Thursday 8th March marks a very special day – International Women’s Day. Though gender equality should be celebrated every day, it’s a chance for us to really shine a light on the female figures in our lives and those in our wider society that dedicate their lives to the cause. What better way to celebrate the event than by belting out a ton of songs by our favourite female artists? This will give you a level up in sassiness and add an extra ‘oomph’ to your moves! Whether you’re celebrating the event at one of our venues or from home – take this playlist with you!
While we all have an opinion on certain things, few individuals in recent times have been and are proud to be as outspoken with their views as song-writer David Poe. His latest track “What The President Said” is, as the title suggests, a lyrical ‘tirade’ at Mr. Trump, addressing the fact that so many of his tweets are disrespectful and offensive to the people he’s meant to look out for. While the song and its video continue to gain huge momentum and support from the likes of Jane Fonda, Poe spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about his early ambitions, the upcoming midterm elections and his hopes for more bands and artists to start speaking up about issues that matter.
TITL: First of all, who is David Poe? How would you sum yourself up in a few words?
David Poe: I’m a songwriter.
TITL: Who or what most inspired and encouraged you to get into music? Have you ever had any other career ambitions or has this always been your goal?
DP: All my novels clocked in at three minutes, 30 seconds long. Song-writing was the next obvious choice.
TITL: Your latest track “What The President Said” is considerably outspoken towards a certain Mr. Trump. Why did you decide that now was the right time to write and release it?
DP: I’m against racism and inequality, you see. But not every day can be one of outrage. I recorded the “This is what democracy looks like” chants on my phone at the Women’s March and at the LAX protest against the first, failed Muslim ban. The song was built around the voice of the people. Both song and video are designed to inspire voters as we head towards midterm elections, and beyond.
TITL: Can you recall any of his particular tweets that angered or infuriated you, fuelling your need to write the song?
DP: Where to begin? I came of age in New York City, where he is commonly despised. Couldn’t even carry the vote of his neighbors who lived on the same block. From the pink and gold, Saddam Hussein-inspired decor of his buildings to his forays into fake wrestling to his stint as a game show host, he was the punchline to several jokes. An oaf, but back then, only that.
From the racist opening salvo of his campaign to the revelations provided by Access Hollywood, I was one of those who believed that no self-respecting person could ever vote for him. The complicity of Republican lawmakers in his rise is unlikely to be forgiven.
But if I had to locate the turning point from simple disgust to fear of endangerment, I would have to say the sympathy and false equivalency he expressed towards neo-Nazis after the Charlottesville incident. No person of any conscience will ever spin that comment.
TITL: How did Sister C get involved in the project?
DP: Sister C is one of the finest voices for which I’ve ever had the pleasure to write. Her recorded efforts are rare, so I was fortunate that an artist of her caliber felt moved to contribute to this project. Together, we became a choir.
TITL: How much of an impact do you think, or hope, the song will have in terms of encouraging people to vote in the November midterm elections?
DP: Music is a rallying point unlike any other medium – it travels with us, and confirms our commonality. I hope to hear someone singing it from a voting booth when I head to the polls: “Don’t let ‘em get away with it …”
TITL: The song has already had over 10,000 views on YouTube and been championed by the likes of Paste Magazine and shared by the likes of Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem. Did you ever expect it would get the reaction and response it has?
DP: It is humbling when anyone, especially innovators of their pedigree, respond to it. But most of us feel like the song sounds.
TITL: What would be the nicest and best thing someone could or has said about the song?
DP: Some people who attended the Women’s Marches and engaged in the “This is what democracy looks like” chant have said they hear themselves in the song. And they’re right, they can.
TITL: Do you have any upcoming performances planned where fans and those who have had the song brought to their attention can hear it live?
TITL: Given how much attention WTPS is giving you and your career, where do you go from here?
DP: I now have written enough songs to offend an audience of NRA supporters for at least an hour.
TITL: Finally then, do you wish more people, especially bands and artists, and those who have the power to reach an audience of millions with their music and messages, would be bolder in speaking out about things that matter to them, as you have done?
DP: Yes, and I’ve got new songs for them to sing! I’ve got one for Bruno Mars and one for Chance, one for Taylor Swift and Rihanna and P!nk. I’ve got a duet for John Mayer and Frank Ocean, and one for Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand. I’ve got more songs than I can sing myself. I would be grateful for the help of like-minded colleagues.
But what I really wish is that radio, especially indie and public radio, would have the guts to play some of these songs. Perhaps radio and some artists are concerned about alienating their audience. They shouldn’t be. Protest songs are created in the most grand tradition of rock & roll and hip hop.
Imagine if radio had refused to play “Ohio” by CSN&Y after Kent State, or if the band hadn’t recorded it because they were concerned about offending their fan base! The world would be different. But history bore them out, and radio still plays that song, and they play it far more than any current protest songs.
YG & Nipsey Hussle, Milck, A Tribe Called Quest, Fiona Apple and Eminem are a few who have released protest songs. Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers did one with Springsteen. Carole King, Billy Bragg and Chicano Batman have done pertinent covers. I wish every artist would raise their voice, as well as their Twitter accounts, and any artist of note who wants to do so can connect with me there. It’s clearly time for all of us to stand up, with our songs as well as our votes. Don’t be afraid. Art is made to reflect the world, not just to entertain it; artists always point us towards the future.
