Victoria Theatre Association’s (VTA) One Small Voice: Women Who Rock contest helps aspiring female singer-songwriters in the Dayton region to find and use their musical voices as a creative force in the world. Selected participants completed a month-long boot camp experience which immersed them in the music industry, culminating in the creation of a signature song which participants both professionally recorded and shared live. One Small Voice: Women Who Rock features a multi-generational group of 22 female participants ages 14 and up from the Dayton region. Participants were selected through a video submission process.
This project was inspired by BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL (at the Schuster Center May 22-27, 2018) which centers around Carole King’s real-life journey from writing songs with her then-husband (Gerry Goffin) for other artists to finding her own voice as a solo artist after her marriage ended. This project aims to give women the confidence to find and use their musical voices as a creative force in the world.
Instrument: Baritone Ukulele
I grew up around all kinds of music, from bluegrass to jazz. My mom, who has been in her own band for several years, inspired me to explore music and its different genres. I’ve never been one to listen to just one type of music, and that mindset has bled into the way I perform with my uke and my voice. Creating music takes a type of persistence and creativity that –quite frankly — used to make me uncomfortable. But a life of just comfort is no way to live. Songwriting and music is my way of pushing myself to be the best possible version of me.
Music is common ground; it’s a way to connect humanity: to heal us, to connect us, to bring us together and help us take a deep breath. Our story matters! We are each made up of a story, and if we listen to each other’s stories, I think it would help us celebrate our differences and realize that we are more alike than we know. As I grew up and life happened, music became a way to reason with the world. To me writing is all about being a storyteller. One experience, one person at a time.
Instruments: Piano, Ukulele, Guitar
I’m a military brat who has lived in four different places. I am very close with my sister who is adopted from Ethiopia, and I’d call my younger brother my best friend. Moving a lot causes a lot of stress, but through various art forms, I’ve been able to overcome my anxiety and have been able to gain confidence. Nobody in my family has any musical ability, so the majority of what I know is self-taught. Songwriting is important to me because it gives me a chance to express myself in a creative way.
Instruments: Violin, Guitar
I love making up songs and have been doing it as long as I can remember. I write about all kinds of things from the silly and lighthearted to more serious and introspective. Some of my biggest influences and inspirations are Bonnie Raitt, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Eagles, The Civil Wars, and Mandolin Orange. I would consider my original songs a blend of folk, Americana and pop. My purpose is to share joy and encouragement with others through music, and I’m thankful for every opportunity I get to do that!
Music can connect people from different times and places and can express that which words cannot. I love that in songwriting there are no rules. It’s fun to create something original that comes from within yourself. Outside of songwriting, I also participate in music ministry at my church. I currently work with middle school English language learners and plan to pursue my master’s degree in education to teach Spanish and ESL.
Instruments: Vox, Guitar, Piano, Percussion
My mother loved music, so it was always playing in our house. Because of her, I started singing and playing keys (mini child’s organ!) at a very young age. I studied voice, percussion and theatre throughout high school. I attended UNCSA, a top arts conservatory, in drama. Wrote my first (cheesy) love song in college. Did a lot of musicals. Studied poetry. Took up guitar and joined a folk band called Hipswitch; wrote original tunes, gigged all over. Next month: a Brecht cabaret at Comfest in Columbus! This (a lifetime love of music) is how it starts!
Music is a true passion of mine and has been since I was very young. While I have always been interested in listening, singing, and playing music, I’ve had very little experience in actual songwriting. The process of deciding on a topic, writing lyrics, and then combining that with music has been a difficult hill to climb. One Small Voice: Women Who Rock has given me tips and advice on how to make this a part of my musical pursuits. I look forward to more opportunities to write and record music as I grow older and get more experience.
Music is a universal language. It doesn’t matter where you are from, how old you are, or what background you come from, the power of music connects everyone through an unspoken language. I knew I wanted to be able to speak that unspoken language fluently. Outside of songwriting, I’m a member of Friends Show Choir at Beavercreek High School, and I get to perform with 59 of my best friends. In addition to music, I have a passion for aerospace.
Instruments: Guitar, Ukulele
I’ve always written music. It’s something that helps me get through any situation. Writing and listening to music calms me down and makes me happy. I met my singing partner, Emily, when she moved in next door to me. We started singing together four years ago for our choir class karaoke day and the rest is history!
