender, we all have the same rights and opportunities. Versatility, strength and a powerful message are the valuable contributions of this emerging artist to the feminist music scene.
On March 12, 2020, my company, RAW Artists was poised to celebrate our eleventh birthday, instead, we sent 50 employees home on furlough. Then , we postponed all of our upcoming arts showcase events, and two months later we're prepping for the inevitable long pause before we can return to hosting our multifaceted arts showcase events for independent artists around the globe.
As the world’s largest independent arts organization, our mission for over a decade has been to provide tools, resources, education, and exposure for independent creatives everywhere. And there has never been a greater time than now, to double down on that mission.
According to a recent survey, 64% of artists and creative workers are unemployed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, and 95% reported losing revenue as a result of the pandemic. In addition to these staggering job loss numbers, opportunities for artists and creatives to be seen, heard, and supported through events, gigs, showcases, markets, and tours have vanished completely, almost overnight. And with no definitive date that we can pinpoint for a return, the creative community as a whole is hurting.
As a creative events platform, we’re wounded too. But these are not the times to roll over and give up! These are the times to stand firm in your values and act in service with the resources you have available to you. With a small skeleton crew over the past month, our team put our heads and hearts together to figure out how we could help. And here’s what we’ve got:
On Saturday, June 20, 2020, we’re calling all artists, performers, musicians and makers nationwide, RAW Artists or not, to join us in a massive movement we’ve titled The National Arts Drive.
We’re calling on artists everywhere (RAW Artists or not) to perform, showcase, and display their work on front lawns, driveways, balconies, windows sills, or from the front of a participating local business (where safe and applicable). This movement is an effort to raise both awareness and financial support specifically for, and directly to, the artists of our generation that have been deeply impacted by this global pandemic.
While we appreciate the virtual world and all that it provides, we also know that nothing compares to a real-life art experience.So in addition, we’re also inviting the community to take a drive through their city blocks and suburban streets to see and hear the vibrant creativity that is living within their own neighborhoods. But, not only to enjoy the sights and sounds of our creative culture but to also directly support local artists through a socially distanced touch-free digital map that our web team here at RAW has built.
During the driving experience, "Drivers" will be able to donate to artists from a distance as they approach installations and performances. They will also be able to engage with participating artists on social media and/or visit their online shops for future purchases.This is a completely free community and artist experience. There are no fees to register on the map and no ticket sales necessary for Drivers. All donations from the public go directly to participating artists.
Our RAW team is producing this movement across 10 major US cities, as well as select locations in Canada and Mexico, however, we're open to accepting ambassadors for other cities, towns or countries.
In 2009, I started RAW from my kitchen table with only a few certainties, that creativity deserves to be seen, heard, and supported. We’re stronger together than we will ever be apart.
I’m calling on the creative community to come together across borders, boundaries and mediums to speak up and show just how powerful the arts can be. And I'm asking the community to stand for the notion that supporting and incubating our creative culture is a necessary and important part of preserving it.
Artists can sign-up and drop their map marker @ www.NationalArtsDrive.com
Written by Heidi Luerra
In 2008, Heidi started her own production company, Heidi Luerra Productions. HLP planned and produced corporate and private events. She shut down a street adjacent Melrose Ave. for a fashion show, hosted a 100% eco-friendly-run battle of the DJs, and coordinated talent at the official Grammy after party. Under the umbrella of HLP, Heidi launched RAW:natural born artists. Taking all the experience and know-how she had acquired from her past projects, she designed a showcase where she could again aid and support independent creatives showcase, share and sell their work.
In Fall 2019, Heidi authored and published her first ever book, The Work of Art: A No-Nonsense Field Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs. The Work of Art became an Amazon bestseller and a #1 hottest new release in the Business of Art category for over a month after its release.
You can find Heidi's full story on her website.
I was just in conversation with other music journalists regarding REAL songs – those with melodies, lyrics, emotion, and a theme – not just sewed-up elements of casual chaos meshed with FX. NO, we were speaking of REAL songs. So, you know I was stoked when I first heard Kendal Conrad’s “Bodyguard.” To put it plainly, it took just three minutes for Conrad to illustrate what a dynamic ballad is supposed to sound like in 2020. In other words, she schooled some folks!
