Tag Archives: Women in Entertainment

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.

 

 

Shadow Pearson remembers Orlando with release of single ‘Finger on the Pulse’

Just like the atrocities committed on 9/11, most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on June 12, 2016, when 49 innocent souls were gunned down in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  No longer would Orlando be considered just a vacation getaway – it will now be remembered as the site of one of the biggest hate crimes committed against one particular group of our nation’s citizens.

Shadow Pearson, the lead singer of Orlando based band The Actomatics, chose to do something about the senseless act by writing and releasing a song to help raise money for the onePulse Foundation.  She was joined by a choir of more than 100 people, representing the ‘voices’ of Orlando, whom she dubbed the City Song Players.  The song is entitled “City Song – Finger on the Pulse,” and was released on September 27, 2016 by Star 1 Group.  In addition, the music video is set to premiere today during an International Broadway Event at the John and Rita Shakespeare Center.

We sat down with Pearson to help you get to know her.  Here are the results of our interview:

IVB:  When was your first performance?

SP:  My first professional gig was about 9 or 10, I believe.

IVB:  Who do you consider to be your influences?

SP:  My first piece of vinyl was purchased by my father, The Temptations’ Sky’s the Limit.  There was music everywhere in our home.   As a family we sat around and played the songs of Hank Williams Sr every night with my mother at the piano and my father on acoustic guitar.  Then came Stevie Wonder, Jethro Tull and The Who.  I love everything about Pete Townshend.  My grandmother had a lot of Christian vinyl, especially Oral Roberts.  She was in rural Mississippi.   ‘Something good is going to happen to you, happen to you, happen to you.’   I played that song a lot too.   He was a charismatic Pentecostal televangelist, but I think there’s Rock Star in that stuff too.

IVB:  What is your new song release “City Song – Finger on the Pulse” so important?

SP:  The song was written by the people for the people.  We are the voice of the people.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

SP:  Our video debuts worldwide in October.  We have been invited to show at an International Broadway Event on the 17th.  There is  also a documentary which we are editing.  Perhaps the Spring would be a good time to have a fundraiser and get the documentary into the film festival circuit.  I’m not sure of the length yet as to whether it would be included as a short or a full length entry.

IVB:  Do you have any stories you want to share about the creation of your song, the onePulse Foundation, touring, recording or fan interaction?

SP:  There are times when everything falls together perfectly.  This was one of those times.  Music heals.  There has been nothing but an outpouring of love.  Everything is love.

IVB:  Where can people find out more about you, the song and your efforts?

SP:  You can download the song on Bandcamp (link above).  Also check out our band’s website and Facebook pages, the onePulse website, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, ReverbNation, and Bands in Town, and subscribe to our email list.  Word of mouth is one of our biggest draws, so share, share, share.  I like that word.

Thanks to Jennifer Allison for the background material, and for letting us know about this worthy artist who is giving back to her community.

Artist/Activist ellee ven is starting a groovalution

Once a constant on the Los Angeles music scene, ellee ven has moved east to spread her Groovalution and encourage people to participate in Give Into the Groove, a non-profit that raises awareness of local charities and encourages everyone to become involved in philanthropy.

Ellee ven calls her music “groovetonic,” which she explains is non-genre specific music that makes you move.   But what is a “Groovalution?”  Read on and you will discover the answer within the interview we had with this amazing artist and activist.

ev-groove

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

EV:  About 12 years.  I was a school teacher, married and divorced and moved into Apartment 1111.  I felt that the numbers 11-11 were a sign from the universe that I needed to do something different, and my heart kept coming back to music.  My first gig was a group of Prince dancers that wanted a voice to add to their music.  From that point on, I was hooked.  I didn’t know if I could write my own songs, but I kept receiving music from friends and friends of friends that I would then remix and add my creative insights.

IVB:   Who are your influences?

EV:  Sade is my #1 favorite because she is so unique and her arrangements are very special.  I think that she is loyal to her band members and works with them to create heartfelt authentic music.  She is a true lady who doesn’t grind but dances elegantly.  I also like Nine Inch Nails, Portishead and Cher – my tastes are all over the board.

IVB:  So, what is a groovalution?

