in

#MeTooMpls Virtual Streaming Showcase at Hook & Ladder

#MeTooMpls

#MeTooMpls: A virtual streaming, live performance from MN based artists at The Hook and Ladder Theater Sept. 24th, 7-10pm Price: $25 ticket (includes digital download of album)

Buy your tickets HERE.

#MeTooMpls, is an album (and movement) to lift the voices of women/ femmes/ trans/ nonbinary folks in Minneapolis, to support sexual assault survivors and to raise funds for Planned Parenthood. This songwriting collective began towards the end of 2019. All songwriters involved in this project were asked to write and record an original song on the subject of #MeToo. All participants crafted very personal songs, some bright & uplifting, others heartbreaking & visceral.

Learn more in the profiles below about all 17 artists involved in this incredible compilation.

#MeToo Movement

The #MeToo movement was started by Tarana Burke in 2006 and was begun as a way to support empowerment through empathy of women of color who had been sexually abused.  

#MeTooMpls Artists

The headliners for this special livestream event are: Tina Schlieske, Mayda and Sarah Morris who will each perform a 30 min set live.

The rest of the lovely artists from the compilation include: Ashleigh Still, Lydia Liza, Mary Bue, Annie Mack, Linnea Mohn, Chastity Brown, Ang Oase, Annie Fitzgerald, Elska, r0, Katy Vernon, Kara Laudon, Averil Bach and JØUR (Jourdan Meyers).

Music in Minnesota was fortunate enough to see some of the pre-recorded performances (by Mary Bue, Annie Fitzgerald, Katy Vernon, and Annie Fitzgerald) at Hook and Ladder back in August and chat with some of the artists about their involvement in the project. Meet the artists and learn about the original song they contributed to the project below!

Tina Schlieske

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Tina Schlieske, originally from Minneapolis, is best known for fronting the band Tina and the B-Side Movement, today known as “Tina and the B-Sides.” She was a child of Lithuanian immigrants, but grew up in the midwest. Influenced by rock ‘n’ roll, glam rock, gospel, blues and Americana–she has cultivated a distinctive blues-driven, raspy style reminiscent of the great Janis Joplin.

She now resides permanently in California and her full band hasn’t been doing much touring since the late 90’s, but Tina still is down for the occasional solo, acoustic show.

These days, she helps run a program called “Sing It Out!” for a non-profit organization called AHA!–an outreach after-school program for at-risk teens in the community, teaching self esteem and expression through music. Tina also serves as a musical director and mentor for the teens.

Song: “What Would You Pay (Dear Harvey)”

Tina jumped at the opportunity to write about this issue, thrilled that this was specifically a project for women and by women. Personally, she shared that she does not have a story of very serious sexual assault, and initially was unsure of how to use her voice. Looking for inspiration, Tina came across Jessica Mann’s letters she wrote to Harvey Weinstein during the trial. Those letters inspired the song, “What Would You Pay (Dear Harvey)”

“I was so moved by her words. Obviously, there’s nothing that’s going to take it away or make it better. But, she was using her voice, her words as a strength to this person who basically took her life away. Her words I found so powerful, it was so incredible… It was like a letter, kind of singing her letter–something that could be applied to any abuser.”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

Tina hopes that going forward, all of us strive to keep these conversations going and that there is more of a platform for male friends and allies and that this compilation encourages more allies to join–change happens where education happens. She struck down the notion “I just don’t feel like my voice is important enough to be heard,” something perhaps many of us have grappled with when hesitating to share our story.

“I mean look at all of us, we all have something to say. And it is of value. It’s of importance. I think that’s what is so exciting about this project. I think it is going to make women feel more validated, and important, and heard.”

MAYDA

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Who is MAYDA? In her words, “4’10 ft and fit to slap some funk and attitude in some pop face!” This young pop artist was born in In Cheon City, South Korea and calls Minneapolis home. After touring last summer around the Midwest, Europe, and South Korea, she just released her second full length album, Tusks in Furs with the help of world-class drummer, Michael Bland, DJ Chris Neviator, Sonny Thompson, and Tommy Barbarella. This petite yet larger-than-life songstress carries a unique brand of funk-pop and is constantly writing, creating, and exploring.