“Bodyguard” opens with peaceful instrumentation that quickly elevates with layers of highlighted synths, brass, and a voice. It has a classic song structure of verse-hook-verse-hook-bridge-hook and keeps a steady melody that is instrumental in evoking contemplation – a perfect anchor for a track with a threading theme of unaccountability – where the protagonist is crying out for a strong shoulder of protection, only to be left with a broken heart. Conrad sings: You never ever watched over me / while you were out it was killing me / never ever thought you’d be the bullet and I’ll be the one who took the hit . . . can’t be safe here in your arms, so I would come to no harm, you failed to protect me, instead boy you wrecked me / how could you break my heart.
One of the main vocal prints that stick to you like a tattoo is the way that Conrad executes that hook – she slowly lifts her register to really make the listener pay attention to what she is saying in verse – if you listen closely, it appears as if she is crawling, then standing, and then flying vocally as she intricately elevates each word of the hook with delicate modulations – that is a great technique!
Conrad’s register makes complexity seem easy, and yet she does it with modern sophistication.
Not many vocalists out here now can execute a song like “Bodyguard.” Not since Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey (in her prime) has vocalists really been tackling strong melodies that are elongated and accentuated with feeling and gusto. But, “Bodyguard” by Kendal Conrad is just THAT type of Country Pop song to blow up the stagnant scene.
If you’re ready for a real song – one that takes you from a seated position to standing ovation formation, then check “Bodyguard” out and thank me later!
Listen to "Bodyguard" below :
Follow Kendal Conrad :
Written by Kiki Skinner :
Lakisha “KiKi” Skinner is an USA-based indie music journalist and freelance writer who has been
crowned a “word-craft artist” by her global following of independent music artists. She is a part of
an Alt. Rock band and is the owner of Klef Notes entertainment business blog. Lakisha has been
the editor for a Backstreet Boy and has been featured on Dr. Jimmy Star’s blog. If she is not
crafting words, you can find her buying another pair of shoes to place in her over-cluttered
closet. You can read her work at www.KlefNotes.com and find her on
Two incredible women in music,Macy Schmidt and Angela Sclafani are redefining what women love with their piece Passion Project: Love Songs From Women To Their Work. In honour of National Nurses Week, earlier in May, they released a brand-new song and visuals dedicated to – and from the perspective of - Katherine Hannan, a nurse from the 1918 flu pandemic, visualised as her singing to the nurses on today's front lines. Made by women for women, the new song and the entire project is a reminder of the amazing things women are capable of doing.
Speaking to both Macy and Angela, we discuss the roots of the Passion Project , what the project means to them, the new normal of remote working in the creative space and what it means, and their plans for the future- both near and far- and much more.
1) What started the idea of the Passion Project?
Angela : Passion Project is a song cycle of love songs from women to their work, and the women I’ve chosen so far have been diverse in terms of geographical location, from what time period they are, what their passions are. I was getting sick of love songs about men, and I wanted to veer away from that. The response has been great because a lot of women wanted to talk about their passion and work that drives them. Macy is arranger, orchestrator and co-producer of the project. We did a live concert version back in September, an eight-piece all-women band. I remember telling Macy that I really wanted to have all women in the band and she said “Oh right now I’m only hiring female musicians right now!” This has been a nice new initiative to get more women involved. I’m also working on Volume 2 of the Passion Project. At the moment we’re feeling so inspired by the healthcare workers, and so we wanted to go into figures in this field. The women we came across aren’t household names but they were trailblazers in their own field. We started researching for unnamed heroes, and found Katherine Hannan, I put something together that night and sent it to Macy.
Macy : When isolation started it was hard to find motivation to keep doing things, so this was about adapting what we were already doing to make it timely and relevant. We wanted to say things that matter!
2) What was it about Katherine Hannan that made you want to write something about her?
Angela : The flu pandemic of 1918 was the last big pandemic we had before this, so I thought it’d be interesting to talk from the point of view of someone who’d already been through it to give strength and commending other healthcare workers of today. Most of the people on this project sing to an object or idea that’s connected with their work, but Katherine was one of the head nurses in a few of the hospitals she was working in at the time so the idea of making it a song from her to actual people; to the nurses in different parts of the country of her time, present times, and of the future.
3) What can you tell me about the music video and the process of making it?