EV:  A Groovalution is a creative revolution, composed of a group of groovalutionaries, which are the individual people engaged in creative revolution.  There is a groovalutionary within us all.   I think you will see that all of my projects are truly connected.   I want to demonstrate that it’s not just music but all parts of our lives that provide balance.  Everybody has a talent and needs an outlet that allows them to contribute to the overall balance.   I specifically want to thank my parents for being the role models that enabled me to take my talent and share it with the world.

IVB:   What made you decide to DIY?

EV:  A couple of reasons.  First off, I didn’t know I could get someone else to do it for me or would pay me to do it.  My family was always a creative force for me, and believed that it was a personal choice to visualize your own artistic endeavor.  Who better to do it than the one with the vision?  As I moved along my career, I realized that this is the way to do it.  I can do it my own way with full artistic freedom.  Very grateful that I can redo my entire catalog if I want to and am responsible for creating content that moves my fans.  I’ve gotten better at marketing but wouldn’t mind getting the machine behind me to further my reach.

IVB:   Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?

EV:  Not really.  I don’t care enough about being mainstream that I would sacrifice my own artistic vision.  I don’t want to have to dress a certain way, or have a certain look to fit in.  I understand their reasons for wanted to package artists in a certain way, but I want mine to be unique.  There is too much music today that seems to be copies of what’s already there so that they sound the same.  I don’t believe that music can be authentic that way.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

EV:  I recently spent some time in Southeast Asia and want to continue that.  I want to make my music available to more and more people and have spent a lot of time improving my YouTube channel.  Love my new video for Underwater.

I am planning to do a webcast at Kulak’s Woodshed in Los Angeles on November 9, which will be part of my annual 11-11 party.  I have a large collection of fans from around the world who will be able to tune in and see me perform.  Since I can’t take my whole band to places like Bali, this is a way for me to meet my fans digitally.

Give into the Groove in Lexington is another event that I have been involved with, but am taking this year off for personal reasons.  We have so much going on with my band right now that has taken priority and besides, I need a breather!

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

EV:  I recently did a show in LA that brought together some of the people I worked with a decade ago.  Getting the chance to talk to you (IVB) today is also special since it has been a while since we connected.  I really love the community that this music has grown, and that’s the reason why I can’t stop doing what I’m doing.

IVB:  What social media platforms do  you use?

EV:  My website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. 

Black Sheep Tour lands in Missoula

One of the joys in working as a music critic over the past 20 years is the chance to become friends with some of the artists that I have come across, and to get the chance to watch their career progress.  One of those artists who has become a special friend is none other than Iowa’s Midwestern songbird, aka Sara Routh, who we profiled in our Women in Entertainment series.

I have had the privilege of booking Routh at several venues in Los Angeles, including the Viper Room, the Derby, Genghis Cohen and the Burbank Film Festival.  She has always delivered, and her recent stop at Missoula’s Stage 112 as part of her Black Sheep Tour was no different.

On the road since March 17, Routh arrived in Missoula on day 15 of her tour, the next to last leg of her journey.  We had the privilege of hosting her, her tour mate Rae Davis, and Chad Taylor, a local Iowa blogger who was documenting the tour.  You can check out that blog here.

After getting them settled at our apartment, we headed downtown to grab some dinner, opting for MacKenzie River Pizza on Front Street, where we all grubbed out on some very delicious food before heading over to the venue for sound check.  Upon arriving at the venue, we found out that they would not be performing on the stage, but on a small riser in the lounge.

After sound check, we took Routh out for a walk around Missoula, ending up at Grizzly Liquor so that she could take home a bottle of our local whiskey from Montgomery Distillery.  Once back at the venue, we learned that Davis had met a female comic named Sara Reynolds and had invited her to open the show.

It being “First Friday,” the venue convinced them to postpone their show until 9 p.m. so that more people would be available, and as the appointed time arrived, that advice proved sound.  Reynolds turned in a good set with a few great laughs, and then it was time for Davis to perform.  Davis definitely has a way with words, and her music reflected her musical journey.  She has a great voice that comes from deep within, and her skills on her baby Martin were likewise good.  She turned in a set of about an hour that kept the locals listening and buying drinks, which was a good thing since they were being paid a cut of the bar.