Her new album MRDR PxP features themes of justice, resiliency, and the human condition which surely adds fuel to this powerful songwriters catalog of work. Her recent single, “Justice,” as well as a music video was released June of 2018, and the release of the full length, MRDR PxP, October of 2018

Song: “Oxygen Tank”

MAYDA expressed that she feels like she is coming from a little bit of a different place with this project, because she understand the fight and struggle to be a minority woman, POC, etc. As a female musician in a male-dominated industry, she has always felt and identified with that. While MAYDA hasn’t felt as though she has been abused, certainly there have been lines crossed. Her song, “Oxygen Tank,” is about how we are all “underwater” and in need of oxygen.

“We have always had to try to keep above water somehow. Whether it be family, abuse, sexuality, gender, community, race, whatever. We’ve always had to tread, and men haven’t had that… they have never felt that. We are doing things like this because we are all connected to an oxygen tank. We’re all trying to give each other oxygen. That’s what the song is about. ‘Yeah I’m down here with you, but take mine. You can have mine too.’”

Interview with Ann Treacy from Mostly Minnesota Music, a weekly radio show on WMCN

MAYDA shared that she strives to write music in an empathetic and compassionate manner – even trying to better understand the enemy, the attacker.

“People who abuse, who gaslight, there’s a reason why they’re doing it too. They feel like they’re underwater. And they need oxygen…we all have that common denominator. And we gotta figure out that math problem together.”

Sarah Morris

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Singer-songwriter and Minnesota native, Sarah Morris, has a way of captivating her audiences with songs about the highs and lows of love. Her strong and commanding voice surges with honesty and a heartfelt tenderness.

A graduate of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, Sarah spent the first years of her career in Nashville, losing herself in the art of writing timeless Americana melodies. She brings a mix of classical training and Nashville chops to the stage, with a style she likes to call “a little twang, a lot of heart.” Pre-COVID times perhaps you happened upon Sarah at The Dakota, Aster Cafe or Hell’s Kitchen.

When not onstage, Sarah can also be heard singing lullabies, nursery rhymes and various radio-country tunes, as requested by her two little bosses (aka beautiful children), Alistair and Millicent.

Song: “Like It’s Gospel”

Sarah’s song, “Like It’s Gospel,” is inspired by the parallels she drew between her toddler son’s tantrums and President Trump’s outbursts. She took a song she wrote a few summers ago and added to it, rewriting the bridge of the song to more closely reflect the #MeToo movement and how we are all apart of each other’s stories as well.

The words touch on the frustration of encountering someone that is simply not hearing, not listening. In other words, someone who thinks their view is “gospel.”

“‘Like It’s Gospel’ expresses the idea, ‘I refuse to buy into this.’ I refuse to buy into this mindset, I refuse to buy into the awful things that he says. So, that is where it came from. 

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

Mary Bue

Mary Bue is a songwriter, Nada yogi, traveler, runner, vegan, retreat guide, music & yoga teacher based out of Minneapolis, often roaming this beautiful world. Her music touches upon archetypal themes of the human condition: love, loss, triumph, dreams, and the natural world. A longtime student of yoga and psychology, Mary weaves sacred subject matter into her songs, seeking deeper levels of consciousness and holding a deep concern for the environment.

Mary has been a long-time support of PAVSA (Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault) and was recently named “Best Songwriter of 2020” by City Pages. This August, Mary just released her first full album in three years titled, The World is Your Lover. A synthesis of several past releases, she mixed folk, pop and Americana sounds featuring an all-star cast of players. This star-studded list includes: Alan Sparhawk (Low), Adm Levy (The Honeydogs, Turn Turn Turn), Shannon Frid-Rubin (Cloud Cult), Molly Maher and Jeremy Ylvisaker.

Song: “How to Forgive Your Rapist”

Mary has written about the topic of sexual assault and violence before, most notably the song “Petty Misdemeanors” that came out on an EP back in 2017. Those lyrics touched on her sexual assault experience ten years prior. When Mary was approached to join this project, she felt a “volcanic” need to speak up, despite the challenge to go there again, to dig in again.

