Girls Write Now Holiday Appeal

(Courtesy: Girls Write Now)
(Courtesy: Girls Write Now)

When I first learned about Girls Write Now I knew the program was perfect for me. I never had a mentor growing up and always wished I had someone to help guide my writing and make me feel like I wasn’t crazy for dreaming of a career in music journalism. Last year, I was lucky to mentor Priscilla. Our first pair session involved us talking about music, specifically Adele and her two albums 19 and 21, and how our age and generation defines us. This morphed into two pieces we wrote and read at a Chapters reading together. The first time I had ever read one of my articles aloud, it was nerve-wracking and exhilarating at the same time. Sharing the stage with Priscilla was a joy and I was so taken aback by the support of the entire community after our reading.



This year, my new mentee Angel has a passion for music that reminds me of myself in high school. During our first meeting, we talked about Ed Sheeran and One Direction and I told her the story of when I interviewed 1D. Learning she had never been to a concert before, it was my goal to take her to a show. When Amos Lee came to perform at the Beacon Theater, I knew this was the perfect moment. Just seeing how excited she was for the concert and the awe we both shared for the beauty of the venue and his performance was something I’ll never forget. I’m not quite sure if Angel wants to pursue a career in music journalism, but I’m happy that if she does I can guide her along the way and be an example of someone who made her love of writing into a career.

Girls Write Now has really shown me the impact having a mentor can have and reminded me of why I love writing so much. Sharing my passion for writing with high school girls is unlike any experience I’ve had volunteering before. This Thanksgiving and holiday season, I want to give back to Girls Write Now by raising money to support an organization I believe in.

If you’re interested in making a donation, you can visit my FirstGiving page.

Thanks in advance for your support! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Benefit Features

Tinderbox Music Festival Celebrates Female Musicians Today In NYC

Today marks the third annual Tinderbox Music Festival at Webster Hall. Over 35 established and emerging female acts will descend upon New York from France, London, Japan and the U.S. to perform throughout the day. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and acts will play for 12 hours.

The line-up includes CocoRosie, Jean Grae, Selebrities, Lili Hydyn, Computer Magic and many more. Founded by singer-songwriter Alyson Greenfield in September 2010, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to non-profit organizations that empower female artists including Girls Write Now, Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls and the Tinderbox Songwriting Workshop as well as to the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

“The goal has been to create a sustainable platform for emerging artists which also benefits local nonprofits empowering young women,” Alyson Greenfield, Tinderbox Music Festival’s Founder and Director said. “I really wanted this to be a full-circle event encompassing and affecting multiple communities.”

“Tinderbox’s mission has always included giving back to the community,” she added. “This year we feel it is important to help with the immediate local need in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.”

The day’s performance will be an eclectic blend of all genres including Americana, post-punk, hip-hop, indie folk, experimental, electro-pop, and soul. For more, visit Tinderbox Music Festival’s website.

Benefit Features News

A Night In the Studio: Recording at Brooklyn's Galuminumfoil Studios

Photo Credit: Monica Rozenfeld

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing about music for several years, but have never actually been in a studio while a band was recording. Always a dream of mine, when Benjamin Wagner invited me to join him at Galuminumfoil Studios in Brooklyn I couldn’t say no.

For the past five years, Wagner and friends have been recording A Holiday Benefit, a selection of holiday classics while putting their own spin on the music. An annual benefit concert is held each December where the CD is available for purchase and all the proceeds are donated to 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills.

I’ve been covering the benefit shows since their inception in 2007 and each year discover new musicians that I soon become a fan of. So, on a cold Friday in November I headed to Galuminumfoil Studios, not exactly sure what to expect.

Shortly after 8 p.m. I entered the studio where half a dozen or so artists were hanging out, writing lyrics to sing and trying to decipher the right piano chords to play with the track. That night, the vocals for the group number, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” were being recorded.

A huge fan of the song, Wagner said “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is the reason A Holiday Benefit came together.

“I went to Chris [Abad] and said we should get everybody together and do something. It’s because I loved this song when I was a kid,” he recalls. “What if we got all our friends together and did one on our own and made money for a charity?”

