Category Archives: Women in Entertainment

A series of articles on leading indie women

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 8

Happy Presidents Day.  Hope you’re all having a great day as we launch into our eighth edition of the Monday Mashup for 2017.

Indie artists have been hard at work, acting as the voice of our generation.  In particular, artists are speaking out about the current political tensions, as well as standing with causes that have become near and dear to many hearts.  Let’s see what’s happening this week.

Trapdoor Social stands with Standing Rock

Local Los Angeles group Trapdoor Social has released an official music video for their song “Never Stop Listening” that supports the ongoing struggle between the United States and DAPL and the Native American Standing Rock tribe.  The cinematography is breathless and the message is the heart of the video.  Check it out and let us know where you stand on this issue.

Here’s what Trapdoor Social and songwriter Skylar Funk had to say about the video:

“Last fall I helped organize a donation drive and trip up to North Dakota from LA to support the water protectors in the Oceti Sakowin camp, at the center of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. We spent a week there working in construction, in the kitchens, chopping wood and shoveling snow, and felt incredibly welcomed and honored for the chance to participate in something so powerful and historic.


One thing they asked of us in orientation was to “Bring It Home” – to share what we learned at camp and to make sure folks back in the communities we’d return to were aware that the struggle to protect that land and water continues. Of course with the recent executive order, the challenge is even more urgent… So we created a video about the people we met at camp paired up with a song I wrote and released with Trapdoor Social last year to share what we saw and hopefully inspire more action.” – Skylar Funk

The video was shot by acclaimed director Alexandra Velasco.

Blue Élan Records artists release new music videos

Two of the artists signed to Blue Élan Records have new music videos.

The first, See, released a live acoustic version of her song “Closed Eyes Open” last Monday.  Her smoky and heavenly voice brings back memories of a cross between Stevie Nicks and Adele, and will serve this up and coming artist well.  Her debut EP, Ties, was released last July, and the debut single, “Potions” has received more than three million hits.  This is definitely an artist to put on your radar, because we firmly believe she will soon be a household name as she skyrockets to the top of the charts.  Let us know what you think.

The second is Cindy Alexander, one of the strongest advocates for indie music in Los Angeles.  This official music video, which is debuting today on YouTube, is for her song “Deep Waters,” the title track of her latest album.  The song was co-written and produced by long-time legendary musician Colin Devlin, and is a powerful vision.  We love the cinematography and more importantly, the message, which is a beacon of hope for our troubled times.  Let us know what you think of this gem.

 

Alexander is also preparing to hit the road this summer, using the Road Nation program to plan her tour.  This amazing program allows fans to choose the itinerary, and allows Alexander to support cancer research, a cause near to her heart since she is a cancer survivor.  Check out her campaign and bring her to your town this summer.

The Thrillseekers and Shannon Hurley release new video

Last but certainly not least this week is the latest video from the ongoing collaboration between The Thrillseekers and indie guru Shannon Hurley (one-half of the award-winning band Lovers & Poets).  We think you’ll love the upbeat message and sound of “Stay Here with Me.”  Let us know what you think.

That’s it for this week.  Gonna be a busy one with volunteering for the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival here in Missoula.  If you have the time, definitely check it out.  Keep those emails and music referrals coming.

Invest in the latest from Kanisha K

Kanisha K has been a favorite of this writer since she was first introduced to us by Ue3 Promotions in August 2014.  During that time, she has upped her skills, had her music placed in more and more stores across the country, and received media and critical attention, including nominations for several awards.  This writer has shared her music through several media outlets, including Examiner.com, AXS.com, and Indie Voice Blog, adding them to the list of media outlets that look forward to each new release.

Her new single, “Bet on Me,” should quickly rise up the charts after its release on Friday, February 17, 2017, and will be available on iTunes.  It was co-written and produced by Joe Vulpis, who has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga, Richie Blackmore and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Having been a fan of her music for several years now, we can truly say that “Bet on Me” is the best song Kanisha has released to date.  This power ballad captures the amazing tone of her voice and provides the perfect vehicle to announce to the world that she has truly arrived and is a good bet for musical greatness.  We look forward to hearing this song on Top 40 radio.

“Bet On Me” continues the dynamic creative relationship between Kanisha and Vulpis that began in 2015 with the single “Oh Damn Yeah” (which was released to both Top 40 and CHR radio) and was mastered by Tom Coyne, who has worked on projects by Adele, Beyonce, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, Pink and Ariana Grande.  The song also became popular during the Summer Olympics in Brazil.