Her song, “How to Forgive Your Rapist” is actually very much about how to not forgive your rapist. The twist is trying to forgive yourself, moving past the victim blaming and sharing that happens – “well you were drinking,” well you were dancing in the club,” “well you were being nice to a man,” “well it must have been your fault…”

“I felt and noticed and witnessed that individual healing has a deep, rippling healing effect on the collective… We’re shining a light on all this disgusting behavior. It’s really painful to dig in, but ultimately super worthy. I’m really humbled and grateful to be a part of this group and I feel really supported. I could call any of [them] and [they] would have my back and I would have [their] back.”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

JØUR

JØUR (Jourdan Meyers) describes herself as a “contrast” – head vs heart, light vs dark, clear vs obscure, minimalism vs complexity, analog vs electronic. Shifting between loud and quiet, her energy is captivating and her lyrics deeply contemplative. This Minneapolis-based, alt-pop artist has an electronic, minimalist style. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen new music from Jourdan, but she was excited about the challenge of writing music about this very sensitive and personal topic.

Song: “Won’t Stop Me Now”

Jourdan’s new single for this project, “Won’t Stop Me Now,” was written to empower women to use their voices to advocate for their boundaries and autonomy. It also presented an opportunity to find a way to communicate things she felt like she needed to say–to find her voice.

The chorus speaks to when Jourdan has felt silenced and the power of creating boundaries for yourself in all relationships – using your voice to set them despite having men around who would rather you stay silent. For example, when men make physical contact with Jourdan, after seeing her on stage. Photos, pats on the back, hugs and grabbing of the hand all unwelcome, without her consent.

“I’ve had a lot of experiences of non-consensual contact with men in the music industry… when people touch you after you play a show for them. That’s something that’s always really bothered me. Just because I performed for you on stage doesn’t mean you know me, I don’t know you. It’s not okay for you to put your hands on my body–for a picture, for a ‘nice job,’ for a hand of the back, shoulder. all of those things… For me, it felt really important to say that. I don’t want your hands on my body.”

Interview with Ann Treacy from Mostly Minnesota Music, a weekly radio show on WMCN

Jourdan adds that boundaries aren’t there to keep people out; they are there to keep yourself in – to understand and know yourself. Communicating boundaries is what she calls “a first stepping stone.” She ultimately wants to create music that empowers women and makes her feel empowered to communicate what she needs to say.

Averil Bach

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Averil Bach is a singer-songwriter from Minneapolis. Raised in a musical household, focusing on violin and piano from an early age, she was surrounded by mostly classical and jazz. Though consistent with her classical training, she discovered her great appreciation and love for the music from the 40s, 50s and 60s while wearing out her parent’s record collection.

Though music has always played a large role in Averil’s life, it was not until after her 11 years living in Sonoma County, California that she found her passion for and comfort with performance and collaboration as a songwriter. With the classical training and mentorship from the late Audrey Stottler (Metropolitan Opera), Averil has developed and is now sharing her extreme love of singing.

She now writes original compositions which are greatly influenced by a mix of jazz, blues, country and rock & roll while also creating her own renditions of standards. Whether performing solo with her electric guitar or accompanied by a full band, Averil’s deep connection with the audience makes her a special artist who seeks to share with others the beauty of music from her artistic life.

Song: “Radiation Blues”

When Avril was first approached to join this project, she asked herself “what do I want to say? Where does my voice belong?” Her initial doubts and self-questioning proved to be frustrating for her, she had moments when she wondered if her voice was important enough. Thankfully, despite months of writer’s block, Avril kept a pulse on inspiration, diving deep into what she called “a pool of cement.”

Her song “Radiation Blues” is a reference to her outrage with the political system, past and present, and about accountability. It comes from a conversation that Averil had with a stranger on the street. She asked him, “what would your mother say?” Averil was at a point where many of us have been – fed up and no longer willing to ignore or silently condone bad behavior. What did she do? Averil stopped him and took the time to educate him on what was wrong with his actions.

