• By: OLM Staff

FemmeVox: A new concert, mentorship and co-writing series

FemmeVox organizing committee (Left to right): Hugh Neilson, Tonya Price, Anne-Marie Brugger, Bernard Frazer, Tara Holloway

You no longer have to travel to Nashville or Austin to witness creative sparks between songwriters when they deliberately set out to work together. The Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC), CKCU-FM, and CHUO-FM proudly present FemmeVox, a new series of concerts and artist-led workshops celebrating both established and emerging talent, and promoting mentorship and collaboration among its artists.

The series kicks off in the beautiful, bright, and intimate GCTC lobby on Sunday, February 24 at 4:30 pm with award-winning Canadian music legend Lynne Hanson, and local music luminaries Malak, Tara Holloway and Sam Steel.

Credit: Marc Audet and Karen Bisson

“Providing opportunities to emerging artists alongside more established or experienced musicians is a core value of GCTC” says GCTC Managing Director Hugh Neilson. “We are so pleased, not only to be bringing back the music series component of our programming, but to be the catalyst for opportunities in Ottawa. Pairing emerging, singer-songwriters with such great, established talent will benefit everyone.”

Prior to the concert, at 2:30 pm, Lynne Hanson will lead an interactive workshop (facilitated by CKCU's Tonya Price) to discuss the craft of songwriting. In preparation for the event, Lynne and Sam Steel met for an afternoon of co-writing in late January. They had not met before. This is the sort of thing that happens regularly in cities like Nashville. FemmeVox is recreating that opportunity for Ottawa (and nearby) area artists. Of the co-writing experience, Sam exclaimed that this was the push she needed to get serious about her music again and take it to the next level. “I didn’t know Lynne before we met for the co-write but she immediately put me at ease. We chatted briefly before our “first date of co-writing” and then got busy. It was neat to learn how she goes about constructing songs because we both have a very different process. It was a great experience.”

Lynne and Sam will be sharing their new song for the very first time at the FemmeVox event on February 24. Tara Holloway and Malak also got together to co-write a song especially for the FemmeVox showcase. FemmeVox is clearly no ordinary concert. It is providing a venue for our great women vocalists and songwriters to share their music in an intimate space, but also to learn from each other and grow in their craft.

FemmeVox organizing team member, Bernard Frazer tells us, "I’ve worked with many female artists over the past few years, both in Church of Trees and in other projects, and I've heard some horror stories about working with certain male producers, promoters, and even musicians. So, I saw FemmeVox as an opportunity to give them their own space, a series that is developed by and created for women. And we're very lucky to have three incredible women (Tara, Tonya, and Anne-Marie) on board to help guide this series."

For my part (Anne-Marie speaking here), as a radio host on CHUO (Hop The Fence every Friday at 5 pm), I can tell you that I see CHUO and CKCU as sister stations in the Ottawa community. When we join forces together on a project such as FemmeVox, it is to everyone's best interest: our listeners, our stations and most of all, to our artists who gain valuable exposure through our channels.

Follow @FemmeVox on Instagram and Facebook and @FemmeVox1 on Twitter for a chance to win tickets or visit gctc.ca for more information!

About the Performers:

 (Clockwise from top left): Lynne Hanson, Sam Steel, Malak, Tara Holloway

Lynne Hanson is one half of the duo The LYNNeS alongside Lynn Miles. Known for her gritty ballads and roots-tinged guitar, her songs conjure up the sounds of Nashville and the Southern States. In 2018 she won two Canadian Folk Music Awards and just finished an American and European tour.

Malak has been described as a cross between Kate Bush and Lady Gaga. She released her first EP, Circus in 2016, and has since become a staple of the regional festival scene, with appearances at Megaphono, Canadian Music Week, and RBC Bluesfest.

Tara Holloway:  The raw and soulfully weathered voice of Tara Holloway will stop you dead in your tracks. Little Ghosts, the latest album from this bi-coastal force of nature, is a compilation of songs that weave together the threads of an eclectic and nomadic life.

Sam Steel: Known for her powerful voice and intricate songwriting, Sam Steel is a versatile musician, performing folk, rock, blues, jazz or country. She was born into a musical family, and though she earned degrees in education and theatre, she could not avoid the life of a full time musician for long.