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: She Rocks Summer NAMM Showcase and interview with Julia Jordan Kamanda

By Leslie Buttonow

On July 13, 2017, the She Rocks Summer NAMM Showcase took Nashville by storm!

Held at the Listening Room Café and hosted by The WiMN founder Laura B. Whitmore, guests were treated to an enjoyable evening of performances by talented musicians from all over North America, each offering their unique stories and messages.

The WiMN was also pleased to welcome some first-time She Rocks performers to the stage. Featured performers included:

First-time She Rocks performer Southern Sirens is a female duo that calls Louisville, KY home these days. Together, the pair puts an Americana twist on a wide variety of musical genres, performing both originals and covers.

Singer-songwriter Laura Clapp hails from New England, has a love for life, and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Her diverse career experiences include a stint as a backup singer for an 80s synth legend, to demonstrating music technology products, to performing her own original music and recording her upcoming fourth album.

Sisters Charlotte and Sarah perform as Command Sisters, a unique Canadian duo the delivers lush vocal harmonies and guitar stylings that make their live performances stand out. To date, their career has included a winning entry in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, a collaboration with a platinum producer, and a private performance for Prince William and Princess Katherine.

Laura B. Whitmore and songwriting partner Jenna Paone also joined in the on-stage festivities, showcasing new original songs such as “Pretty” from their upcoming Girl album, which is a project featuring empowerment songs for girls.

Another first-time She Rocks performer was singer-songwriter Julia Jordan Kamanda. Not only is she a dynamic musician and performer (having toured the world with her father, guitar virtuoso Stanley Jordan), but she is also a teaching artist and an author of children’s music books. We asked her to share a little about her musical background, current pursuits, and what music means to her.

The WiMN: How did you enjoy your experience performing at the She Rocks Showcase?

JJK: I really enjoyed playing at the SheRocks Showcase! It was my first time playing in Nashville, so it was a real treat to have it be in connection with such a great organization like WiMN. I met some amazing other female musicians and left with a sense of excitement for the future.

The WiMN: Tell us about some of your song selections for the evening and why you chose them.

JJK: The songs I selected were a combination of up-tempo, groovy songs and a few mellower ones that are introspective. Depending on where I play, it’s sometimes hard to play the quieter stuff because you’re not always in an environment where the audience is listening intently enough.

For a place like The Listening Room Café, I figured I could bring my voice and vibe down a bit and connect with people on a more emotional level. Of course, I always like to play the songs that are upbeat and filled with positivity. When people hear my music, I like for them to leave with a sense of optimism. There is a lot of sadness and uncertainty in some people’s lives, so I want them to experience my music as a breath of fresh air.

The WiMN: Our readers may not realize that you’re also very involved with children’s music education. Please share a little about that and how our readers can get involved in this great cause.

JJK: There is no way I would be where I am today without the encouragement of phenomenal music mentors and access to a safe creative space while I was growing up. Now that I get to make my own way through the music world, I try to create the same safe space for other young musicians. So, I founded J3 Music Studios (www.j3musicstudios.com), which offers a private lesson program for piano, guitar, voice, and songwriting.

I am also developing a series of children’s storybooks that introduce music concepts to young children. Each book introduces a different musical concept through original stories and globally-inspired music. There is a supplementary teaching guide available that can be used for classrooms, homes, and community programs. You can find out more about the series on my website, www.juliajk.com.

The WiMN: In addition to your music education advocacy and playing solo performances such as the She Rocks showcase, I see you also sit in on some dates with your father. It must be quite an experience playing your original music with him!

JJK: I do sometimes sit in with my dad! It feels very full-circle when we do shows together. You know, my parents never pushed me into music, they both just cultivated a creative environment where I could find my own voice. And as I grew, I found that voice through songwriting.

When I play with my dad, we do a combination of jazz standards (which we’ve been doing since I was a kid), classics like “City of New Orleans,” and some of my originals. The originals are always fun because we do them a little differently every time. And we are very in tune with each other on stage in ways that other duos sometimes aren’t, just because of our connection. It’s really fun for us!

 

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