Many people ask me why I started #WomenCrush Music. I could tell you about an epiphany, about realizing my destiny to advocate for women’s equality--but the truth is much simpler and more personal. Although I knew the music industry badly needed a space for women to connect with one another, in reality #WCM originated from my desire to make friends in an unfamiliar city. When I moved from NYC to Portland, I didn't know where to find my tribe, so I found a way to bring my tribe to me. I just wanted to connect with new people and future collaborators. I least expected to embark on this incredible journey of developing #WCM into an international nonprofit organization, but it turned out that all along, I was finding my calling. It feels like my whole life has led up to this point, but I know that #WCM is not important to only me anymore. #WomenCrush Music is bigger than me now; it is a movement and a force for good in our industry and our world.
Over the past year and a half, we have appeared in national outlets like Lenny Letter, and we have partnered with international companies like SoFar Sounds. We have TRIPLED in size and have hosted nearly 100 events across the USA and Canada with the help of thirty very dedicated VOLUNTEERS. Collectively, we have given hundreds, perhaps thousands, of rising women songwriters opportunities to meet someone who can help further their careers.
#WCM has done a lot this year, but we have so much more on the horizon. Our priorities for 2019 are to secure compensation for our artists and speakers and pay our staff for their dedication; we also plan to expand our programs to more cities in North and Latin America. If my journey has taught me one thing, it is to never underestimate the combination of ambition and teamwork. This is why I intend in the future to establish a #WCM Headquarters: a safe environment for artists and industry members to connect and create.
Our first crowdfunding campaign is officially over, and though we did not meet our 10K goal, we did raise 3K with the help of 57 generous donors! That’s an incredible start for us to keep crushing it and take steps towards our larger vision. These funds will be used for our 501c3 application and #WCM merch/marketing materials. The rest will be put toward costs for 2019 until our next fundraising effort.
I am profoundly grateful for all of the support we’ve received--your generosity reminds me that anything is possible for this organization. On behalf of the whole #WomenCrush Music team, I thank you for all of your support - know that your time and generosity will help us continue connecting, educating, and inspiring women songwriters. Our mission advances as strongly as ever into the future, and we hope your support will too. And if you’re interested in making a donation at this time or any other, you are welcome to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s keep crushin’ it!
Founder & Executive Directress
Portland’s piano diva Lauren Kershner releases her newest single “Wicked” just in time for Halloween. The formerly self-proclaimed “Piano Girl” ventures into new mysterious territory with her debut music video (watch below) and a new musical direction turning the spotlight on her sexy lyrics and invigorating video display.
The single and the video are being released today October 25th, 2018 at The White Eagle Rock N’ Roll Hotel starting at 8pm. The evening will feature a showing of the music video and full band set from Kershner, including other local Portland artists such as an opening set from singer/songwriter Karyn Ann and a closing set from Prog/Punk/Rock band The Heavy Hustle. Help this temptress celebrate her new releases AND her birthday by showing up in costume and receive a free download of the new single.
Desiring to write something new that would open up her audience to different aspects of herself, Kershner’s new music is a step in a dark and devious direction which she won’t be apologizing for.
“[Wicked is about]... me embracing both the dark and the light parts of myself and knowing that it’s ok to have that dark part,” she shares. “Its okay to be dark, and passionate and sensual.”
The song features imagery for both of Kershner’s captivating sides (“Sometimes I can be like a sweet and innocent hopeless romantic and sometimes I can be like a badass, evil temptress”) and with lyrics such as “Let me see you bow like you deserve this,” the song falls right in line with the wicked temptress mood.
“That’s kinda just about being proud of all the parts that make me who I am, and knowing what I’m worth and what I deserve and commanding other people to treat me like the Goddess that I am… It’s very much an empowering song just embracing everything that I am.”
The video, made by Lambda Lion Media, that was released with the song, recorded by Dallas David Ochoa, is a perfect parallel to the wicked text and emotion of the music. Kershner and Lambda Lion Media created a bewitching display of dark and light, with dazzling costume changes by our seductive songstress and beautiful scenery featuring multiple stunning areas of the city of Portland including a rose garden, cemetery and a mesmerizing shot at Classic Pianos.
“The video was pretty much a huge metaphor for me, like, killing the piano girl,” Kershner explained, saying how although that sounds dark one must die to their old self become their new self. “I’m not saying that I’m not that person anymore,” she assured us, promising that she will still be playing songs from her first album and they are very close to her heart, but that this display was her wanting to explore different parts of herself. “I’m always gonna be the piano girl but I’m also a little bit wicked.”