In it’s fifth year, over $15,000 has been raised for 826NYC.

While some of the artists have been friends for years, others met for the first time that night. Her first year singing for A Holiday Benefit, Georgia native Mary Bragg was excited to be part of the project and even wore a pair of Santa Claus socks to get her in the spirit.

“We’re not a band that has been rehearsing together. Sometimes things happen and you have to redo it,” she said of the recording experience.

As Wagner finished writing the lyrics to the song, singer-songwriter Misty Boyce took to the piano to record the last of the instrumentals. Meanwhile, studio engineer and producer Jeff Berner gave her further instructions for the track.

“My idea is to have some ethereal piano in the background. This is going to be a long fade and we’ll dub more parts in,” Berner said.

Once the piano part was perfected, the solos were assigned and each singer took turns at the mic for a few takes.

Bragg was up first and impressed with spot-on vocals. Though the first take sounded like a keeper, everyone in the room had her sing it two more times for their own enjoyment.

Initially excited to sing Bono’s part in the song, Boyce was nervous during her recording session.

“When I get nervous I get cold,” she told Wagner who urged her to do some jumping jacks. “I’m Bono. Fuck, it’s too much pressure man!”

“I’ve been singing this song for 25 years, you can sing it for 25 minutes,” Wagner replied to which Boyce started dancing around the studio.

Soon after, Bryan Dunn, Sarah Nisch, Dan Scott and Philip Drennen of Astoria Boulevard, Chris Abad and Wagner recorded their solo parts before the entire crew got together for the group chorus.

“This is gonna be interesting. I’m glad we’re saving this for last,” Berner joked.

As the group huddled together and shared headphones and mics, it was hard not to get into the holiday spirit. With their perfected harmonies and all around talent, A Holiday Benefit, Vol V. will no doubt be a success.

After a few takes, the group was satisfied with their performance and went into the studio to listen to the song on the speakers. Nodding along and at points, mouthing the words they seemed satisfied at the final product.

“And that’s how it’s done!” Bragg said, summing up the night.

Be sure to catch the artists perform December 14 at Rockwood Music Hall II. For a complete lineup and to order your tickets click here.

Related Links:
“A Holiday Benefit, vol. 3″ Impresses Just in Time For the Holidays
A Holiday Benefit Concert Recap
December 1st Holiday Benefit Concert
A Family Holiday Album to Benefit Young Writers

Benefit News

Music Builds: CMT Disaster Relief Concert

Click for more on Music Builds: CMT Disaster Relief Concert.

Tonight, CMT is hosting a disaster relief concert to raise awareness and funds for those affected by the recent devastating storms, flooding and tornadoes. The live, commercial-free, 90-minute concert special features a special call to action from President Obama, as well as performances by Hank Williams, Jr. and Alabama, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Ronnie Dunn, Sara Evans, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins, Little Big Town and many more.

Co-hosted by Erin Andrews, Ron White and Robin Meade, the show will air live from Nashville on Thursday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on CMT and will be simulcast on All money raised will benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts.

Benefit Features

Rock 4 Japan Tonight at Brooklyn Bowl

Tonight, Brooklyn Bowl is hosting Rock 4 Japan, a benefit concert where all proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross Fund for Japan’s earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. with performances by Cheap Trick Or Treat, Acey Slade & the Dark Party, The Orion Experience, High Teen Boogie, and The Young Things. For more information click here.

If you can’t make it tonight and still want to help, Songs For Japan is another worthwhile effort raising money for disaster relief. Over 30 of the biggest names in contemporary music have joined together for the worldwide release of “Songs for Japan,” a compilation of 38 chart-topping hits and classic tracks, available worldwide on the iTunes Store for $9.99. Proceeds from the album’s sale will benefit the disaster relief efforts of the Japanese Red Cross Society. Complete track listing below.

