Front and Center: Guitarist and Vocalist, Jackie Venson

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Guitarist and Vocalist, Jackie Venson

By Lina Bhambhani

Soul/pop guitarist and vocalist Jackie Venson hails from Austin, TX. As the daughter of musician Andrew Venson, she was born into a musical family that motivated her to study at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. It was at Berklee where Venson picked up the guitar for the first time.

In April of 2014, she was chosen from over 2,000 entries by retail chain Belk for their Fashion Lounge concert series. Throughout the series’ five amphitheater performances, she supported well-known artists like Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw and James Taylor. Venson released her debut The Light in Me in 2015, and Jackie Venson Live in 2016.

To find out more, visit jackievenson.com.

The WiMN: How has your father, Andrew Venson, influenced you as an artist?
 
JV: I definitely have a lot of his influence and my taste in music does resemble his. However it wasn’t just the music, he also was the leader of his band and he just gave me really great advice on how to keep a band going and how to hustle and stay alive in this crazy industry.
 
The WiMN: What attracted you to guitar over other instruments?
 
JV: Guitar players always look like they’re having so much fun! I wanted to be able to tilt my head back, stick my tongue out, and play some rockin’ lead.
 
The WiMN: Your music is described as soul/pop. Can you tell us about any artists that have helped shape your sound or style?
 
JV: Stevie Wonder is my biggest influence when it comes to songwriting and arranging. He really is just incredible and I feel so blessed to be sharing the earth with him right now.
 
 
The WiMN: How was your experience performing on the Belk Fashion Lounge Concert Series?
 
JV: it was really incredible especially considering that it was my first real tour. I learned so much and had somewhat of a safety net to catch me. Since then I’ve done tours and have definitely run the gamut of experiences. However, those first dates were extremely eye-opening.
 
The WiMN: Have you experienced any struggles or hurdles as a woman in this industry? If so, how have you overcome them?
 
JV: People like to make a lot of assumptions about who I am, who I am not, and what I sound like. It can be a struggle to constantly be judged or labeled something. However, I just use it to inspire me to work hard, and to always be in a position to bring my all and do my best.
 
The WiMN: Can you tell us about any projects you’re working on currently?
 
JV: I just finished a new EP called Transcends. The EP explores genres from funk, to rock, to soul, and pop
 
The WiMN: What’s next for you?
 
JV: I’m starting a new project in September and I’m excited for that. Other than that, I am excited for more dates coming up with Gary Clark Jr, as well as the release of the EP. More music, more tours and more fun!

 

Front and Center: Vice President of EarthQuaker Devices, Julie Robbins

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Vice President of EarthQuaker Devices, Julie Robbins

By Lina Bhambhani

One of the most respected manufacturers in the guitar effect pedal community, EarthQuaker Devices started in a basement in Akron, Ohio and is now an international phenomenon employing 50+ proud guitar nerds.

EarthQuaker has received numerous awards, including NAMM “Best in Show,” Guitar World Gold Award, and Premier Guitar Editor’s Pick, with the goal to bring their unique effects to tone-hungry and experimentally-inclined guitarists worldwide.

The company could not have reached this level of success without Vice President Julie Robbins. As the wife of company founder Jamie Stillman, Robbins has assisted her husband since the beginning in making EarthQuaker the premier pedal builder it is today.

Find out Robbins’ story below, and for more on EarthQuaker Devices, visit earthquakerdevices.com.

The WiMN: Tell us about the path that led to the creation of EarthQuaker Devices. What kind of work did you do prior to starting the company?

JR: It was a pretty long one! My husband Jamie Stillman and I have been involved in the music industry for a long time, but on the other side of it. I think EarthQuaker was a natural extension of our skills and interests. We were both always entrepreneurial and started our first business together in our teens.

When I met Jamie in the late ’90s he was running a record label called Donut Friends out of Kent, OH and touring in bands. I was going to college at Baldwin Wallace University via their SPROUT (Single Parents Reaching Out for Unassisted Tomorrows) Program. At some point, I met up with his band for a tour of the West Coast he had booked himself and thought I could do better! I started a booking agency called Musical Adventures and at one point was booking around forty bands.

After college, we did all kinds of stuff to make ends meet. I have done everything from gift wrapping wine bottles to selling silverware on eBay. Jamie did freelance graphic design and tour managing.

After a serious health scare (a DVT!), I felt that I needed stability and benefits, so I got a job at a local bank as a banker. I eventually worked up to a position as a financial planner, getting my Series 7, 66 and life and health insurance licenses, and was halfway through certification as a CFP. I worked with a lot of small business owners and really absorbed as much as could – about what to do and what not to do. I always respected the business owners who were hard working and generous, and that is how I try to be.

It was when we had our daughter Sylvia in 2005 that Jamie was home with her and while she slept he started tinkering with pedals. For a few years, he was completely obsessed with understanding circuitry and experimenting with designs. Actually, not that much has changed!

In 2009 we hired our first employee, Jeff France, who is still with us today as Production Manager. We gradually started hiring more people who were working out of our basement. I was always afraid to leave the bank because it was our source of health insurance.

In 2011, I had one of those midlife wake up calls – the suicide of my son’s father. I decided life was too short and I wanted to have more control of my life and decided to go all in on EarthQuaker. It was the best decision I ever made in my life.

The WiMN: What were the early days of the company like? What was it like to be such a small operation?

JR: It was a very small operation! Jamie would tinker and build all day. I remember him spray painting enclosures in the garage and staying up all night soldering. I would come home after work to help with the books and assembling/boxing. Then when we hired Jeff things really started moving. They were super dedicated and worked like crazy. I remember those two were cranking out 100 pedals a week!

After that, we hired an employee or two just about every six months. At one point there were seven or eight people working in the basement. They all still work for us today! We didn’t listen to the advice you always hear and hired a lot of our friends. The important thing is to hire your friends who are super smart, responsible, hardworking sweethearts who will give you 100%. All of our employees feel invested in our company and it shows.

Things actually aren’t too different from the early days. We still do things in a very similar way, just on a larger scale. We never really took ourselves too seriously and like to keep things fun. I think it might be a Midwestern thing. You don’t really worry about being cool or what anybody thinks of you, you just work super hard and let everyone else decide what they think about it! Life is rough so try to get in some good laughs.