Finally it was time for the star of the show.  I was impressed with the maturity in Routh since the last time we had seen her perform, more than three years ago.  Her new material, while different from some of her earlier stuff, still reflects the small town Midwestern girl who has spent some time in the big city and in another land, and the lessons she has learned along the way.  She honored us by singing one of the first songs she wrote in LA, “Hills of Gold,” the very song that made us fall in love with her music.  She continued with her calvacade of hits spanning the whole time we have known her, including one of our favorites, “Drinking with the Devil.”  The time went by far too fast, and once again we knew that we had been in the presence of greatness, even if the world does not yet know it.

We got up early the next morning and took them to Paul’s Pancake Parlor for a hearty breakfast before they headed off to Denver for the last show of the tour.  All too soon our brief visit was over, leaving behind more great memories of time spent with one of our favorite indie artists.  Thanks for your friendship and your music.  We love and appreciate both gifts.

For more on Routh, check out her webpage and Facebook, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to her YouTube channel.

 

Women in Entertainment: Boca Gambale, jazzy perfection

Our second women in entertainment feature of 2016 focuses on Boca Gambale, Canadian born singer and songwriter, wife of jazz legend Frank Gambale and lead vocalist of the smooth jazz fusion band Soulmine.

I first met this amazing artist almost 20 years ago when I was writing for my first major publication, Music Connection Magazine.  I received an assignment to review a show at The Temple Bar, a legendary LA music venue in Santa Monica.  At the time she was performing with a trio called Boca.  I immediately fell in love with her music and had this to say about the performance:  “Boca has the whole package that includes solid songwriting, looks, voice and killer arrangements. This rising artist has a promising future.”

Boca is the youngest of four children and had a deep desire to play the piano at an early age.  Her father recognized his daughter’s innate talent and found her a private teacher, setting her career path into motion.  From the time she was 10, Boca composed songs that gave voice to her inner-most thoughts and allowed her to explore her innate sense of rhythm.

Life’s negative circumstances fueled Boca’s artistry and her need to escape into the world of music and expression, and she began to sing.   Her strong, confident voice suggested a singer who was much older than 13 and she began to perform professionally at both corporate and public functions like the Young Teens Woman’s Awareness Conference and the CHIN Radio Benefit for the Homeless.  She continued to perform and write with original groups in the Toronto are all through her high school years.  “It gave me the opportunity for self expression and helped me determine my own sound,” explained Boca.

She attended the highly acclaimed Jazz Program at Humber College School of Creative and Performing Arts in Toronto, graduating with high honors.  Although she was initially accepted to study voice and classical theory background, she thrived on studying composition and arrangement and spent her free time performing and recording with the school’s premier 13-piece R&B funk ensemble.   She also began to sing and dance with various authentic Latin jazz groups, performing in many summer festivals, including the Harbourfront Latin Jazz Series in Toronto, the Concert of Colors in Detroit and the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles, where she displayed her chops comfortably in three to four languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, and African dialects.

Boca feels that songwriting is a direct channel to the heart, that to enter the realm of musical creation is to tap an endless flow of inspiration.   Boca’s songs provide her with an intense experience of catharsis and release.  “It’s a process of osmosis” she explains, “I deal with raw emotion. That’s where the strength and power is.”  Her creative strength lies in her intuitive approach.  When she writes, she allows an emotional propulsion to lead her to the final result.  Each song is imbued with her fiery, yet subtle energy.  “The best compliment someone can give me about my music, is that they feel it,” she says.   Boca blends elements of blues and jazz into an organic , soulful mix.  The sound is accessible and passionate, what she likes to call “a little bit a this, a little bit a that, mixed with a lotta somethin’ somethin’, and then you get me!”

She released her first CD, Edge of the Night in 2005, joining forces with long time friend and Juno Award winning producer Marco Luciani, who co-wrote the song “Overdrive” on the multi-platinum Dirty Dancing.  The CD received rave reviews from both the press and fans, and  her single “Morning, Noon and Night” received steady airplay on smooth jazz stations.  The title track was also chosen as the featured theme song for the documentary Unsung Heroes, and was produced by Antonio Soave (Capistrano Films) and Doug Deluca ( Producer- Jimmy Kimmel Live), with instrumental score by Bruce Miller (composer of the theme song from TV’s Frasier.  She also performed on Canada AM, the Canadian version of Good Morning America.

