Music is an avenue for letting the unspoken be sung out loud, for sharing with the world the emotions that stir within us. Great music can reach an audience anywhere, relating differently to each person who listens, and connecting people to each other. It is a powerful tool that – when used effectively – can leave a mark on the world. That mark can reach across time and exist long after the artist is gone. It can resonate with others and inspire change — within us and within our world.
Films and shows about music and musicians benefit from being able to combine the power of music with the power of images — it’s one of the reasons musical films and TV shows remain so popular. Recently exemplifying this ability is TV’s hilarious “We Are Lady Parts,” created by Nida Manzoor, which centers a raucous, all-female Muslim punk band who share stories about their frustrations and troubles through their music.
This week’s VOD, webseries, and podcast picks are all similarly centered on women in music. “KAYE: Next Life Around” is a documentary short that follows musician Charlene Kaye in the making of her latest album, exploring how her music was a catalyst for her own self growth. “Band Ladies” is a fictional comedic webseries about a book-club-turned-punk-band and the friendships and growth the women find in their music. And finally, “She Will Rock You” is a podcast that teaches rock and roll history — and history-in-the-making.
Here are Women and Hollywood’s VOD, webseries, and podcast selections.
“KAYE: Next Life Around” (Documentary Short)
During the periods in our lives where we can’t seem to find solid ground, art and music can be a saving grace. When singer/songwriter Charlene Kaye found herself on a course of change and turmoil, she turned to her craft to make sense of the world around and within herself.
In “KAYE: Next Life Around,” director Dave Yim follows Kaye throughout the process of creating her latest solo album, Conscious Control. The film usess archival photographs and footage to rebuild that period and allow Kaye to reflect on her experiences of writing the music for the album.
“Every song … is a different chapter of rediscovery and a different mode of self-forgiveness and self-acceptance,” Kaye says in the film. “It was created more out of a deep need for me to express and understand my own emotional confusion, and have as a thesis for the last few years of my life.”
The film’s soundtrack is composed entirely of music from Kaye’s latest album, accompanied by intimate videos of her recording vocals alone and mixing the music with her team. It allows the audience to step into her bubble of healing, and reminds them that through hardships and pain, beauty can still bloom.
Find “Next Life Around” on YouTube and Vimeo.
“Band Ladies” – Created by Molly Flood, Kate Fenton, and Dana Puddicombe
“We should form a band!” is something that most people with an ounce of musical talent have probably said to their friends at some point — but few of us actually do it.
“Band Ladies” is a comedic webseries about a group of middle aged women looking for release from the strife of the everyday. One night, the combination of a book club meeting, an open mic night, and a few too many drinks results in a viral video of the book club taking over the stage and singing about the things in life that make them angry.
When the five women – “an uptight homemaker, a disillusioned lawyer, a desperate artist, an infertile millionaire, and a love-sick flake” – see the video, their drunk selves inspire their hungover-in-the-morning selves to become a real band: The Band Ladies.
When they perform, they tap into their rage and regrets, finding power in voicing what was once unheard in their lives. And so they find their inner strength and deeper meaning in their lives, all while forming true friendships.
You can watch “Band Ladies” on Highball TV.
“She Will Rock You” – Created by Bethanne Tarpley and Leah Jones
“She Will Rock You” want you to know: “Rock and roll is not dead.” It’s written in their mission statement, and it’s a fact they prove with each episode of their podcast. As their website states, their aim is to educate listeners on classic rock artists and to promote new rock artists, particularly women and those from other marginalized communities.
The episodes generally fall into one of two categories: “Rock History” and “Meet the Artists.” The former breaks down the careers of famous musicians, including groundbreaking solo artists, like Selena and Janis Joplin, and bands such as Queen. In “Meet the Artists” episodes, the podcast’s creators Bethanne Tarpley and Leah Jones invite up-and-coming rock musicians on the show to discuss their music, and to find out what led them to rock.
As hosts, Tarpley and Jones play well off one another with an entertaining rapport, while still managing to stay on-topic and educate listeners – it certainly doesn’t take much to find yourself laughing along with the two friends as they trade remarks and discuss the music they so clearly love.
Learn more about “She Will Rock You” on their website, and listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.