Category Archives: Women in Entertainment

A series of articles on leading indie women

Monday mashup 2017: Vol 12

Welcome to the final week of March.  Had so much fun reviewing the live show of Chris Shiflett and Brian Whelan last night in Missoula.  Watch for the review coming soon.

Been another busy week in the world of indie music.  We posted our review of the new single from BritRoyal earlier this morning.  Definitely check out this group if you love songs with great lyrics and meaning, and music that comes from the heart.  Thanks Jen Lyneis of Ue3 Promotions for turning us on to this amazing band.

FUEL ON FIRE RELEASES NEW VIDEO

Fuel on Fire, the “other” great redheaded sibling band, has released a new single and music video for the song “Never Said Goodbye.”  Besides the amazing song itself, the video features an appearance by Meghan Walker from Redhead Express.  Check it out and let us know what you think.  Speaking of Redhead Express, major announcement coming soon.

ONEFiFTEEN RELEASES FIRST ORIGINAL SONG

Hot new band OneFifteen has released their first original song, “Break the Wheel,” on Soundcloud.  It is amazing, featuring the smoking hot vocals of Chelsee Foster, which remind us of Evanescence’s Amy Lee.  Let us know what you think about it.

FOOFIGHTER GUITARIST CHRIS SHIFLETT SET TO RELEASE NEW SOLO PROJECT

Chris Shiflett, guitarist for the legendary FooFighters, is currently on tour with Dwight Yoakum’s former guitarist, Brian Whelan, in support of Shiflett’s new album West Coast Town, which is set for release on April 14 on Side One Dummy Records.  Check out the official video for the title cut, and watch for our review of both his CD and live show, coming soon.

NEW NAME, SAME GREAT MUSIC

San Diego based indie band and multiple LA Music Critic Award winner Daddy Issues has changed its name to Kick the Princess.  The band has also parted ways with bassist Jules Whelpton.  Watch for additional news on this amazing band, led by Angela Alvarez.  We expect more great things from them.

See ya soon.  Have a great week.

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 11

Sorry about the past two weeks, but we have been hit with computer problems on our desktop, losing the CPU fan and, of course, the part is out of stock everywhere.  We have been forced to go back to our trusty lap top computer for the foreseeable future.

Consequently, we are offering a rare Wednesday edition of our Monday Mashup because we just couldn’t wait until next Monday to share indie news and these amazing videos with you.

REDHEAD EXPRESS SIGN LABEL DEAL

We are proud to announce that one of our favorite indie bands,  Redhead Express, have signed a record deal with a major indie label.  The band recently shone during their time at CRS in Nashville, and as a result, not only will they be signed to the label, but will also be the stars of a reality show based on the label.  We send our love and best wishes to these four amazing sisters, and wish them well in the future.  We will continue to update you here about their successes.

THE WILD NOW RELEASE VIDEO AND PERFORM AT SXSW

Noisy Ghost PR client The Wild Now just finished performing at SXSW and released a music video for their song “Run for Your Life,” ahead of the release of their new EP Afterglow, which is set for May 19.  We will be reviewing their new EP shortly, but in the meantime, enjoy this amazing video.

CHELSEA WILLIAMS RELEASES NEW ACOUSTIC VIDEO

Blue Élan Records artist Chelsea Williams has released another acoustic music video in support of her EP Little Halo – Demo Sessions.  Check out her incredible vocals and enjoy the simplicity of her song “Boomerang.”

my education releases dreamy video for ‘Class A’

Need some soothing background music?  Check out the new video by my education for their single “Class A” off their recently released album Schiphol.  This eight minute video should provide the perfect background for reflection, meditation or just chilling.

Have a wonderful first week of Spring and we’ll be back soon with more indie news, reviews and videos.  Please let us know what you think of this series and all of the rest of the content on Indie Voice Blog.  We love hearing from you.

