Category Archives: Music

Accessible Street Music Provides Entertainment While Giving Hope

If you walk through an average city today, you might see that a growing number of streets and parks have become home to community pianos. They aren’t there by accident. Like the street pianos in NY, cities that adopt street pianos provide purpose, hope, and entertainment. Street pianos change the way people experience their communities. Because of their typically bold paint jobs, the pianos are pieces of art. Due to the fact that they are often accessible to the homeless, they can help bring out the hidden talents of those typically cast out.

Street pianos provide hope. Many have seen the articles and videos where a homeless man or woman begins to play a beautiful song before a crowd forms. Street pianos provide hope to those who need it most.

Music has always been a way for people to connect. With perfectly-placed pianos, music can connect individuals who have little with individuals who have long struggled to care about those who have little. The hope goes all the way around.

street piano
© chrisjohnbeckett/Flickr

In addition to providing hope, street pianos are a cheap form of entertainment. Cities have long looked for ways to attract people to parks and urban areas. These cities are looking to provide value and can also attract shoppers to local stores. That’s why when people travel to Denver, they see colorfully painted pianos painted by people with immense skill. It’s why the streets of New York are filled with instruments that people can pick up and play. Street pianos breathe life into a city, giving it a personality it might not have had before.

Today’s cities are doing everything they can to come alive. Street pianos are an excellent addition to any type of outdoor space because of the many purposes they serve. There’s no question that they give hope to the homeless while opening the hearts and minds of average citizens. They are also a cost-effective way to give a city a new-found sense of personality. But best of all, they bring people together — a much-needed service in a society that has become increasingly divided.

If you have never had the pleasure of seeing a presumably average person sit down at a street piano and make everyone’s jaws drop, we can change that. Below is a video of a man named Michael Anthony McNamara whose cover of A Great Big World’s “Say Something” first went viral in 2014. Though two years old, the performance is no less powerful. Katriona Dean designed and painted the piano for the “Keys to our Town” art initiative in Cobourg, Ontario.

Submissions Now Open for the 2016 She Rocks Summer NAMM Showcase in Nashville

The Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN) returns to Nashville for its third annual She Rocks Summer NAMM Showcase. Submissions are now open for women in music of all genres to enter for a chance to perform. Click here to submit.

She Rocks Summer NAMM Showcase

“We’re excited to come back to Nashville for the third year in a row. One of my favorite aspects of our showcases is to go through the submissions we receive. There are so many talented women out there, and I’m proud to provide them with an opportunity to perform in front of industry pros and fans,” said WiMN Founder, Laura B. Whitmore.

The She Rocks Summer NAMM Showcase takes place on Thursday, June 23 from 8:30-11:00 p.m. during the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville, Tenn., at The Listening Room Cafe on 217 2nd Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37201, a short walk from the Music City Center, and is sponsored by 108 Rock Star Guitars. An optional $5 pre-sale or $7 door donation is requested. This showcase is open to all ages.

Artists interested in performing must submit an entry by May 3. Performers will be announced by May 13.

Click here to fill out the submission form and for official rules and regulations.

The WiMN also recently announced the official 2016 She Rocks ASCAP Expo Showcase, taking place Friday, April 29 at 9:00 p.m. at the Tinhorn Flats Saloon & Grill in Hollywood during the ASCAP Expo. Now in its third year, the official showcase will feature Divinity Roxx, Anjali Ray, Maddy Vance, and Facing West. This free showcase will feature drink specials and giveaways.

About The Women’s International Music Network (WiMN)


Founded in 2012, the Women’s International Music Network unites women who work within all facets of the music and audio industries. With as its hub, the WiMN provides a community for women within the industry while enriching their careers and musical experiences through networking and sharing. The Women’s International Music Network produces events such as the Women’s Music Summit, the WiMN She Rocks Showcases, and the She Rocks Awards, and is founded by music industry veteran Laura B. Whitmore.

