From left: Asia Major, Mai Lee, Danielle Sherie, Drea Vocalz, Nicole Iris, Lydia Caesar and SJ.
When Danielle Sherie assembled some of the city's hottest female artists for a photoshoot last month, she didn't have any grand plan. She just wanted to bring together some women she admired.
"We wanted to come together and say, 'This is our time, and we are here,'" she says. She wasn't even sure if the women she asked would be down for it.
They were. And it turned out to be only the beginning.
Sherie is a manager at Manage Point, a St. Louis-based company that works to promote artists in a variety of genres, including pop, R&B, hip-hop and rap. Among the artists she works with is Nicole Iris, an up-and-coming singer profiled in the RFT last summer.
So she invited Iris to the shoot, but she also invited a host of artists she has no formal connection to: Mai Lee, Lydia Caesar, Drea Vocalz and Asia Major. She also invited another manager she respects, SJ. Not only did all of them say yes, but they managed to find time to do it without anyone being a scheduling diva.
It was the first time the group had been in the same room together, but Sherie says they worked together beautifully.
JOE RICHARDSON/JLR PHOTO DESIGN
"Being that we're in a male-dominated industry, it's important for us to have that kind of unity," says Lydia Caesar. "To see each other as sisters as opposed to competition."
With Joe Richardson of JLR Photo Design behind the lens, the shoot took place in a studio at the Metropolitan Artist Lofts overlooking Grand Center. SongsByTitus of Manage Point also shot a video commemorating the experience, embedded below.
And the women didn't just give the photographer some stunning looks, with both individual portraits and group shots — they made connections that help a big city seem just a little bit smaller. "Drea had a show the other night, and two of the girls at the shoot were there supporting her," Sherie reports. "Once you make bonds, you're in the know."
The friendships made also led to something else: a shared performance, now scheduled for Voce (212 South Tucker Boulevard) on June 28 from 7 to 10 p.m. It will be the women's first time performing together, but Sherie — who's also an organizer of the music networking event Snippets — is confident it won't be the last.
"I hope this starts the conversation of just having more community," she says. "It can seem like this person doesn't know this person. But we want to open the floodgates for anybody to work with anyone else. It's time to have more community in the music community."
Or, as Drea Vocalz says in the video, "There's more than enough room for more than one queen."
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