Female Songwriter Circle Vol. 6 featuring Kayla Williams, Jess Smith and Amelie Patterson

Interview by Kendall Bistretzan

On Monday, July 9, Koi will be hosting their sixth monthly Female Songwriter Circle featuring Kayla Williams, Jess Smith and Amelie Patterson. Local Drop reporter Kendall Bistretzan caught up with the artists to discuss their style as musicians, experiences in the city and plans for the future.

Kayla Williams

How would you describe your music style?

Pop! I write singer-songwriter style songs and make them into unapologetic ’80’s sounding synth pop.

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

I have found some amazing venues and people to work with, but it seems more and more venues are shutting down, which creates challenges for an up and coming artist. I do think there’s some incredibly talented musicians in Calgary and there are opportunities if you look for them! It’s awesome that places like Koi run a songwriter circle; I think these kind of intimate shows are some of my favorite, as an artist and audience member.

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

Being a female artist in the music industry, and a solo artist, you have to have a really strong backbone to believe in what you’re doing and not be knocked down by criticism. I think a great challenge is the superficial aspect of it all, in terms of looks and age. I think there is a pressure to look a certain way and that, as we age as a woman, this sometimes outweighs the actual important stuff – the music. At the end of the day it’s events like female songwriter circles that we need to celebrate! In playing together and bringing each other up, we acknowledge women of all kinds and can build an awesome community of artists who support each other.

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

I will be in the studio in July recording my second professional quality single that will hopefully be released mid-August. In between that, I am touring, playing some festivals over summer in various acts, and continuously writing. I also hope to continue applying for funding because I have some serious big time goals.

Jess Smith

How would you describe your music style?

The music I create is ethereal, powerful and groovy. I call my genre indie soul. My songs are melodic and lyrical because singing is the focus of my writing. I want people to feel authenticity in my voice. My songs are inspired from everyday living and that is how I hope they are enjoyed: driving home from work, spending time in nature, relaxing with friends. As an artist, I feel compelled to create beauty from the seemingly mundane moments because, in the end, simplicity is key. 
 

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

Calgary has #goodvibes down to an art. That’s what music is all about. Up and coming artists have a chance of success here because the community is supportive. Whether you want to hear hip hop or country music, on any given night of the week you can enjoy a live show here. I hope the musical worlds continue to merge and embrace one another. Connection is essential to creating vibrancy within a city. I believe we are consciously building a stronger connection every day in Calgary.

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

Being a female in the industry has taught me how to hold true to my artistic values. Sometimes there is an assumption that I am less musically intelligent because of my gender. I do not focus my energy on that. I believe in my vision and know what I am capable of and I leave it to my music to speak for me.

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

This summer I will be on tour for a month to promote Revealed, the album I wrote and recorded last year. My first show will be on Coca-Cola stage at Stampede on July 6 and then I will perform on VIA Rail across the country. After playing a few shows in Toronto, I will head to Montreal to perform there. Then it’ll be back to the west coast to play in Vancouver and on the island. I am looking forward to seeing my friends and family and making music with the people I meet. This tour has taken almost two years to create, so it feels amazing to be at this place!

 
Amelie Patterson

How would you describe your music style?

Alternative folk. I try to be a songwriter first rather than a genre first, and I really enjoy the process of taking a skeleton of a song and fleshing it out with my band! 

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

Really supportive and creative. I often think that Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg have the strongest music scenes in Canada. 

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

I have always been lucky, but also selective with the people I work with. I love to surround myself with creative and positive people. I’ve been the recipient of some bullshit comments at networking events, but those were never contacts I would follow up with in a million years. I think it’s important to advocate for yourself and I try to do so whenever I feel the need. 

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

I will be releasing my newest recording project called The Playlist. I’ll be releasing rolling singles to curate a groovy alternative folk playlist. I’m really looking forward to sharing new music!