Monday Morning Tunes: Treetop Flyers, Frank Turner, Peter and Kerry

Treetop Flyers Frank Turner Peter and Kerry

This summer has easily been one of our busiest, and instead of seeking out new artists or escaping into full albums as usual, my go-to music sources in the last few weeks have been Spotify playlists chosen at random and Pandora internet radio; just a few songs here and there while running errands or picking up a few things around the house before our guests show up for another family cookout.

Rather than dedicating a post to spotlighting a great new band or singer/songwriter I’ve just discovered, I have three songs from three different bands I have heard, loved, and subsequently saved to listen to again and again. And now I’m sharing them with you. In a funny (and unintended!) turn of events, all three of these artists are from and based out of England.

Treetop Flyers

Formed in 2009 by a group of friends who met through playing in various bands in and around London, Treetop Flyers’ brand of folk rock won them the Glastonbury Festival emerging talent competition in 2011. The track “It’s About Time” was released on their 2009 album “To Bury the Past.”

Website: Treetop Flyers
Facebook: Treetop Flyers Band
Twitter: @treetopflyers

Frank Turner

An English folk singer/songwriter from Meonstoke, Hampshire. Initially the vocalist of post-hardcore band Million Dead, Turner embarked upon a primarily acoustic-based solo career following the band’s split in 2005. “Wessex Boy” was released on his 2011 album “England Keep My Bones.”

Website: Frank Turner
Facebook: Frank Turner Music
Twitter: @frankturner

Peter and Kerry

Some twee synth indie pop from one Brainfeeder collaborator and one composer of ballet scores. “Knees” was released on the 2011 “Clothes, Friends, Photos” EP.

Facebook: Peter and Kerry
Twitter: @peterandkerry

Monday Morning Tunes: Halsey


Halsey has been poised to take over the role of our newest indie pop sweetheart since the release of her 2014 EP “Room 93.” With songs that explore the vulnerability of isolation and truly having to deal with yourself, her songs “Ghost” and “Trouble” have gained attention from the likes of Sirius XM, “Last Call with Carson Daly,” Billboard, SXSW, Teen Vogue, as well as the producers of MTV, who played “Trouble” during an emotional scene of the show “Catfish.” And yes, we’re totally aware that Halsey makes the second artist after Broods to be featured in Monday Morning Tunes because of an episode of “Catfish,” so thank you, Nev and Max, for that.

Halsey’s voice is the perfect accompaniment to late-night writing sessions. Even as of the writing of this post, the tamber of her voice cuts through the dark room lit only by the screen of a laptop, demanding attention as the rhythm of her dynamic melodies progressively speed up and then slow down again.

Despite the fact that “Room 93” is only five songs long, we have had Halsey in frequent rotation. One June 2, we received a small offering of what we can expect next. “Hold Me Down” from her upcoming album “Badlands,” due out in August, is a refined sound that delves deeper into the themes of her EP.

While her music speaks volumes all on its own, what truly excites and inspires us about Halsey is an interview she gave in Teen Vogue. It is rare that we get a young female artist who is not only willing to call herself a feminist, but does so right out of the gate, without having to clarify, backpedal, or apologize for not doing so sooner. At 20 years old, Halsey is impressively fierce and strong, and she knows what she wants. She accepts that she is not and will never be the “perfect” anything, but knows who she is and is only concerned with being the most honest and authentic version of herself possible. It’s really what any artist can hope to be.

Monday Morning Tunes: Helena Johnson

Helena Johnson

Helena Johnson belts out R&B and soul music that makes your mind wander to dark, smoke-filled lounges brimming with the deepest secrets of its whispering regulars. Her voice, spellbinding and timeless, sounds as if it were blessed by Etta James and born center stage.

Originally from North Yorkshire and currently based in Liverpool, Helena Johnson truly lives and breathes her crafts as a student of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts. Backed by an astounding 10-piece band, she creates and performs unique, beautifully-styled songs that are widely relateable while paying tribute to the origins of the genre she has successfully carved out a place for herself in.