Monday Mash-up 2017: Vol 10

We finally made it to March, and the first signs of spring are happening here in Montana.  We had our first day of temperatures over 50, followed the next day by a freak snow storm that dropped 1-6 inches.  Can’t wait for spring to finally arrive.

Plans are still continuing for our first live LA Music Critic Awards show, tentatively scheduled for June 20 on the roof of the W Hotel in Hollywood.  Artists currently scheduled to appear include Allison Iraheta & Halo Circus, The Spider Accomplice, Papermoon Gypsys, Cindy Alexander, Bess Beckman and Janey Street.  We’ll keep you informed as the event firms up.

MILCK SCHEDULES DAY TO SPEAK OUT

Indie artist Milck continues her viral stance on speaking out and has scheduled an event.  Quoting from her announcement:

I’m so excited to announce my plans for an #ICANTKEEPQUIET DAY, on April 8th, the Saturday after Maya Angelou’s birthday. This is an in person or virtual experience. You can flashmob either with me or in your own town, or share your story/art online. Help all of us find your welcomed content by adding “#icantkeepquiet” to whatever you share. Your voice matters.

OF VERONA COVERS PINK FLOYD

Of Verona, the dynamic indie musical duo of Mandi Perkins and Dillion Pace Rodriguez, have released a cover of the seminal Pink Floyd song, “Wish You Were Here.”  Check out their version of this classic  hit.

BILLY MOON RELEASES VIDEO FOR “I WANNA KNOW”

Indie artist Billy Moon recently contacted IVB and let us know about his new video for his song, “I Wanna Know.”  We think it’s kinda cool – what do you think?

MASCULINE FEMINITY IS THE ISSUE PORTRAYED IN THE NEW MUSIC VIDEO BY CAMPBELL L SANGSTER

Another recent email informed us of this intriguing artist, Campbell L Sangster.  We are very curious to hear what you think of this video and song, which was released today.

Keep those emails coming.  We will introduce as many of you new indie artists as we can.  Until next week, keep supporting indie music.

Discover the magic that is Susan Calloway

Gamers will probably know this, but for the rest of us the discovery of the magical qualities of the voice of Susan Calloway will come as a sweet surprise.  After making a name for herself as a featured vocalist in the Final Fantasy XIV sci-fi and fantasy media franchise, Calloway is now gearing up to share a deeper part of her artistry with her thousands of fans worldwide.  She is returning to her roots as a singer-songwriter and is set to release her first single, “Time for This,” on March 24, courtesy of Nashville distributor Tone Tree Music.

Calloway, who hails from Detroit, wrote this amazing song, which was produced by her friend, the legendary producer  Gerard Smerek, whose resume of pop/R&B icons includes Aretha Franklin, R. Kelly, Kid Rock, Natalie Merchant, Bob Seger and Diana Ross. 

Smerek also produced Calloway’s solo debut EP, Chasin’ The Sun.  The title track was released as a single, reaching the Top 40 on the national Radio & Records charts.  It can still be heard on numerous Top 40 and Hot AC stations, as well as on Pandora radio.  In addition, “Don’t Fall in Love” received a nomination from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA) for Best Pop Song.  Calloway has licensed several of her songs for placement on such television hits shows as Dawson’s Creek, Summerland and One Tree Hill.

Her new single, “Time for This,” is destined to return Calloway to the Top 40 charts.  This song is absolutely beautiful, and a perfect vehicle to develop the intimate relationship Calloway has with both her old fans and the new ones that have come from her participation in the world created by Final Fantasy.

“I want my relationship with the fans to be a journey of inspiring people and building trust, and that begins with honesty, integrity and allowing myself to be vulnerable in the songs I write and perform,” Calloway says.  “My song ‘Time for This’ gives me the opportunity to let my guard down, make a meaningful emotional connection and let people know how I really feel about things.  The scariest risks we take in life seem to be the ones that involve our hearts.”

