Stolie’s world of music began when she was six and started piano lessons. At sixteen, she learned two chords on the guitar and wrote an original song. The Coffee Mug, her first collection of original music featuring 10 songs on guitar and vocals, was self-released on cassette in 1996.
While attending Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL) initially as a Music Education major and constantly playing on campus, Stolie switched her major to English to work on writing (songwriting, that is!) Shortly after, during a study-abroad program in London, England, she was performing for loose change in the Tube and soon after, for real money at folk clubs. Upon returning to Chicago, Stolie joined an urban studies program with the Chicago Arts Program and, while living on Rush Street and taking classes in Wrigleyville, she got to work on her second collection of original music, the self-titled Stolie, released in 2000. An electro-pop album (Satire-Laden Melodies) followed in 2004 and a self-produced, arranged and recorded collection of pop/rock songs in 2008 (Between the Fake and Real) was featured on Chicago’s Finest Rock station, WXRT.
Stolie has toured the country in support of her original music and with former all-girl trio, Tres Femmes, worked as a publicist and radio promoter for Bloodshot Records and Call Girl PR, has rocked cover tunes in several acoustic duos — The Acoustic Sideshow with Scott Schaefer, with Gina Gonzalez (Lt. Dan Band with Gary Sinise), and with improv comedian Cat McDonnell — and teaches guitar and piano lessons. Stolie was host to a weekly Thursday night acoustic open mic at the famous Murphy’s Bleachers bar in Wrigleyville for 8 years and also provides musical accompaniment for wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours for local music production company, Cage & Aquarium Productions. Nowadays, Stolie mostly plays children’s shows as Super Stolie for birthday parties, park districts, libraries and street festivals and also with her children’s rock band, Super Stolie and The Rockstars. She released her first children’s CD, When I Grow Up, in 2009, her 2nd, Press Play!, in the winter 2012 and welcomed her third kids’ CD, Family in Harmony, during the summer of 2015.
Stolie’s HomepageListen to the full episode
Her podcast Wait for the Dawn is all about the mindset needed to pursue dreams, goals and passions.
Sachiko Tiana believes that regardless of what we’re facing, the dawn is coming! There is light at the end of the tunnel and the hard things we’ve been through won’t last forever. We weren’t meant to live in survival mode – we’re meant to thrive! The best way for us to thrive is for everyone to pursue what they’re MOST passionate about.
And, she writes and records music. Sachiko’s original songs range from a mix of thought-provoking lyrics to flirtatious love songs to fun and groovy, soulful tunes. People have said she has the smoothness of Sade, the emotional essence of Anita Baker, combined with the lively positivity of Alicia Keys. No matter who you are, you’re guaranteed to leave with a heart full of joy, simply because of the love Sachiko brings to every aspect of her message.
She was born in 1985 in San Francisco, CA to drug addicted parents. Her parents were not married and were often breaking up and making up. Her two younger siblings are the result of each of their reunions. Her mom’s death and her dad’s drug addictions left Sachiko the one responsible for cooking, cleaning, changing diapers while attending school and “trying desperately to seem normal.”
“My dad was dealing with his own pain from my Mom’s death and became even more addicted to drugs, and became less and less useful. I always knew when we didn’t have any money because he would go through withdrawals and not get out of bed for days at a time (and be an absolute terror to be around). He’d send me to buy cigarettes and alcohol, and he would take us along when he finally had money to buy drugs. I would sit in the car and sing at the top of my lungs to distract me and the kids from what was happening. I remember a drug dealer telling me that he could hear me singing and that I was something special – such a strangely vivid memory.”
Music became a huge outlet for her. “From church and school choirs, to recording songs in our garage on the reel-to-reel recorder my dad set up, music was an integral part of my life. Though many of my memories of my dad are truly painful, I do credit him in a myriad of ways for my love of music and songwriting. It was at the age of 10 that I decided I wanted to be a singer.”
Sachiko’s WebsiteListen to the full episode
Ray Dafrico – A founding member of legendary Atlanta bands The Nightporters and later Kathleen Turner Overdrive. Guitarist, singer, songwriter Ray Dafrico has been playing original music professionally since April of 1981. He has toured, opened for or performed with artists such as The Clash, The Ramones, The Replacements, REM, Bo Diddley, Joan Jett, Weird Al Yankovic, Peter Tork and more. In the studio he has worked with Peter Buck (REM), Rob Fraboni (Bob Dylan, The Band Beach Boys), Brendan O’Brian (Bruce Springsteen) and Pierre De Beauport (The Rolling Stones).