1. John Lennon “Imagine” (Remastered)
2. U2 “Walk On” (Radio Edit)
3. Bob Dylan “Shelter From The Storm”
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Around The World” (Live)
5. Lady Gaga “Born This Way” (Starsmith Remix)
6. Beyonce “Irreplaceable”
7. Bruno Mars “Talking To The Moon” (Acoustic Piano Version)
8. Katy Perry “Firework”
9. Rihanna “Only Girl (In The World)”
10. Justin Timberlake “Like I Love You”
11. Madonna “Miles Away” (Live)
12. David Guetta “When Love Takes Over” (feat. Kelly Rowland)
13. Eminem “Love The Way You Lie” (feat. Rihanna) [Clean Version}
14. Bruce Springsteen “Human Touch”
15. Josh Groban “Awake” (Live)
16. Keith Urban “Better Life”
17. Black Eyed Peas “One Tribe”
18. Pink “Sober”
19. Cee Lo Green “It’s Ok”
20. Lady Antebellum “I Run To You”
21. Bon Jovi “What Do You Got?”
22. Foo Fighters “My Hero”
23. R.E.M. “Man On The Moon”
24. Nicki Minaj “Save Me” (Clean Version)
25. Sade “By Your Side”
26. Michael Buble “Hold On” (Radio Mix)
27. Justin Bieber “Pray” (Acoustic)
28. Adele “Make You Feel My Love”
29. Enya “If I Could Be Where You Are”
30. Elton John “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”
31. John Mayer “Waiting On The World To Change”
32. Queen “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)” [Remastered]
33. Kings Of Leon “Use Somebody”
34. Sting “Fragile” (Live In Berlin)
35. Leona Lewis “Better In Time”
36. Ne-Yo “One In A Million”
37. Shakira “Whenever, Wherever”
38. Norah Jones “Sunrise”

Benefit Song of the Week

Song of the Week: "Christmas All Over Again"

For the past four years, Benjamin Wagner has been recording “A Holiday Benefit,” an annual collaboration of holiday classics and originals sung by some of New York’s finest musicians. Each year, the proceeds from the charity compilation benefits 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and helping teachers inspire their students to write.

This year’s release, “A Holiday Benefit, Vol. 4”  features brand-new recordings from Charlotte Sometimes, Rachel Platten, Chris Abad, Benjamin Wagner & Mai Bloomfield, Bryan Dunn, Casey Shea, and more.

“A Holiday Benefit” has raised nearly $10,000 for students’ creative and expository writing tutoring since 2007. Help them reach $10K this Thursday and celebrate the album’s release at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2. The evening will be hosted by NY1’s Roger Clark, with special guest, comedian Negin Farsad.

Download the mp3 of “Christmas All Over Again” here. To download the complete album, click here and be sure to watch the video for “Christmas All Over Again” below.

Christmas All Over Again from Dannielle Owens-Reid on Vimeo.

Related Links:
A Holiday Benefit Concert Recap
A Holiday Benefit Concert
December 1st Holiday Benefit Concert
A Family Holiday Album to Benefit Young Writers

Benefit News

You Sing I Write Celebrates 3 Years Today!

Over the past three years, what started as a crazy dream to interview and cover bands has fully come alive — for some of you, right before your very eyes. Fresh out of college in a non-writing related job I launched You Sing I Write as my creative outlet. It was a simple concept: I loved music, so naturally that’s what I’d write about.

Never in a million years did I think I’d be published on, AOL, MTV or Marie Claire, but my adventures traveling to music festivals, interviewing Grammy Award winning artists and covering local talent allowed me to get this far. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Last year, my friend Monica and I put together a benefit concert for TWLOHA, an organization we’ve admired since college and this year I decided to do the same. What started as the desire to raise money for the American Cancer Society in hopes to cure my cousin who was diagnosed over two months ago, now has a more personal significance as she recently passed away.

The night will include performances by four amazing bands as well as provide information on how you can help out your local American Cancer Society chapter so we can beat this horrible disease. Oh, and my website will be relaunching too thanks to Wendy Hu and Joel Brower!

For the official invite, visit Facebook. Complete details below.

Friday, November 12th at Southpaw, Brooklyn (125 5th Ave)
The N Result / Alexa Wilkinson / Tor Miller Band / Whale Belly
18+ w/ ID
admission: $10
door time: 8PM

Hope to see you!