Macy : We were going into it blind because we had to do everything while in isolation. It started with emails – first to the amazing vocalist in the video, Hannah Corneau. Her partner happened to be a videographer so he was able to shoot some gorgeous footage off their balcony. I reached out to the drummer Elena Bonomo and her partner was a recording engineer, so a lot of couplehood collaborations. It was one thing at a time and then our video designer Maya put the video together ; watching and listening back to it is really heart-warming because we realise that none of us ever saw each other in person! It’s weird and scary to think about whether this is our new normal, but we’ve shown that it’s possible so we can be optimistic.
4)What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in terms of working remotely? Was there a particular obstacle that was unexpected?
Macy : For me it was making the sound come together cohesively. Some of it was recorded into an iPhone, some was recorded digitally. Not being able to get together was challenging .
Angela : As people from the theatre space we’re very used to working with people around us and that feels like the organic process but it was so fun to see it all come together. I wrote the song and then saw each step evolve – it raised my spirits and makes me excited for what could happen next! As artists it’s exciting to dip into a medium that allows us to work with someone who lives really far away.
5)Speaking of working with people living far away, knowing that it's possible now, are there any particular artists who you’d love to reach out to and work with in the future?
Macy : We have a long list! A dream person would be Alicia Keys, because of her connection to women in music! Someday we hope to reach out to these huge names.
Angela : I’m thinking of L.A. There are amazing artists there. But maybe someone in the UK? I’d love to give Adele a call, ask her if she’s interested in the project!
6) What does the Passion Project mean to you?
Angela : What can and should women be writing about. I grew up receiving a lot of romantic information – the chick flicks, the fairy-tale vibes, the musicians I grew up listening to – which I was influenced by. It was all about romance and love songs, and I thought that’s what everyone writes about. I think if I’d heard songs that weren’t about that, my perception would have been different. So I’d love to give other women the opportunity to sing about something else other than men and romantic partner.
Macy : For me, I remember a moment at the end of our first concert. Angela was singing this anthemic , finale song called ‘Best Kept Secret’ and I was looking at all these women working on the concert – the band, the producers, everyone – it was incredible to see, and felt so meta! I hope that people who listen to these songs will realise the new way to sing about “love interests”, and I’d also love to let women know that they can be part of different sides of the creative process in music, not only an actress or singer. You can be an actress/singer but still be involved in other sides, there are no limits to any of it! Another thing that really means a lot to me , is the diversity and amount of women of colour involved in this project.
7) What’s the best part of being in an all-women ensemble or team?
Angela : Not being talked down to about things like knowing how to use sound gear! There’s no ego that you have to dance over , you get to be yourself. That’s not to say there aren’t lovely male collaborators but sometimes it takes only one comment to put you down.
Macy : There was a gig where I was the only woman and everyone else was male. I was trying to set up and plug in the sound gear, and I got a lot of “ you’re going to plug that in there?” comments. I love walking into a room full of women and feel like there’s nothing to prove or be anxious about.
8) Who’s the strongest, most inspirational woman you personally know? And who inspires you on a professional level?
Angela : I’m really inspired by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez , a political representative who has represented people in a way that’s inspiring. She’s taken on a lot of heat from people who don’t want things to change. They’ve attacked the way she looks, her background, her experience. But she’s so strong and isn’t afraid to ask the difficult questions while also protecting the people. She’s out there in the Bronx delivering meals, she’s directly helping her community with the simple principle of “practice what you preach”. Another woman I think is the strongest person I know is my grandmother, whom I’m really close with. She’s very kind and strong and I’m lucky to have her in my life.
Macy: In terms of someone I don’t know personally it’d be Tina Turner, she’s an iconic woman of colour who went through endless struggles and triumphs to pave the way for everyone who came after her. Personally, it’d be my mom, I’d be nothing without her.
9) What’s next from the Passion Project? You mentioned Volume 2, how has it evolved from the first volume of the Passion Project?
Angela : We’ll be recording the Volume 1 album soon and I’m halfway through the writing of Volume 2, hopefully we can piece together the songs. Eventually, maybe in two or three years there’ll be a live concert. I’m excited for this “new normal” we’re living in. Something that’s cool after the first volume, a lot of people let me know about some cool women they know of. It’s made me want to research more women from different backgrounds. I’m also thinking of new ideas ; writing about younger women, older women, duets. It’s made me want to challenge and expand the project!