The WiMN: Give us an idea of what kind of company EarthQuaker has grown into — what is a typical work day like for you now?

JR: In 2015, EQD moved in to a 15,000 square-foot building in downtown Akron. We were bursting at the seams crammed into our old shop and had no room to hire any extra office help. Even after the move we had to do serious work to get our infrastructure set up to support a company of our size. Once we had the infrastructure ready we brought in more administrative roles.

I like promoting from within, and my senior management started as builders and showed enthusiasm for the positions we were creating. They understood the products, processes and culture. Coming from a punk rock background, we don’t care about stuff that isn’t important. We direct all of our energy to what is critical for us.

My work day involves a lot of meetings! I have meetings with my production, management, marketing, international sales and party planning teams on a weekly basis. I also have one-on-one meetings with key managers weekly or bi-weekly. So I live by my calendar!

I spend the rest of my time paying bills and solving problems of varying degrees of complexity. I try to fit in Pilates twice a week. I get soup delivered once a week by Splendid Spoon, which has been a game changer for me! I don’t need to think about lunch and can eat healthy. Because I work with my husband, we are never really not working. Mornings and evenings are great times for us to talk things through and brainstorm.

The WiMN: Do you play guitar or another instrument(s)? What is your favorite pedal made by EarthQuaker?

JR: No, I don’t play any instruments. Unless a spreadsheet is an instrument and then I am a virtuoso!

My favorite pedal is the Avalanche Run. It was an idea for so long, and it came to fruition exactly as awesome as we wanted it to be. I am super proud of that one!

The WiMN: Outside of EarthQuaker, what do you like to do in your free time?

JR: In my free time I like driving my kids around, cooking dinner, and doing Pilates. I also love traveling, and we are very fortunate that we have a lot of opportunities to do that.

Lately I have gotten into a lot of great podcasts. I never have time to read books anymore and podcasts have begun to replace them, for me, in terms of that kind of distraction or information. If I am pondering a question or problem, I like finding some relevant podcasts to give me perspective. I am a total news hound and love the coverage of podcasts like Democracy Now.

So, yeah, I’m pretty exciting! Woooo!

The WiMN: Tell us about your experience as women working in this industry. Have there been any challenges you’ve had to overcome?

JR: Having a child so young was very difficult. I was 18 and had my son a month before high school graduation. I didn’t have the support of my family so I had to do it on my own. I was really lucky to go to Baldwin Wallace. The SPROUT program allowed me to live on campus year-round for the price of room and board. There was a great daycare on campus. I lived with other women in the same situation and we supported one another. That experience also really set my mindset. I think I felt like I was ultimately responsible for myself and my child, and I hold myself to high standards. But I can’t worry about what anyone else really thinks about what I’m doing. I have to do what is best for us and it’s not my problem if you don’t like it!

There were definitely challenges as a woman in the banking industry. The glass ceiling is real. The whole system really did not accommodate being a mom. I was completely underpaid for the work I was doing. There was no flexibility.

The music industry in general is very male-dominated on every side. I think about it a lot – why it is like that and how it can change? But I am pretty insulated here in Akron. I’m the boss so nobody is going to discriminate against me. My employees are super respectful and total sweethearts. When we were small, I used to be the only woman. When we started growing I was able to hire more women, and I think that is really important. We are not as balanced as I would like but its closer than it has ever been.

When we are doing our marketing, I am always pushing my team to present the world we want to live in. So it isn’t all white guys with beards. I am really proud of our most recent product launch for the Erupter. We did some teaser videos leading up to the announcement featuring some of our employees as bad-ass Viking women sacking our factory to build the perfect fuzz. I want to do away with the labels “female musician” and bikini models. I want a culture that is inclusive of all kinds of people, so that is what I try to create internally and project externally.

The biggest challenge I have right now as a woman is running a household and business with your spouse and maintaining your sanity and sense of humor. I now have the flexibility to do stuff like take my kids to the dentist or whatever. That is something I pass along to my employees. We offer very flexible shift scheduling so people can juggle things around the way that works best for them. If you have the right people, this works really well.

The WiMN: Can you share some advice for young women looking to enter this industry?

JR: YES! Young women, please join the music industry. We need you. Don’t let anybody fuck with your confidence! You got this.

The WiMN: What’s next for you and EarthQuaker Devices?

JR: I am really focusing on our infrastructure and growing our international markets. EarthQuaker Devices just launched our latest pedal, the Erupter Fuzz on May 10.

There are a lot of videos we are working that I am really excited about. As far as new products, we have tons of cool stuff in the works, but it’s all still a secret!

 

Front and Center: Singer and Songwriter, BeLL

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Singer and Songwriter, BeLL

By Lina Bhambhani

Singer and songwriter BeLL started her career by writing for other artists, including Natalie Imbruglia and The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue. She has collaborated with renowned producers/songwriters Giorgio Moroder and David Hodges (Kelly Clarkson, 5 Seconds of Summer), and has had songs placed in a Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial as well as popular TV shows The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars.

BeLL recently debuted a haunting cover of REM’s “Losing My Religion” that reached #1 on Hype Machine and has earned her plenty of industry and blog buzz. Since then she has taken another massive step forward with the sizzling original “Bang Bang (Remember My Name).” The powerful song has already made its way into the new trailer for ABC Family’s Famous In Love and is destined to build BeLL’s rapidly growing fan base.

BeLL spends her spare time volunteering as a keys instructor in the Los Angeles Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls and Awaken Arts, teaching songwriting to at-risk youth girls. She is currently donating proceeds from “Losing My Religion” to the National Center of Victims of Crime.

Get to know more about BeLL at iambellofficial.com.

The WiMN: What inspired you to choose a path in music?

BeLL: I grew up listening to Paul Simon and was inspired by artists like Michael Jackson, Queen, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Stevie Nicks. I started writing songs on piano at age seven, and it was a passion I just never outgrew. When I realized there was absolutely nothing else I’d rather be doing, I moved to Los Angeles and hit the ground running.

