Two women of song took the stage at the RMG Fridays Wonder Woman event to help celebrate International Women’s Day. The event, held at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, highlighted women in the arts.
Oshawa native Taylor Murray and Bowmanville’s Trish Robb took turns on the stage.
Murray, known professionally as Tay Sera, opened the evening with her performance. The folk-pop artist performed original songs and covers on both guitar and ukulele.
Murray says she has been writing lyrics and melodies since “probably the time she could talk.” Some of the songs she played were inspired by events in her own life, while others were from movies and television shows. She says that problems, whether personal or fictional, are her main influence.
“I tend to dwell on things. I’m a perfectionist. When things are just not going to plan, and they’re not working, I feel inspired by that,” says Murray. “Whether that is in a TV show, or a movie, in someone else’s life, or my life. When something is not right, that’s all it really takes for me to find something to write about.”
Murray’s set included both sad and upbeat songs about relationships, covers from movies which make her happy, and songs about taking chances on what you want in life.
Murray’s debut EP “Fix It” releases on March 31. The inspirations she speaks about make up the overall theme of the project. It is about “fixing what is broken, moving on from what you didn’t fix, and taking chances that might leave you broken.” The EP will be available on Tay Sera’s personal Bandcamp site. Murray also has her own business, FUNctional Accessories, which sells personalized guitar picks and strings.
Despite opening the Wonder Woman night, Murray says her music doesn’t particularly aim to have a feminist voice.
“I really try not to be too discriminating in my songwriting,” says Murray. “There are some female artists out there who always blame the other gender. I don’t think that’s fair. That’s not what I want to be.”
Murray says what is more important to her is honesty. This means being honest to who she is, and to the audience listening.
“As artists, we have a responsibility to anyone who is listening to be fair and honest,” she says.
“I would consider myself a feminist in the true sense of the word, and not what people have come to understand it to be.”
Robb closed the evening with her performance. The New Brunswick-born, Bowmanville-raised, Toronto-based artist just made it to the RMG in time for her set. Robb agreed to fill in for another performer who came down with strep throat at the last minute. She explained to the crowd she was more than happy to make the show.
“I love celebrating women. I will do that anytime,” said Robb, as she warmed up for her set. “I’m recently single, and I’m loving just hanging out with my girlfriends right now. Because they don’t want to have sex with me.”
Robb says the event was something she truly believed in. She says women continue to experience hardships, not just in the music industry. Robb supports any kind of cause that acknowledges the difficulties women experience, and celebrates their success.
“There’s a lot of bullshit we go through as females. And we’ve been kind of told to keep our mouths shut about it,” explains Robb. “It’s so nice that there’s a bit of buzz around it, the sensitivity we need to have around women’s issues.”
Despite that, Robb doesn’t think this drives her songwriting.
“I’m not a Disney person. That’s not really my style. I’m more of a realist,” says Robb. “I do, obviously, talk about love. Sing about love, feel about love. But I don’t know if you could tell through my songs I’m a feminist.”
Robb’s set included songs about romance and relationships, an ode to the nostalgia of radio, and cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark.
Robb is currently working on a new project she hopes to release later this year. Her self-titled debut album can be currently found on iTunes.
The strong performances by Murray and Robb helped RMG Fridays honour women’s contributions to art. International Women’s Day was March 8.