Macy : I want to put this into the universe ; the dream I’ve stumbled upon is that I’d love to see us find a way to take this project into international, cultural diplomacy. In the first volume, in just 12 songs we were able to highlight obscure women in history from India, Japan, Afghanistan. There are a lot of countries where women’s rights are very limited and I’d love to find a way to physically go to different countries and bring about a cultural diplomacy tour!
10) Is there a message you’d love to put out there with this interview?
Angela : We’d love to put out the message into the mind of young girls that they do and be whatever you want to be! Also, we have sheet music out and we’ll continue to put it out so I’d love for more people to sing the songs and feature them on our social media!
Written by Malvika Padin
Malvika is an award-winning music journalist and publicist who aims to shine a light on women and POC in the music industry. Of Indian-origin and based in the UK, she has over 500 articles to her name and has been part of the BRIT Awards Voting Panel in 2020. Her aim is to diversify music and music journalism, and she's always working hard to accomplish the same. Currently, she is the Online Editor of Discovered Magazine. Find her on @malvika_padin26 on Twitter and Instagram. Alternatively, you can check out her website : https://malvikapadin.pb.online
Even as state officials begin to open up some businesses in towns and cities all over the country, we understand that measures will need to be taken to adjust our normal way of congregating: restaurants may have to decrease capacity at any given time or space patrons’ seats further apart. Medical offices may have to decrease the number of patients seen on any given day, or patient exam rooms may have to be left empty for a time between patients. And New York’s Broadway theaters just announced their performance suspension extension through September 6 of this year. Certainly, everyday aspects of life will change fundamentally.
For musicians, the Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted all levels of musical life, from album releases to small live gigs to already-planned stadium concerts. Performers are finding themselves quite suddenly without an income source, the effects of which threaten to be longstanding.
With the approach of summer, one great rite of summer, the large-scale music festival, feels particularly in danger this year. Its very premise flies in the face of social distancing—the crucial method public health officials have called upon to lessen the effect of the spread of the virus. Certainly, venues that draw large crowds will be the final ones to open up. Can an experience defined by crowds and multiple performers all within a contained space adapt to fit a new format? Would it even be worth it to try?
In short, is the large scale music festival a thing of the past? We talk with two industry experts to discuss how Covid-19 is reshaping music festivals and even music performance and economics.
Anne Saunders, Artistic and Publicity Director for the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, now 32 years in existence, states, “We are in a holding pattern here at Falcon Ridge Central right now and still hold out a small hope of having the fest in August on the Dodds Farm, but feel the chances of doing that safely are not good. We are exploring our alternatives.” Coincidentally, Saunders' other career was in Molecular Biology, Virology and Immunology, making her able to offer some work “on behalf of my town and community” during this time of Covid-19. When asked, “Will things ever be the same after Covid-19?” Saunders’ response is to the point: “No, likely not. This is a 9/11-like event in our lives and will change the way we do many things, hopefully for the better, since it has come at such a cost.”
Dennis Elsas, WFUV Afternoon Host, and lauded DJ, interviewer and documentarian, notes the recent words of the Governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo, who responded to questions about the viability of holding the Newport Folk Festival this summer. Elsas notes that Raimondo stated that plans for the Newport Folk Festival are "very fluid". Raimondo then continued, “however, it's hard to see as of now how we could permit large gatherings and crowds. And if any of these gatherings would happen it would be under different regulations with much fewer people and it will be a much different event." Raimondo’s words certainly point to a very different summer festival season for 2020.
It has been vitally hopeful to see the ways musicians are taking to online platforms to hold live concert streams or solo performances or to offer interesting new recordings made with unexpected collaborators. And for music fans, music is one of the ways that many are finding their way through this pandemic.
At the same time, the music industry will have to continue inventing and reinventing themselves, should the normal festival or concert format be a thing of the past, at least until 2021 or later. Says Saunders, “Many events, venues and artist careers along with other businesses will not survive this. Those that do will need vision and innovation to do so while keeping their vision and their community safe and intact.”
