Photo by Norm Eder

Women in Music

Oregon female songwriters unite against the underrepresentation that women face in the music industry

As Women’s History Month approaches, female voices and artistry are uplifted with She’s Speaking Live kicking off the month at Unity of the Valley with eight Oregonian female songwriters. The lineup comprises Arietta Ward, Bre Gregg, Kristen Grainger, LaRhonda Steele, Beth Wood, Liz Chibucos, Naomi LaViolette and Lisa Mann (pictured). “We have this killer and kick-ass band that plays with us,” says Grainger, co-founder of She’s Speaking. The artists come from all sorts of backgrounds and genres. With R&B, funk, blues, rock, Americana, gospel, folk, pop and more, there’s music for everyone to enjoy from covers of popular artists such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Sheryl Crow to original songs. When COVID-19 shut down the world in 2020, Gregg, Grainger and Wood came up with an idea to honor Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she passed. “She had this amazing life and amazing career and has done wonderful things for all people,” Grainger says, “but particularly in advocating for women through the legal system.” The pandemic put a hold on people gathering, so the three women launched a YouTube channel on International Women’s Day in March 2021 where they had more than 60 female songwriters write and record a song about an inspirational woman. She’s Speaking Live debuted in late 2021 at Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland. For Friday’s show, “expect an invigorating and uplifting, fun show,” Grainger says. “It’s got a great deal of power, and yet it’s super enjoyable and accessible.”

She’s Speaking Live is 7:30 pm March 1 at Unity of the Valley, 3912 Dillard Rd. Tickets are $25 in advance at ShesSpeakingSongs.com and $28 at the door. The YouTube channel is ShesSpeakingSongs.