“The song is about feeling like the underdog and asking the question, ‘If I were at my lowest point,’ would you still bet on me and take a chance on me?’” says the Holland, Michigan based pop singer.  “I wrote it in kind of a love song mode but am in a very different place in my life now, so I can embrace its much deeper meaning.  When we’re not at our best, are the people we love and count on going to be there for us through the hard times?  Who’s going to stick around and who is not?  I’m really proud of ‘Bet On Me.’  It’s a powerful and inspiring song and I love belting it out!”

We think that Kanisha K is a worthy investment.  We can hardly wait to hear the rest of the new music she is working on in Nashville with such veteran songwriters as Britton Cameron, Nathan Meckel and Jane Bach.  If it’s anything like her past work, then we think you the listener should heed Kanisha’s advise to “Bet on Me.”

 

BSDFF brings ‘Bright Lights’ to Missoula’s Wilma Theatre

Kicking off their 14th annual run, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival opened on Friday night with a screening of the HBO documentary Bright Lights at the Wilma.  Fans began lining up before 6 p.m. for the free screening, and filled the house to capacity.

The documentary tells the story of the relationship between Debbie Reynolds and her children, Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher, and is based on a small portion of the film archives of the family.  It was heartfelt and raw, and made you want to laugh, cry and cheer, all at the same time.

The film was introduced by current Executive Director Rachel Gregg, who was joined by the film’s producer, Todd Fisher.  Fisher returned after the screening and participated in a Q&A session that lasted for nearly an hour.

The Festival continues through February 26, with screenings at a multitude of venues, including the Wilma, the Elks Lodge, the Public House, the Roxy and the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.  Headquarters for the event will be at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography (216 N. Higgins), where you can purchase tickets and merchandise, participate in the VR Experience or attend classes on documentary filmmaking through the Doc Shops series, which begins on Monday, February 20.

For more information, check out the Festival’s website.  You can find the schedule here.

Indie artist Janiva Magness deserves the hype

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, otherwise known as NARAS, gives out the Grammy Awards each year for the best in recorded music and spoken word.  While almost all winners are signed to one of the major labels, every now and then The Academy stands up and takes notice of indie artists or shines the spotlight on a legend making a comeback.

The trend began in 2012, when Linda Chorney became the first truly independent artist to secure a Grammy nomination in the Americana category.  Although she did not win, she did open the door for others like Omar Akram, an independent new age artist who won the Grammy for best new age album in 2013.

This year The Academy has shined its spotlight near and far, resulting in quite a few nominations of artists who are previously unknown or obscure, and at least one more indie artist.   Although she is signed to Blue Élan Records, a major independent label based out of Los Angeles that is also home to such legends as Gerry Beckley of America and Eagles songwriter Jack Tempchin, Janiva Magness is a relatively unknown indie artist whose music demands attention.

Believe it or not, Love Wins Again is the 12th album Magness has released in her career, and the fifth time she has worked with producer Dave Darling, who has personally garnered four Grammy nominations for his work with such artists as Glen Campbell, Brian Setzer, John Waite and the Stray Cats.

From the first notes of the title cut, Magness shatters the barriers between genres and unleashes an album that must be sonically experienced, with a healthy heaping of indie rock, soul, jazz, gospel and funk to sweeten the overall blues feel.

The album progresses with a stop on the Soul Train vibe of “Real Slow,” before kicking it singer-songwriter/ indie rock style on “When you Hold Me,” which just happens to be one of our favorite cuts.  The album continues with a gospel, soul feel on “Say You Will” before the almost Americana/indie rock feel of “Doorway.”   Magness kicks in with her full blues regiment on “Moth to a Flame” and “Your House is Burnin'” before dialing it back down with “Just Another Lesson,”  “Rain Down,” and “Long as I can see the Light.”  She closes out with the moving ballad “Who Will Come for Me,” to which we state the obvious – your fans.

Magness is a true artist who has mastered the art of bringing a message that transcends musical genres and ties an album together.  She definitely has our vote for Grammy and for providing one of the best albums of 2016, indie or otherwise.  We can hardly wait to see what’s next.

 

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 6

Never in my life have I witnessed a collapse like that of the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI.  The only positive about the game was the half-time show, which Lady Gaga nailed!  Considering she began her career as an indie artist playing the mean streets of Los Angeles, we should be proud of her ultimate accomplishment – playing her music before a world-wide audience.  Way to go Gaga!!!

For the rest of us who haven’t quite reached our goals yet, we encourage you to keep at it.  Keep singing, writing and creating.  Treat those three people in the audience as if they were the most important three people in the world.  You never know who might be listening, and the doors they are capable of opening.  Keep up the fight!