It was shortly after this that Boca first met Gambale at the renowned Baked Potato jazz venue in Los Angeles.  She began touring with his band in the summer of 2010 throughout Europe, performing to large audiences and delivering memorable shows.   Their first CD together, Frank Gambale Soulmine feat. Boca was released in 2012.

When asked about her work on Soulmine, Boca replied,” Soulmine is a reflection of all the best parts of me.  It is always an enormous pleasure for me to record an album.  To write and record an album with such a phenomenal talent as Frank, and write about life, love and hope . . . is exceeding my expectations of ‘love in action.’   My present life is nothing short of being ‘in dreams awake’”

Boca is currently working on her sophomore solo release, as well as the next Soulmine album with Frank Gambale, set to be released in the summer of 2016.  Upcoming shows include appearances at The Baked Potato and Catalina Bar and Grill in Los Angeles, as well as concerts in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and China.

For more info about this amazing artist, check her out on Facebook and her soon to be updated website.

 

Women in entertainment: Katie Garibaldi, troubadour to the Golden Gates

Merry Christmas – Indie Voice to pleased to present the final Women in Entertainment profile for 2015, shining the spotlight on San Francisco own’s Katie Garibaldi, singer-songwriter extraordinaire, label owner and the unofficial troubadour to the Golden Gate city.  She also recently obtained an endorsement deal with Breedlove Stringed Instruments, who worked with her to build a new custom Master Class guitar.

Garibaldi, who has been compared to the likes of Sheryl Crow, Brandi Carlile, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple, Jewel and Taylor Swift, continues to play regularly in her San Francisco Bay Area home base  at such premier music clubs as Hotel Utah, The Little FoxCafe Du Nord, and Neck Of The Woods.  She has also toured nationally, including frequent stops in Nashville where she has performed at Music City’s (world-famous) Bluebird Cafe.

Garibaldi is also an innovative entrepreneur and the owner of her own label, Living Dream Music.  She has acquired a devoted fan base, due in no small part to her incredibly engaging live shows and the personal connection she has developed with her listeners through her music.  Regardless of whether she is performing by herself or with a band, Garibaldi shares her emotions with her audience through melodic and catchy songs and soulfully expressive vocals, creating a distinct sound that is both pop and country with a tinge of Americana.

A prolific writer, she recently released her seventh full-length album, Follow Your Heart, which was recorded at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Recording Studios in San Francisco and engineered by Ian Pellicci.  The album features some of Garibaldi’s most personal songs, many of which are inspired by her recent marriage, reflecting back to her simple yet powerful message of the importance of having the conviction to follow one’s heart.  The album also includes performances by several notable musicians, including the Magik*Magik Orchestra.

Follow Your Heart is the first full-length release of all new compositions since her award winning Next Ride Out album in 2009.   During those six years, she has continued to tour the country, building her brand DIY-style with help from her friends in Nashville and elsewhere, and has garnered critical acclaim from both press and peers.

Guitar Player magazine called her “a gifted songwriter with a gorgeous voice,” while Music Connection magazine wrote “Garibaldi is blessed with a sweet and pure soprano, and we hear a sincerity in this artist that is real.”   Music Connection also included Garibaldi on their annual list of the Top 100 Live Unsigned Artists, while her peers in Songsalive! voted her the Songwriter of the Year award.  Garibaldi is an active voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and the current Emerging Artist Of The Year winner from the Indie Music Channel 2015 Awards.   Most recently, Bay Area music blog The Deli Magazine named Garibaldi the San Francisco Artist Of The Month for September 2015.

What inspires Garibaldi?  “My relationship with my husband inspires me a lot, as I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of writing love songs that are inspired by him. Also, I get really inspired to write when I’m touring, seeing different cities and just soaking up all of the various adventures that come with traveling and new experiences. I always seem to come back home with an itch to write something new. And in general, my family and my faith have always inspired me to be myself, do what I love, and follow my dreams, which keeps me motivated as a person, as well as an artist and songwriter.”

