BY JILLIAN RAFALSKI & ALEXI KING
Everyone has a story to tell. An authentic story can inspire, encourage, and empower individuals. It can pull an audience in and make them feel connected to a musical artist and other individuals that live in the spotlight. Sometimes these stories can get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but it’s people like Kiera Miller who want to bring them to the forefront. She has made it her mission to guide artists in finding their authentic stories to share. She believes that it’s an essential part of running a cohesive brand. Kiera’s personal “why” to everything she does is: to foster connection and inspire vulnerability, resilience, and change among individuals.
With social media on the rise, our stories have been made more accessible than ever before. Social platforms have the ability to humanize individuals you may not have otherwise had the chance to meet. As a Digital Strategist, Kiera is able to foster connection and inspire vulnerability, resilience, and change among individuals by generating authentic and relatable content for the 2X Grammy award-winning band for KING & COUNTRY and YouTube Influencers the CIMORELLI BAND.
BY TARYN MCCARTHY
There is a staggering lack of a female DJs and EDM artists. According to an article in LA Weekly, to date, no female artist has ever headlined a major EDM festival. Female DJ Colette Marino emphasized saying that she really doesn’t understand why there is a lack of women in electronic music, but thinks that this absence needs to be addressed. Colette also mentioned that in the past five years, she has seen a significant increase in women in electronic music. To further emphasize this female deficiency in electronic music, in 2016, only 3.2% of the acts at Beyond Wonderland, an EDM-focused music festival, were female-identifying acts. At EDM-focused music festival Ultra, there were about 7.5% female-identifying acts. While this article did note that these numbers had increased from their first analysis in 2014, the numbers are still astoundingly low.
DJ MADDØG, also known as Madison True, is hoping to influence the presence of females in electronic music. Pursuing a passion like producing electronic dance music, is difficult, especially without many women mentors in the genre. Bloomington is lucky to have a strong core of women DJs and women in EDM. Artists like DJ MADDØG have impressed audiences all over the country.
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.
BY JILLIAN RAFALSKI
An Indiana University student and Bloomington local that has put her mark on public media and music journalism.
Kenlynn Albright is a sophomore at Indiana University, studying Marketing and Media and Diversity. Currently, she plans to use her education to pursue public media and music journalism. Kenlynn got her love for music, growing up in the arts-rich community of Bloomington. She credits her interests in public media to living in a cable-free household and experiencing the benefits of public access. Radio has been a big part of Kenlynn’s life, hosting radio shows since she was a sophomore in high school at WFHB community radio’s youth radio program. Soon after, she was gaining experience at Bloomington’s NPR and PBS station, WFIU/WTIU, during an internship her senior year of high school. Falling in love with the platform and making life-long connections, Kenlynn excelled at WFIU/WTIU and was offered a job at the station in the summer of 2016, and has been working there ever since. Kenlynn continued with radio at Indiana University, joining WIUX Student Radio.
BY JILLIAN RAFALSKI
A Chicago-residing IU Alumni that has left her legacy here in Bloomington, IN via her involvements with the African American Arts Institute, the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, and the creation and development of the African American Dance Company.
“You can dance and be political. You can dance and be social. Those are the types of things that are really important for people to understand...even when we dance, we tell stories.”
Iris Rosa immigrated to East Chicago from Puerto Rico at the age of three. She remembers growing up in what she called a “concrete jungle,” not having any thoughts toward her future. It wasn’t until she stumbled upon a dance group in high school, that she started to envision herself in the arts. Continuing on with dance in college, Iris graduated from Indiana University where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education with a concentration in dance and a Masters degree in Elementary Physical Education and Dance. Soon after, Iris was offered a teaching position at IU in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies. While teaching, Iris would take trips all around world to better herself and her teaching.
Iris said that it was important for her to keep improving herself because she wasn't offered dance classes like this when she was younger. She felt responsible to keep her creativity always at an all time high. In 2007, Iris was promoted to a full time professor position. Overall, Iris spent 43 years at Indiana University, eventually becoming the Director of the African American Dance Company and a full time professor who taught dance history and black diasporic traditions.
An incredible woman who discovered her path in music through helping others find theirs.
“I think that women, even if it’s subconsciously, are thought of as less than or weaker and it’s just like, I am so not. I’m strong. I’m a strong, black woman.”
After graduating from Indiana University in 2010 with a degree in Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management, Terrilyn had high hopes of heading off to New York to pursue her dreams of performing on Broadway. That didn’t happen after her potential New York roommate had to back out. She then considered Chicago, having someone willing to be her roommate there. Her plans changed once again, when this person had to back out of the move as well. Disheartened, Terrilyn traveled back to her hometown: South Bend, Indiana. Feeling lost, she didn't sing or pursue any musical outlets for awhile. After participating in the renowned IU Soul Revue in college, this quick shift from pursuing her passions to working retail left her lost. Her participation in IU Soul Revue had allowed her to break out of her shell and share her voice, the stage had allowed her to be confident and proud. Without it in South Bend, she felt like wasn't being her best self.
After the move to South Bend, she found herself holding onto music via church & theatre groups. Shortly after being settled at home, she was contacted by a past Soul Revue connection about an internship opportunity with Stax Music Academy in Memphis, TN. After completing her internship and briefly returning to South Bend, Stax Music Academy was calling to offer her a teaching position. Just eight months after coming back, Terrilyn and her husband, James Douglas, moved to Memphis together. Accepting the position with Stax Music Academy, Terrilyn got her first taste of music education and never looked back.
From building her own solo career as a singer, songwriter, and pianist to building an entertainment company from the ground up, to setting records on IU's collegiate swim team...we don't think there's much that Jenn Cristy can't do.
"This is a really hard industry - keep your head on straight, your focus true, and make sure you surround yourself with great people. These 3 things can make anyone successful."
Jenn Cristy first expressed interest in music when she climbed up onto a piano bench at the age of four. Her parents immediately signed her up for lessons. Up until college, Jenn worked to shape her musical talents via classical training. Originally from Tennessee, she made her way to Bloomington when she received an athletic scholarship and admission to the IU's music school, now known as Jacob's School of Music.
During her senior year of college, she was granted the opportunity to sing the national anthem at an IU Men's Basketball game to honor her athletic achievements as an IU swimmer (10 Time All-American, 3rd place at the NCAA's, breaking the Big 10 Record more than once, going to the Olympic Trials for freestyle, winning 3 Big 10 Championships...shall we continue?). Long story short: John Mellencamp was in the audience that night. Following her performance she was asked a question that would change her entire life plan - would she join Mellencamp on his 2001 Cuttin' Heads international tour? We had the chance to chat with Cristy about her experiences on tour, her solo career, and what she has been up to since the start of her career in music.