“It totally baffles me still, I’m still asking myself that question [What would your mother say?] because one of our many purposes in life is to be the best people we can be. So, I was taking a compilation of just a lot of frustration and it was a lot of unorganized thoughts that, in the end, actually made sense to me.

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

Annie Mack

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Annie Mack has become a standout local artist in the Minneapolis community, with national and international recognition. People from all walks of life can identify with her songs and lyrics. She’s a dynamic vocalist and charming performer, if you’ve had the privilege of experiencing her live. From deep, soulful melodies to full-bodied church hollers, Annie embodies and celebrates the diversity that is American roots music.

Song: “Judge and Jury”

Annie wrote “Judge and Jury” alongside Sarah Morris. The song is basically a big “F-you! You’re not the judge and jury of me!” and also addresses the religious stigma and judgement that comes with sexual assault and abuse – the stipulations we trip over to receive help, compassion, and understanding.

“Women, when we talk about needing help, when we voice the things that have transpired… we need healing, we need support. So, I kind of wrote from that perspective of addressing the judgement that comes versus just helping and being an advocate.”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

Annie also emphasized how the music industry is dominated by men and that most opportunities go to men. However, when it comes to the accountability that’s taking place in the industry and the community, there’s such a great lacking. Her hope is that these men will step up and take accountability and in turn hold others accountable.

“I think there’s power in the ally, but I also think there’s power in your peer calling you out and addressing this. Especially when these are people that you work with closely, whatever business that it is… there needs to be more from the individuals and the men that are a part of this.”

Linnea Mohn

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Making a career with her voice, Linnea has recorded everything from fantasy audiobooks about aliens and pirates to commercials for cinnamon rolls and orthopaedic surgery. She’s a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and founding member of the band Rogue Valley. 

When Linnea was first approached to be a part of this project, she had just found out that she was pregnant and having a daughter. She felt extra important to be involved, to be in the company of powerful women and friends, and to ground into that. Linnea wrote and recorded her song for this compilation in the postpartum period of her pregnancy, back in April. Born during a pandemic at a point in history where our culture of violence is being challenged in myriad ways, this baby girl’s arrival heightened her awareness of the importance of caring for ourselves and each other in the most basic ways.

Also, it just so happens that this year her birthday, September 24th, is also the day that the #MeTooMPLS record will be released into the world!

Song: “A Part”

A Part” deals with remembering who you are after your boundaries are violated, tending to the seed of yourself with patience as you heal, and cultivating love through community.

“When you have a dramatic experience you can disassociate. The song itself is about taking care of yourself and taking care of each other and the importance of community and doing the simple, next thing to keep yourself healthy and whole… so you are strong enough to continue and persist in what you are trying to accomplish. The concept of ‘don’t quit, rest.’ That was kind of the foundation of that song.”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

Lydia Liza

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

A couple years after going viral for re-writing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in 2017, Lydia Liza got sober. And then she got writing. Not a lot of artists can wear the “teenage musical prodigy” hat and go on to find success as an adult, and not a lot of artists can write a smash novelty holiday song and go on to transcend the “viral sensation” label – but with her first solo effort, Lydia Liza echoes Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley and Laura Marling with ease. Add a sprinkle of nostalgic pop-punk, and Liza creates a tasteful, familiar and expansive soundscape that keeps the listener hooked. 

Song: “Apple in My Pocket”

Lydia’s song, “Apple in My Pocket,” is about recognizing destructive relationship patterns and almost enjoying the “chaos” often inherent to such a relationship. Lydia has been very outspoken about her past experiences this summer, using her voice to talk about past abuse and collecting the names of predators in the music community.

Lydia shared that she has always been really preoccupied with the want for equality and consent education and is a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood. When she was approached to be a part of the project, it was a “no brainer.” Having recently ended an abusive relationship, Lydia found this to be a cathartic and productive way to channel her energy.

“I wrote my song ‘Apple in my Pocket’ about sort of how you have just figured it all out and felt so grounded in yourself and then all of a sudden your world gets rocked. And,, not only does your world get rocked, but you realize that you might love that chaos too. So, it’s a very honest look at how I have seen relationships and how I have since figured out that’s not how to do it.”