The WiMN: Tell us about your cover of REM’s “Losing My Religion.” Why did you choose the song?

BeLL: I collaborated on that one with talented female producer/songwriter Adrianne Gonzalez; we’re both REM fans and thought the song and it’s message was haunting and powerful. The song always struck a chord in me. I interpreted it as a portrayal of the heartbreaking effects of religion being used to justify violence and ignorant hatred. It was an honor working with female director/photographer Jen Rosenstein on the music video for it as well.

The WiMN: Any other musical projects you can tell us about?

BeLL: I’m honored to be collaborating with some top-notch producers and songwriters, including the amazing Paul Williams. I’ve been a big fan of Paul’s work for a long time and it’s been a dream come true cowriting with him for my new releases.

The WiMN: Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? How did you overcome them?

BeLL: First of all, I’m grateful to have the privilege of working with great men in the music industry who respect women and aren’t threatened by strong females who know what they want. I also have the honor of working with talented women who are supportive and see me as a teammate rather than competition. That being said, I have had my fair share of challenges.

I’ve had writing sessions that were uphill battles, especially at the beginning of my songwriting career. It felt like I needed to jump through hoops to be heard and seen as a peer. Often my ideas were more questioned and second-guessed than my male cowriters.

When approached by producers or managers interested in working with me, it was discouraging whenever I found out too late that their motives were not business-related.

Specifically, I was once told that my choice in drum sounds were too “masculine” and that my voice would be more attractive if it wasn’t so “bass-y.” I’ve been in sessions where if the song didn’t literally turn them on, they said it was a waste of time.

In a male-dominated industry, we can either choose to let hardships make us bitter or wiser; either one is a choice. I would not have survived this long in this industry if it weren’t for my healthy, supportive relationships. I just kept putting myself out there and learned from mistakes as I went. Setting healthy boundaries helped. As I worked with more people, I started seeing red flags right away and started developing relationships with talented, trustworthy people. I try not to let bad experiences taint the good ones. It’s a weeding-out process finding relationships with mutual respect. Just keep in mind that you’re not alone and don’t give up!

The WiMN: Who are some of your musical heroes?

BeLL: Sia, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton and Nancy Sinatra.

The WiMN: Tell us about your experience volunteering with L.A. Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls.

BeLL: I’m so grateful to be a part of it. I volunteer as a piano instructor. It’s so important for young girls to see women in the music industry working together and supporting each other. The media cultivates and encourages women to be in competition with each other. It’s organizations like this Rock Camp for Girls that allow young girls to be inspired and see teamwork among women played out. Also, they are encouraged to be themselves; It’s pretty cool seeing shy girls come out of their shells when they have a safe space to improve at something they love doing.

The WiMN: Any words of advice for young women looking to pursue a career in music?

BeLL: Be willing to learn and grow in your craft, but listen to your gut. Regardless of where you are in your career, be humble. It will take you farther than you think.

The WiMN: What’s next for you?

BeLL: I’m getting ready to debut a song that is airing on an episode of Freeform’s new TV series Famous in Love on May 16 and will be booking some shows along the West Coast in the meantime. Very excited to release the new material I’ve been cowriting with Paul Williams as well!

Front and Center: Singer and Songwriter, Kate Mills

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Singer and Songwriter, Kate Mills

By Lina Bhambhani

No stranger to the stage, singer-songwriter Kate Mills has been performing in front of audiences since she was nine. As a pre-teen, her voice carried her to multiple musical theatre opportunities, including performances with Debbie Gibson at the Merriam Theatre in Philadelphia, leading up to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade. Throughout her adolescence, Kate developed her piano and vocal skills while writing original music and performing in local showcases.

In college, Mills was a founding member of the band Drive Thru Parking, where she fell in love with the recording process. The group toured the Northeast U.S. for several years, including a performance at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. After five years with the band, Mills felt it was time to pursue her solo career in New York City, and the group parted ways.

While Mills was transporting her large keyboard to and from rehearsals and performances, she was also juggling a rigorous course load at the University of Pennsylvania to earn a Master’s in Social Work, working towards the goal of raising awareness for emotional and mental health issues. .

Kate has made her presence known in the NYC music scene with the release of her debut EP, Little Bird. The record showcases the versatility of her smooth, buttery vocals and well-crafted songs ranging from the soulful and sultry “Little Bird,” to the fun, romantic single, “Cherry Tree.”

Kate Mills will share her talent at the upcoming ASCAP Expo She Rocks Showcase in Hollywood, CA on April 14, 2017. Find out more about the showcase at thewimn.com/ascapshowcase, and visit Kate Mills online at katemillsmusic.com.

The WiMN: What inspired you to choose a path in music?

KM: The more I do music, the less if feels like a path that I “chose.” It’s more like a mosaic of lots of little decisions coming together to form a bigger picture of my career. As I look back, I can see that I was continuously drawn to singing, performing and writing. And I can see the moments where I chose to be in a band in college, or chose to go play a festival instead of taking a trip with my friends, or chose to spend my money on recording instead of buying a car or house.

There have definitely been some decisions that were bigger than others (like leaving my social work job in favor of waitressing because it offered more flexibility for touring). But there was never one big lightning bolt moment of inspiration that happened. My relationship with music continues to grow with each small investment I make, each intentional step in the direction I want to go.

The WiMN: Tell us about the writing and recording process of your debut EP, Little Bird.

KM: The songs on the EP were a small collection of tunes I had written while I was in a band, but they were never right for the type of music we played. I was happy for the chance to share them with my audience. Recording Little Bird was a very exciting and nerve-wracking process! I was doing social work in NYC at the time, so I wasn’t exactly rolling in disposable income. So each decision about how to spend money, as far as studios and things like that was stressful. I think, like most artists doing their first solo record, I also put a lot of pressure on the EP to be this big launching pad into the inner circles of the music industry. In reality, it was a large, personal, stepping stone.

I learned so much about the recording process and how I personally respond to being in the studio. I became a bit more acquainted with some of my personal demons, which was frustrating but good. I can be better prepared to manage them for this next record.

The WiMN: Tell us about your decision to pursue a Master’s in Social Work. How are you working to bridge your passions of music and emotional/mental health issues?

