LaParadiddle.com’s Women in Music Part 1

Here it is, folks! Back when I discussed the Elle Magazine 2012 Women in Music list, readers suggested I do my own Women in Music list, and I’ve heard a lot of names tossed around. Every woman who has been mentioned on this blog so far already has my tip of approval, and there are far too many individuals to list everyone-and I am sure Elle Magazine ran into this conundrum as well.

I decided to showcase artists who have made a big impact on me over the past year or so, or artists that seemed to have really hit home to those I’ve encountered in the music world.

Originally I thought interesting portraits of each musician would be great, but after a while I thought it would be most necessary to include a photo of each person as a performer instead of a model. Of course! This is about music, isn’t it?

Lastly, this is not meant to be a ‘flower power’ type thing to divide men and women as musicians. This used to bug me when I was in an all female rock band. We didn’t plan on being in a band with only X chromosomes, but it was somehow manipulated into the idea that we did it on purpose, and we were just like the Donnas, and we were chicks. Nothing against the Donnas, but I was in no way inspired by them personally. Also, one may not call me a chick. Unless I am actually dressed as a chicken.

This is only part one, but your feedback is greatly appreciated! Agree? Disagree? Let me know here or on Facebook.com\LaParadiddle. Who do you want to see in part two and three?

KIMBRA

Kimbra performing at Coachella 2012

I was first introduced to Kimbra’s music this past fall, but the New Zealand born singer/songwriter/musician has been active for quite some time. Her track, “Settle Down”, was released in 2010, but it seems that Americans are just getting their ears used to her sound in the past few months-thanks to her vocals in Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”.

Her rendition at SXSW this year is really something to watch.

But even the original music video is pretty kickin’. This remains as my favorite Kimbra track so far.

Kimbra has been singing since around the age of ten, and I hope we get to hear more from her in America. I love her style, the sass and personality that shines through in her videos and performances, and the way she utilizes vocal layering and loops. Many of her older videos showcase her guitar playing and a more acoustic sound.

I am really loving her album, Vows, and highly recommend it. It’s exciting to see more female musicians delving into pop/electric sounds without losing originality and definitive style. Her music videos (check out ‘Good Intent’) are really fun to watch, and while Kimbra utilizes some vocal manipulation, we can still hear…her voice.

Kimbra has won at least nine awards for her work, including the Rolling Stone 2012 One to Watch. I’m definitely watching, are you?

ISABELLA SUMMERS

Isabella Summers, Photo by Andrew Whitton

Is it just me, or do we not hear much about Isabella Summers, or the ‘machine’ part of Florence and the Machine?

I’ve heard-many times-that there are not enough women music producers. Even in sound and audio production courses, I remember a substitute professor once telling my class that she had never seen so many young women in a sound design course! There were two of us.

When Googling ‘women music producers’ Isabella ‘Machine’ Summers is one of the first to show up. She has it all going for her-musician, songwriter, record producer, Grammy nominee, DJ, remixing…can I be her when I grow up?

This is a great interview for more info!

MELODY GARDOT

Melody Gardot

Gardot’s newest album, The Absence, was recently released and I am really excited to hear new music from this artist.

If any readers don’t know, Gardot’s story is quite something. In 2003, Gardot was hit by a Jeep while on her bike in Philadelphia. The car had run a red light and left her with head and spinal injuries, a broken pelvis, and remained in a hospital bed for a year.  While having to relearn simple tasks, and fighting memory problems and sensitivity to light-hence her sunglasses-a physician recommended she use music to help her overcome her brain injury. She used to play piano and perform in bars, but could no longer physically sit at a piano. She began to learn to play the guitar, which helped her memory and speech.

It’s not hard to see why Gardot is an advocate for music therapy. In the music therapy class I was in at Berklee, I read or heard about similar stories, but Gardot’s is truly inspiring. I don’t feel I can even squeeze all the information about her as a person, as a profound example of the good music therapy can do, or as the amazing musician and vocalist she is. She delved into the genre she now performs in, most would say jazz or acoustic, due to her injuries. After her accident she could not tolerate sounds over a certain level.

I sincerely applaud Melody Gardot for overcoming these challenges and turning her therapy into something so beautiful. I hope more people can respect music therapy for this. However, essentially, I hope more people will be exposed to this wonderful musician!

TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON

Terri Lyne Carrington

Prodigy, jazz drummer, composer, record producer, teacher. Those are all words used to describe Terri Lyne Carrington, who is likely to be one of the best drummers of our time.

Having studied at Berklee College of Music, where she now teaches, she has performed with Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Dizzie Gillespie, Wayne Shorter…I mean, holy cow!

She started playing the drums when she was seven (her grandfather played with Fats Waller). Though part of me is jealous, most of me just admires the heck out of Carrington.

It is said that at eleven years old she was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music. In the 1980s, she was the house drummer for the Arsenio Hall show.

And since the 1980s she has done just about everything.

I was in one of Mike Mangini’s drum labs at Berklee. I knew that most of my peers were years and years ahead of me. I was lucky to have Mangini as my instructor, because he helped me learn by doing, because my sight reading skills were not the best. Mangini acknowledged the fact that most of the other drummers in the drum lab had started getting lessons when they were seven. I didn’t have professional lessons until taking classes at Berklee, and before that my friend taught me to play, but I had to wait until I was fifteen. Achieving an A in that class-for me-was a very different challenge.

I don’t remember how I ended up in this meeting, but I found myself sitting in one of the percussion rooms, at a drum set, with Carrington. I needed to knw what Drum Lab 2 would entail, as she would likely be my professor. Jazz drumming was my major road block. I didn’t end up going for Drum Lab 2 because of that, but that conversation with Carrington has stuck with me. We all learn and create music differently, and I do believe her advice was right on.

You can see more of her as a teacher here.

EMILY HAINES

Emily Haines, by Kyle Dean Reinford

Metric’s next album is due out soon and where would Metric be without singer-songwriter Emily Haines? Haines performs as lead singer, pianist, keyboardists, and guitarist.

She also performs solo as Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. Her tracks from the solo album The Knives Don’t Have Your Back are tracks she didn’t feel would be appropriate for Metric to perform, but the songs are beautifully composed and produced.

Haines grew up in a creative household-her father was a poet-and has been involved in many musical projects along the way (Broken Social Scene, anyone?), though most know her from Metric. The band name is said to have been thought of due to her and her fellow musicians’ musical precision.

Synthetica, the band’s next album is due for June 12. You can read more about Haines here.

Again, don’t forget to let me know what you think so far, as there will be more musicians added to this list!

Don’t agree with someone that’s on there? Know of a musician you’d like to see profiled? Leave a comment here or on Facebook.com\LaParadiddle.

I’m thinking of doing a poll at the very end, so your input is valued!

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