Ready for a dose of serious grrrl #goals? Meet your new favorite idol, Heather Mae. The Washington D.C.-based artist has been dubbed “the queer Adele,” writing music for the light seekers and the good troublemakers. She’s a social justice songwriter, powerhouse performer and earthshaking vocalist, with music described as cinematic alt-pop. And hers is not your mother’s social justice music—it’s not flower-in-your-hair, solo acoustic singer-songwriter music. Heather’s is an empowering, on-fire musical experience that bursts in the chest of every audience member, driven by her passion and message of self-love. Mae writes: “I’m a social-justice songwriter and mental health activist on a mission to make the world a more inclusive place. I’m fat, queer, have Bipolar Disorder 2 and I’m done being ashamed of all the above.”
Mae’s debut EP ‘I AM ENOUGH’ peaked at #58 on the iTunes Pop Album charts in 2016 (without the help of a record label!). She raised over $15,000 for the album via Kickstarter, smashing through her fundraising goal and being dubbed a Kickstarter Staff Pick. Featuring her unique indie-pop sound, imaginative lyrics and powerhouse vocals, Mae forged new ground with this debut release—tackling challenging topics like LGBTQ discrimination, gender stereotypes and body image. Heather wrote that ‘I AM ENOUGH’ was “a platform for change. Pop music with a mission.”
Since her debut release, Mae has been a full-time touring musician performing across the US, meeting hundreds of people who shared how much her music helps them feel understood. And on December 1st, 2018, Heather launched another major Kickstarter campaign to support the creation of her second album ‘GLIMMER.’ A collection of songs focused on women’s empowerment and mental health, which Heather has noted is “a collection of songs centered around one theme: finding the light in the struggle.” Heather has already raised almost 15K of her $25,000 goal, and is offering incredible pledge rewards, including fat girl dance parties, drunk mail, mental health artwork, personalized inspiration journals, house concert experiences and more! Visit the Kickstarter page for more details!
Introducing the dynamic & extraordinary Catherine McDonald, award-winning commercial violinist, utility player, fiddler and teacher. At just 23 she has already accepted her fifth performance contract and was ranked the youngest singer-songwriter in her state to reach #1 on the Reverbnation Charts!
This red-haired rocker graduated from the esteemed Berklee College of music in 2017, and is now pursuing her master’s degree while living as a working musician in Nashville. Catherine was given the honor of recording residencies at both Callen Sounds Studios and Blackbird Studios as a session fiddler, where she has played on over 56 recordings in the past year alone. And since moving to Nashville, Catherine has also taken on the role of teacher, instructing over 45 students with Elite Studios—and she already has a waiting list for Fall 2019!
If that weren’t enough, this BOSS babe is currently playing in a whopping SIX musical projects, including the female-fronted Catfish Seminar band, which showcases old country roots with a pop influence and brings a collective of musical minds to create a new approach to country music. Catherine also recently turned the tables and took center stage, recording a lovely, grooving live video cover of Anderson .Paak’s “Till It’s Over,” which features Cat on keys, electric violin & lead vocals!
Most recently, Catherine announced that she is hitting the road on tour as the utility player and MD for Nashville Stars Live! NSL is a one the most powerful tribute shows in country music today, combining a one-of-a-kind, all Country Music superstar cast of the greatest tribute artists in the world. She heads to Las Vegas in January to kick off rehearsals and then heads with the band to Seattle for their first tour stop. Check out Cat on Instagram to follow her journey and catch her on tour!
Meet the lovely & talented Miss Sonia Barcelona, who delivers smooth vocals sung with a big heart, “a combination of indie and pop with elements of bossa nova sprinkled in.” (Vegas SEVEN). Born in Guam, this Indian/Filipina singer-songwriter is making waves in the Las Vegas music scene with a looper and her guitar. She was recently named ‘The Best Emerging Voice of 2018’ by the Las Vegas Weekly!
In 2013, Barcelona ditched years of passionless studies in Accounting and began to pursue music. She started experimenting with performing at open mics and by 2014, Barcelona was able to fund her first EP, ‘Shut The Hell Up’ through Kickstarter.
In early 2018, Barcelona released the single “Whatever” which began opening major doors for the artist. Press responded to the single so positively that she landed features on Channel 13 & Fox 5 news, as well as Earmilk Magazine, Vegas Seven, the Las Vegas Film Festival. It even led to an award from the Las Vegas Weekly as Best Emerging Voice of 2018. Earmilk said, “[Whatever”] is a reflective tune made up of a simple guitar arrangement layered with engulfing harmonies… a metaphor for her own personal journey dwelling on self-doubt and perfectionism.”
Over the course of 2018, Sonia has also landed amazing live performance opportunities, opening for Japanese Breakfast, SALES, Pearl Charles, & Deap Vally, and sponsorship by Gibson Guitars (she plays a Gibson Firebird & Gibson M2!). She wrote, “It’s been a whirlwind and I can’t even believe it. If you told the high school me I’d become a musician, I would laugh really hard, so so very hard in disbelief… at that point, I was studying to become an accountant. What a turn of events!”
An inspirational example of dreams-turned-reality, Barcelona is grateful for the opportunities that have come her way through music and is setting her sights on the future. She recently launched another Kickstarter campaign to help support the production of her upcoming record “Violent Water” and said, “My dream is to create until I croak and now that I‘ve found my voice I want to share it with the world!”
In addition to pursuing her original music, Sonia also gives back by teaching voice for kids at the School of Rock in Vegas. Follow Barcelona on social media to stay tuned on her adventures and the production & release of “Violent Water”!
This month’s recommended artists are brought to you by Women That Rock, a movement created by women, for women. Dedicated to supporting and promoting up-and-coming female musicians and female-fronted bands, Women That Rock is cultivating a community of badass ladies who are creating amazing music and connecting with one another through their art. Follow Women That Rock on Instagram at @womenthatrock and stay in the loop on amazing lady artists, news & upcoming events. If you know an amazing womxn musician or grrrl-fronted band that needs to be heard, email their information to firstname.lastname@example.org!