KM: Part of that decision was that I felt the need to get a “real” degree, so I figured I should choose something I felt was meaningful and that could enjoy doing. I had always been involved in mentorship programs (mostly through my church) and had really grown to love the process of walking with my students as they dealt with some of the shadows in their own life. I really loved the idea of being a counselor, and in some ways I still do. But, after doing the work for several years I began to feel a little burnt out.

The weight of the work we were doing was starting to affect me – it’s a lot of responsibility when you are helping a person manage their mental and emotional health! I needed some time away, which was the perfect open door for me to re-find my music and invest more deeply into that part of myself.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to merge music and social good. I’ve gotten to partner with the Happiness Project in DE for a few events that raise money and awareness for mental health issues, and those have been great experiences. I have a few other entrepreneurial ideas on how to merge these two worlds buzzing around in my brain, but I have to keep them on the back burner at the moment. Part of mental health is knowing my own limitations and respecting them!

The WiMN: Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? How did you overcome them?

KM: I have. Though I am EXTREMELY fortunate that my experiences have been subtle, thought strong – more like a cultural undercurrent that I need to manage. I have not really had to deal directly with the harassment or violence some of my peers have, and for that, I am very grateful. From a touring perspective, I know I have to be careful. I have to be that much more cautious when deciding where to stay on the road, when it seems ok to travel alone, things like that. From a business perspective, it’s disheartening to see so few women in executive positions. I definitely feel like an outsider sometimes when so many of the decision makers are men – It’s like I’m not a member of a certain club.

The WiMN: Who are some of your musical heroes?

KM: I feel like my list changes depending on what I’m listening to! But Sara Bareilles has remained at the top of my list for quite a few years now. Her voice and writing is a standard against which I try to hold my own performances and songs. I’ve recently fallen in love with the work of Dan Fogelberg. His writing and arrangements are nothing short of magical. He, as well as some of the classic artists of the ’70s like Fleetwood Mac, Carole King, and the Eagles are a huge influence on hits next record.

The WiMN: Any words of advice for young women looking to pursue a career in music?

KM: It’s super hard not to give vague, ambiguous, “don’t be afraid to be yourself” kind of advice. I think some important words of wisdom I could offer would be to always keep moving forward – even if there are periods of time where the movement is slow, or even when it feels like you may not be moving forward at all. Overnight success is never overnight. Success is a bit of a game of “last band standing.” Also, never stop growing and learning. Don’t become complacent with your art. Look for ways to improve and work towards being the best.

The WiMN: What are you looking forward to most at the upcoming She Rocks ASCAP Expo Showcase?

KM: I am really looking forward to seeing all the other artists and getting to meet them! It’s always super inspiring (though sometimes intimidating) to see other female artist really excelling at what they do. And hopefully some of their fans will like my music and vise verse and we can really help each other out on a career level.

The WiMN: What’s next for you?

KM: My record! We’ve got the first single in the mixing process. I’ll be releasing that exclusively to people on my mailing list as a free download first before I make it available on other platforms. People can join the mailing list at katemillsmusic.com.

While I’m in California for the She Rocks ASCAP Expo Showcase, I’ll be doing some recording with my friend Matt Appleton (saxophone player for Reel Big Fish). I’m really excited about the vision and direction of this record and I’m aiming to have it released by the end of 2017.  Me and a few other female artists (Kasey Williams and Carrie Welling) are planning a big West Coast Tour for August/September so I’m also really looking forward to getting back on the road and coming back to California to perform.

Front and Center: Executive Director of Bob Moog Foundation, Michelle Moog-Koussa

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Executive Director of Bob Moog Foundation, Michelle Moog-Koussa

By Lina Bhambhani

Michelle Moog-Koussa is the Executive Director of the Bob Moog Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the life and legacy of her father, Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog Synthesizer.

Born in 1968 and raised in New York, Moog-Koussa has always had an interest in her father’s work. She recently led a presentation at Winter NAMM titled “Insights Into An Innovator: Bob Moog,” based on materials recently uncovered in the Moog family’s archive of historical materials. The presentation showcased several photos and documents – many that had never been shared publicly.

“[It was] only fitting to reveal much of this material for the first time among the industry that played such an integral part in the Moog legacy,” she said.

The WiMN got a chance to connect with Moog-Koussa, and you can discover more about her and the Bob Moog Foundation in the interview below. For more information, visit moogfoundation.org.

WiMN: How did the Bob Moog Foundation come about, and what is the organization’s mission?

MM:  The genesis of the Bob Moog Foundation can be found in the extraordinary outpouring of support that the family received during my father’s illness and passing. Thousands of people from all over the world sent testimonials about how Bob Moog, the instruments he created, and the music that came from those instruments changed, and in some cases transformed, their lives. We knew at that point that this legacy of inspiration deserved to be carried forward to future generations.

Our mission is to ignite creativity at the intersection of science, music, and innovation by providing interactive educational experiences to children and adults. Through these experiences, we help foster a sense of discovery and creative thinking.

 WiMN: Tell us about the presentation you led at Winter NAMM that showcased many never-before-seen documents. How these materials were uncovered? What was that like for you?

MM: I was fortunate to give a TEC Talk presentation at Winter NAMM called “Insights Into An Innovator.” During the presentation, I shared 25 new letters, documents and photos from the Moog Family Archives, a collection of historical materials that was recently gifted to me by my mother, Shirleigh Moog. I focused on three relatives who were of particular influence in my father’s life, and on his early years, from birth to age 18. His intense interest in science, music, and electricity surfaced at a very young age and it’s fascinating to watch that develop in his own words through some of his earliest letters.

The presentation was standing room only, with a line at the door. It was wonderful to see people’s interest in understanding Bob Moog the person, and not just the icon. I was most touched by people’s reactions after the presentation as many told me that they felt they had a much better understanding of who Bob really was. That is deeply important to me, as he’s often portrayed in a very surface oriented way that does not lend a understanding to his true nature.

WiMN: Can you tell us about some of the initiatives spearheaded by the foundation?

