On Wednesday night, Pub 56 saw a packed and lively crowd for the first annual Women’s Open Mic Night, hosted by the Dub, SLU PAC, and Carefree Black Girls. The event hosted student musicians of any gender to perform songs by influential and inspiring women in music. Artists of any genre or era were welcomed.
“We wanted to create an open space to celebrate women in music,” said Quinn Audsley ’20, a member of the Dub and the MC for the night. “The event overall was really a celebration of the unique womanhood of not only musicians, but of the students as well.”
From stripped down acoustic versions of Britney Spears and Janis Joplin to soulful karaoke renditions of Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Adele, the variety of performances was wide-reaching. Other artists featured were P!nk, Lily Allen, Colbie Caillait, Joni Mitchell, Edith Piaf, and Whitney Houston. Indie and up-and-coming artists like Billie Elish, Jorja Smith, and KT Tunstall were also featured as well as an original, student-written piece inspired by feminist activist Malala Yousafszi.
This is the first open mic hosted by the Dub and Carefree in recent years, but there was a social-justice-themed, spoken-word open mic, hosted by Men In Color, with similar success. The organizers of the event, including Henry Liebers ’19, a member of SLU PAC and performer at the event, felt the event was very successful. “As a club whose mission is to bring more art to campus, we were very excited about it! We are also a club that values diversity and like the idea of showcasing the talent of an under-appreciated and underrepresented demographic.”
Out of the 16 winningest artists in Grammy history, only five have been women. In the 2010s alone, women won record of the year only 36 percent of the time, album of the year 46 percent of the time, and best new artist a mere 20 percent of the time. While the Grammys are not the sole indicator of women’s representation in music, it often seems as if men dominate the mainstream music scene. Events like Wednesday night’s, though, help to break that pattern by recognizing and honoring women in music.
Those in attendance and the hosts of the event emphasized the importance of celebrating women in music on campus. “I thought the event was powerful; it appreciated women in music, which isn’t something that regularly happens, and it brought two intersectional feminist groups with different demographics together” said Tyler Senecharles ’20, a member of Carefree Black Girls.
“The turnout was phenomenal, and I was personally very happy with the variety of performances,” said Liebers. “PAC is hoping to help organize more collaborative open mics in the future with other clubs on campus, especially with the success of this event.” So, look out for more events like this in the future!