Helena Johnson band

Back in March, Helena Johnson released the single “Take Me Home Tonight.” It is a song that catches you by surprise; starting off subtly sweet and building into a desperately pleading statement in the midst of a brilliantly paced orchestra. “Take Me Home Tonight” is as smooth as top shelf scotch that by the end leaves you wallowing in an empty glass.

Before “Take Me Home Tonight,” Helena Johnson released a few stray songs, strong but don’t feel quite finished. “I Fell in Love” is a biting ballad with such interesting vocal dynamics you won’t be able to help but listen to it again and again.

Additionally, she has a 3-song acoustic EP that I would love to hear with a full band. The song “Don’t Forget Me” has all the components of being a truly heartbreaking song in all the right ways, but the mix of the version uploaded to SoundCloud felt like the vocals and piano were fighting each other to be heard.

“Take Me Home Tonight” is by far the strongest of the handful songs Helena Johnson has released so far. This track, even just by itself, is more than enough to make us wonder what a full album would sound like, and eagerly anticipate its release.

Monday Morning Tunes: Holly Williams

Holly Williams

A few days ago, a friend of mine posted an album cover on Instagram with the caption, “Holly Williams is everything.” Since I am always looking for new music to listen to, I looked her up on Spotify and sat and listened to all three of her albums straight through. My friend was right — Holly Williams is everything. Everything good about music and about inspired, story-telling country. Everything I want on a particularly late, introspective night or day full of promise. Everything that makes me stop working, even while in mid-sentence of an article I’m writing, and sit back, close my eyes, and listen to her truth. Everything.

The granddaughter of one of the most influential singer/songwriters of the 20th century, Hank Williams, Sr. and daughter of Southern rocker singer/songwriter Hank Williams, Jr., you don’t have to look any further than Holly Williams‘ own family to see where her influences lie. When she was 17 years old, she began playing her father’s guitar and writing her own songs. Right after graduating from school, she decided to pursue music passionately, recording an EP and booking herself all over Nashville. It’s safe to say that this self-starter’s tenacity paid off, and I am privileged to have been able to come across her and listen to her music, because I’m pretty sure her 2013-released album “The Highway” has instantaneously become one of my favorites.

Usually when I’m listening to a new artist or band, I start a list of some of my favorite songs to go back and listen to again once the album has finished. I am a stickler for listening to albums in their entirety, especially the first time, because I believe that is how the artist meant for me to listen to it. Albums tell a story, and you wouldn’t flip through random pages in a book and say you’ve read it. As I listened to Holly Williams’ first two albums, “The Ones We Never Knew” and “Here With Me,” I came out with a few songs here and there that I really liked and went back to a few times. But my list suddenly grew exponentially as I listened through “The Highway.” With 11 songs on the album, 9 wound up on my favorites list.

The three songs I have included in this post are from “The Highway,” but please, for the love of everything that is good about Holly Williams, please do yourself the great service of listening to that album in its entirety. It is an absolutely beautiful collection that will stay with you, and will make you keep your ears open for Holly Williams and what she will do next.

Monday Morning Tunes: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Soundtrack

Fifty Shades of Grey

This may come as a surprise, but I am not a “Fifty Shades of Grey” fan. Despite my efforts, I just don’t see it as the romantic love story so many have accepted it to be. While I have many often contested opinions about the series and its subsequent widespread fame, I will spare you those opinions, because I don’t feel up to having yet another series of arguments with people who want to condescend to me about my inability to understand the BDSM subject matter — because my biggest issue stems from the fact that I do understand BDSM dynamics, thank you very much.

So why am I bothering to dedicate a post to something “Fifty Shades of Grey”-related in the first place? Well, because the movie’s soundtrack is pure gold. There isn’t a bad track in the entire list of 16 songs.

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack includes the classic voices of Annie Lennox, The Rolling Stones, and Frank Sinatra and some of my personal favorite voices, Sia, Beyonce, and Ellie Goulding.

It has new flavor like AWOLNATION and The Weeknd, whom I first heard when he teamed up with Sia for “Elastic Heart” that appeared on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” soundtrack.