MM:  The Bob Moog Foundation has two major projects that we’re focusing on right now. First is our hallmark educational project, Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, through which we teach children about the science of sound through music and technology. We’ve provided this innovative, experiential curriculum to over 7,000 children since it started five years ago. Our other project is the preservation of the Bob Moog Foundation Archives, a vast collection of documents, photos, schematics, notes and other memorabilia that trace Bob’s work, and the history of electronic music.

WiMN: Tell us about some of your favorite artists that have used Moog Synthesizers over the years.

MM: It’s very hard to identify favorites, but what appeals to me is creative and unusual applications of the synthesizer, whether it be with the technology itself, or how the instrument is used amongst other instruments.

WiMN: Can you share one little-known fact about your father that you wish more people knew?

MM:  My dad loved to garden. He found great solace in nature and found a particular joy in growing things from the earth. I’ve often thought that the unique organic quality of his instruments was essentially a sonic mirror of the natural world.

WiMN: Tell us about your experience as a woman in the music industry. Have there been any challenges? If so, how did you overcome them?

MM: While I am deeply fortunate to have a wealth of support from the music industry, it’s often been a challenge for me to be taken as seriously work my work demands. Somehow nice, compassionate woman in this industry immediately get labeled as “sweet,”  lacking in substance. I’ve definitely found that a hardened exterior has been a necessary part of doing business in this industry.

WiMN: Can you share some advice for women looking to start a career in M.I.?

MM: You have to be completely committed, passionate, and driven to even begin to succeed in this industry. Don’t give up, and use your network to the fullest extent possible.

WiMN: What’s next for you and the Bob Moog Foundation?

MM:  The Foundation is working to scale Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool so that we can inspire children nationwide through the wonders of science. We hope to collaborate with large school districts in the Los Angeles area in the next year or so. Our work with the Bob Moog Foundation Archives is ongoing. We continue to receive new items every year and our focus is to catalog our entire collection and share it with museums, research facilities, and the general public. History is a great source not only for knowledge, but for inspiration. We aim to inspire as many people as we can.

 

Lauren Alaina Releases New Album, The Road Less Traveled

By Lina Bhambhani

Starting her career in music at the age of 16, American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina, now 22, has evolved greatly over the last few years. Alaina released her first album, Wildflower, back in 2011 as a sophomore in college, and she recently released her second album, The Road Less Traveled, via Interscope/Mercury Nashville. The new 12-song collection expresses family issues, dependence, and much more.

Some of the topics on The Road Less Traveled center around Alaina’s family, as well as her own personal issues. In 2013, her parents got divorced, with her father landing in rehab. As a result of the family fallout, Alaina struggled with an eating disorder and problems with her vocal chords. Eventually she had surgery and was able to sing again, an ordeal that taught her to not take her voice for granted. This experience inspired Alaina to write the new album.

While Wildflower shares the story of Alaina’s growth as a teenager in the industry,  The Road Less Traveled represents the woman she is today.

Check out “Song Name,” a track from Lauren Alaina’s new album below.

To find out more visit www.laurenalainaofficial.com.

Front and Center: Pianist, Singer and Songwriter, Jacquelyn Schreiber

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Pianist, Singer and Songwriter, Jacquelyn Schreiber

By Lina Bhambhani

The She Rocks Awards would not have been a success this year if it weren’t for the tireless work of many people behind the scenes! This year’s team was assembled from an amazing group of individuals that included artists, musicians and women from a variety of music-related organizations. One such artist is Jacquelyn Schreiber, a student of Leanne Summers (LAWIM) and a friend of Esperanza Spalding, both of which were honored at the 2017 She Rocks Awards.

Schreiber has been performing since the young age of five. She was classically trained as a pianist and made her live radio debut at the age of 15, performing with the Tommy Morimoto Quintet on Denver-based Radio Station Jazz 89.3 KUVO. As a pianist, she has opened for artists such as The Yellowjackets and Stanley Turrentine, and performed with Jennifer Holliday as a part of the Vineyard Vibes Jazz Festival.

Schreiber is not only an amazing musician with a naturally-gifted talent but, also a social media advocate for sharebeautifullove.com, a website that was created to share the good deeds that many individuals have collected throughout each day.

Schreiber’s EP Beautiful Love was released January 26. You can watch the official video below.

Schreiber recently spoke with us about her start in music and her involvement with the She Rocks Awards and other organizations. Find out more at www.jstunes.com.

WiMN:  What sparked your interest in getting into the music industry?

JS: To be honest, I have always loved music and it has always been a part of my life. I have an early memory of going up to my mom’s old Kimball piano and picking out the melody for “Yankee Doodle” by ear. I couldn’t believe I could duplicate what I was hearing in my head out in the physical world with the use of an instrument. It was a glorious moment. I started playing the piano by ear at age four and I was hooked — I have never wanted to do anything else.

WiMN: Who were some influences to helped get where you are today?

JS: So many people! I have been influenced by people all around me — including my family, friends and peers. I have been inspired by other artists and successful individuals in every industry. I think in the music industry I have been most inspired by Tony Bennett and his pure passion that has translated into decades of creating and sharing beautiful music. He truly invites us all along for the ride, and I think that is such a precious gift to give the world as an artist and musician. I’m also inspired by Audrey Hepburn and her immense talent that was coupled with her amazing charitable contributions and humanitarian work. It shows that we can all bring beauty to the world – just by being who we are.

WiMN: What made you want to be a part of the She Rocks Awards? How did you like it?

JS: I got connected with the remarkable Leanne Summers for vocal coaching prior to recording my debut EP this past May and she suggested I become a member of LAWIM. Since then, I have made an effort to be a part of anything that I can in terms of the WiMN. She Rocks spoke to me as something truly special — a huge industry event that is a celebration of women in all aspects of the creation and production of music. I was especially delighted and thrilled to see Esperanza Spalding honored — one of my former classmates from Berklee College of Music.

WiMN: What are some projects you’ve been a part of, and who have you worked with?

