Do you have to be 19 and able to twerk in a bikini to receive recognition as a female musician these days?
Solveig Whittle and Elizabeth Butler are proof that you don’t. These two indie female songwriter-musicians from Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, were notified recently that they both have songs and albums up For Consideration in the 57th Grammys and nominated for the 2014 Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMAs). The Grammys will be awarded in February of next year, but the HMMAs will be awarded sooner, on November 4th, 2014 at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles.
The two women have been strategizing for months and working together to promote their new music in an industry in which it is notoriously hard to stand out – and one that also tends to favor younger artists. They remain undaunted, however, and now their musical and co-promotional partnership created some very visible results such as their Grammy and HMMA nominations.
Like many indie musicians, Whittle and Butler have been hobbyist musicians their whole lives. Only within the last few years have they gotten serious about putting resources and time into pushing their individual music careers forward. By sharing information with each other and honing both their musical and promotional skills, they have proved that collaboration is the new route to success in the music business.
Both Whittle and Butler released new albums this fall. Whittle’s is entitled Fire and Other Playthings, and Butler’s is Love & Loss & Stuff Like That. Both artists are on the first round 57thGrammy ballots in Best American Roots Song and Best Americana Album categories. The two albums share a theme of empowerment, something both women have experienced as individuals in recent years and want to pass on to others through their music.
“I submitted my song, A1A (Settin’ Myself Free) for the HMMAs in December of 2013, and was thrilled when I heard it had been nominated for Best Americana Song, “ said Butler. “It’s an anthem for anyone going through a change, and I think it’s struck a chord with a lot of people. Fans really seem to resonate with the subject matter. It’s a little bit Thelma and Louise.”
“Elizabeth and I have been collaborating for over two years now. I was a little hesitant, but Elizabeth encouraged me to submit my work to both the Grammys and the HMMAs,” said Whittle, “The HMMA nomination is my first music award nomination ever, and I plan to make the most of the experience. Would I like to win? Sure, but just being nominated and attending the HMMAs with Elizabeth is going to be a great experience.”
Both Whittle and Butler are typical indie musicians: they also have day jobs. Creating and promoting their music is something that keeps them busy late into the night and on weekends. Butler is a registered nurse at a Houston-area hospital, and Whittle is a social media instructor at the University of Washington.
The two women met two years ago through Twitter and Soundcloud. Friendship and professional musical collaboration quickly blossomed via email, text, social media, and the cloud. Whittle was soon providing backup vocals for Butler, and then Butler flew to Seattle to attend Whittle’s 2013 CD release party for a prior album. Whittle subsequently traveled southeast in January 2014 to participate in the filming of Butler’s music video for A1A (Settin’ Myself Free). During that visit, the two began co-writing the lyrics to Light The Fire, which they finished through long-distance collaboration online over the summer. Light The Fire was released on both of their CDs (on Butler’s as a bonus track), and is one of the songs up for consideration for a Grammy.
“When we met, we realized we shared so many life experiences and values – even though we come from different parts of the country and backgrounds. We have a pack of children between us who are adults now. The bottom line is: we’ve been daughters, we’ve been moms, we’ ve been wives. We’ve launched a thousand ships, so to speak. Now it’s our turn. Our musical and personal friendship has given us the support – and that extra push – to pursue our own creative ambitions at this stage in our lives,” said Whittle.
Like Butler’s song A1A (Settin’ Myself Free), Whittle says the lyrics to her song Light The Fire speak to the lightning strike of revelation and transformation that many people feel as they get older, and realize that the clock is ticking but there are still creative things they want to do in their lives. Coming from a background in high tech marketing and business, it took Whittle many years to realize that what she really loved most was writing and singing songs, as she had in college. After that epiphany, she decided to get serious about her music because it meant much more to her than a hobby.
“For every person out there who dreams of releasing their CD, writing their novel, creating that art piece, or making that indie film – just remember that it gets easier after the kids are grown,” said Butler. “Don’t give up on your dreams – we all have so much life experience to share. You can absolutely do it!”
Watch Elizabeth Butler’s music video A1A (Settin’ Myself Free) on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAFpXqUsFcE
Her latest album, Love, Loss and Stuff Like That, is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and all major music outlets. Website http://www.EButlerMusic.com For booking, licensing, or press, contact Elizabeth Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch Solveig & Stevie’s music video Light The Fire on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M4OldmcXcY
Her latest album, Fire and Other Playthings, is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and all major music outlets. Website http://solveigandstevie.com For booking, licensing, or press, contact Solveig Whittle at 206-619-0646 or email@example.com