Female Songwriter Circle Vol. 5 featuring Emily Ripley, Melody Stang, Sidney Weich, and Bella White

Story by Kendall Bistretzan

On Monday, June 4, Koi will be hosting their monthly Female Singer Songwriter Circle. The event will feature Emily Ripley, Melody Stang, Sidney Weich, and Bella White. Local Drop reporter Kendall Bistretzan caught up with them to discuss their style as musicians, experiences in the city and plans for the future. 

 

Emily Ripley

How would you describe your music style?

My music style is a mix of everything I love. I grew up with a lot of punk and indie influences, but started really enjoying trap and rap as I got older. I really enjoy making music that has a crazy attitude, interesting lyrics, and a fun melody. 

How do you find the Calgary music scene for up and coming musicians?

In all honesty, the Calgary music scene is one of the most loving places ever. I only came into the scene about a year ago, but I was welcomed with open arms. Everyone wants to help you, or be your friend, or both. It’s a really amazing community. 

What sort of adversity or challenges have you faced stemming from being a female in the industry? 

As a woman, I have faced many challenges in the industry. This year alone I have had multiple grown men try to undermine me. From the condescending way they tell me “how to improve myself” to physically scamming me for my money, ALMOST (keyword almost) preventing me from releasing my EP, it’s been hard. Unfortunately for them though, I am a powerhouse so they will continue to not affect my success. 

What’s next for you for the remainder of the year? 

Literally so much! I have a new single coming very soon! Music videos, live performances, and more crazy antics are all in the works as well! 

 

Melody Stang

How would you describe your music style?

I would say my musical style is singer/songwriter mixed with some contemporary folk. Musical idols and inspirations like Joni Mitchell and Serena Ryder are sprinkled into my songwriting with a mix of finger-style ballads and heavy-hitting strums to both pull at your heartstrings and stomp your feet. Lyrics crafted with honesty tell you stories as if you’re catching up with an old friend, while the melodies put the emphasis on songwriter.

How do you find the Calgary music scene for up and coming musicians?

I’m from Red Deer, but have found the Calgary scene to be fairly inclusive. I perform in Calgary often and venues like Koi, Mikey’s and the Ironwood are great for having events for up-and-coming muso’s. There is enough talent here for more establishments to be open to live music.

What sort of adversity or challenges have you faced stemming from being a female in the industry? 

There is a lot of adversity out there! The fact that we still have to design and market events that specifically feature “FEMALE” artists shows how far we have yet to go. Even this event isn’t just a ‘Songwriter Circle’. It seems less noticeable when there are 4 dude bands on a bill, but when it’s all women we are compelled to bring attention to it for some reason. That being said, I’m glad there are events like this, Femmewave and Skirts-A-Fire to help even things out a bit.

What’s next for you for the remainder of the year? 

Next stop: summer festivals (Lilac Fest, Astral Harvest, Ross Street Patio, Weayaya) to continue promoting my new digital EP “Wrong Side of the Moon”. It’s been getting airplay on radio (CKUA, CJSR, BIG105) and am hoping to keep the requests coming! It’s streaming on all digital platforms.

 

Sidney Weich

How would you describe your music style?

I have always been an acoustic singer/songwriter. I love the honesty and quirkiness of folk music, yet am drawn to the directness of a message pop music can have. I tend to write my songs with a folk/pop vibe and am hoping my EP release will really showcase that in a new way.

How do you find the Calgary music scene for up and coming musicians?

I have honestly been having the best time re-exploring the Calgary scene here! Moving back home from Vancouver unexpectedly has been such a gift- Years ago, I was turned off of the music scene here due to the dense country genre that I don’t really fit into. However, the amount of venues here that are so open to alternative artists has been so eye opening! I hate that I wrote it off – so many venues are so welcoming and open to hearing different artists and the amount of talent Calgary has to offer is incredible – definitely a city that will help you grow and network as a musician. I recommend starting with an open mic if you want to dip your feet in; it’s a great way to meet people and get comfortable performing.

What sort of adversity or challenges have you faced stemming from being a female in the industry? 

This is tough. It is not uncommon to feel uneasy at a venue or be walked over as if you don’t know anything. There have been times where my sets in bars have been interrupted with rude comments. But I think as long as you stand up for yourself, believe in your art and confide in venue owners/promoters, someone will always have your back. Look for those people, and never feel like your craft isn’t important because you’re a woman.

What’s next for you for the remainder of the year? 

I am really looking forward to really diving into my EP. Right now, I am confirming the songs I want on it and what I want it to sound like – it is hard narrowing down hundreds of songs to five! I’m also excited to play as much as possible. I have quite a few shows coming up this summer so I’m really looking forward to playing some new songs!  

 

Bella White

How would you describe your music style?

I like to think of my music as some sort of folk, old-time, vintage country, alternative hybrid. 

How do you find the Calgary music scene for up and coming musicians?

I think that with any music scene it’s challenging to find your bearings, but with that being said, there are so many fantastic artists in Calgary that are totally down to help new musicians find their place, and people. Oftentimes it is harder as a solo artist because at first you are going at it alone. I think the most important thing for any new musician to remember is that people want to help you! 

What sort of adversity or challenges have you faced stemming from being a female in the industry? 

Thus far in my journey, the biggest challenge I’ve dealt with is certain people treating you as if they are not your equal, or looking down on you. I also have noticed people don’t take women in the industry (especially young women) seriously which is SO frustrating. It gets old pretty quickly. But, there is an amazing community of supportive women in Calgary who are one hundred percent there for you when you need them. 

What’s next for you for the remainder of the year? 

This year is going to be full of music! I’m releasing an album in the next coming months, which I will hopefully have the chance to tour. I’m so stoked for the opportunities that music allows us, and am ready to grow myself as an artist!