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Big Voices

What do you think of when the Charleston music scene comes to mind? Male-dominated? Country music? Bluegrass music? I spend a lot of my spare time in the local music scene and I can attest that a majority of musicians tend to be male and play within the country, bluegrass, folk genres. After taking note of this I searched for more females that are rockin’ and rollin’ in the Charleston music scene. I came across singer/songwriters, Taylor “Tay” Jarvis, Katie Rose, and Haley Mae Campbell. These three ladies are all under the age of 30 and making some pretty big musical waves in Charleston. I wanted to pick their brains and get an insider’s point of view. I posed four questions and got quite an insight.

What are your big dreams for the Charleston music scene as well as your music career in Charleston?

KR:  “That we really start embracing all kinds of music, include more women, and we are taken as seriously as Nashville and LA. As for my career, I would love to be playing high-end places every week and be an important voice in our cities music growth.”

What motivates you as a musician in Charleston? What inspires you to continue to live here and create music here?

TJ:I don’t think there’s quite a female artist here in Charleston that sounds like TAY and that’s what motivates me to pursue this…it truly is one-of-a-kind. I don’t know of many female artists in town writing/recording/producing everything on their own like this TAY project. I think the potential and thought of Charleston becoming a city known for multiple genres (and not just rock/country/folk/Americana) motivates me to stay and pursue what I’m creating with TAY…which is indie/electronic/alternative…oh yeah, and not to mention Charleston is absolutely beautiful and the city alone is an inspiration in its self! There’s always a show to go to, a new coffee shop to explore, new faces to meet, and more.”

What are the struggles you have as a female in this industry as well as in this city’s music scene?

HMC:  “Being a female that’s also leaning toward the more country side of the music scene, it can be tough at times. Being a younger female as well, sometimes I feel that event producers and coordinators think I’m easier to push around. I’ve been told I can’t use my equipment because the sound engineers didn’t want to figure out how to hook it up, denied decent sound checks, and the list goes on. But at the end of the day you can’t let things like that get you down, you just have to show them that you’re a force to be reckoned with and stand up for the things you need.”

What would you change about Charleston’s music scene / industry?

KR: “We start embracing ALL kinds of music, genders, and race. Let’s prove that you don’t have to play one type of music to make it here.”

TJ:  “I think the music scene and industry are full of genuine and talented individuals. I do wish it wasn’t so cliquey. I feel like there are different groups of people within the music scene/industry that are kind of in their own world and it’s difficult for others to be a part of it or ‘accepted’ in it…unless you have a decent connection or have already been a part of it since the beginning. It brings me back to connections…the Charleston music scene is all about who you know and who you’re friends with. It can be good, but it can also be a downfall for other emerging artists that have huge potential…but have no connections or outlets.”

HMC: “A huge issue I see for Charleston is that of attendance. I’ve heard it a million times from a million people, and seen it myself–people here just don’t go out of their way to attend shows. And I don’t think that’s because the acts aren’t talented, or the venues aren’t promoting, I think it circles back to Charleston being such a tourism center. There’s just so much to do here that a lot of the time, local and even national act performances get swept off to the side in favor of oyster roasts and walking tours. I’m not sure that there’s exactly one way to fix this issue, except for having individual artists fight to make their live shows so enticing that out-of-towners make them a must-see. ”

Huge thanks to these ladies for chatting with me, and shedding an insider’s backstage view.  It appears that our Holy City music scene may be in need of a few changes. We are finally getting national recognition thanks to our many accolades; however, we need to keep pushing the envelope in our musical scene. Perhaps it starts with the agenda-setters, event planners, and media outlets pushing local-focused venues and artists over the tourist attractions? We may not have the answers, but thankfully, we have three strong female musicians that are leading the charge. Hopefully, with their big voices they can really start to shake things up.

The Drum Lesson

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I despise activities that I’m not good at, heck I even avoid them. I’ve never been skating, paddle boarding, or even skiing; not because of the physical nature, but rather I do not feel the need to publicly humiliate myself. Being in a vulnerable position where my flaws are exposed is my worst nightmare; however, if I take just one step out of my comfort zone it could result in something pretty spectacular. So in order to test my limits, I will start in a realm I find comfort… Music.

As a music blogger, I always look for ways to expand and grow so why not try taking music lessons? I’ve never taken a formal music lesson, and this will provide a deeper understanding and appreciation for the bands and musicians I listen to. The instrument that immediately comes to my mind are the drums. They’re loud, the backbone to songs, and are all-around pretty darn cool.

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I knew this venture would need a leader, so enter stage left… Daniel Crider. Veteran drummer of 26 years and member of local band, Dead27s, Daniel has given lessons for 9 years and the rightful choice to guide my musical hot mess express. His students range in ages and musical abilities, and I was blown away by one particular student, Ava.

Ava had the time slot before mine, and I couldn’t help but notice this 9 year old was really good. It was an intimidating sight and sound for this 32 year old that can barely hold the drum sticks properly. I was intrigued to know more about this mini drummer wonder. She started the drums when she was 5 years old, and knew this was the instrument for her. Why? She noticed there was a lack of female drummers and wanted to be one of the few. Through her eyes, girls tended to gravitate towards the piano and violin as they are more graceful and delicate instruments, whereas boys will choose drums and the trombone due to their louder and bolder nature. This did not deter Miss Ava. She fearlessly strikes the drums with a ferocious nature on her current lesson from drummer Cindy Blackman on Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way”.

What a turn of events. I wanted to gain insight into the drums and possibly get a better understanding of music, but I got an even better lesson. While witnessing Ava diving head first, I became inspired. I can continue down my self-preservation path or take a step out of my own way. Yes, I avoid situations that may reveal my imperfections; however, by making one bold choice I can acquire some great results. I’m definitely not the next Dave Grohl, but the reward of being fearless was far greater than the drum skills I acquired. Connecting with Daniel and Ava gave me the courage to start second guessing my activity avoidance, and taking a step into a bold new world. Who knows what else I might try, but I’m ready to start.

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Disco Teepee