JS: I have been a part of a variety of projects that span several genres, including jazz, gospel, pop and more. Most recently, I recorded my debut EP, Beautiful Love with Producer/Engineer Helik Hadar who won a GRAMMY for Best Album in 2008 for his work with Herbie Hancock in The Joni Letters and Best Jazz Album in 2012 for Herbie’s brilliant The Imagine Project. I was honored to be joined by some of the best musicians on the planet for the recording, including: Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, John Mayer, Sting) Mark Punch (Olivia Newton-John, CMAA 2011 Musician of the Year) David Piltch (Allen Toussaint, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt) and Brian Macleod (Sheryl Crow, Michael Jackson, Madonna.) We recorded at the iconic Sunset Sound in LA, just steps from the studio where Prince recorded Purple Rain. It was a very special and spiritual experience.

WiMN: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?

JS: Upcoming projects include spreading the word about my social media movement #ShareBeautifulLove — I am very excited to get people involved. #ShareBeautifulLove is a movement that encourages and promotes everyday people doing one beautiful thing and sharing it via their own pictures and videos – and then sharing those beautiful posts from people all around the world using #ShareBeautifulLove. You can see the different contributions to all the social media feeds at the website, www.sharebeautifullove.com and join our facebook page: facebook.com/sharebeautifullove. There is a list of ideas to help get people started in sharing love — simple things like asking the cashier at the store how THEIR day is going, or writing “Thank you ________” on the receipt at the restaurant. In addition to sharing love through the movement, I will also be coordinating the Beautiful Love EP tour and starting the process of recording my full-length album of original music. Updates are always at www.jstunes.com and on social media!

WiMN: Where can listeners find you?

JS: Listeners can find me on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and of course at www.jstunes.com! They can also watch my new “Beautiful Love” music video and subscribe to my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/jstunes. Social media fans can hop over to facebook.com/jacquelynschreiber,  instagram.com/officialjstunes  and twitter.com/officialjstunes.

 

Front and Center: Charyn Harris, Conductor of Music Programs for A Place Called Home

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Charyn Harris, Conductor of Music Programs for A Place Called Home

By Lina Bhambhani

Charyn Harris started her career touring as a keyboardist for R&B legend Barry White. She’s also performed with a variety of artist including Malcolm Jamal Warner, MC Hammer, The Cranberries, Jonathan Butler, Al B. Sure!, Doc Powell, Lord Nelson, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Luciano Pavarotti and more.

Harris is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and earned an MBA from The University of Phoenix. She also serves as a Conductor of Music Programs for A Place Called Home (APCH), a popular community youth center located in South Los Angeles.

 

In 2004, Charyn founded Project MuszEd, a nonprofit agency providing arts education, performance and programming. She facilitated and manages the thriving partnerships between APCH and Project MuszEd with Berklee College of Music’s Berklee City Music Network. Over thirty-five students under Harris’ tutelage have attended Berklee’s summer programs on scholarship, while over a dozen students have received full four-year scholarships to Berklee.

Harris is noted for training a roster of highly sought after young musicians. Some of them can be found onstage with artists like Smokey Robinson and Aloe Blacc. Her students have also opened for the Black Eyed Peas, Diana Ross, performed with The Isley Brothers, Macy Gray and more.

Harris has been recognized both locally and nationally for designing and directing vibrant arts programming and developing stellar resources to support youth through the arts. We are excited to honor her at the 2017 She Rocks Awards!

To find out more, visit www.apch.org.

The WiMN: What influenced you to pursue a career in the music industry?

CH: I loved listening to music as a child. I’d read every liner note and I knew the names of the songwriters, musicians and producers. I loved listening to arrangements and hearing complex musical textures. I played a bunch of instruments growing up out of fascination, but excelled in my piano lessons and decided to go to Berklee College of Music.

After graduating, I moved back to my hometown of Mt. Vernon, NY. I met fellow aspiring musicians and began attending music industry events in NY and LA. Eventually several kids from my hometown (Al B. Sure!, Heavy D & The Boyz) exploded onto the music scene and would ask me about music theory.

Al’s record was probably my first professional job. I also started writing dance music for a few independent labels and producers. I kind of didn’t know what I was doing in a sense, but I guess I was doing something instinctively correct. I wasn’t really sure where I would end up but decided to follow my passion. It was definitely the right choice.

The WiMN: Can you tell us about some of your biggest influences?

CH: I had so many because I was always around so much music and developed an appetite to explore. I grew up listening to my dad’s jazz records. I would check out my brother’s records which included rock, funk and fusion. I had my own collection of R&B and soul, and I grew up playing classical piano and singing in a gospel choir. My mom exposed me to musical theater. I would say my favorites were Chaka Khan and Herbie Hancock. I also used to listen to a lot of Barry White, so it was ironic when I was asked to tour with him. I felt I had come full circle.

The WiMN: How did you become part of APCH? What do you enjoy most about working the organization?

CH: I came to APCH as a part time choral instructor. I was still touring on and off at that time. I had also just launched Project MuszEd which I modeled as a nonprofit agency providing consultation in building music education programs. After about a year, I was asked to restructure the music department to include an increased focus on instrumental instruction. It was important to me to provide a unique experience for the youth that I worked with. I thought of what I didn’t have access to as a kid and sought to provide those resources. One of the most important aspects was providing professional-level training in musicianship and a pathway to higher learning. I had an opportunity to become a part of the Berklee City Music Network which is a national initiative through Berklee College of Music to support high school age aspiring musicians.

What I enjoy most about APCH is working with young musicians. I love teaching them about performing and musicianship and introducing them to my colleagues and associates in the music industry. I also love seeing youth that I have worked with grow into adulthood and come back to visit me. I have former students come back as musicians, attorneys, accountants, doctors, nonprofit professionals….I love seeing who they develop into.

The WiMN: What are some of the projects you have with coming up with APCH and Project MuszEd?

CH: My APCH students are constantly booked on performances. We will perform at the New Year’s Race in Grand Park (Downtown Los Angeles) on January 8th and have performance requests well into the spring. With Project MuszEd, we have ongoing low cost instruction for youth in South Los Angeles and an exciting new project that is launching in January called SoundWorks L.A. SoundWorks L.A. is a workforce development and social enterprise program for youth ages 18-24 providing training for positions in live and studio sound engineering, touring and lighting techs. I’m excited to have designed the framework for the SoundWorks and am looking forward to placing the students we train in the music industry.

The WiMN: Do you still perform?

