The Working List: Pro Female Musicians of the Pacific Northwest

Seattle artist Grace Love at KEXP Grand Opening 2017. Photo by MM.

Seattle artist Grace Love at KEXP Grand Opening 2017. Photo by MM.

While researching for a recent KEXP radio show I was doing on “Top Female Musicians of the Pacific Northwest,” I discovered that there was no definitive list of pro females from our area.

Made from over 500 requests from KEXP listeners and contributions from heavyweights in the Seattle music community, here’s my current list of PNW Female Musicians and Bands with Women at Their Center.

This is a working list. Have a suggestion? Please comment below. Bonus points for artists with diverse backgrounds or genres.

Thank you for your contributions. Here’s to #womeninmusic! DJ Michele

 

Female Musicians of the PNW – Alphabetical Working List
*This list of pro-level musicians is mostly made up of current working females (or bands with central females), with a few historical bands from the PNW.
*Definition of Pacific Northwest from dictionary.com: the “region of North America lying north of the Columbia River and west of the Rockies.”
*Bands who I have personal knowledge of, and recommend as pros marked with “*”.
Abbey Blackwell
Acapulco Lips*
Adena Atkins
Adra Boo*
Aeon Corvidae
Alex Guy
Alicia Hannah
Allison Shirk
Amanda Hardy
Amy Denio*
Amy Stozenbach*
Amy Tung Barrysmith
Anastasia Workmen
Ann Wilson
Anna Mariko Seymour
Annabella Kirby
Antonioni
Ariah Christine
Bad Saint
Barbara Dollarhide
Barbara Lamb
Barbara Trentalange
Baywitch
Bed
Beth Ditto*
Beth Fleenor
Bikini Kill (Historical)
Black Orchid
Blouse*
Bon Von Wheelie
Bonnie Guitar
Bonnie Hammond
Briana Marela*
Brandi Carlisle*
Bratmobile (Historical)
Brooke Haze
Carla Torgerson
Carlene Heitman
Carol Kaye (Historical)
Caroline Eikenberry
Carrie Akre*
Carrie Brownstein*
Celine
Chastity Belt*
Chava Mirel
Chocolat
Christa Wells*
Christina Rhoades
Christine Roskam
Claudia Groom
Corin Tucker*
Courtney Andrews
Crater*
Crystal Beth Boom
Cumulus
Dahlia (Historical)
Dale Balenseifen
Dark Moon
Dawn Clement
Dawn Smithson
Dead Moon
Debora Iyall
Deep Sea Diver*
Dejha Colantuono
Deseo Carmen
Dagna Silesia
Edna Vazquez*
Emily Marsh
Emily McVicker
Emily Westman*
Emma Jensen
Emma Lee Toyoda*
Erika Carlene Lundahl
Erin Rae Murray
Ernestine Anderson (Historical)
Esperanza Spalding* 
Experience Gospel Choir*
Faith Stankevich*
Falon Sierra
Felicia Loud*
Fiia McGann
Filthy Friends*
Frazey Ford*
French Walker
Fruit Juice
Genders
Gossip*
Gifted Gab
Grace Hansmeier
Grace Love*
Great Grandpa
Gretta Harley*
Hammerbox (Historical)
Havania Whaal
Heart*
Heather Duby (Historical)
Heather Thomas
Helen Halloran
Helms Alee
Hollis Wong-Wear
Holy Grove
Intisaar Jubran
J.R. Rhodes
Jamie Aaron Aux
Jamie Nova
Jamie Wyatt*
Jazmarae Beebe
Jen Ayers*
Jen Ghetto
Jen Wood*
Jenny Hill
Jesse Sykes*
Jessica Dobson
Jessica Lurie*
Jessica Lynne
Judy Collins (Historical)
Julia Massey*
Jusmoni
Kat Carlisle
Kat Eggleston
Kate Olson
Kathy Moore*
Katie Gray
Katie Kate*
Katrina Anderson
Katrina Kope*
Kelli Schaefer
Kelly Canary
Kelly Fleek
Kim Warnick*
Kim Virant*
Kirsten Ballweg
Kristen Barry (Historical)
Kristen Pfaff (Historical)
La Fonda
La Luz*
Laura Vanderpool
Laurie Miller*
Lauryn Murphie
LaVon M Hardison
Lady A*
Lemolo*
Lenny Rennalls
Leslie Hardy
Limberlost
Lisa King
Lisa Orth (Historical)
Lisa Wright
Loretta Lynn*
Lozen
Madaline Williams
Mai Li Pittard
Mia Katherine Boyle
Mia Zapata (Historical)
Makala Wengelewski-Romero
Mara Dralle
Margaret W Burke
Margo Lauritzen
Marina Albero
Marina Christopher
Marquetta Miller
Marsalis
Mary Lambert*
Merrilee Rush
Meagin Donovan
Melissa Montenello
Mia Zapata (Historical)
Michelle D’Amour
Michete
Mirah*
Mischa Kiane
Mommy Long Legs
Mongé Whitney
Morra Cogley
Mother of Pearl
Moon Duo
Ms. Led (Historical)
My Killer Heart
Nah Bee
Nancy Wilson
Naomi Seigal 
Naomi Wachira
Natalie Kinsaul
Navvi*
The Need
Neko Case*
Natasha Kmeto*
Odesza*
Olivia De la Cruz
Om Johari
Paris Alexa
Pat Wright*
Peg Wood
Pink Martini*
Prom Queen*
Queen Shmooqua
Rabia Shaheen Qazi
Rachel Flotard*
Rachelle Debelle
Rani
Rebecca Young
Rhonda Pelikan (Historical)
Roisin Dunne Ross
Rose Windows (Historical)
Rosie Thomas
Ruby Dunphy
Sabrina Littleton
Sadie Ava*
Sally Johnson
Salt Lick
Santa Cecilia
Sarah Christine
Sassyblack*
Scarlet Parke
Sea Stars*
Seline Vigil-Wilk
Sera Cahoone*
Seven Year Bitch (7 Year Bitch) (Historical)
Sharon Van Etten*
Sharpece
Shawn Adams
Shelby Earle*
Sheryl Wiser*
Sisters*
Sky Cries Mary
Sleater-Kinney*
Stacy Jones
Stacey Meyer
Star Anna*
Stefanie Sargent
Stephanie Wicker-Emory
Storm Large*
Summer Cannibals
Sundries
Swamp Mama Johnson (Historical)
Tacocat
Tai Shan
Taylar White
Taryn Rene Dorsey
Team Dresch (Historical)
Tekla Jasmine Waterfield
The Blacktones
The Debaucherantes
The Fleetwoods
The Gits (Historical)
The Gods Themselves*
The Spider Ferns*
The Trucks
TheeSatisfaction (Historical)
Thunderpussy*
Tiffany Wilson*
Toody Cole
Tracey Shug
Tracy Ferarra*
Tres Leches
Vanessa Veselka
Visqueen*
Viva Voce*
Vivian Williams
Voxxy
Wendy Rule
Whitney Lyman*
Wild Flag*
Wynne C Blue
Xolie Morra*
Y la Bamba*
Yaima
Year of the Cobra
Zola Jesus*