We are looking forward to watching the “Piano Girl” evolve into a badass wicked temptress at her release show this evening at 8pm at one of East Portland’s favorite music venues and encourage you to join us! Do not forget to dress up in your most wicked costume so that you can leave with a free download of the track and be sure to invite your friends to join you for the darkest Halloween party of the year.
After her release, Kershner will be featured on our #WomenCrush Music Portland showcase on November 21st, 2018. Keep up with all of Lauren Kershner’s shows and releases on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify and be sure to let her know if you are “a good witch, or just Wicked.”
Written by: Hannah DiMo
Hannah DiMo is a singer/songwriter and novice music publicist and blogger for #WomenCrushMusic and Do It Anyway Coaching located in the heart of Portland, Oregon. She has been writing and performing music for over 20 years and is passionate about not only her own music and media but also promoting other artists that she believes are talented and deserve to be heard. For more information about DiMo’s music or how you can be featured on #WCM or #DIACoaching reach out to her at her website here.
Late last month, #WomenCrush artist Ellisa Sun released the follow up to her acclaimed 2017 debut, Moon and Sun. It came in the form of a short 5 track EP titled Just a Little More. JALM came out of a relatively small budget. However, despite this, Sun’s latest effort is as beautiful and polished as ever, much thanks to the production efforts of herself and her bandmates.
Raised in Los Angeles, eventually finding her home just a bit north in San Francisco, Sun’s specialty lies in her gift of songwriting and her unwavering strength in vocal performances. With JALM, these forces of Sun’s talent are on full show. Throughout the EP’s short run time, Sun takes us on a journey, delving into the chaos of love with beautiful overtones.
Opening up with the title track, Sun’s influences and styles are clear. “Just A Little More” is the perfect introduction to her Norah-Jones-esque stylings, feauturing a jazzy mix of plunky pianos, beautiful horns, and a riveting bass riff. All of the production is topped with Sun’s light voice, floating above the landscapes of sounds painted across the track.
As the EP continues, Sun and her band lead us through the challenges and pitfalls of a relationship, making stops at highlight tracks like “Whiskey,” which features a beautiful a-capella bridge that puts Sun’s vocals on full focus.
It all concludes on the closing track, “Forever.” Through all the challenges and chaos explored, Sun’s project ends on a slow, sweet, and romantic note. With only 5 tracks, Just a Little More is able to take listeners on a trip across all spectrums of love, and conclude with the full-hearted happiness found in the end.
Ellisa's follow up effort is a beautiful gesture, and a win on all accounts. Though looping the EP over and over may satisfy tastes, for a true experience of her talents, a live performance is a necessity. Luckily, Elissa Sun is taking to the road, starting off in Montreal on October 7th and making her way around the States, with stops in New York October 20th through 27th.
For more information on Ellisa Sun’s tour and EP, go to www.ellisasun.com, and follow her on her socials @ellisasunmusic.
Article by: Brendan Swogger
Brendan Swogger is a freelance music writer and college student in Portland, OR. You can follow him on IG and Twitter @indiealtpdx
The new Portland-based band Sharlet Crooks captures a fresh yet nostalgic Americana country sound that you haven’t experienced before, and is challenging the status quo with their latest single “Walk Alone.” The song is an anthem of the self, empowering women and men to ignore the cultural norms that say happiness is only found by settling down with a partner. Stream the new single here and to experience their addictively unique yet timeless Americana sound.
We chatted with frontwoman and songwriter Corinne Sharlet about the single and how she created this new band.
What is the story behind “Walk Alone”?
I wrote this song at a time I was really struggling with the fact that I was single. Deep down I knew that it was pretty useless to worry about not being in a long-term relationship because love comes and goes without my control. Still, the unspoken cultural message of “it’s abnormal not to be in a long term relationship” was weighing on me. Side note: I truly believe no one is “single;” most of us have people, good friends or family, in our lives to turn to--they just may not be the romantic partner that we think we need in order to be whole. There has been a lot of progress in changing this mentality. For example, more people are getting married later in life than ever, but the cultural undercurrent of “must find a long term partner to be fulfilled” is still very powerful, at least it was for me and my friends in the community that I grew up in.
What is the writing process like for you?