Interview with Ann Treacy from Mostly Minnesota Music, a weekly radio show on WMCN

Elska

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Elska is an artist from northern Minnesota. The name “Elska” is a Norse word and signifies “holding something dear,” or “to fiercely love something or someone.” The name she chose to call herself is as much a political connotation as it is a call to action. Elska’s sound is a combination of piano, vocals, and atmospheric indie/pop accompaniment.

Her debut album is a unique collection of anthems about what it is to be a woman in America, a human on this planet, or in an empty apartment sifting through a lifetime of good and bad decisions. These songs are currently being tested in both studio and live scenarios with the help of her writer and producer, Owen Sartori. The finished album will be released soon, fall of 2020.

Song: “On the Shoulders of Giants”

Back when the #MeToo movement got started, Elska was awestruck by how many people were so ready, or fed-up enough, to share their stories. So, when this project came along, she was honored to be a part of this incredible group of people to share more stories.

Elska’s song, “On the Shoulders of Giants” was written with the intention of honoring all the people who have made themselves vulnerable in sharing their story and, in turn, inspiring others in the community to do the same. This also points to the generations of women who came before us, chipping away at the system. The process of grappling with her own #MeToo experience, the isolation and loneliness of it, proved challenging. However, this project and the group of women involved in this compilation proved to be a reminder that she is not alone.

“It reminded me of something my grandmother used to say to my mother and my mother would say to my siblings and me: ‘you don’t have to hurt alone.’ There’s still so much grief and processing that has to happen internally and only you can do it, but the hurting you can have people around you. Something I hope to come out of this is just the holding of each other and not allowing us to be alone in the pain of it all.”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

Chastity Brown

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Based in Minnesota, but with roots in Tennessee, Chastity Brown grew up surrounded by country and soul music. In the full gospel church of her childhood, she played saxophone and drums and found her singing voice and a passion for music. Her first show was in Knoxville, TN, and then it was on to Minneapolis. Since then, she’s been featured on NPR’s “Favorite Sessions,” CMT, American Songwriter, the London Times, Paste Magazine and others. Chastity has toured the U.S. and abroad, appearing on the U.K.’s Later…with Jools Holland. 

It was a chance encounter with a white supremacist that was the impetus for Chastity Brown’s new single, “Mad Love.” The bi-racial artist was confronted outside a club in Eau Claire, WI having a quick smoke before taking the stage where she was accosted, cussed out and verbally attacked by a person who’d read her interview in the local paper. Her guitarist, Robert Mulrennan, came out and to find Brown standing up for herself and holding her own. Shaking with adrenaline, fear and anger, Brown went and did the show and shared the story with the audience. She realized the best possible response to racism and hate is love — including radical self love where, no matter how others choose to see you, you accept yourself. 

Song: “Afraid of the Night”

Chastity did not share details of her approach to writing and creating the song “Afraid of the Night,” in particular, but we would like to share some of her words about her personal experience and encourage you to listen to this powerful song.

“What I’ve realized is that the personal is political. Just by me being a biracial, half-black, half-white woman living in America right now is political. Just being a person of color, a queer woman of color, for that matter, is freaking political… I’m really intrigued by the perseverance of the human spirit and the complexities and contradictions that we embody as human beings.”

Katy Vernon

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Katy is what you would call a “ukulele songbird,” otherwise known as a singer of sad songs on a happy instrument.

Katy was born and raised in London, UK but has established herself as one of the busiest and most hardworking musicians based out of Minnesota – and a proud mother of two! She flies solo with the uke and also travels with a full band, ranging from twangy Americana to a bouncy pop-folk sound. Her newest record Suit Of Hearts, was announced a top-ten record of the year by the Star Tribune, as well as City Pages, and Melodic Playlist Twin Cities. Most recently, Katy was also named the Best Acoustic Performer of 2020 by City Pages.

Planned Parenthood is very near and dear to Katy, she was thrilled to be a part of this project to continue to lend support to them. Coming to the U.S. she had the rude awakening that there’s not free healthcare available in this country. Katy has struggled with ongoing issues with her health, over the years. Planned Parenthood was a “lifesaver” and her go-to healthcare for about three or four years.