Calloway originally came to the attention of Grammy winning conductor Arnie Roth and Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, who is known in gaming circles as the “Beethoven of video games music.”   Uematsu requested that Susan sing his new theme song, “Answers,” for Final Fantasy XIV.  The game was released in 2013, and the overwhelming response by fans to Calloway’s first track led to other recording and performing opportunities within the world of Final Fantasy.

 “You can’t always control who you love or who loves you,” she adds.  “This makes moving on and letting go harder than we would like.  There are moments where it hardly seems worth the effort to put yourself out there when you know the potential will always be there for someone to leave.  I wrote ‘Time for This’ about a single moment, that moment when you feel like you wasted so much effort on a relationship, only to lose in the end.  Pain and heartbreak can take down the strongest among us if we let it.  We go back and forth between moving on and looking back . . . until we humbly realize that even when you lose something you wanted, time keeps moving whether we like it or not.  But, for every dark moment time forces us to walk through, it also heals us with the future it wants to usher in, if we let it and if we keep moving forward with faith.”

For more information about Calloway, check out her Facebook and website pages, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to her channel on SoundCloud and YouTube.

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Allison Iraheta

Over the past few years, we have had the chance to see quite a few of our indie music friends take the national stage on American Idol and The Voice, including Brooke White, Tony Lucca, Katrina Parker, and Justin Hopkins, to name a few.  However, this is the first time that we have become friends with an artist who has gone indie after appearing on one of those shows.  Thanks to Patrick O’Heffernan for introducing us.

We had a delightful time interviewing Allison Iraheta, who appeared on season 8 of American Idol and was originally signed to Jive Records.  Many of her greatest achievements, though, have been accomplished after she became an indie artist.  Iraheta was the winner of the Best Pop/Rock Female Artist for the first half of 2016, primarily on the strength of her band’s single, “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena).”  Iraheta and Halo Circus also finished second in the Fan Favorite category.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

AI:  Since I was six years old when I got my first gig at an opening for a department store.  I sang a ranchera song.  I was also a big fan of Selena, but unlike her, I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and primarily spoke Spanish, being the child of Salvadorian parents.  We were surrounded by a true cultural mix of music.  I loved the emotion behind rancheras music, which in turn became the inspiration for our current music.  I recently turned 24.

IVB:   Who are your influences?

AI:  My first big influence was Linda Ronstadt, especially her album “Canciones de mi Padre.”  My dad also turned me on to Paul Williams.  Other artists that inspired me included Amy Winehouse, Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, PJ Harvey, and Radiohead  This definitely led to our music being very diverse.  We didn’t have to be stuck with one sound but were able to show a myriad of colors.

IVB:   What made you decide to DIY?

AI:  I didn’t really have much of a choice.  As you know, I was signed to Jive Records just as the old music business began to fall apart.  There were lots of job upheavals and a change in the rules, affecting the whole industry.  I was actually dropped by Jive in the middle of my tour and found out about it via Twitter.  I was only 18, but decided to finish out the tour.  It was in shock, having gone from nothing to successful and then back again.  Once I got back from tour, I didn’t know where I was musically, and felt lost, not sure what to do anymore.  I did a few demos to make money and was very close to giving up on the industry.  I felt betrayed and injured and was not yet aware of the DIY side of the industry.  However, I don’t hold any resentments and am still friends with some of those same industry people.

I met Matthew (Hager) when I was doing a demo for a song he was pitching to Carrie Underwood.  We started writing together and I returned to my roots to find inspiration.  Everything we were doing sounded like it needed to be done by a band, which led to the formation of Halo Circus in 2013.  The support we have received is what has propelled us to where we are now, and new opportunities are happening all the time.  Everyone in the band is a veteran musician.  Matthew was a No. 1 Billboard multi-platinum producer who crossed multiple genres working with the likes of Duran Duran, Scott Weiland, Mindi Abair, and Mandy Moore.  Brian Stead was and is a relentless guitar aficionado who evokes energy and charisma.  In addition to being an accomplished Cantonese and orchestral drummer, Veronica Bellino worked with Jeff Beck and DMC of Run DMC before leaving Halo Circus.  She was replaced by Stead’s friend, Matteo Eyia.  