Where does she see herself in the future?  “Regarding the near future, I’m working on wrapping up my new EP, which I’m very excited about and planning to release it sometime in the early part of 2016. The EP consists of five new songs that I recorded in Nashville with some extremely talented musicians. These songs are a bit of a departure from my usual song topics, where I focus more on self-discovery and faith. They’re also a bit different sonically speaking from my last album, being more stripped down in production and feature a lot of intricate string arrangements. I can’t wait for people to hear them! It’s the latest piece of my heart and soul. I’ll be promoting and touring with the new release next year, and also plan to release a new music video for one of the songs leading up to the release, which I’ll be working on soon. As far as long term plans, I hope to keep living my dreams, making and sharing music, and growing my business as an artist/songwriter to encompass larger opportunities in this industry. ”

To find out more about this artist, check out  her website and Facebook pages, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to her YouTube channel.

 

Women in entertainment: Tracy Byrnes, keeping the beat alive

Happy Monday.  Let’s take a break from our remembrances of Pearl Harbor Day and take a moment to shine the Women in Entertainment spotlight on another incredible indie musician, Tracy Byrnes, one-half of the alt-americana band The Fallen Stars and the keeper of the beat for others, including Riddle & the Stars and the Leaves on the Wind Music Project.

Growing up to the soundtrack of folk music of the 70’s and her parents’ love of Tom Rush, Bonnie Raitt, Janis Ian and Bruce Springsteen, Byrnes always seemed destined for music, whether performing in high school musicals, internationally-touring folk groups or college choir.   This background culminated in her current role as the bassist and vocalist for The Fallen Stars where she combines her narrative songwriting style with the power of a Springsteen delivery.

Byrnes was drawn to the bass by its design and function as the one that holds it together and keeps everyone grounded.  Her bass of choice is a Rickenbacker 4001 that was made the week after she was born.  “I love how the bass is both rhythm and melody and I’m in control of the heartbeat of the song,” explained Byrnes.

She and her husband, Bobbo Byrnes, co-founded The Fallen Stars, who have earned the titles “Best Live Acoustic Band” and “Best Country/Americana Band” from the OC Music Awards’; “Best Live Acoustic Band” and “Best Live Rock Band’ from the SoCal Live Music Competition, and most recently, “Best Live Band” from the OC Weekly.  They have released a total of five albums while completing multiple tours throughout the United States and Europe, including stints in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Besides her work with The Fallen Stars, Byrnes has also released two CDs and toured with Riddle & The Stars, a band consisting of both Tracy and Bobbo as well as Melbourne, Australia’s Ben Riddle, whom they met while touring together in Europe.

Byrnes’ most recent collaboration is the creation of the Leaves On The Wind Music Project, a fan project striving to write, record and release an original song inspired by each and every episode of the cult sci-fi TV show Firefly.  As a result of this project, The Fallen Stars have become a global sponsor for the fan-based charity organization Can’t Stop the Serenity, which helps raise money for Equality Now, an organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights for women and girls around the world.  A portion of the proceeds of every Leaves on the Wind Music Project sale will be donated by The Fallen Stars to Equality Now.

What inspires Brynes?  “I’m always inspired by the next song and seeing where it will take us.”

What does Byrnes plan for the future?  “To continue following Bobbo from one disaster to another!  No!  Our tours are not disasters!  We’re going to write the third installment of our “Leaves On The Wind Music Project”, release a new Riddle & The Stars CD in the spring and tour the United States in the spring before heading to Europe in the fall.”

To find out more about this amazing artist, click on the links above, visit their website, follow her (and her projects) on Twitter, and subscribe to their various YouTube channels.

Women in entertainment: Janelle Barreto, rocking the indie world

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and had the chance to spend time with family and friends.  Indie Voice Blog is so thankful to be able to continue its series on Women in Entertainment, and shine a spotlight on one of LA’s hardest rocking indie voices, Janelle Barreto, current lead singer of the indie-pop-punk-rock band ROCKET.

Barreto grew up in Southern California where she first began performing on stage in musicals, winning local talent competitions and landing a Press Telegram Award in Performing Arts.  Immediately after high school, she was discovered by and signed to her first development/production deal with Howling Dog Productions.  Shortly thereafter she recorded several 12” singles and began showcasing at local dance clubs and venues, which led to her being signed to Solar/Sony Records as part of an all female pop group.