 

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP Seattle. A live DJ for select events, she’s performed at Seattle Space Needle New Year’s Eve and Bumbershoot. Michele’s produced over 200 radio episodes for KEXP Documentaries. Her book “50 Tips for Artists in the Music Business” has gotten rave reviews from readers. Find Michele’s other writing at The Smithsonian InstituteExperience Music ProjectThe University of Washington and NPR
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Music Crush: The Sophisticated/Raw Beauty of Michael Kiwanuka

Love and Hate

What makes a legendary artist? With so many talented musicians around it often comes down to songwriting and performing abilities, and a capacity to be vulnerable.

As a radio DJ who reviews new music all the time, I often ask myself “does this artist sound sincere, unique?” “Is this song memorable?” “Will I be spinning this in ten years time?”

When listening to songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Michael Kiwanuka’s tracks “One More Night” and “Love and Hate,” the answer to all of these questions is “yes”!

The melodies are haunting in a good way. His acoustic textures are sophisticated and raw. These songs on first listen feel familiar. There is an urgency often lacking from modern music. On vinyl, vid or digital file, this English soul artist does not disappoint.

 

Michael Kiwanuka performs in Seattle at the original Showbox theater on May 22. See you there!

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP Seattle. A live DJ for select events, she’s performed at Seattle Space Needle New Year’s Eve and Bumbershoot. Catch her Saturday, June 24 for a dance party at Olympic Sculpture Park, presented by Seattle Art Museum!

Michele’s produced over 200 radio episodes for KEXP Documentaries. Her book “50 Tips for Artists in the Music Business” has gotten rave reviews from readers. Find Michele’s other writing at The Smithsonian InstituteExperience Music ProjectThe University of Washington and NPR

 

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What Aretha Franklin Means to Me…

aretharecord

It all started with that stack of records that dad left behind in the garage.

It wasn’t easy to live at my house when I was a kid. Seemed like there was either chaos or no one at all. The times when I couldn’t find something outside to do I’d hide in my room or the basement, reading books and listening to music.

I was only 10 years-old when I found my first Aretha Franklin record in the garage. The song was “Natural Woman.”

 

It was just one one of hundreds of dusty 45s that my dad had left behind after the divorce. The small, black discs were all I really had of my dad. Even on the occasional visits when I stayed with him in California, it was hard to connect.

I pictured my dad, Jay,  a handsome young man, listening to these records, singing along. The funny thing was these old-fashioned songs were almost all really good.

Dusting the vinyl off with my t-shirt, I sat down on the rug next to the pink record player.