It even ends with two beautiful instrumental tracks from renowned composer Danny Elfman. It is a really great mix of incredible music from all sorts of different genres.

If there is such a thing as the perfect soundtrack, a compilation of songs from multiple artists from different backgrounds with unique experiences that can set a mood and tell a story within a story, this is it. This soundtrack is perfection in 16 tracks, and I have been listening to it on a loop for nearly two weeks straight.

Monday Morning Tunes: Beyonce


Beyonce is queen. I think that at this point we have all come to accept this as proven fact, right? So as such, is there any other artist better to start your Monday off than the fierce, proud, and unwavering queen herself? I think not.

Music has always been a kind of security blanket for me. Whatever I am feeling at any particular moment, there is a band, a singer, an album, a song that I can go to that conveys exactly those feelings. So in my attempts to make 2015 a more upbeat and productive year, as opposed to the thick fog of depression that loomed over me for much of 2014, I have been listening to a lot of Beyonce — particularly her 2014 self-titled album that gave us a new feminist anthem that the movement quite frankly needed. Way to go, Bey!

If you haven’t listened to the “Beyonce” album in its entirety, you absolutely should. It is fun while also having a lot to say about being a grown woman in the world today — about beauty, relationships, marriage and what it is to be a wife without compromising your independence or your career, and motherhood.

Together, we’re gonna make 2015 a year full of love, accomplishment, and above all, happiness. It will be a year that far outweighs all that was dark, gloomy, grey, anxious, crippling, and frustrating about 2014. Who’s with me?

Monday Morning Tunes: Christmas 2014 Collection

Monday Morning Tunes Christmas

As you (hopefully) cross off the last tasks on your holiday to-do list, and spend these last days before Christmas with those you love the most enjoying your annual holiday traditions, now is the perfect time for a Christmas music playlist.

We’ve got some classics, because no Christmas playlist can exist without Bing Crosby or Tony Bennett, some more recent singer/songwriters, and some bands you probably wouldn’t expect to hear doing Christmas music. I’m actually impressed by the variety of music I was able to cram into this playlist.

I’ve pretty much taken care of your complete Christmas music needs. You’re welcome.

I created this playlist using Spotify. You can listen to it above, follow, or open it up on web here.

You can also find this playlist on Rdio.

If you’re looking for other music recommendations, we’ve got you covered. Fire up our Woman Tribune’s Monday Morning Tunes playlist that includes almost every song that has been featured here in our weekly Monday Morning Tunes posts.

Monday Morning Tunes: HAIM


“Listen to HAIM. HAIM makes everything better.”

My fiance’s cousin, who I have always been close to, commented with that on a Facebook status update I posted a few months ago. I had heard of HAIM before then. I listened to a few songs and made a mental note to go back and really give them a listen with my full attention, rather than just putting them on in the background while I worked. I never did get around to doing that, until very recently.

HAIM is a three-piece pop rock band originating from an exceptionally musical family in Los Angeles, California. The three sisters initally formed the band, a stylized version of their last name, in 2007. It wasn’t until 2012, however, when they were working on the band as a full-time operation. During that gap, Este Haim earned a degree in Ethnomusicology, while Danielle Haim toured as a guitarist with Jenny Lewis and the solo act of Julian Casablancas, frontman of The Strokes.

If you have heard HAIM before, it’s more than likely because of their song, “The Wire.” It is a damn good song that has been steadily picking up traction since its release. This band has had an effect on me that almost no other has ever had — their most popular song is my favorite. That never happens! Ever.

HAIM is what happens when trends come back. Their sound is rooted in retro ’80s synth pop that will give you flashbacks of leg warmers and torn off-the-shoulder t-shirts. Their ’90s R&B influences give them a  unique sound that makes it continuously more difficult to put these rocking ladies into a box.

HAIM’s first and only album, “Days Are Gone,” was released in 2013. At the end of this past summer they released the single “My Song 5” and are currently working on their follow-up album.