Elsas notes: “Though it is encouraging to watch all these free on-line performances and in some cases quickly created series like Rolling Stone's ‘In My Room’, it's not a revenue generating event for the performers. It's good for promotion and publicity, and perhaps once the novelty of these spontaneous pop-ups has worn off, artists could find a way to monetize what they are offering.” Only time will tell, and if it’s one thing this pandemic has shown us, the innovations that can come within just a day’s time or a week’s time, in all fields, from medicine to politics to finances, grow by leaps and bounds. Certainly, within the next few months, performers will be making strides in figuring out how to create new venues and performance formats. One outside-the-box approach in Denmark gives some hope. The town of Aarhus, Denmark was the site of a drive-thru performance by Mads Langer. The event sold 500 tickets, and viewers were able to access the audio through a limited FM frequency. If this is any indication of the music industry’s inventiveness, perhaps we will see a remaking of the large scale music festival in refreshingly unrecognizable ways.
Elsas acknowledges the brutal downturn in revenue this has created: “At the moment the only upside I can imagine and hope for is that sometimes when ‘the business as usual’ model just doesn't work any more, creative people discover new and unexpected ways to get things done.”
Written by Cynthia Darling
Cynthia Darling is currently working toward her MFA in Creative Writing with the Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University. She holds an MA in English from Boston College and has taught high school English for the past 20 years. Cynthia’s literary work has appeared in Louisiana Literature, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Wanderlust Journal, and as part of the literary series Quiet Lightning. She has written for Teaching Music magazine, New York Family magazine and All About Solo. Check out her writing here: www.cynthiaburnsdarling.com
This is not your mother’s record label, but it sure is mine. In the early 90s, my mom, Annie Graves, started Illumin Records to independently release her own music. Twenty-seven years later, I’m resurrecting Illumin Records with a revitalized mission at the intersection of music, tech, and advocacy. Illumin redefines the role of record label for womxn and gnc led projects through education, transparency, empowerment, and a new deal structure that brings light to a historically opaque industry. My name is Jessa Graves, front woman of J. Graves, entrepreneur, and now founder of a multi-generational womxn-owned record label.
After self-releasing my own full-length record in 2019, it became very apparent that no definitive resource existed to help womxn and gnc artists release music and build sustainable music careers. In addition to the guidance gap, the music industry has historically been exploitative of artists, with little business structure innovation. My experience in the tech startup world gives me a unique lens, savvy, and approach to solving these problems, to establish a new and improved path forward with Illumin.
Illumin won’t operate as a traditional record label and won’t own any artist’s intellectual property - this is a pretty radical statement. Illumin is doing things differently and I believe it’s high time to do things differently. With education as a main focus, Illumin artists will follow and iterate on an artist accelerator framework called “WTR RISE”, developed in partnership with Women That Rock’s founder, Andie Aronow, adjunct professor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU. This program and its components will be accessible to not only the label’s roster, but to Illumin Members. Anyone can learn from the label and get the support they need on their path.
The strategic partnership between Illumin and Women That Rock will grant the Illumin roster direct access to high-level artist management, development, marketing, mentorship, and support through all channels of WTR, the music discovery platform dedicated to supporting the best up-and-coming womxn in music, with live event production, marketing and promotion, digital media, presented tours, and a new licensing division.
My project J. Graves (Portland-based, passionate dance-punk trio recently featured on NPR’s all songs considered) will be the first to release on the label (Deathbed EP, October 2020). The first single, “Lo the Mourning” was released May 8th, 2020, in line with the launch of the label, and Mother’s Day weekend, as a surprise to my mom. Illumin will be working with two additional pilot artists in late 2020, Van Mary (Austin) and Egg Drop Soup (LA), both featured artists on the WTR platform.
Transparency is core to Illumin and crucial to the trust we will foster with artists and listeners alike. Legal documents will be codified and deployed on the Ethereum blockchain network (a decentralized, distributed, and public, digital ledger) that represents the epitome of visibility. No black boxes. No closed doors. Only truth and light. As Illumin grows, a white paper and public roadmap will be published that will be visible from the Illumin website.
If you want to learn more about Illumin or want to get involved, everyone is encouraged to visit illuminrecords.com to read more about the history and where we’re headed. Text LISTEN to 66866 to receive 6 Illumin recommended artists and stay connected as we move forward on this path together. You can always, always drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org - I read every email.