GRAMMY TIME FOR MAGNESS

This time next week we’ll be celebrating the Grammys.  Since we have at least one indie artist in the running, and a local one at that, let’s give a hearty and rousing cheer for Blue Élan Records artist Janiva Magness and her blues album Love Wins Again.  We hope you take home the prize.

INDIE ARTISTS SHINE AT NAMM

A few years back a visionary named Kerry Getz thought it would be a great opportunity for local indie artists if they would put on showcases at the hotels near the convention site.  It was such a great idea that NAMM decided to take over and expand the opportunity to stages within the event itself.  Getz likewise recruited Tim Moyer to assist her, and Moyer runs this major music event now.  One of the artists who was selected to perform at the 2017 event was Los Angeles country/Americana artist Alice Wallace.  Check out her sterling performance of “I Just Don’t Care Anymore” from NAMM’s Grand Plaza Stage.  You can find the official music video of the song on her YouTube channel.  Enjoy.

RYKKA DEBUTS NEW MUSIC VIDEO

European indie artist Rykka has released her latest music video for “Runnin’ Away” from her new album Beautitudes.  If this video is any indication of the quality of music on the album, then you should definitely check it out.  We will be reviewing the album here soon, so check back with us.

See ya next week.

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 5

Wow – five weeks into 2017, and indie artists are really making noise.  Milck, an artist we introduced you to back on September 21, 2015, is truly blowing up!!!  In the past seven days, her official music video for “Quiet” has gone from just over 142,000 views to more than 400,000.  She has been featured in Billboard, Allure, ET Online, Twitter and Facebook, and made several appearances on national TV, including her appearance on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.  The YouTube video of that appearance has already drawn more than 75,000 views in less than three days.  We are so proud of you Connie Lim aka Milck.  Thank you for having the courage to bring your message of hope in a time of increased insanity.  We are proud to support you!!!  We are also proud of her PR effort, spearheaded by the Big Kahuna herself – Go Laura and Red Boot PR as you champion another worthy indie cause!!!!

KEATON SIMONS JOINS WITH BACKBONE POSSE

LA Music Critic Icon Keaton Simons has been busy, but not in the typical way.  Always a firm believer in collaboration, Simons has lent his talents to the Backbone Posse on their new music video for “Supawaz Gaz,” which also features the talents of Slimkid3 and Adam Vadel.  Please be warned this video is NSFW or young kids.  Enjoy.

GRAMMY NOMINEE PERFORMS AT THE TROUBADOUR

Indie artist Janiva Magness, nominated for Best Blues Album for Love Wins Again, is having a birthday today.  She recently performed before a packed house at the world famous Troubadour in Los Angeles, and posted several videos of her live performance.  Please enjoy this one and make sure to send her best wishes.

NEW MUSIC VIDEO

We are proud to spotlight this incredible new indie video.  Watch for us to review her new release soon.  Please give it up for Emily Zuzik from Los Angeles with the amazing release of “Alone,” which has garnered more than 25,000 views in the past four days.  We think this one is a definite keeper!!!

We look forward to chatting with you again next month.  Have a great week!

Monday mashup 2017, vol 4

OMG what a weekend.  Were you as impressed with the million woman march as I was?  So many indie artists participated in the marches across the globe, but none of them had the impact of one young woman from Los Angeles.  Connie Lim, aka MilCk, has written an anthem that has become the voice of the Women’s March.  Her music video, which was released just one week ago, already has almost 142,000 views.  Check it out and see why this song has struck such a chord with people across the globe.  #ICANTKEEPQUIET.

NAMM ONCE AGAIN A SUCCESS

If you’re like me, then your Facebook was blowing up all weekend.  So many friends performing at NAMM, running into old friends at NAMM, running into new friends at NAMM, and witnessing those wonderful NAMM moments.  My long-time friend Tim Moyer, who helps schedule, host and maintain the nightly musical entertainment at the Marriott and Hilton Hotels during NAMM posted a video by a friend that captured one of those moments.  Check it out. Thanks to Marcy Kraft for the video.  Thanks to Rolling Stone for spreading the word.

THE SHOW PONIES CELEBRATE THEIR NEW CD

Tonight’s the night when The Show Ponies and special guest Freddy & Francine celebrate the release of the new album by the Ponies, How it All Goes Down.   Tonight’s show is at the world-famous Troubadour in West Hollywood.  If you are in LA, we highly advise you to get down there and enjoy the show.  Here’s the link for tickets.

SHANNON HURLEY ANNOUNCES NEW KICKSTARTER

Los Angeles Indie Music Queen Shannon Hurley announced this week that she has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund her fifth studio album.  She celebrated the moment by releasing a video of an acoustic version of her song “Number One,” which will be the first single released.  Check out the video and support indie music by contributing to the campaign.