Barreto soon realized that pop music was not her calling, either musically or lyrically, and began to write her own original alternative rock material.   This led to her co-founding the alternative indie rock band Exploiting Eve, which built a huge local following in Los Angeles and performed at some of best and largest of the local venues, including House of Blues (both Sunset Strip and Downtown Disney), BB King Blues Club, The El Rey Theater, Huntington Beach Pier, Santa Monica Pier, Gay Pride Fest, Key Club, Viper Room, Roxy Theater, and countless others.

We first met Barreto back around 2001.  The band was starting to take off, having just released their second CD, Getting Thru, and was getting airplay from LA legendary rock station, KLOS.  DK Films created a live music video for the band from a show held at the world famous Whisky-a-go-go in 2002.

After winning numerous awards, she decided to continue her music education by returning to school and graduating in Music Theory and Guitar from the Los Angeles Music Academy in Pasadena.

Barreto left the band around 2007 to pursue solo musical aspirations.  She spent several years performing as a singer-songwriter and as a studio vocalist, all the while perfecting her songwriting chops.  When The Pills, an LA indie rock band, lost their lead singer, Barreto answered the call, and Rocket was born.

Based out of Los Angeles with music in the vein of Paramore, Foo Fighters, Joan Jett and Stone Temple Pilots, Rocket recently released an amazing music video for their single “HEY BABY” as a follow-up to their radio single and current EP “The Singles.”

Rocket is currently enjoying success at commercial Alternative Radio, receiving national airplay on such stations as KROQ 106.7 “Rodney on the Roq” (Los Angeles); Indie 103.1 “Go Deep” (Los Angeles); East Atlanta Village Radio – Regular Rotation (Atlanta, GA); FM 90 KACV Regular Rotation including Featured Artist interview “Under the Radar” & “The Indie Show” (Amarillo, TX), KRZQ 104.1 The Real Alternative “New Music Show” (Reno, NV); WRIF2 101.1 “Undercover Sound System” (Detroit, MI); WLKK 107.7 “Underground Collective” (Buffalo, NY).  At the same time, the band has provided tour support to some of rock’s biggest and most infamous bands, including Puddle of Mudd, Missing Persons, Bow Wow Wow and Gene Loves Jezebel.

Here’s what a couple of local LA music critics had to say about Barreto and Rocket:

“We think the band is ready for larger venues and would not be surprised if we hear their music placed in TV commercials and movies very soon. . . Front-woman Janelle Barreto, always impresses with her powerhouse vocals and stage presence.  She is literally unstoppable.”  (Renee Silverman, AXS.com).

“Barreto’s diva stage presence fits well with her voice, which seems to project and reverberate throughout a crowd with the depth and power of a great rock voice.”  (Mari Fong Burr, Campus Circle Magazine)

But what inspires Barreto?  “My greatest inspiration comes from a desire to fulfill my destiny of being a messenger.  The influence, energy and power that music and lyrics have to move, change and effect people is very special.  I feel honored and grateful to be blessed with this gift, so I look to care for it, and to maximize its use.  I create songs to have people be reflective, engaged, taken on an emotional journey, and be evolved by my music and words.  I’m also inspired by everyday things like beauty, kindness, love, loyalty, friendship, achievement, and coincidence.”

The band has also received critical support, including the 2015 Best Rock Band award from the LA Music Critic and Best Music Video for “Hey Baby” at the Other Venice Film Festival.  In addition, Rocket was selected by World Arts Music and I am Musicology to perform at their Touring Kick-Off event at the historic Ivar Theater.  They also participated in the Levitt Pavilion “Emerging Artist” Summer Concert Series.

What does the future hold for Barreto and Rocket?  “On a personal perspective, as long as I can breathe and I’m here in this existence (forever how long that is), I will sing and make music. You never know when the ride is going to end, so I might as well spend as many moments doing the thing that I love the most, and feel I was put here to do. So, I will continue to write songs and make records for as long as I can. On a business aspect and more in the near future, for my band Rocket, our focus is on collaborating with a good record label to get us to higher heights, help us complete a new album and get radio play. Ultimately we aim to tour, so more music lovers can be exposed to and influenced by our art.”