CH: Right now I perform almost every month and public and private events with my students, which is a lot of fun because they are incredible musicians. I am considering playing in a small piano bar once my time opens up.

The WiMN: Can you share some advice for up and coming musicians?

CH: I often tell aspiring musicians to know who is who in their world and who came before them. Know who the decision makers are. Figure out your point of entry and develop your roadmap so you will know where you are going. Develop good habits and be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. I also think it’s important to scan the environment and stay on top of trends. Get out and meet people. Develop deep friendships. Never be afraid. Fear is one of the biggest factors that will halt success. Don’t be afraid to do the work and don’t procrastinate. Admit when you are not on point and do something about it.

Also, don’t think that you have to be a ‘starving’ artist.  Step outside your comfort zone and consider your survival first. When you are able to live a comfortable lifestyle, you have the luxury to make choices because you want to, not because you have to. Don’t get caught up in instant gratification. Always remember that there is no such thing as luck.  When preparedness meets opportunity, you have the winning combination of success.  Always be grateful and never burn bridges. Become a master of relationships and interpersonal skills. I would also suggest that one understand business in general. Be a self-starter, understand sustainability and know when you need to make adjustments in order to meet your goals.

Front and Center: Tracy E. Leenman, Owner of Musical Innovations

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Tracy E. Leenman, Owner of Musical Innovations

By Lina Bhambhani

Tracy Leenman is the owner of Musical Innovations in Greenville, 83cdae09623e428aad8f48fdef79eac1SC – NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer of the Year for 2015. She holds her B.M. in Music Education (magna cum laude) and her M.M. in Music Education from Syracuse University. Leenman has done additional coursework towards a Ph.D. at the Eastman School of Music. She taught for over 40 years from the elementary through college levels, including at Greenville County’s Fine Arts Center, Syracuse University, and at Newberry College, where she developed the school’s new Music Business department.

Leenman is also the editor of the Carolina Bandmaster. A respected clinician and author, she is a regular presenter at the NAMM Idea Center and has twice been a featured guest speaker at the Total Band Director Workshop in Wichita, KS. She has done presentations around the country, including at NASMD, RPMDA, and MENC National, State and Regional Conventions, and at music retail stores around the country. She has served on the SCMEA Executive Board, the NASMD Board of Directors, and currently serves on the South Carolina Small Business Development Corporation Advisory Board.

In 2015, Leenman was named winner of RPMDA’s Sandy Feldstein Service Award, and in 2016, she won the Duke Energy Service and Citizenship Award from the Mauldin Chamber of Commerce. In 2009, Leenman won the KEYS Program “Keeping the Beat” National Music Advocacy Award, as well as the Phi Beta Mu (Theta Chapter) Outstanding Contributor Award. She has also twice won the SCMEA Friend of Music Business Award. Leenman performs regularly with the Palmetto Concert Band, the Poinsett Wind Symphony, and the Foothills Philharmonic.

The WiMN is excited to name Tracy as one of the winners of the 2017 She Rocks Awards that will be presented in January.

To find out more information, visit musicalinnovations.biz.

WiMN: What made you want to work in the music business?

TL: I got into the business by default, so to speak. My father was a mechanical engineer by day, but also played clarinet and sax in a big band in New York City in the 1940’s. I grew up wanting to play sax like Dad. I began playing clarinet and piano in 1964, saxophone in 1966 and bassoon in 1970. By the time I was 12 I knew I wanted to be a band director. But I also always knew I’d be a full-time mother when we had young children. So, I stayed home for 14 years, directing our church choir and giving private lessons.

When the time came to go back to work full-time, I had a job teaching band as a sabbatical replacement. At the last minute, that teacher decided not to leave, so I was left without a job but with six children in private school. The store where I bought my music offered me a job teaching lessons there, so I took it, “just for one year.” One year quickly turned into 15 years, and as I got more and more involved in the business end of the company, I fell in love with the industry. By the time I left that company in 2007, I was the COO, heading up the Band & Orchestra Division; and knew that I would not go back to teaching but would make the Music Industry my career for life.

WiMN: Who influenced you to pursue a career in music?

TL:  When I first came into the industry, I was introduced to some of the industry greats who were very kind to act as mentors to me – Jimmy Saied, C.H. Duncan, Bill Zeswitz, Nick Peck, Jimmie Johnson and Bob Morrison. When I founded my own company in 2009, friends like Rosi Johnson and Lori Supinie were invaluable in giving me the information – and the courage – I needed to start Musical Innovations.

I had a grandson born the same day Joe Lamond became CEO of NAMM in 2007, and we’ve been friends for a long time, so NAMM has been an invaluable resource to me. Others who have been influential include Michael Schear of Amati’s Fine Instruments, without whom M.I. would not have been born; and our wonderful suppliers, who have stood by me all along – Buffet Crampon, Gemeinhardt, Conn-Selmer, American Way Marketing, Eastman Winds, Hal Leonard, Alfred, and many more. I cannot tell you how invaluable the relationships within our industry are to anyone in the music business.

 WiMN: How did Musical Innovations start?

TL: When I left my former company in December of 2007, I had every intention of being a full-time homemaker again. But the Lord had other ideas – my customers kept calling me and asking me to come back in to the industry. People like Michael Schear and Bruce Silva talked to me about a real need for a dealer for their products in SC. Then, doors opened and we found a storefront.

By July 2009 we opened in our present location – and while it was in the midst of the Great Recession, I knew without a doubt that because we were doing what we were being called to do, we were doing the right thing. We opened with 1,300 ft2  and rented just over 125 instruments that fall; now our store is 3,800 ft2, and this fall we rented over 1,400 instruments.

WiMN: What projects have you worked on within music business and what future projects do you have planned?

TL: I have been active in the Industry since 1993. During that time, I’ve been privileged to work on many projects with many amazing people. As the Chairman of the SC Coalition for Music Education (1997-2007), we did many advocacy projects including the 1996 SC premiere of the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus. I also worked with Bob Morrison and Shari Lewis on the steering committee for the Charlie Horse Music Pizza, one of NAMM’s Market Development projects. My job was to create the manual that taught retailers how to create an in-store Charlie Horse Music Pizza Experience – which ironically had to be created before we even produced the first Experience! I did, later on, host the pilot Experience in November 1997 at the store where I worked; and then I presented Experiences at several NAMM Summer and Winter Shows in what has now become the Idea Center.