Illumin is much more than my mother’s legacy and much more than a record label, Illumin is a movement. Illumin is a momentous shift from the way things used to be to the way things always should have been. We are disrupting the future of music. We are making our own rules. We are Illumin Records.
Guest Post by: Jessa Graves
During this global pandemic, “safe” is a word we’re all looking to hear. British singer, songwriter, and guitarist Maya Delilah is delivering for us with her latest song, “Safe.” Her sweet, soulful voice floats over just a bassline to offer a message of hope, love and heartfelt words of comfort in these uncertain times. She reminds us to appreciate those who make us feel safe when the world feels anything but.
The simplicity of “Safe” really asks the listener to take notice of the lyrical message. The choice of using only a bassline lends a stunning contrast to Delilah’s gentle vocals which differs greatly from her other, fuller singles. Delilah explains that she had specific intentions when she wrote it: “I wrote ‘Safe’ as a huge dedication to the NHS and all front liners across the world right now,” she says. “I really just want to say thank you to them— we are able to be safe with our loved ones whilst they risk their lives to help those in need.”
Going one step further to spread her song of hope, she also released a heartwarming DIY YouTube video for “Safe” featuring the singer’s friends, family and fans from around the globe joining in on the lyrics and sharing smiles from their respective safe places. Other organizations, many featuring young children, have joined in and created their own videos to “Safe” in a beautiful display of support for each other and frontline workers.
While Delilah’s presence on the scene is very fresh, it’s certainly one to be watched. Since March 30, she’s released four singles including “Safe” with her latest single “i’m just stupid” set to release May 15. She also posts videos on her YouTube channel of her sitting on a tabletop, jamming on her beloved Maton guitar. She is passionate about wanting to be a role model for young girls who think they might want to try playing the guitar while breaking down the stereotype that it’s a guy’s thing.
This song feels like the first post-quarantine hug we’re all impatiently waiting for. When you’re ready for a break from the heaviness of today’s world, check out Maya Delilah’s music and her YouTube videos.
Follow Maya Delilah :
Other links: https://linktr.ee/mayadelilahh
Written by Kelly Burr :
Kelly Burr has been working in the music industry for the last ten years, most recently fronting and writing lyrics for the band INO. As a writer, she graduated with her M.A in Shakespeare where she focused on the gender roles and feminism in Shakespeare's work. She currently freelances for several bands creating social media, publicity and website content, linear notes and press releases. She can be found at YunksenProductions.com or on Instagram kelly_burr_n
The music industry all but came to a halt when COVID-19 reared its ugly head. Shows got postponed or canceled, recording studios stopped running, and festivals shut down. Artists have found themselves in a position no one was prepared for. One of the challenges facing artists in this uncertain time is being able to stay engaged, and connected, with their fans from a distance.
The music industry is an ever-evolving entity with an audience who have a short attention span. It is important for musicians to keep content flowing and stay on the minds of their fans. What do you do when you’re used to touring and playing to your audience? Performers are starting to think outside of the box and find new ways to stay connected to their fans.
These are a few ideas that some artists have been doing:
· Instagram Live solo videos Performers are taking to their Instagram accounts and performing stripped down versions of their songs for their fans. Artists from all levels in the industry have been going down this route. Mandy Moore and her husband, Taylor Goldsmith, perform on her Instagram account every Sunday night. Billy Gilman and Kate Voegele also occasionally jump on their accounts and surprising their fans. Smaller acts such as Delta Rae, Stormstress and Liz Bills take to social media to perform for anyone who joins in.
· Virtual reality concerts YouTube has a live feature that is being utilized by performers as well. Halestorm took the virtual concert to a whole new level. Their concert was a 3D experience; allowing fans to virtually control the camera angles and see the view they want.
· Live videos with other artists Amanda McCarthy has been going live each week with other artists. First an hour long set via Zoom on Facebook, followed by an hour long set on Instagram. Each week she invites a different artist to join her and they take turns playing covers and original songs. During these sets, both artists talk about their Venmo and PayPal links for anyone who wishes to donate to them. Some fans are even hosting watch parties to go attend concerts with friends again.
