Your Cart UMS
February 22, 2017

February 22, 2017: Your Arts and Culture Adventure Picks


This post is a part of a series of posts curating adventurous arts and culture experiences in Southeast Michigan. Sign up for email updates (choose “Arts & Culture Adventures” list).

marissa-kurzhalls-2Over the years musicians like Brandi Carlile, Carole King, Alanis Morisette, and Andra Day have felt more like companions to me. Their music makes me feel stronger, more inspired. With these events, I was happy to find a few female musicians I had never heard of, but will surely be listening to in the future. I hope this list provides a path for more opportunities to feel influenced by strong female vocalists in honor of Women’s History Month in March.

Vanessa Carlton

The Ark | February 23

Credit: Emilia Paré

Credit: Emilia Paré

Yes, THE Vanessa Carlton is playing an intimate show at The Ark in Ann Arbor. For anyone who listened to the radio in 2002, we know her best for “A Thousand Miles”. I have seen a number of great performances at The Ark, such as Lucius and Judy Collins, and I have a feeling this will be the perfect setting for Vanessa Carlton. Her soft yet powerful voice is always accompanied by her lifelong skill for the piano. Playing since she was 2 years old, Vanessa Carlton learned piano from her mother who was a music teacher. Vanessa Carlton has continued to steadily produce catchy yet complex piano-folk songs for the last 15 years. Enjoy another female vocalist, Tristen, as the opener. She has a much more poppy sound, so it will be exciting to see how she adjusts that to the intimate space at The Ark. It is one of my favorite music venues in Ann Arbor, since you are never more than 50 feet from the stage. Tickets are still on sale!

Bettye LaVette

DIA | February 23

Bettye LaVette, a queen of soul, is performing at the Detroit Institute of Arts for an evening of high caliber entertainment in a marvelous venue. Concerts at the DIA are so magical, once the sun is down, the music brings the space even more alive. A Detroit native, Bettye LaVette, had her breakout hit in 1962 with “My Man-He’s a Lovin’.” Her voice harkens Etta James, and Aretha Franklin. Since the 60’s Bettye LaVette has been nominated for a Grammy Award and performed at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2008. It’s unbelievable this performance is free of charge, because it is sure to be an evening to remember. FYI: It is still recommended to make a reservation on the DIA’s website to guarantee a seat.

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa-624x624The Shelter | February 25

Don’t let the electronic poppy sounds of her songs fool you. Dua Lipa has serious vocal abilities. Born in London, Dua Lipa was discovered then she was 14 by posting covers of Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado on YouTube. She clearly has a large group of dedicated fans with 174K Twitter followers and 657K Instagram followers. Honestly, I had never heard of her before I began looking for performances by female vocalists in the area. Now I find myself downloading her music on iTunes, and getting her songs stuck in my head! The Shelter is always a great space for live music if you are looking for more of a “rock concert” feel. This should be a fun show.

Mariana Risquez

Next Wave Media Lab | March 4

Mixing Latin American music with soul, rock, and pop – Mariana Risquez’s exquisite voice transcends genres into her own unique sound. She’s working on writing and producing her own music in Michigan, and is having her debut performance at Next Wave Media Lab in Troy. When I asked her about her writing style she said, “I am inspired by the release of my emotions, love, unloving, impossible, forgiveness, betrayal, loneliness, confusion, eternity, faith, god, the past, and guilt… I know! Basically everything.” Check out this awesome international singer on the rise on March 4 in Troy!


Lisa-Liza-725x725Magic Stick | March 11

Angelic vocals and a softy strummed guitar creates a hauntingly immersive sound from Lisa/Liza. Opening for Jens Lekman at the Magic Stick, Lisa/Liza performs with two others, but records her music alone. Her debut album Deserts of Youth was recorded at home with just her voice and acoustic guitar. The mellow sound of her music will be sure to captivate the audience like a quiet lullaby. Take a listen to her album, and hear for yourself.


Thanks for reading! If you know of some upcoming female powerhouse performances, let me know on Twitter! I’m always looking to be inspired by new voices.

Photos courtesy of artists and performance spaces.

Marissa Conniff is a UMS Blogging Fellow. Learn more about the blogging fellows program.