Windsor’s music scene gets a healthy dose of estrogen
ove over boys, it’s time to hear from the ladies in town: local songstresses Tara Watts, Kess Carpenter and Windsor ex-pat Steph Copeland are uniting in a female-themed rock show at Villains Beastro Aug. 24.
The three artists, who share a soulful sound, were brought together by Watts in the interest of promoting female fronted rock. “I still don’t see the music world as an equal-opportunity employer. Whenever I get the opportunity to highlight female talent, I like to do that … It’s going to be a night to highlight really solid musicians.”
Copeland said, “It’s just great that [Watts] asked me to come down because I’ll get to see her and a lot faces I haven’t seen in a quite a while, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Copeland made her bones in Windsor under the moniker Perilelle, fronting the three-piece trip-hop group Portia and performing as part of electronic duo Upgrade. Now Copeland uses her real name for her new musical endeavors: “Lately, I’ve been writing more popular music, just heading down more of a song writing avenue than ‘beat writing.’”
Copeland has since relocated to Toronto. She misses the Windsor music scene and the city itself. She calls Windsor a music community and describes the talent here as “absolutely phenomenal.”
“I loved everything about it and I still do. I think it’s a great city,” she said. “I had made a lot of friends and I felt a lot of love, and I loved playing shows all the time and just seeing familiar faces … There’s a great music scene, a lot of support, and everybody was in it together.”
Watts, who also plays in The Locusts Have No King, is going back to her roots as a solo artist.
“I feel more alive when I am singing. I never wanted to be that girl on stage, just standing … If I wanted to be on stage, I wanted to be able to do it by myself,” she said. “I was really shy when I first started singing, the guitar was kind of my security blanket, it would give me confidence to sing.”
Watts put her music career on hold to attend the University of Windsor, but she didn’t find the fulfillment she needed there. “It was a really tough time actually because I find that very creative people, if they’re not creative, they go crazy. You’re completely suppressing a part of yourself, which is horrendous to do, but it made me realize how music drives my life.”
Watts is back. Both she and Copeland have an established following and are planning new solo albums to add to their discographies. Carpenter, on the other hand, is a newbie on the scene.
“I was at an open mic night at Phog and I heard [Carpenter] play a set with a couple of folks that I know in the city and she was brilliant. … she shreds the guitar,” said Watts. “I’ve wanted to do a show with her because she’s new and she’s young and when I was first starting out, there were a lot of people around me who believed in what I was doing and saw where I could go. I see that with Kess. I think she’s really skilled and deserves opportunities to play and be heard.”
Tara Watts, Steph Copeland and Kess Carpenter play Villains Beastro on Aug. 24. The free show starts at 10 p.m.