Many of music’s greatest female musicians hail from the Washington DC area, like Roberta Flack, Toni Braxton and Patsy Cline. Today, there are plenty of local female musicians tearing it up both on the local and national music scene. Check out this list of the best local female musicians in DC and expand your musical horizons.
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Recognized as one of the DC area’s “preeminent jazz singers,” Lena Seikaly and her love of music started at the tender age of four. While at the University of Maryland School of Music, she studied classical vocal performance and soon fell in love with the history of jazz music. In her short career, she has participated in a prestigious jazz program, including the Strathmore Artist-in-Residence program, as well as performed with several DC jazz ensembles. In 2009, Lena released her first album, “Written in the Stars,” to much fan fare. Critics acclaim her “rich mezzo-soprano voice” and her “precise articulation” and vocal creativity. Her second album, “Lovely Changes,” features original songs plus covers of contemporary jazz artists. Lena performs at various venues throughout DC as well as private events.
When you think of country music, the Washington DC area may not come to mind, however that’s not stopping Maggie Rose from achieving her dreams. Born and raised in Potomac, Rose got her big break in 2007 when Tommy Mottola called her and asked for her to come to his New York office and sing. From there, Rose met up with well-known country music producers and began her journey towards a career in country music. Her songs and music videos have caught the eye of many well-known country music associations including the Great American Country Channel and Country Music Television. Her latest sassy tune, “I Ain’t Your Mama,” was recognized as “the most added song on country radio” this past summer. She is currently on a nationwide tour.
Be’la Dona, DC’s hottest all-female go-go group, features a combination of jazz, rock, R&B and funk music, a combination the band calls “sensual crank.” The band is known for its “grown and sexy” R&B covers and maintains an impressive resume, featuring band members who have toured with many great artists like Chaka Khan, Salt-N-Pepa, Elton John and Erykah Badu. Be’la Dona has performed with many well-known go-go performers, including the late DC-great Chuck Brown, and has received numerous awards throughout the years including the 93.9 WYKS Go-Go Award and the 2012 Washington Area Music Award for Go-Go Duo/Group. Check out Be’la Dona at various DC hot spots including the Layla Lounge and Penn Social.
Fans of flamenco, gypsy rumba and Latin jazz will enjoy the sounds of Trio Caliente. Sway to the sounds of romantic ballads, bossa nova beats and “flamenco-tinged guitars.” The group’s latest CD, “Baila Me,” has captured the attention of both local and national media, including the hit show “Smash,” which features music from the group in its latest episodes. And the Washington Area Music Awards recognized its single, “Oye Chica,” as the 2012 Best Latin Recording. Led by award-winning vocalist Deborah Benner, the DC-based trio has performed for both local and international political dignitaries as well as at many major well-known festivals and concert venues. Benner is joined by guitarist Michael Bard and Amilcar Cruz.
Mary Ann Redmond
Blues singer Mary Ann Redmond has made her name well-known as the DC metro area’s hottest blues and R&B singer. She has won more than 14 Washington Area Music Awards including Best Female Jazz Singer and Best Urban Contemporary Vocalist. Billboard Magazine called Mary Ann Redmond “an exciting vocal talent” who “sings heartfelt ballads and funky tunes with ease.” Her music consists of a blend of music’s greatest talents, such as Gladys Knight and Tina Turner, and features both original music and popular covers. She has toured with many of music’s greatest talents, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Pointer Sisters and Smokey Robinson. Redmond can be found performing at the Harp and Fiddle in Bethesda, MD.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.