That same year, the SC Coalition also won a $10,000 NAMM Grant for its campaign against the SC Department of Education’s proposed Regulation Rollbacks. Hundreds of letters were sent out to music educators, administrators and legislators all over the state encouraging the defeat of this proposal. While the SC Coalition was in hibernation from 2007 until this past year, it has been revitalized and we continue to plan activities to bring music education to the forefront in the Carolinas. I have attended the NAMM Fly-In to Washington, D.C. annually since 2014, and plan to continue to attend this event as we work to ensure implementation of the ESSA in the Carolinas.

In 2001, I served as the VH-1 Save the Music Foundation’s SC liaison and worked with Bob Morrison (who was then with VH1) to bring the Save the Music program to South Carolina’s schools. In March 2001, we hosted the South Carolina Vh-1 Save the Music kickoff on the steps of the state house, featuring Bob, Governor Jim Hodges, and South Carolina natives Hootie and the Blowfish. Incidentally, that was the day (March 27) that Joe Lamond was named CEO of NAMM . . . and the day my eldest grandson was born.

From 2013-2015 I served as Adjunct Instructor for Newberry (SC) College, working with college administrators to create a new music business/entrepreneurship department for that institution, and teaching classes in that program. I also worked with the University of South Carolina’s Music Entrepreneurship program, assisting with their Savvy Musician Seminar. As a frequent guest lecturer in music education classes, at MEA conferences and at CMENC meetings, I have worked with pre-service teachers to develop skills necessary for survival as a music educator.

Moving forward, I intend to continue to grow the SC Coalition for Music Education, and to work towards the implementation of the ESSA in South Carolina, including the recognition of music as a stand-alone subject essential to every child’s complete education. I also intend to continue working with pre-service teachers around the Carolinas, as the attrition rate among young music teachers nationwide is far too high – I feel primarily because they lack the extra-musical skills (such as understanding music products and manufacturing, and working with the Music Industry) necessary for success in the classroom.

WiMN: Any words of advice?

TL: First of all, pray. I pray a lot. I could not do even a small part of what I do on a daily basis without the Lord. Second, strive to excel in whatever you do. I don’t want to be seen as an outstanding woman business owner per se, but as an outstanding business owner, period – no “gender card” necessary. That being said, if I can inspire women to be bold and brave in pursuing their dreams, that’s a huge plus! I grew up in a family that recognized talent and ability totally apart from gender, and I’d like to encourage other women that they can and should succeed on their abilities and courage without being viewed as less capable because of their gender. Third – and I quote my good friend and mentor, Lori Supinie here – “Be yourself, but be it exquisitely.”

Front and Center: Drummer, Singer-Songwriter & Composer, Nicole Marcus

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Drummer, Singer-Songwriter & Composer, Nicole Marcus

By Lina Bhambhani

marcus_nicole_album1

Nicole Marcus is a Los Angeles-based drummer, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer. She holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors in studio music and jazz drum set performance from University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.

After completing college, Marcus moved to New York City and launched her career as drummer for the original off-Broadway production of Dear Edwina. In addition to playing drums for other artists, Nicole began performing her original music around the city, singing and playing guitar in various venues.

She later moved to Los Angeles where she played drums, guitar, keyboards and percussion on the first season of Glee, and moreThroughout 2013, Nicole travelled around the United States, Canada and Japan playing drums for the international tour of Hair.

Upon returning home from tour, Nicole started recording her self-titled EP, which was produced by Fernando Perdomo and mixed/mastered by Grammy-winner Zach Ziskin. Marcus played all the instruments and sang lead vocal on every track. She is currently performing around Los Angeles in support of the release, as well as drumming with many other artists.

In addition to her drumming and songwriting career, Marcus is a composer and producer, available to score projects for film, television, theatre, commercials and more. She delivers the product complete with lyrics, melody, arrangement and instrumentation. Her recent credits include scoring a scene in the web series Words With Girls and composing an original song for the Hollywood Fringe Festival play, The Load-In.

Check out Nicole Marcus’s interview below to find more, and visit her online at nicolemarcusmusic.com.

WiMN: Where is your hometown?

NM: I was born and raised in a little town called Tamarac, Florida.

WiMN: Can you tell us about your introduction to music?

NM: You know that line from the ABBA song, “she said I began to sing before I could talk?” That was me. My parents always had music playing in the house growing up. The Beatles, Beach Boys, Carly Simon, Judy Collins, CSNY, Bob and Ziggy Marley, Carole King, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen. Always something great coming through the speakers in the Marcus household.

WiMN: Who are some of your biggest influences?

NM: Joni Mitchell is at the top of my list. To me, she exemplifies what it is to be a musician and a writer. Her lyrics, melodies, harmonies, arrangements, performances on the records and on stage are all incredible. Everything I value most in a musician, she does at the highest, most sincere level.

WiMN: What was the first instrument you learned to play, and how did you fall into learning others?

NM: The first instrument I played was piano. In fifth grade, we were allowed to join the school band. Since there isn’t a piano in concert band, I decided to pick a new instrument. I chose drums and fell in love with them. I picked up the guitar in college when I started to get really into songwriting and playing my original music live. And all the other instruments spawn from the songwriter/producer side where I want to play whatever it is I’m hearing in my head. Also, I love the sound of a mandolin!

WiMN: How would you define your style?

NM: The album I have out now is in the alt-country/folk-pop genre.  Anyone who likes Sheryl Crow, Maren Morris, Cam, Michelle Branch would probably dig my music. I love every genre of music and am always writing in different genres and playing drums for others in different genres, so the audiences I’d like to attract are anyone and everyone who enjoys the music!

WiMN: Any last comments?

NM: Thank you so much for choosing me for this interview! You can find me on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music and at the following social links:

nicolemarcusmusic.com

facebook.com/nicolemarcusmusic

instagram.com/nicole_marcus

twitter.com/nmarcus

youtube.com/nicolemarcusmusic