It sounds like a lifetime of chasing the rock and roll dream.
“Well, I grew up in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, so I was exposed to a lot of power pop growing up and a lot funkier kind of music, plus early punk rock and new wave, so I just thought it was a fun term to use. I like songs with a lot of hooks, and my songs tend to have that quality too, so it just fits. What they call “pop” today is kind of like a negative thing. Pop is not the pop I knew. The Monkees, Beatles, Kinks, Stones, Ramones, Sex Pistols all had great pop songs. So did Sweet, Queen, KC and the Sunshine Band, Ohio Players, etc. I’ve always had a very wide variety of influences, lol.”
A warm summer day, a call to Ray and a lawn mower. All components of one of the best interviews to date.Listen to the full episode
Meghan Cary didn’t mean to be a musician. But when her fiancé unexpectedly died, she picked up his guitar, figured out how to play it, and wrote her debut, earning her Billboard Magazine’s Critic’s Choice for Best Newcomer. “I wrote my grief into music and sang my way out of the abyss.” Cary continues to share the healing power of music with the community that has rallied around her message of hope and being heard.
Known for her raw honesty and ability to connect with and engage her audience, Cary brings people to their feet and at times to tears with high-energy tunes, masterful storytelling, and lyrics that resonate universally. Cary’s song “Sing Louder”, a call to raise our voices together to make a difference, has become an anthem for the music-loving community.
In fact, “Sing Louder” resonated so well with audiences in her live shows, that Cary was inspired to include some of these fans on her new record of the same name. Cary gathered 48 music lovers in the studio to raise their voices with her on two tracks, “Sing Louder”, and “Responsibility”. Many of them stepped far out of their comfort zones to don headphones and sing into a microphone. They sang with passion, joy and abandon, and it was a profound experience for Cary and all those involved. That energy was captured on Sing Louder.
“Music is the most potent tool I know to break down walls, slip through barricades, and connect with each other. And when we authentically connect, we can change the world,” said Cary. “Now more than ever we need to be courageous enough to transcend emotional, intellectual, and political barriers, and raise our voices…together.”
Cary began her career on stage as a theatre actress with over 100 credits for her work in the U.S. and Europe, and a successful on-camera and voiceover career. She’s written a one-person show with music, “On the Way to the Waterfall”, which she continues to perform around the country. She is also currently composing music and lyrics for the Broadway-bound musical, “The Accidental Caterer”.
After pushing pause on performing to raise two children, Cary launched back onto the music scene at Philly Folk Fest and was awarded a coveted Emerging Artist Showcase slot at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Cary’s smoky voice, emotional singing, and vulnerable writing continue to win over audiences, and garner favorable comparisons to Melissa Etheridge, Natalie Merchant, Stevie Nicks, and even Bruce Springsteen.
In response to life’s inevitable curve balls, Cary’s mantra is: “If you don’t know the words…Sing Louder!”Listen to the full episode
Like former guest Ingrid Oscarsson, friend and mentor Renée Catrine hails from Chicago and currently lives in New York City. Having been in various bands throughout the years, Renée was eager to set off on her own to create her own music. She released her debut solo album, Arrival, in August 2016 with the help of Nick Brose (Mucca Pazza) and co-producer Mike Przygoda.
Ingrid and Renée share the stage these days, just as they share the air in this interview with subtle commentary from Omar the 20 pound cat.
Renée Catrine’s music has been described as “hauntingly beautiful music with poetic lyrics of a keen observer”. Reminiscent of captivating songwriters such as Fiona Apple, Marketa Irglova and Regina Spektor, Renée’s debut album features sincere, thoughtful lyrics set to catchy pop/rock music and lush, orchestrated arrangements.
Ingrid Oscarsson is featured in Episode 042.
Renée is currently preparing to record her second solo album in New York City this winter. The new music draws inspiration from Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Cœur de Pirate. The album was written in Québec City, Chicago & New York. She is thrilled to be touring the Midwest and East coast this fall & winter to debut the new songs.