BY TARYN MCCARTHY
Two passionate college students created a platform to highlight inspiring women in music called “Shut Up and Listen.” These students, Bethany Lumsdaine and Jessie Grubb, first began their adventure with “Shut Up and Listen” in September 2016 on WIUX radio. We at MidWay were eager to talk to Bethany and Jessie and hear from the masterminds behind this exciting and empowering project. Read on to hear more about these wonderful ladies and their development of their project: Shut Up and Listen.
Shut Up and Listen quickly evolved from a one hour radio show on WIUX Student Radio at Indiana University, to an online project & zine. [Just in case you’re like me and needed to look it up - a zine is different than an ordinary magazine. A zine is a “noncommercial often homemade or online publication usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter (Merriam-Webster).”]
Bethany and Jessie met in high school in their art class. Alluding to their future endeavors, Bethany noted, “we made a lot of crafts together; that’s kind of been our thing, we have projects.”
Following that, the pair started doing youth radio together in high school, which is what lead them to do the same thing years later at Indiana University.
In talking about their radio show, Jessie stated “we just wanted to make a show that featured female musicians in every band that we play. From that we started doing interviews.”
As the number of interviews increased, Bethany and Jessie wanted to document their interviews in some way other than on air. From that idea, they developed their first zine. With their passion and ambition, Bethany and Jessie taught themselves how to use InDesign and Illustrator and brought this dream to life.
In October 2016, they released their first zine, pictured above.
As stated on their website: "Shut Up and Listen aims to create a platform where underrepresented musicians and artists can be heard.”
To date, Bethany and Jessie have created and published 8 issues of their zine, Shut Up and Listen.
When we asked asked what motivated them to continue creating these zines, Bethany replied, “I think I’m always excited to be able to show somebody something new and something that they might not have heard of otherwise. I think that’s the biggest thing... just making it accessible and interesting and covering stuff that feels important to us."
Through Shut Up and Listen, the two get to interview a range of artists. They often connect with artists on the road that are making their way through Bloomington. Bethany reflected on one of her favorite artists that they got to talk to: Yaeji. Following their interview, Yaeji got over 2 million hits on her next music video.
Bethany gushed, “[that was] cool, we spotted somebody...when they were like, still up and coming.”
For the hours of work that Bethany and Jessie put into this project there isn’t much financial payoff - the two stated that they do this just because they love it.
When asked what advice they would give other people aspiring to create a zine like this, Bethany and Jessie agreed: “you just gotta do it!” They said that starting is usually the hardest part, but that it’s a learning process and, as Bethany said, “you can only go up.” She elaborated, encouraging those aspiring to create like her, to just go for it. They both emphasized that you need to be confident in what you are going. To ignore what other people think you ‘should’ do and ‘could’ do, and instead to do it exactly how you want it.
Shut Up and Listen has given Bethany and Jessie a platform with which to share their passions. On the official website, you can view (& purchase) their zines, read and listen to various interviews, reviews and much more. It even features an 11 track playlist of songs produced by women. Just like MidWay, Shut Up and Listen features women in music and shines a light on the wonderful work that they do.
This power-duo acted on an idea and expanded it into an empowering and community-building project. Keep cheering them on through the links below: Listen to their radio show on 99.1FM here on Thursdays from 11AM-12PM. They also upload their playlists from their shows on YouTube here. Follow their Instagram here. Check out their website & zines here.
It’s an understatement to say that the work that Bethany and Jessie have put into this is impressive. You can see their passion and hard work in every aspect of this project, from their zine to their Instagram to their radio show. Keep up the incredible work, Bethany and Jessie! We at MidWay are big fans.