I put the record carefully on the turntable and shrugged on the huge sweater that I kept in “my studio.” It was freezing in the basement.

Sliding the black disc from the sleeve, fitting it to the turntable, carefully placing the needle. Each act, each song was a new piece of my father. Something we now shared.

Pressing the “record” button of the ancient garage sale reel-to-reel machine, I leaned toward the microphone (a small, patterned square), straightened the words so I could see them on the record label and read.

 

“Here’s Aretha Franklin with “A Natural Woman.”

There was always a long pause after the song-reading part where I needed to find the right part of the record.

The drop of the needle, then the sound of the vinyl itself (warm, crackly)…

The acoustic piano kicks in with a single note, then four regal chords. Aretha’s quietly powerful voice blossomed in the darkness.  The speakers came alive.

Aretha Franklin is my favorite singer of all time.

In all of the music I play there is some influence of African roots, some feel of soul. Even in the punk or rock sets. That element of the singer really laying out their story is what I look for. The personal elements: vulnerability and the natural uniqueness of honesty are irreplaceable in music, and, in my opinion, its most powerful tools.

Ray Charles said: “There are singers, then there is Aretha. She towers above the rest. Others are good, but Aretha is great. She’s my only sure-enough sister.”

My favorite Aretha song “Baby I Love You” was released on her first album Aretha Arrives. 

Her first single to hit both the R&B and the pop charts in 1967. “Baby…” would pave the way for other soul musicians.

Aretha would become what the industry called a “crossover artist,” meaning she appealed to audiences of all shapes, sizes and colors.

In this vintage vid, young Ree’s also rocking one of the coolest pairs of pink-striped pants you’ll ever see!

The first song I  remember seeing Aretha Franklin perform was in the “Blues Brothers” movie.

I was 15 years-old and had never, ever seen a woman that strong laying down the line. Many of the older women in my life seemed to have a profound lack of boundaries.

Now here was a woman I could look up to.

Her voice was incredible and the song was equal parts: gospel, jazz and soul.

Dressed like a waitress, she sang like a queen.

So many years later, now I’m now a grown woman with my own radio show on one of the world’s finest stations. Every Friday night the first song of my dance party sets is the Krivitz remix of Aretha’s “Rock Steady.” And every week her voice inspires me all over again. What it is…

The Queen of Soul is 73 years-old today. On KEXP tonight, I’ll shine the spotlight on the best of her music. Happy birthday, Aretha!

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP Seattle. A live DJ for select events, she’s performed at Seattle Space Needle New Year’s EveBumbershoot and Doe Bay Festival.

Michele’s produced over 200 radio episodes for KEXP Documentaries. Her book “50 Tips for Artists in the Music Business” has gotten rave reviews from readers. Find Michele’s other writing at The Smithsonian InstituteExperience Music ProjectThe University of Washington and NPR

  

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Book: “50 Tips for Artists In The Music Business”

book50tipsmyers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hundreds of songs come in every year from musicians who want a chance on the radio.

Since I ended up giving the same advice over and over, I wrote this book!

You can find advice here on how to write strong song hooks, submit your music for radio or find the right professionals who can take your sound to the next level.

Want to improve, not just your music, but the look and substance of your band? This short e-book cuts right to the chase, and presents information in the form of steps you can take to positively effect your career. As a radio DJ and musician, I feel I have a unique view that includes both sides of the industry.

Five-star reviews from readers!

“A must-read for musicians! This book is an excellent guide for any musician starting out or for those returning to the business. It also provides several reminders to keep one’s ego in check when dealing with people. I rated this book 5 stars because it tells you straight up what you need to know.”

“Absolutely great advice! I’ve been listening to MM for years on KEXP and her advice here is every bit as good as her musical taste, which is impeccable. Do yourself a favor and read this book.”

“Five stars. Loved the practical suggestions for the bands/artists from a DJ that knows the music field well.”

Available on Kindle and Kindle IPhone apps here.

Michele Myers is a radio DJ and producer Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP in Seattle. She’s also spun on WNYE in New York City and KALX at University of California, Berkeley. Michele pumps out a bold mix of music: rock, soul, EDM and more.
 

 

A party music DJ, Michele’s performed at: Seattle Space Needle on New Year’s Eve, Experience Music Project, Seattle Art Museum, Bumbershoot, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Olympic Sculpture Park, Doe Bay Festival, multiple other venues and select private events.
 
 
Michele’s audio creations at KEXP were the subject of a documentary on CWTV. As a music expert she’s been interviewed for The New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine. With a team of incredibly invested volunteers, Michele was line producer, voice, writer and programmer for over 200 radio stories on musical subjects for KEXP Documentaries.
 
You can find Michele’s radio stories featured by The University of Washington, The Smithsonian Institute, The Frye Museum, Experience Music Project and National Public Radio.
 

 

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