Check out “What The President Said” below and for more information on David Poe, visit his website or follow him on Twitter.
Having come together thanks to MySpace, electric-pop duo SIGNY – their name inspired by Norse mythology – have a fairly busy few months ahead. Having just released their latest single “Human”, Amy Arani and Delaney Gibson are now preparing the release of their album Water later in the year and also hoping to announce some coinciding tour dates. Having already been compared to the likes of Sia, and lyrically inspired by Conor Oberst among others, they chatted to ThisIsTheLatest about being featured in TV show The Bold Type, their views on social media, and which artists they’d most like to perform with.
TITL: Firstly, how would you sum up SIGNY?
SIGNY: SIGNY is her own being. She’s driving the car, we’re just along for the ride.
TITL: For those who don’t know about Norse mythology, could you please explain the background to your name?
S: SIGNY is the name of two heroines in connected legends. They both end up setting themselves on fire because of men they’re in love with, which is NOT the plan! SIGNY is here to set some concepts and realities on fire, so we’re going to go with that. SIGNY felt like the right name because we’d both had solo careers before we joined forces. As we’ve gotten to know each other, we’ve realized that there are many uncanny similarities between us-we even got the same tattoo before we met!
TITL: What would you say each of you brings to the band?
S: We both write all the music together. Delaney has impressive design skills and visual acuity, and Amy is obsessed with the written word, and, well just about everything else. We always agree on anything that we put out in the world together, so ultimately SIGNY has the final say.
TITL: Which band or artist might you say you sound most like? Is there one act you get a lot of comparisons to, and if so, do you mind them?
S: We draw a lot of comparisons to Sia for our powerhouse vocals and mix of vulnerable ballads and empowered, dance heavy songs.
TITL: Which bands and artists most influence and inspire the music you make?
S: Conor Oberst and Father John Misty inspire us to be better lyricists and we cannot get enough of Lana Del Rey’s production.
TITL: You were 2016 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Finalists. What was that experience like?
S: It felt incredible to be recognized by our peers as writers and not just performers.
TITL: What impact did having your track “Kings” featured in Season 1, episode 4 of The BoldType have on people’s response and reaction to you?
S: It opened more doors for us in the industry. Unfortunately, the song hadn’t been released yet, so no one could find it! But we were able to Shazam it and that felt pretty rad.
TITL: You’ve just released latest track “Human”. What was/is it about the song that made you feel it was the right choice to release as a single?
S: Human is a synth-pop anthem that we wrote to celebrate our humanity. We are, above all, human, no matter what labels we’ve been assigned or assign ourselves.
TITL: The track is taken from your upcoming album Water. Is there anything you can tell me about it? Do you each have a favourite track and if so, which is it and why?
S: Actually, “Human” was recorded after we finished Water. Again, SIGNY decided this was the first song she wanted to release.
TITL: What made you decide to pen and share your ‘open letter to humanity’? Do you wish more individuals and artists would express themselves as openly as you do?
S: We wanted to write a letter from a future human perspective as a reminder that we each have a choice in how we relate to each other and our planet. We’re at a critical point in our evolution as a species, and many forces are trying to divide us. Will they? Or will we remember how to dance and come together in love? Self-expression is a tricky thing-so many people have been shamed for being themselves. Our main message is that everyone is precious and deserves to be heard.
TITL: Do you have any tour/performance plans in the works?
S: We have an amazing booking agent, Joy Collingbourne, who is working hard behind the scenes so that we can hit it hard once the album comes out.
TITL: If you could play any venue in the world, and share the stage with 2 other bands or artists, living or dead, where would you play and who would join you?
S: Triple Bill, Queen, Lady Gaga, and SIGNY at Madison Square Garden. And we all join together to play “Fat Bottomed Girls” for the finale!
TITL: Particularly given the fact that you met on MySpace, how does and has the internet and social media impacted your ability to reach an audience and get your music out there to fans around the world? Do you think there are any downsides to the almost ‘dependence’ some appear to have on the likes of Twitter and Facebook?
S: We wouldn’t even be here if not for Myspace, so in that sense we wouldn’t have an audience to reach had it not been for social media. In the early days, it felt very easy to connect with fans. Now there are algorithms that make it so that you have to pay to have any reach on certain platforms, but it’s not impossible. As our manager likes to say, we are decentralized at heart. All our systems will follow, so we’re using that telepathic angle. We honestly don’t think it would matter if Twitter and Facebook disappeared – we’re not as dependent on it as we think. Someone is probably busy inventing better tech right now anyway.
TITL: Finally then, where would you like to see yourselves five years from now? What’s the long term ambition/dream?
S: We want to win a Grammy for Best Pop Duo in the next few years. We want to tour the world, create a long-lasting relationship with our fans, and never stop playing music.
Give “Human” a listen below and for more information on SIGNY, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Header photo image: Casey Travis Holder.