· Fan created set lists Eric Hölljes, from Delta Rae, has been using the band’s Instagram account to play covers and originals at least once a week. During these videos he reads the comments and picks some suggestions for what to play. He never comes with his own set list. He also takes two song suggestions to go and learn, then comes back a few days later to play those songs. Daphne Willis, Kate Voegele, Carrie Welling, and Amanda McCarthy will also take requests from their fans during live feeds so their audience gets to hear what they want.
· Themed music nights Some musicians are taking their live streams one step further and giving each one a different theme. Sarah Peacock has done that in her “Green Couch Sessions”. She did a whole John Prine theme not long after he passed away. Melissa Etheridge has been performing live from her music room in her home in California every day. One of the early shows was a movie day, where she played her songs from movies.
· Going on tour in their homes National tours are a no-go right now, but who says there can’t be a tour? Artists, such as Raye Zaragoza, are getting creative and touring in their home. She plays a short show from a different part of her apartment each time. Shows have taken place in the kitchen, bedroom, and even the bathroom.
· Virtual festivals While large gathering restrictions are making it so festivals cannot happen, that isn’t stopping groups of performers from creating virtual festivals. International touring band No/Hugs has created a festival called Blue Fest. They have gathered 18 other artists including, Stormstress, Amanda McCarthy, Rebecca Zimmerman, and Evol Walks, among others. They all took turns going live from the No/Hugs Facebook page during the event. What a great way to show camaraderie, share music, and for fans to find mew music.
· Sharing other passions with fans Many people think of musicians as just musicians. Now is a time that they can share other passions with their fans. Liz Bills has been using her Instagram and YouTube to share her passion and tips for vocal health, pain management, and vegan cuisine. Carrie Welling, who is also a yoga instructor, is taking to the Yoga Soul Nashville’s Instagram once a week and leading a yoga class. At the end of the class, she reads a poem or plays a song as the participants are laying in their Savasana pose.
· Interviewing other artists There is a difference between typical interviews and when artists get to interview each other. Melody Kiser has been doing a series called “Artist Quarantine” where she interviews different musicians each day. Some of the interviews so far include Sarah Peacock, Stormstress, Christie Lenée, and Crystal Bowersox. They talk about anything from music to what they’re doing to stay sane during this time. Stormstress has taken the interview in another direction. Those girls interviewed Carissa Johnson, but they weren’t on screen. They had yarn doll versions of themselves conducting the interview instead. It was insightful and hilarious.
· Releasing snips of songs to come The girls in Stormstress, Sarah Peacock, Liz Bills and Carrie Welling have all been releasing preview videos and sound clips of songs that are yet to be released. Some of them are on Facebook and others have been through the Patreon platform. While fans can’t go and see their favorite artists perform to hear new music, they can still experience it virtually. Teaser clips are keeping fans engaged since they can’t to a show right now.
· Releasing videos from live performances The lack of live music has left a whole in the lives of fans and artists alike. Many performers have recordings of their shows that have been in storage and never released. Now is a great time to put some out into the world. Fans can reminisce and dream of the day they can be in a venue watching their favorite musicians on a stage again. Perhaps they were at that show, or they can share that performance with friends and family virtually. Stormstress released a recording of their performance from their debut show of a song called “Corpses Don’t Cry”; a yet to be released track from their upcoming album.
· Curating Spotify playlists Streaming music is the new way artists are measured. While they may not get much back financially from it, music business executives look at their streaming stats. Artists are creating Spotify playlists of music from friends and idols, then sharing it with their fans. Fans can find new music while supporting their favorites. Many of the artists featured on these playlists are unsigned, or independent, musicians. Gaining new followers and increasing their streams is a big deal for their careers.
· Collecting pictures from fans With new music, comes music videos. Lyric and montage videos are the way things are being done right now. Musicians, like Raye Zaragosa and Liz Bills, are collecting pictures and videos from fans to create music videos for recently released songs. Liz is collecting pictures of mothers and their children for the video to her song “Mama’s Song”, while Raye was accepting pictures and videos of girl doing powerful things for her upcoming video release of “Fight Like A Girl”. Bands like Delta Rae and Stormstress are using lyric videos to promote their new releases.
Amanda is an avid music lover who tends to gravitate towards female musicians and female fronted bands. "I truly believe that music has to be experienced and not just heard." You can follow her at @manna1021 on Instagram.
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