Nadia Elkharadly: Fabulous Frontwomen

NadiaMy whole life has put me in situations where I’m the only girl.  I’m the sole girlchild in a pack of four siblings.  At my day job, I am usually the only woman at the meeting table on any given day, be it in my team’s daily meetings, on certain projects, sometimes even in line at the cafeteria.  When I’m at a big show taking pictures, I’m usually the only gal tromping through the pit in my motorcycle boots, trying to shoot around, beside and sometimes ducking underneath the lenses of my usually taller and burlier male photographer counterparts.  Sometimes the world, especially the music world, can feel like one big old boys club, and I’m sure I’m not the only gal about town that feels that way.  On many stages in the indie music scene, women tend to stand alone on stage, surrounded by their penis packing bandmates.

It’s not a good thing, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing, maybe even a strange thing.  But there are a ton of strong, talented and fucking awesome ladies leading some of my favourite (old and new) bands out there.  And in a world where women are still marginalized, objectified and are frequently the victims of violence and oppression, I think it high time we celebrate women’s strength and value more and more, especially considering we live in a place where we safely and happily can.  So for my column today I’d like to give a shout out to some of the fabulous local and indie frontwomen I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, hearing and admiring.

Leah Fay – July Talk

julytalk1I may have started to like July Talk’s Leah Fay when I first heard her sweet yet sassy voice on “Paper girl”, but it was her tweeting this iphone autocorrect related rant that made me LOVE her.

Aside from the enjoyment I get when anyone maligns an Apple product, her indignation was so appropriate.  As an incredibly awesome frontWOMAN she of all people have the right to be appalled that this word isn’t recognized.  But while Apple autocorrect may be lacking, the music loving community in Toronto very much recognizes how nxne-friday-2-108truly amazing she is. She’s a pixie with a potty mouth whose magnetic presence holds in audience in an absolute thrall, wide eyes, smiling mouths and dancing limbs aching and waiting to do her bidding.  And that they do!  Whether it’s singing along to “Black Lace”, dancing to “Guns and Ammunition” or taking off their clothes to earn an encore, Fay holds the crowd at every July Talk show in the palm of her hand.  It’s amazing to witness, and just adds to the power of July Talk’s incredible live performance.

Joan Smith – Little Foot Long Foot

Joan Smith – Little Foot Long FootA little girl with a BIG voice, Joan Smith’s BB King guitar stylings and power packed vocals raise her head and shoulders above many of her male music industry counterparts.  Another potty mouth in the house (my favourite kind of lady), with songs on her resume like the killer “Kickface”, the awesome “Sell out while you can” and my personal favourite title “Neko Case hate fucks Kurt Cobain”, Smith has the lyrical and musical chops that work perfectly with her killer voice.  Take a listen to “May” below and and see just what I mean.

Caitlin Dacey – Bella Clava

Caitlin DaceyYou may recognize this super cool lady singer from the above video.  Along with fronting super cool indie rock group Belle Clava Dacey did a turn with Little Foot Long Foot as their keyboard player and professional harmonizer.  With a voice that both aspiring pop stars and heavy metal screamos envy, the ability to switch between pounding on the keys and producing killer guitar riffs (sometimes at the same time, I’ve seen it!), Dacey is a superwoman of a frontwoman.  Check out how she easily seduces and rocks with her killer voice in one of my favourite Bella Clava songs “Bug” right here.

Samantha Martin – Samantha Martin and the Haggard

Samantha MartinIf you haven’t heard Sam Martin belt out tunes in her whiskey and honey soaked voice, you simply have not lived.  I’ve said time and again, listening to her sing is like being serenaded a drunk and rowdy fallen angel.  Not only is Sam one of the most talented singer’s I’ve ever heard, she’s one of the coolest, feistiest and sweetest to boot.  Not only will she rock your socks off with dirty country, yet gospel inspired songs, but she’ll make you dinner just for coming out to one of her shows (seriously, she once offered to bring me a sandwich if I had to rush to one of her shows without having dinner first).  A heart of gold and a voice sent from heaven – that’s what you get with Sam Martin.

Danielle McTaggart – Dear Rouge

Danielle McTaggartI have to admit I’ve come to be a little obsessed with Canadian duo Dear Rouge, mostly because I can’t get enough of singer Daniel McTaggart’s amazing voice.  Their single “I heard I had” is completely addictive, and contains one of the best lines I’ve heard in a long time: “I had a messed up thought/that turned into a life vocation”.  It’s like they put the philosophy of my entire existence into their song just to draw me in, I love it.  And the best part is, Danielle has the vocal chops to back up Dear Rouge’s awesome recorded sound, as was evidenced by the incredible acoustic performance she and husband Drew put on of the single on Indie 88 (video to come soon, check with the site!).  Dear Rouge is definitely a band to watch, and I love that they’re lead by a strong and sweet voiced siren like Danielle. (it also doesn’t hurt that she’s a total BABE.  But that’s just the cherry on top.)

Priya Panda – DiemondsPriya Panda – Diemonds

Priya Panda, leading lady in Toronto hair metal outfit Diemonds is living proof that women in the glam metal genre belong not on the hoods of cars or pressed up against video set alley ways, but on stage, mic in hand, belting out the tunes with the best of them.  Owning her sexuality while rockin some killer trash glam metal chic style and a mane that even her bandmates envy, Panda proves that a superhot, bad ass and talented gal can not only keep up with the boys, but she can lead them into musical stardom just as well, if not better, as some of the frontmen in her genre.

If you’re a music lover, do yourself and the world a favour and check out these and the many other awesome ladies that front bands of dudes, making them all the more awesome, in the fuckingest way possible.

Until next time,




Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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