The writing process for me always starts with the music and then the lyrics follow. That’s the case when I write alone as well as when I’m writing with Zach (the guitar player and songwriting partner for Sharlet Crooks). For “Walk Alone,” Zach brought me the guitar progression he had been messing around with and I started improvising the melody the line. Usually when I improvise lyrics, some phrase or something with stand out as the theme of the song. I then try and craft the lyrics around that theme or phrase that came up from the improvisation. For “Walk Alone,” I remember a theme of water and the phrase “walk alone” came up first, so I took those ideas and ran with them.
What inspired you to start the band “Sharlet Crooks”?
I grew up writing songs. From the age of five, I used to improvise songs and record them in my karaoke machine. Singing led me to performing and doing musical theater. I majored in musical theater in college and became less focused on writing my own material during that time. After graduating, I had a really rough time trying to figure out how I wanted the performing arts to be in my life so I took a break from performing to reevaluate. I had been performing for so long that I had forgotten what brought me to it in the first place--singing. After a year-long break, I realized that I need to sing and write music. That is the one thing that I can’t live without. The first band I was in was an amazing learning experience for me and it gave me the push to learn how to play guitar. It was frustrating for me to not be able to express to other musicians the sound I was hearing in my head. The desire to chase that sound is what inspired me starting Sharlet Crooks. I started learning guitar and writing my own songs again, put an ad on Craigslist, and found Zach!
Who are some of your biggest woman-fronted influences? Why?
I am inspired by old school female jazz and country singers from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s like Edith Piaf, Ella Fitzgerald, and Patsy Cline. I love the timelessness of their music. I also find a ton of inspiration from local female-fronted bands and artists like Y La Bamba and Haley Heynderickx. They make a statement with their music just by being so unapologetically who they are on stage and in their writing, which sounds simple but it is really hard to do. I am also really inspired by international female artists like Yasmine Hamdan who is a Lebanese singer and actress. I love listening to singers who can transport you into their world no matter the time period and have it still feel current. That’s what I want to do with my music.
How has being in Portland shaped your music career? Do you have any bucket list venues, media appearances, etc.
Living in Portland has given me the inspiration to do this whole music thing in a way that feels good to me. The Portland music community is so diverse with so many talented artists doing music in their own way and being supported in doing that. We would love to one day play at the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall (it is so beautiful!). My favorite venue in town is the Doug Fir Lounge; I haven’t gotten to play there yet so that would be super dreamy.
Describe your experience on your recent mini-tour in CA. What did you learn? What will you do differently next time?
The tour was amazing! We got really lucky and everything went smoothly, though a few things shifted around and we had to think creatively. I learned that there is so much I can’t control when we show up to a venue to play our music. That has been really hard for me to accept. Showing up to venues you’ve never played before with just your instruments takes a lot of trust -- trust that the sound guy will show up, that they will have everything you need, and that people will come listen. Next time I hope to not worry so much and just trust my own ability to problem-solve.
When and where will that next time be?
We are already scheming about going on touring down to LA probably next summer, stopping along the way at venues we discovered on this past tour.
Awesome! Finally, what is the best way for fans to support you?
Great question! The best way to support us and any of your favorite local bands is to help share our music either on social media or just the old-fashioned word of mouth way. Word of mouth is still the number one way musicians build a fanbase, so share our new single with a friend or add it to your playlist. That kind of little stuff goes a long way.
The work that Sharlet Crooks has been doing in Portland and beyond has been inspiring to say the least, and we look forward to hearing everything else they have to offer this coming year. The band has plans to release another single this fall, so be sure to keep up to date with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify. Along with the new single, the band plans to check off a major bucket list item in January 2019 by releasing a full length LP with 10 songs. “We wanted to put out a nice beefy piece of work that people can sink their teeth into if they want,” and sink our teeth into it we will! We highly recommend that you see Sharlet Crooks live. You can catch them next at Alberta Street Pub on October 10th, 2018 playing for the Local Roots Live Series at 7pm for only $7, and sing along to the new single yourself.
Interview by: Ashley Kervabon-Stoyanov
Ashley Kervabon-Stoyanov is the founder and executive directress of #WomenCrush Music. When she’s not leading the #WCM team, she’s coaching artists on how to live their best lives via her business DIA Music Coaching and travelling the world with her hubby and chiweenie pup. She currently resides in NYC and you can follow her at @mrsbossladywcm.
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