Magic happens in this band.  It happened when we were writing, when we were recording, and when we were failing.  The only thing that mattered was keeping it honest and getting it right, whatever that meant. We may be inconvenient, but we continue to attract believers.

IVB:  Do you want to go back to being a mainstream artist?

AI:  There is a balance to moving on from the previous level of exposure to the creative freedom we have now.  We believe we can return to that level, but on our own terms.  We are doing it through the back channel and believe that is a better way for us to return.  We love what is happening in the indie scene.

Last February, we shocked the music industry when we announced in Billboard Magazine that we would be embarking on the first fully crowd-sourced American tour ever to be attempted on such a large scale.  With the help of our fans and Road Nation, the program that allowed this format, we reached full funding just nine weeks later, and confirmed a tour of 30 cities.

IVB:  What are your future plans? 

AI:  We are definitely going back on tour in the not too distant future.  We would love to revisit some of the places where we played on our last tour.  We have some new stuff on the horizon and are so proud of those who have supported us from the beginning.  There will be surprises and thank you’s and fun stuff for everyone.

IVB:   Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

AI.  During the tour we were scheduled to play a show in Orlando during Hurricane Matthew.  We played the show despite the weather.  When we got to the venue under very gray clouds, there were about 30 of our fans waiting for us with signs proclaiming “End of the World” show.  We lost our AirBnB reservation for the night due to the storm, and had no place to stay after the show.  Consequently, we started heading out of Orlando, but couldn’t find anyplace open that had gas or water.  We did finally find some gas, and just kept driving until we found a hotel where we could stay.  It was a scary time and we saw cars driving on the wrong side of the road, trying to get away from the storm.

IVB:  What is the significance of the rabbit?

AI:  It represented humans for me during the writing of our first album Bunny.  I seemed to notice them everywhere.  The totem for bunny meant prey, with their fluffy tails for hawks to see, but they are also very cute, adorable and fast.  I came to the conclusion that the prettier you are, the more different you are, the more likely you are to become prey.

IVB:  What social media do you use?

AI:  I have a Facebook page with a link to the band’s website.  I also use Twitter and Instagram, and of course we have a channel on YouTube, all of which our fans can subscribe to or follow.

Monday mashup 2017: Vol 9

Welcome to another week of spotlighting the indie arts.  We have spent the past week with the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, as well as combing through a constant stream of emails from indie artists, who have been busy creating new material for the world.  Grab a cup of coffee and let’s look at some of the happenings over the past seven days.

Michaela May releases new single

Based in London and Toronto, Michaela May is a dynamic singer songwriter whose lyrics are personal and heartfelt, while her music is electrifying and upbeat.  We love her new song, You and I, and think you will love it too.  Check it out on Song Cloud and Spotify and grab your copy today.

Milck continues to speak out

Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Milck continues her viral quest to speak out against injustice with a recent appearance in Toronto, where she and a choir of 1300 singers recorded this video on behalf of Choir!Choir!Choir!  It is a powerful protest statement and should be spread near and far.  #ICANTKEEPQUIET

Chelsea Williams releases latest video from Little Halo – Demo Sessions

Blue Élan Records artist Chelsea Williams continues to tease us with acoustic demos of songs from her forthcoming album, Little Halo Demo Sessions.  Check out this acoustic demo session of her tune “Lovesick Blues,” which was released last Friday.

Adrian Underhill releases new video for ‘Not Good Enough’

After viewing this intriguing video, I am looking forward to see what else Adrian Underhill has planned for his debut album, which will be released later this year on Indica Records.  Please let us know what you think about his video.

Thanks for checking us out and for supporting indie music.  Check back later for an exclusive interview with LA Music Critic Award winner Allison Iraheta, as well as the return of our Get it or Forget it review series.  Until then, keep it indie!

 

 

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.