Keep up with Barreto and Rocket by checking out their website and Facebook pages, following them on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribing to their YouTube channel.

Women in entertainment: Danni Rosner, sweet country songstress

As we head into Thanksgiving, it is our privilege to present this week’s Women in Entertainment profile of Danni Rosner, former television host, singer-songwriter and founder of the future country wonders, Honey County, one of the brightest of country music’s newcomers.

Born and raised in Virginia, she relocated with her family to Tokyo, Japan as she was entering the fifth grade.  She remained abroad until high school, when her family returned to Virginia.  Rosner then attended Virginia Tech, where she graduated with degrees in English and Musical Analysis.

Her musical career truly began in 2009 when she won the legendary NYC Amateur Night at the Apollo with a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.”  Since then, she has been featured several times at the Sunset Sessions Radio Film & TV Showcase in Las Vegas and has performed live on a myriad of NBC, FOX & WUSA morning news and talk programs.  She was also the host for PBS’s music video program Strictly Global on the MHz Networks.  Her music has been placed in several television shows and indie films, including A&E’s TEACH:  Tony Danza, ABC’s General Hospital, and the indie film The Umbrealla Man.

In 2013, her solo single, “Didn’t Mean it That Way,” debuted at #6 on the iTunes POP ‘Hot Tracks’ and quickly followed with notable placements on iTunes New & Noteworthy Country and iTunes Rising Stars of Country.  Along the way, she also found time to tour as a solo artist in support of Grammy winners Leeann Rimes, Marc Cohn and current Top 40 artist Matt Nathanson.

In 2014, Danni founded the female pop-country trio Honey County.  The band has already had a song placed on the 2014 season finale of HBO’s True Blood, a pop-country trio.  In addition, the band was chosen as a semi-finalist on VH1’s Make a Band Famous.

After the band released their first self-titled EP earlier this year, their single, “99 Bottles” was selected to represent them in CMT’s contest to chose the opening band for country superstar Brett Eldredge.  Los Angeles-based country station Go Country 105 also sponsored the band in the 34th annual Country Showdown competition, where they finished second.  Go Country was so impressed with the band that they booked them for their Hot Country Nights cruise.  Rosner also found time this year to share her voice on Disney’s TV movie event Descendants.

What inspires Rosner?   “I’m constantly inspired by my younger sister, April.  With every day that she battles ulcerative colitis, she continues to remain upbeat and positive.  She is one of the most resilient and courageous people I know.”

Honey County has received airplay not only on popular Los Angeles radio station KCRW, but also on iheartradio station WPOC 93.1, and continues to perform throughout California, most recently at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood and Incahoots in Fullerton, as well as the legendary Troubadour on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

Where does Rosner see herself in the future?  “It’s hard to see 10 or 20 minutes down the road much less years, but I dream BIG!”

WPOC DJ St.Pierre said it best:  “I know it’s hard to compare anybody to this (speaking of Danni Rosner) superstar’s voice, but Danni has a ‘Carrie Underwood’ feel, and it’ really powerful.”
With an upcoming show at the newly relocated House of Blues on December 17, fans will have the chance to see why Honey County, featuring Danni Rosner is definitely on their way up the charts.
To find out more about Rosner and her band, check out their website and Facebook pages (solo and band), follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Women in entertainment: Manda Mosher, California country personified

It is quite an honor to present this week’s featured Women in Entertainment artist, Manda Mosher, accomplished solo artist and member of CALICO the band, new mother and the true personification of the California country sound.

A sixth generation Californian and Angeleno. Mosher’s family first came to the City of Angels in the late 1800’s before establishing a chicken farm in the Valley in 1911.  She grew up in a musical family that lived in the little town of La Crescenta, a sleepy and secluded community located at the foot of the mountains just north of Pasadena and east of Los Angeles.