Instruments: Guitar, Drums
I grew up thinking professional singers only sang as a hobby, and it wasn’t a job you could actually have. After realizing that it was a possibility to do for a career, it became my goal. Originally, I thought I was meant to be a solo artist, but I quickly changed my mind after singing with my best friend and neighbor, Holly.
I have been singing since I can remember so I probably came out the womb singing. I really started to branch out in middle and high school, entering into competitions and traveling. After that I just couldn’t let it go and its had its hold on me, so I’ve decided to give in and see where it takes me. Music has the power to move and unite people, and I just want to be a part of that.
I don’t come from a musical family or community, so I had to search for music. I’m still searching for more. I started composing, writing, performing, recording, and editing my own music while searching, and I did not let any lack of resources or community stop me from creating and speaking my truth. One Small Voice: Women Who Rock has been a great help, and through it, I have found an amazing group of women to continue the musical journey with.
Instruments: Guitar, Piano
I grew up in a household that appreciated music, but its place in my life has grown exponentially since I started composing my own pieces. I believe a song can take you places that your heart cannot find on its own. It can bring understanding and healing. It is beautiful. Powerful. Even though I have not yet figured out what comes next in my story, I know it will be accompanied by the music I am creating.
Briana Leigh Oroszi
When I was 6, I sang “Amazing Grace” for my mom, and she was so inspired that she told me she could foresee a future for me as a musician. So, by age 7 ½, I started piano lessons to initiate a foundation in music. My musical passion only grew from there. Music empowers me and gives me purpose because I can use my voice to best express myself. Having gained such valuable insight from One Small Voice: Women Who Rock, I look forward to all the opportunities this awesome program will lead to, as I definitely want music performance to be in my future.
Instrument: Guitar, Ukulele
There are so many problems and injustices in our society that I feel very passionate about bringing attention to, and since music is something everyone loves and can relate to, what better way to spread an important message? My writing is deeply rooted in the values that I find extremely important in my life. I believe in the pursuit for complete equality and justice for all beings, and so I am vegan and a feminist, and this is reflected in my work.
Instruments: Piano, Guitar
I was born in Omaha, Neb., and after moving around for awhile I settled in Dayton. The experiences I’ve had meeting new people and seeing new places have heavily influenced me as a songwriter. Music gives me a creative outlet. I’m able to communicate my emotions through lyrics and melodies in a cathartic and beautiful way. My whole world revolves around listening, creating, and performing music, and I hope to make this a career.
Instruments: Percussion, Guitar, Piano
Growing up, I was always told you should pursue the things that you choose to do on a rainy day because that’s probably your passion. For me that was writing songs on guitar and piano. I was a music education major in college, but I tried teaching and hated it, so I became a police officer instead. Upon retiring after 25 years, I decided to face my fears and become a singer-songwriter after all! I have since released my first CD Brave Enough, given at TEDxDayton talk in 2015, and perform in the band Frozen Feet.
Instruments: Ukulele, Flute
When my best friend of 8 years moved away, I took my little passions of singing and playing the ukulele and wrote her a song. Playing it at my school’s talent show, I noticed that other people liked it, so I kept at it. I have an interest in music because of my father, who has always played many instruments. His work helps me feel that songwriting is an especially personal and beautiful way of expression.
I’ve always been very passionate about music. What really drew me in was the lyrics. If I’m falling in love with a song, it’s because the lyrics pull me in and really make me think. I think since I was already writing before I started playing guitar, putting music to my words was just natural.
Instruments: Flute, Piano, Guitar
I’ve always had a love for music. I grew up with it all around me. I was encouraged to be expressive and theatrical. It has only really been recently that I’ve gotten into songwriting and really understood how to create music. I’ve known theory and the mechanics for a while, so this step is huge for me. I want to continue to create new music. Life is all about exploring and discovering what speaks to you. It’s scary, I know. But, for now I am going to struggle through the journey and hopefully create some art that can speak to some souls.
Mei Li Weil
Instruments: Voice, Cello, Piano
Throughout my life, I have immersed myself in many different areas: music, dance, sports, acting, therapy writing, and my school. However, music has always been the most prominent and most important. As I grow up, I love finding things that are my own, and how I can create and put my own individual twist on it.
With support from Musical Theatre Initiative at Wright State University and IACT at ArtStreet.