Wilmington, Delaware's The Ladybug Festival, is the nation's largest celebration of women in music. In celebration of this year’s festival, which took place (online) on June 29th, Women Crush Music spoke to some artists from the incredible line-up.
First up in our series celebrating the success of women/womxn in music, is Delaware’s own Hoochi Coochi. Mixing genres like blues, soul and adding a touch of indie, Hoochi Coochi have performed at the festival for the last three years, and evolved from a duo to a quartet consisting currently of, Danielle , Chelsea, Michael, and Mark In conversation with Danielle, we delve into the band’s journey, their thoughts on online and livestream concerts/festivals and the piece of advice she’d give women in the industry.
Tell me about your music and your journey so far!
I started singing in church when I was a little girl. My mother would sing in church and I loved watching the crowd react to her and the energy it brought. I've always felt music was a way for me to give back to people. I started making rap music with my cousins when I was in high school. We got pretty popular but I feel I really found my voice in music when I started singing soul, blues, and funk music in Hoochi Coochi in 2015.
What was your reaction when you were added to this year’s lineup at the Ladybug Festival?
I was excited! I had applied for my band before I had worked with Gable Music Ventures so it was even more exciting to watch and help bring the entire thing together. We've played the festival before when it was in the city of Wilmington and it's a highlight of our summer every year.
What’s most exciting about this year’s festival particularly as it’s been moved online?
I'm excited for the possibility to reach a larger audience and from anywhere in the world. One of the artists, Luanna Exner, is from Brazil so her fans over there will buy tickets and then be exposed to a large group of American female fronted bands and musicians. It's hard to get opportunities like that!
What are your thoughts in general about the trend of livestream concerts and festivals? Do you think this trend is here to stay as a part of the music industry?
My band always has a good time together no matter if there's 2,000 people in the audience or 2 so playing in front of a cell phone or tablet didn't bother us so much. After not playing out for a couple months then we began to miss the energy of the crows. Live streams can be a bit weird and awkward for musicians but I can definitely see the upside. People who aren't willing are unable to come see us play in dive bars or don't like the large crowds of big festivals can enjoy some top notch entertainment. Now that there's a market for it, it would be foolish to not participate if you're a working musician.
As a woman in the industry, what are some challenges you’ve faced particularly when it comes to playing festivals that Ladybug has helped break down through their efforts?
I've used the fake male manager trick when sending and receiving emails, I've been sexually harassed by sound guys, I've been told my band was pretty good for a female fronted band. Now that I'm a bit older and experienced I'm not looking to be a part of anything that doesn't value me. I would rather spend my energy and share my gift with people who love what I do want to focus on creating spaces that are all inclusive.
What’s one message or piece of advice you’d give other women who are trying to find a place in the music industry?Never lose sight of the reason you make music. If you want it to be your main source of income that's fine. If you want to create music to share with your community that's fine. If you want to make music to never perform and only play in your basement with friends that's fine. If the reason you make music changes that's fine too! Trying to be something or someone you're not will ruin a good thing quickly.
Who are your personal inspirations?
My mother singing powerful old school gospel is my first true inspiration! I draw mostly from her and icons like Jimi Hendrix, Sister Rosseta Tharpe, Prince, and Koko Taylor. Not musically related Anthony Bourdain. Although not a perfect man I truly admired the way he approached life and how he was able to connect with so many people from so many different backgrounds and beliefs.
What are your future goals?
I plan on putting out new music this year but I try not to set goals to be honest. I just want to focus on doing what I love while I'm able to do it. This whole Covid-19 thing really put in perspective that anything can change at any time and it's so important to focus on the here and now.
Artists/ Lineup included :
Keri Hilson, Larkin Poe, Vanessa Carlton, KT Tunstall, Mary Lambert, Kechi Okwuchi (America's Got Talent), Evie Clair (America's Got Talent), Morgan James, Taimane, Lauren Ruth Ward, Asia Sparks, Kalie Shorr, Singing OUT ft. Crys Matthews and Heather Mae, LUANNA, Alicia Goku, Victoria Theodore, The Accidentals, Carsie Blanton, Gina Chavez, Nicole Zell, Eljuri, Lauren Jenkins, Willow Hill, Jessica Latshaw, Victoria Watts, SIRSY, Shannon Arianna, Alisabeth Von Presley, Nya-Jolie, June Divided, Soraia, Joy Ike, Jenny Leigh, Angela Sheik, Akilah Divine, Aubrey Haddard, Hoochi Coochi, Zookie Baby, LULLANAS, Tara Hendricks, Taylor Kelly, Toiné, FRUUT, Maya Belardo, The Upstarters, Lauren Kuhne, Alyssa Garcia, Lefty the Greatest, Eleanor Two
Ladybug Festival 2020 was supported by Girls Behind the Rock Show, Guitar Girl Magazine, Interiorstate, and Soundgirls. Follow the festival’s Instagram for highlights and more.
Find out more about Hoochi Coochi here
Written by Malvika Padin
Malvika Padin is an Indian-origin freelance journalist, editor and publicist based in the UK. An NCTJ-qualified journalist with over 450 by-lines and a lover of all music, you can get in touch with Malvika on email@example.com you’re looking for PR plugs, write-ups and any other collaborations
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