Benefit News

YSIW Three Year Anniversary Show 2 Weeks Away!

Flier design by Wendy Hu

Just wanted to post a friendly reminder of my three year blog anniversary/site relaunch concert on November 12th at Southpaw in Brooklyn! Wendy sent me an amazing flier that I plan to start posting around Brooklyn, so feel free to grab it and do the same.

Since it’s just two weeks away, I’m taking a hiatus updating the blog in order to make sure all the content is ready. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for my up-to-the-minute adventures.

With a solid mix of hip-hop, folk, rock and pop artists, November 12th proves to be a fun night of music. Feel free to RSVP on Facebook. Complete details are below.

Friday, November 12th at Southpaw, Brooklyn (125 5th Ave)
The N Result / Alexa Wilkinson / Tor Miller Band / Whale Belly
18+ w/ ID
admission: $10
door time: 8PM
A portion of the ticket sales will go to the American Cancer Society in memory of Silvia DeAngelis.

Hope to see you there!

Related Links:
I’m Not A Groupie: A Music Lover’s Tale of Getting That Interview
YSIW Celebrates Two Years!
I’m With the Band
Top 10 Interviews

Benefit News

YSIW Celebrates Three Years –Thank You!

Interview with Martina McBride, CMA Festival 2009

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

It’s hard to believe that three years ago today I wrote my very first blog post! Fresh out of college in a non-writing related job, I yearned for a creative outlet and my former MTV colleagues suggested I start a music blog. I’m so glad I did.

Interview with Vince Scheuerman of Army of Me, Union Hall 2007

Hundreds of shows and interviews later, I can’t imagine a day without posting a review, feature, or Q&A.; Along the way I’ve interviewed some of my favorite musicians, had my share of exclusive content and a few starstruck moments. Whether it was chatting with Pat Benatar on the phone, stumping Lady Antebellum on a few questions or struggling with a lost voice and fever while interviewing Better Than Ezra, I’m still in disbelief that this is my life.

Interview with Fergie, Zootopia 2009

Thank you so much for keeping up with You Sing I Write over the past three years! There’s nothing I love more than reading your comments, questions for artists, and show recommendations. You’re the reason I continually update the site. I have many exciting things lined up in the next few weeks with my site redesign and video interviews — can’t wait for you to see! I’d love to meet you all at my big bash at Southpaw November 12. Make sure you come and say hi!

Related Links:
I’m Not A Groupie: A Music Lover’s Tale of Getting That Interview
YSIW Celebrates Two Years!
I’m With the Band
Top 10 Interviews

Benefit News

Thank You for Supporting Girls Who Rock!

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

Nearly two weeks ago, Girls Who Rock took over New York’s Santos Party House. What started as an idea among three friends turned into a four-hour party with nearly 400 guests. Raising just under $5,000, the benefit concert partnership between She’s the First and AfricAid resulted in sponsoring three girl’s four-years of high school education.

The money raised will help sponsor the girls two-year program of the Kisa Project via AfricAid, which is one of the many partner programs that She’s the First supports worldwide by encouraging fun, affordable grassroots fundraising among young women and men. AfricAid was chosen as the beneficiary because the organization recently piloted The Kisa Project, an initiative that enrolls girls in leadership training and digital storytelling workshops, where they learn to share their lives with sponsors through rich, vivid videos.

Through the Kisa Project, young women in Tanzania will finish their schooling, go through a powerful 2-year leadership training program, start their own service and business projects, and build meaningful relationships with students and sponsors in the United States through and

The night was a success with impressive performances by Kat DeLuna, Shontelle, Lenka, MoZella, Vita Chambers, Cara Salimando, Kelli Pyle and DJ Kalkutta. Kat DeLuna even taught the audience the official “Push Push” dance.

Online donations can still be made here. The girls sponsored through Girls Who Rock will be communicating to all of their co-sponsors on the She’s the First blog throughout the year. Thanks so  much for all of your support and for helping promote the importance of girls education! Stay tuned for updates from Girls Who Rock and ways you can get involved in the future.

If you missed the show, you can still watch it on livestream here.