Have a great week and we’ll catch you next Monday.  If you have anything coming up that you want to promote, please let us know.

 

 

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 3

Happy Monday.  So good of you to join us again, just a few hours before the winners of the LA Music Critic Awards are announced.

There’s been a lot happening to indie artists lately.  Among the latest is Jerad Finck continuing to move up on the Billboard Top 40 charts with the stripped down acoustic version of his mega-hit “Criminal.”  Congrats to Finck and to his promotional team at Ue3 Promotions.  Keep up the great work.

KELLY McGRATH DEBUTS NEW VIDEO ON CMT

Back in October we told you about the new video by indie country star Kelly McGrath of her song “You and Me Today.”  Well, it finally premiered on CMT on January 10, and the fan response was intense.  In fact, it became the #1 video on their 12-pack Countdown of the week’s hottest videos.  The video airs every day at 10:38 am, 5:37 pm and 10:37 pm (all times ET).  If you like it, you can vote for it multiple times by clicking on this link.   Simply put a mark in the box by Kelly’s name, click on vote, refresh your page and do it again to your heart’s content.  Congrats Kelly!

NEW VIDEO RELEASES

Speaking of video releases, check out these new ones by indie artists:


We love this new video, especially the incredible violin work by Annette Homann.  Thanks to Rachel Sage for this great way to kick off 2017.

Although this was technically uploaded in December, we just discovered it and think you will be amazed at the amazing lyrics and the simple arrangement of this beautiful tribute to a fallen friend.  Thanks Elyse Haren for sharing from your heart and for the work you do with the West Coast Songwriters showcase in LA.

THEATRE IN MISSOULA

It’s a great week for theatre in Missoula, MT, with the opening of two new shows this week.  MCT will open their production of Urinetown:  The Musical on Thursday, January 19 (which we will review on January 20), while the Montana Rep will debut their 2017 touring show of the classic Neil Simon comedy Barefoot in the Park on January 20 (and we’ll review it on January 21).  Watch for these reviews next week on Indie Voice Blog.

LA MUSIC CRITIC AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCEMENT

The list of winners will be published at 6 a.m. MST TOMORROW.  Don’t miss it!

See you all next week.

Kaylee Keller wants to help her community with the release of her Christmas song

When we last visited with Kansas-born Kaylee Keller, she had just won the LA Music Critic Award for best lyric video for her collaboration with the Vinyljackers of her hit “Diamond.”

More recently, Keller released a duet with country singer Rusty Rierson of the Alabama classic hit, “Christmas in Your Arms.”  Check out the stream below.

Today we’re sitting down with Keller for another interview on what’s new in her career.  Grab a cup of coffee and learn new things about this amazing indie artist who, surprisingly, just turned 19 years old.

IVB:  What have you been doing since we last talked after your win for LA Music Critic best lyric video?

KK:  First, after I won, I was waiting to receive my Grammy.  But seriously, I have been in Nashville for the past three months working on my new EP.  I worked with some of the best songwriters in Nashville who have helped me craft my new six song EP, which I plan to release as a group of singles throughout 2017, and then release the collection near the end of 2017.  I loved working with my producer Nathan Meckel.  I’ve been thinking of calling the EP Ruby, as a spin-off to my first EP Diamond, so then you could look me up as the Gem Collection.  We want to test the waters with each single so that they will stay fresh.  I like to be a trendsetter and do my own thing as an independent artist.

IVB:  Tell us about your latest project “Christmas in your Arms.”

KK:  This one was a fun project.  Garden City, Kansas is my hometown and they approached me to see if I wanted to be part of their annual holiday compilation album, called Kozy Kansas Christmas.  It’s their fourth year of doing this CD and I was honored that they wanted me to do a song for the album.

The proceeds from the sale of the album go to fund local charities in Garden City.  They only print a limited amount of CDs, which makes them more valuable.

I’ve known Rusty Rierson for about three years after we met at a Joe Diffie concert.  I was doing the National Anthem, and Rusty was the opening act.  After I was approached by Garden City, I asked Rusty what song we should do.  He suggested that we do an Alabama song called “Christmas in Your Arms.”  My mom suggested we make it a duet.  Both of them proved to be great suggestions.  We had a blast turning the song into a duet.

The album is available on Garden City’s Facebook page and can be purchased there.  My single on the album is also available on iTunes.

The project is getting a lot of media attention, including The Ellen Show, as they begin planning for next year’s double CD.

IVB:  What’s next for Kaylee Keller?