Song: “Shine”

Katy has always had a desire to be heard. When it came time to prepare a song for this project, she realized that she had to really dig deep and contemplate what it is she wanted to say.

While she has experienced sexual abuse in the past, a very long time ago, Katy decided to go a different direction. Her song, “Shine,” is a powerful anthem about owning and celebrating who you are. Compared to the rest of the compilation, it’s a refreshing and energetic addition. Music in Minnesota was fortunate enough to see Katy record her pre-recorded performance back in August.

“The intro of the song is kind of scrambling, trying to be heard, trying to break walls within you and within the music scene. I feel very privileged and lucky that my music has been played on the radio in town, and that I’ve had the opportunity to play some really cool shows. So, then you want to bring other people with you.”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

Katy wanted the chorus to be the epitome of just that, women helping women lift each other up. She also noted that it feels like movements like this can often run out of steam – Katy is happy to “throw a log on the fire, and try to keep it going!”

“Just believe women. That’s the biggest thing I want people to get from this project… There’s a lot of ways that women’s voices can be silenced. So, I just hope that people listen.”

r0 (Static Panic)

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

From an early age, Ro Lorenzen (r0) has had a diverse and fluid arrangement of musical influences and opportunities to root a very distinct skillset and style. r0 came from a music family, they (r0 uses they/them pronouns) started singing around age five and learned to play piano and violin. They met Keston Wright in high school and later recruited Eli Kapell to form the band “Static Panic.”

r0 is locally known for their writing, vocal and production work for queer-friendly, disco-funk band, “Static Panic.” Through many years of challenges with self-doubt and anxiety, r0 has come to project more vulnerable, personal experiences, solo productions, and serve as moniker. As they exist outside of the binary, a listener’s taste must as well.

Writing and creating song about #MeToo, from a funk band sound, proved challenging. r0 had to re-evaluate how to share sides of their creativity, never taken into account before, and address feelings of self-doubt that they weren’t “women enough” to feel they were “right” in feeling assaulted.

Song: “Sides to Lonely”

r0’s song, “Insights to Lonely,” encompasses this feeling of not feeling “enough” in many different ways. It speaks to an experience of persevering though disassociation, something that can happen when you are trapped on your own thoughts – hindered by the experience of someone inquiring, “why don’t you just get over it,” or “take the high road,” or “be happy?” Or, when one is met with a dismissive, blanket euphemism that “there are better things on the other side.”

“I start wondering, ‘Is there a better side? Is there more hardship on the other side?’ Internalizing those things can really burn you from the inside if you don’t take the time you need as an individual to heal, to feel what you need to feel, in order to come above it… and work to see something beyond what you’re feeling right now.”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

r0 hopes that their song inspires those affected, by recent actions and movements in the Minneapolis music scene, to form alliances of accountability. They believe strength is numbers can help us overcome these internal and external challenges all of us are facing.

“I hope that this project allows maybe for someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to come forward, if they feel they need to come forward. This might help someone else to heal, or bring light into their lives a little bit more. Just knowing that they are less alone. More so now than ever before.”

Annie Fitzgerald

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Singer-songwriter Annie Fitzgerald’s music has been described as “a blend of Tori Amos’ intellectual appeal, Sarah McLachlan’s mystical charm and Edie Brickell’s baroque spirit” (Jamsphere).

Her most recent album, You & Me & the Sun, was released in June of 2018 to critical acclaim. Annie has been honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame as an artist to watch and played an integral part in the NYC Indie scene. After giving birth to her son Will, she welcomed a move back to her home state of Minnesota and a newfound sense of space to create.

When Annie was invited to be a part of this project she was quick to reply, “Hell yes!” soon after hearing more details about all the incredible people involved.

Song: “I Know That Sound”

Annie wrote “I Know That Sound,” to herself in a way, and anyone else who can identify with her words. The chorus sings, “I know that sound, it’s eggshells cracking.” The song speaks to her experiences of emotional abuse and manipulation.

