Women Sing!

Issue No.  11    Winter 2002

Women Sing is an organization for women in music. It’s function is to form a community of women involved in music by giving support, education, promotion, and a network to be involved with and use.

Women have different obstacles in the music business than men do. So, this newsletter is intended to help women get over their obstacles and encourage them to stay with music. It’s meant to support what ever you think is comfortable for yourself, and better yet, to encourage you to think what is best for you. We are pro-woman, not anti-man; by hearing other women’s stories, and seeing good positive role models, it will give you the strength and encouragement that you need and that you wouldn’t get by yourself in the music field.

Note from the Editor:

Well, the economy is not doing so well, so I’m hoping that music will take more of a front seat for most people in the next few years. It seems that when people are struggling, we get better music. I’m looking into alternative ways of getting new music. I love the internet and satellite radio. MP3 and CD Baby are my personal favorites for hearing new music by independent people like yourselves, trying to get heard. Just put in what style of music you like, and you have many choices of artists you’ve never heard of, and it’s FREE (no commercials either). 

I’ve received many comments that people enjoy this newsletter and I’m happy to say that 1/2 of them are men.  I’ve also started a women in music program with the help of Gigi Byrd  at music tech, once a month. That, as well, is attended by men. We have guest speakers from the Twin City area come in and talk to students at the college. If you are interested in being a guest speaker and would like to tell your story or words of encouragement, please contact me by e-mail at rebekka@bitstream.net. Thanks for your support!

Episode 1  “Stories from one woman’s gig”

As I shove the stubborn sliding van door open, all hell breaks loose, I try to catch falling inventory of CD’s as they fall into a mud puddle formed by the snow melting. Not noticing that the mic stands have rolled over and fallen on my light gels piercing a hole through them. That’s ok, I thought, It will just be like a narrow spot light. Trying to attain composure while glancing over my shoulders to see if anyone has just witnessed this amateur in action or not. I’m safe. No one saw this ordeal (or heard it).  Only 50 minutes until show time, I work fast and purposeful to get only the needed items to start the show on time onto my 2 wheeler. I will worry about tearing muscles in my arm from the heavy speaker cabinets tomorrow. Ok, everything is going according to plan, I’ve got this down to a system. I’m locking the van and rolling up to the door. And just think , people pay good money for a work out like this. I heave another heavy door open to a  stale smoke odor and proceed with my job. All the sudden, everything grinds to a halt. the jerk of me stopping has knocked  things around and almost off the 2-wheeler. I look down and there is a small stair I have to go up  to get into the club. The last thing I want to do is open an opportunity for conversation because I need help from one of the slimy, half awake alien life forms circled around the bar. I reach down and pull upwards as hard as I can on my 200 pounds of 5 paychecks worth of stuff and proceed to move this thing along. I can’t afford to be running late. If I think really hard , I can do it. Sure enough, no problem , I have overcome my first obstacle and wheel this baby in. Setting up a PA can go fast if you concentrate. I’m in my own world: this plugs in here, this unfolds like this. Finally, I’m done. I wipe the sweat off, and look up and I have 15 minutes to spare. However, I notice that there are no band members yet. No reason to panic, I thought. I have been through worse. Like setting up in the wrong bar, and musicians that can’t play, or tune for that matter. I have learned to let go, they are jobbers, in their world they still have 10 more minutes. They roll in at 8:58, but I’ll be damned, they are ready to go at 9:01. I yell out “G shuffle! one-two-three-four!” and ... we’re off!.

After 45 minutes of songs we stop for a break. “Do you ever think about getting married?” the guitar player asks me. “sure”, I said. I’ve been with this guy for 8 years. I often wonder what if something happened to him? I probably would have no legal rights, or  be able to visit him in the hospital”. My mind is racing. All those thoughts about living for my career and putting a family on hold almost drown me, engulf me everyday of my life. I knew at an early age that if I chose to have children and a family, the societal pressure would be enormous, and I would have no support to go after a career, much less, music. After years of giving to a career, I felt bitter that the music biz had given nothing back to me. Somehow, I got some sense to at least put a relationship first, because I could get something back in return from that, but marriage? that was another story. The break music broke my trance of thinking, “you know, a long term relationship is an investment, and you have no legal rights to it.”  .  “I know, I know” I said, “We just haven’t agreed on it, yet”.   ....   stay tuned for more to the story in the next issue.

Her-Story

Composer: Dana Suesse

            

Dana Suesse was born in Kansas City, MO. Dana toured the small time circuit as a child in the Midwest and she would dance and play piano. The hi-light of her show is she would ask the audience for a theme, and she would take that theme and weave it into something of her own. In 1926 she and her family moved to NY and Dana was writing salon music and the publishers weren’t that keen on it. She then tried to apply the new “jazz” idiom to her writing. She wrote “Whistling in the dark”.  Dana said “I remember standing in line at the bank waiting to deposit a royalty check and a nice one too, 4 figures, and there was a little western union boy standing in line behind me, and he was whistling “whistling in the dark”. If you hear someone whistling your tune, then you know it’s a hit”.  She collaborated with Eddie Haymen and wrote some big hits, like “Ho-Hum”. Early on, she created larger scale pieces from which she would extrapolate and set that tune to words or collaborate with a lyricist. “My Silent Love” came from a larger piece called “Jazz Nocturne”. Unlike most of her contemporaries, Dana had the talent and inclination to write serious concert music. Whitemen commissioned her to write. She wrote “The Concerto in 3 Rhythms” at age 19. She did exactly what George Gershwin did. She wrote hip-hop tunes, but she also wrote in a classical venue. The distance between classical and pop back then was not so great as it is now. It was a different time back then. She was one of the most influential songwriters of the time.

Quote:

The Risk of Independence: “Not only does love for oneself provide the motive for such major changes {in life}; it also is the basis for the courage to risk them. The highest forms of love are inevitably totally free choices and not acts of conformity. You need some risks in your life. You need courage to take those risks and self love give you that courage” 

Resources

Women’s Press  651-646-3968 “The Minnesota Women’s Directory - a Business and Resource Guide”  $5   

WomenVenture2324 Univ. Ave , St Paul 651-646-3808 www.womenventure.com       Innovative business development seminars, consulting and loan funds for business start-up and expansion.

Monthly Chick Jam, 2nd Sunday of the month, 7-11pm at Amazing Grace Bakery in Duluth. All ages welcome. For more information call Kim at 218-729-5326

Write In! Send in your comments

Women Sing, PO Box 17238, St Paul, MN 55117

Editor and Writer: Rebekka Fisher

651-649-4686, www.rebekkafisher.com

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To order all 10 back issues please send $5 to Rebekka Fisher