KK:  I wanted my current EP, Diamond, to be country, but it turned out to be more of a pop project.  I’m using my new Christmas single to introduce me to the country pop community.  I’ve been called a mixture of Colbie Caillat meets country pop by local media.  The new project is much more country based albeit country pop, which is where my heart truly lies.  We are looking forward to bringing this side of me to my fans and to hopefully find new ones in the country pop genre.

 

Women in entertainment: Alyssa Jacey, the girl in blue

It’s been a while since our last article in the Women in Entertainment series, February 1, 2016 to be exact, but we’re back with another edition.  Fair warning – it’s a long one, but definitely worth the read.

Our feature today spotlights Alyssa Jacey, a pop/soul singer-songwriter out of Nashville by way of San Diego, who loves the color blue.  Why, you say.   Jacey explains, “About the age of 16, I got my first car and decided to paint it.  I was flipping through the color pages and had an instant attraction to the color Highlight Blue Pearl,  a bright royal blue with an opal coating.  From that point on, I could only see the color blue.  I would make a beeline to that color whenever I was choosing clothes, and always fell for the guy in the royal blue sweater.  I’m currently on my fourth car, and all of them have been blue.”

Jacey has turned that attraction to blue into her own brand.  “I always tell people when they come to my shows, ‘Bring your crew and wear your blue.’  My grandmother and I were very close when she passed away from Alzheimer’s.  I had just started singing and she never got to hear me perform.  I told myself that when I was able to support myself with my music that I would do something to help fight the disease.  Now, when my fans come to my shows, if they are wearing blue, I donate $1 from their ticket sale to the Alzheimer’s Foundation.”

Jacey had formerly been a hip-hop dancer, choreographer, and private dance instructor, had appeared in music videos and performed at the Super Bowl.  She assumed that her career would be in the dance industry.  But that all changed, literally overnight, when Jacey went out with her friends.   “One day I just made the decision to pursue music.   I had spent my whole life dancing but there was always something missing; Karaoke night changed all that and my life has never been the same,” explains Jacey.

Jacey’s latest single, “I Want it to Rain,” is an incredible song that truly belongs on radio outlets worldwide.  Since it was posted on her YouTube channel just a month ago, the video has already received more than 3,000 views.

Jacey recently posted on her Facebook page that she has spent more time in the past three months in Europe than at home.  Not bad for an unsigned independent musician who is the epitome of the DIY artist.  In fact, that success has enabled Jacey to also become an international public speaker, and to open her own business, Image Twelve 28.  The business allows her to provide coaching for other indie musicians who want to achieve their dreams.

“I was 23 when I found my voice, 26 when I learned the guitar and 28 when I learned to drum.  I believe you can do whatever you want as long as you believe in yourself.  Don’t listen to the naysayers, just do it.  My true purpose here is to inspire people.”

But what inspires Jacey?   “What inspires me is the beauty that lies in the unknown. As a DIY artist, you never know what hand your career will deal you, and it’s BEYOND EXCITING. Opportunities come from all angles, in all shapes and sizes, and the fun part is two fold: Being surprised with ones you weren’t expecting and seeing how many you can turn into reality, and going through individual experiences, which are each so unique and so special. When I think of all the experiences I’ve had over the years and risks I’ve taken to get to them, my heart swells up. My favorite hashtag to use is #LivingWithGratitude, and I absolutely am, living with gratitude, every single moment, of every single day.”

Where does Jacey see herself in the future?  “My future plans have not changed since the exact moment I realized I was going to pursue music, and basically, that’s ‘I know I’m here, and I want to get there.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I know I will, and I will just take it one step at a time.’  I started playing music because I had a late calling. At 23 years old, I was convinced by friends that I had a voice.  I had never sung before, never written a song or played an instrument.  But after a year of singing karaoke and hearing the same thing on a consistent basis from random strangers from karaoke bar to karaoke bar every week, I knew I had to pursue it.  I was going to let absolutely nothing stop me from getting as far as I could go. Did I want to be famous?  No.  I wanted to see if I could ever make a living playing original music, and after that, the sky would be the limit, should I chose to continue. Just 13 months after moving to Nashville (and 8 years after being in the music industry), I started to earn a living.  I’ve been so motivated by seeing hard work pay off, that when it comes to “future plans,” all I can do is just keep doing what I’ve been doing.  In doing so, every six months beats out the previous six months, and all I’m doing is just following my intuition.”

For more info on Jacey, be sure to check out her website and Facebook pages, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to her YouTube channel.  If you like her music, you can stream it on Spotify or Pandora, or purchase it at iTunes.