She picked up her grandfather’s Gibson ukulele at the age of five.  With her father playing flamenco guitar and her mother singing, music was truly an integral part of her daily family life.  Mosher learned her father’s flamenco tunes from memory and quickly developed an ear for and interest in music.  She spent much of her youth studying her parent’s musical library, reading Neil Young liner notes, all the while keeping her ear to the stereo speakers, listening to the likes of Bob Dylan, The Doors, The Beatles and Leo Kottke.   As a result, writing and singing became a more natural form of communication than talking.  “I found I would leave encounters thinking ‘I wish I would have said…’ and this would give me the impetus to sit down and compile my thoughts along with images and poetry and set it to song. This was and still is my most powerful form of communication,” Manda explains.

After high school, Mosher decided she needed a more serious place to study music, so she relocated to the east coast to attend the renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston.  While there she honed her talents of playing guitar and piano, learned music theory as well as reading and writing music.   She returned to Los Angeles after graduation, but learned that touring could also provide a good escape from Los Angeles when she needed it.  ‘The best part of touring is getting out to realize how big the world is while making new connections with people you may never have met otherwise.  Being on the road naturally puts miles between you and everything at home, bringing with it a new freedom that allows you to break your everyday routine and just live in the moment.”

Mosher signed with Red Parlor Records in 2008, after winning the Los Angeles Music Award for best Female Singer/Songwriter of the Year in 2005.  Her first album, Everything you Need was produced by the great Guy Erez (Gipsy Kings, Ziggy Marley, Alan Parsons), and allowed Mosher to perform on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, as well as opening for, and singing with, Jackson Browne.  “These were childhood dreams come true for me.”   She followed these feats with a critically-acclaimed EP City of Clowns in 2010, leading to another Los Angeles Music Award for National Touring Act.

The title track was written about Mosher’s relationship with Los Angeles, which she describes as a love/hate sort of affair, as depicted in the song.  Mosher admits she has often thought of leaving Los Angeles, but it is her family that has kept her here.  “I’ve always felt sadness for this town.  I’ve watched all these people come and go, taking what they can, getting famous, getting rich, with little regard for the community and the people that call it home.  On the other hand the opportunities are endless here.”

In 2013, Mosher combined her talents with Kirsten Proffit and Jaime Wyatt to form CALICO the band.  Right off the bat, the group started touring and performed more than 200 shows, leading to their selection as the Los Angeles Music Awards’ National Touring Artist of the Year.  Wyatt left the band to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Aubrey Richmond, a world-class fiddler and the perfect complement to the band.   Their first album, Rancho California was released in September 2014 on their own California Country label, and won Americana Album of the year for the Los Angeles Music Awards, as well as winning LA Music Critic’s award for Best Country Album.  They have continued their hectic touring schedule, which included a stop at the 2014 Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California, where they were joined onstage by special Foo Fighter guests, Chris Shiflett & Rami Jaffee, as well as the 2015 Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We’re very connected to a community of artists and venues that are flying the Americana flag,” said Mosher, “deeply influenced by the old scenes from the Palomino days, the Bakersfield Country sound from Buck Owens carried on by Dwight Yoakam, the sound of Gram Parsons’ music, Joshua Tree and more.”  “We’re here to tell people that Americana music is very much alive,” said Proffit, “and California is a viable source for this style.  We’re passionate about carrying on the tradition by incorporating these influences, but through a new lens, and always with respect.”

But what inspires Mosher?  “Inspiration is an elusive thing to control . . . I often think thoughts that are the strongest push themselves to the forefront drowning out other thoughts forcing themselves to be expressed and written about in song. When an inspired song is coming it’s important to stop what you’re doing and allow it to arrive . . . the timelessness of a song trumps most any other activity that may happen in a day. Anything from spending time with a favorite guitar to a quiet setting can allow the space for inspiration to peak through.”  

Mosher’s music has been featured on the Emmy Award-winning Venice The Series, while the music of CALICO the band can be heard on  ABC’s hit series Nashville and NBC’s The Night Shift.

What are Mosher’s future plans?  “What keeps me going is the need to always create something new that is evolved beyond what I’ve been involved with in the past, be it striving to reach new levels of quality in recording or performing in venues that bring a new challenge.  We’re working on our second CALICO the band album which we hope to have completed by the end of the year and we plan to continue on with our touring adventures.”
You can learn more about this amazing artist and her band by checking out their websites and Facebook (solo and Calico) pages, following them on Twitter (solo and Calico) and subscribing to their YouTube (solo and Calico) channels.