“I kind of wrote it to myself, from the outside in. A lot of times, when you are experiencing any kind of abuse, it’s hard to really see it for what it is. I approached it as though I were writing to a friend.”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

With empathy and healing in mind, Annie hopes this project can be a catalyst for more healing. Like everyone involved, she poured her heart into this project, and in the process she was able to heal a part of herself.

“Community is such an important aspect of all of this, and the creating of allies. I think people coming together, in community, showing up in that way, might inspire other people to feel more comfortable coming forward. Especially in our [music] community.”

Ang Oase

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Ang Oase (Angie O) is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and sound engineer. Their list of solo albums range from acoustic to electronic collaborations. Formerly lead singer of Pennyroyal, and currently a member of Hard Looks, The Beavers, Scott Laurent Band, and Babes of Dusk, Ang has been performing out of Minneapolis and across the country for over two decades.

Known for their raw and moody vocals and lyrics, Ang can also be found behind a harmonica or laptop computer with a synthesized bass and heavily manipulated vocals. Currently, the movement of their career is focused towards fighting for: BLM, BIPOC equality, Queer and Trans issues – all injustices, all oppressions, in all avenues of art and activism.

Song: “Break Up Song” (feat. Christin Light)

Ang’s participation in this album was a way of addressing the shame and hurt and embarrassment by the man who repeatedly, sexually assaulted them. Like many, they were inspired by the many women/womxn speaking out about assault in the music industry.

Ang’s song, “Break Up Song,” specifically speaks to their experiences of emotional and mental abuse in same-sex relationships, between two female and/or genderqueer identifying individuals.

“At first I didn’t want to be associated with this movement (It took me one day to write the song, and weeks to write this post.) I didn’t want to be pitied, or judged, or called a liar. I didn’t want a scarlet hashtag (#metoo) attached to my sleeve. But, this was all jaded rhetoric that only serves the abuser and the patriarchy.”

Ang Oase

Ang expressed on their personal social media platform that they were honored to be a part of this project and proud of all the strong, resilient individuals involved – sharing their art and their experiences.

Ashleigh Still

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Twangy, singer-songwriter, Ashleigh Still, was initially planning to release her song “I’m Not Fuckin’ Around” this July, before being invited to have her song added to the larger #MeTooMpls compilation. She was honored to be officially added to the mix this summer.

Sexual abuse, assault, and rape have been a part of her personal history and she is a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood.

Song: “Not Fuckin’ Around”

This upbeat anthem is about Ashleigh ultimately waking up and having the strength to say, “Enough!” Her power and conviction rings through with a tender sincerity and the wonder of wide-open-road, new beginnings.

“I’ve spent most of my life stepping aside, apologizing, bound down, bowing out, shutting up, referring to the man in the room, abiding by B.S. rules that certainly don’t serve me and don’t serve anyone… the song is about waking up and just saying, ‘Enough! I’m not f-ing around anymore.’”

Interview with Andrea Swenson of The Current

Kara Laudon

Photo and artwork by Sarah Howley

Kara Laudon is a singer-songwriter based in Minneapolis. She’s been a familiar presence in the local community for years, and has worked as a side-woman for artists like John Mark Nelson and Dessa. Recently, she’s started making her way toward center stage, building up the confidence to begin singing her own songs. Her intricate indie pop numbers take on many themes, hidden subtly beneath a lush production and surprising melodies.

Kara’s recent record Old Lives (2019) is about a coming-to-terms with an unrecognizable, younger self. The album is an evocative, poetic collection of songs that detail her journey toward self-acceptance. Her delivery is gentle and effortless, but her message is rather gut-wrenching in nature.

Song: “I Do”

Take a look at “I Do,” here. Kara did not share her inspiration for creating this song. However, we encourage you to take a listen to the preview!




Kathleen Ambre
Author: Kathleen Ambre

Photographer | Designer | Writer | Chronic Creator

Written by Kathleen Ambre

Photographer | Designer | Writer | Chronic Creator

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Belfast Cowboys ease the pain of a pandemic at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge

“The Fire and the Medicine” Heals While Burning Through Our Past