Female Songwriters Circle Vol. 3 featuring Rachel Geek, Jess Werner, and Lisa Anderson

Story by Kendall Bistretzan

On Monday, April 2, Café Koi will be hosting their third monthly Female Singer Songwriters Circle. The event will feature Rachel Geek, Jess Werner, and Lisa Anderson. Local Drop reporter Kendall Bistretzan caught up with these ladies to talk about their style as musicians, experiences in Calgary, adversity in the industry, and plans for the future.

Rachel Geek  

How would you describe your music style?

I would describe my music as a fusion between hip-hop and pop music, sprinkled with some indie.

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

Calgary is very open, loving and supportive. I would not have found the confidence to be where I am without it. 

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

People don’t think I produce my own music. I’ve been talked down to . . . brushed off . However, I don’t believe this is a female-exclusive thing. It’s all about my own self-esteem and perception.  

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

Who knows? Hopefully a full album . It really depends on my mood swings and the flow of the universe. 

 

Jess Werner

How would you describe your music style?

I would describe my musical style as a crossover between acoustic folk-pop and blues. Above all though, I like to think of my music as being reflective of personal experiences and the experiences of others. My musical influences are artists that aren’t afraid to tell it like it is and I think that is the biggest element in my music. 

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

I think the YYC music scene is a hidden gem. At first it can be an adventure finding all the awesome musical hubs in the city, but once you find them they’re all supportive and caring! It’s awesome to live in a city where the music scene is a mosaic, where the different hubs all have their own unique flavor/ vibe, but come together to make up the entirety of Calgary’s music scene.  I think it really allows up-and-coming artists to collaborate and experiment with other artists to create some rad music.

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

Most of the challenges I face being a female in the industry come from working in my duo project Jess & Robb. Most of the time I act more as a lead vocalist than a guitarist; people assume I am less of a musician and songwriter because I don’t necessarily play my guitar the entire set. The most challenging aspect of this is when people make passive rude comments, and just work/talk around me as if I am not there. It’s the lack of recognition and appreciation for my contributions as a vocalist, instrumentalist, or songwriter that really gets me. However, I think the best way to combat the inequality in the music industry is to bring awareness to the issues and cultivate a community of equality for both genders through action and a positive mindset.

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

Moving forward in 2018, I am focusing on writing new material, developing a signature sound for myself as well as my duo project Jess & Robb, and working on crafting a rad live show. 

 

Lisa Anderson

How would you describe your music style?

Silly, fierce, perky, passionate indie-pop!

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

It’s great! I moved back to Calgary three years ago (after being away for 10 years) and I have been able to connect with musicians and venues pretty easily. I think what I find the best about our scene is the willingness of fellow musicians to connect, share information, support each other at shows, and celebrate everyone’s successes. 

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

I’ve been groped by audience members after my set, I’ve been told I should dress sexier, I’ve had sound techs, venue reps, and male musicians only speak to male band members, I’ve had fellow musicians make sexist “jokes” at events where we were both performing and then retaliate when I very discreetly and privately asked them to refrain from making sexist “jokes” . . . just to name a few! That said, I do find that there is an increasingly stronger support network among musicians of all genders and that more and more people are standing up for each other against hateful and harmful acts. Let’s keep it up my friends!

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

In June, I am going on tour in Europe in support of my second album, A Hundred Lives. Afterward I’m getting married in Ireland, and then probably taking a wee break from performing to write and recharge my batteries!