A Voice in Music
seeing the Eau Claire music scene through Jerrika Mighelle's eyes
Maddy Mortimer, photos by Andrea Paulseth, Luong Huynh |
“Eau Claire was home base,” local musician Jerrika Mighelle said. “Part of the reason I still live in Eau Claire is because of the support for music.” She started playing music in 2007 with her sisters under the name QuinnElizabeth. In 2017, she released her first solo album, Like the Sea, and is now working on her second studio album. Her deep, folky, atmospheric sound comes from her intricate guitar playing and her haunting vocals, which naturally compliment each other. She performs at local venues all over the Valley and hosts a weekly radio show, “Tunes from the Womb,” on Converge Radio 99.9 FM with producer Kessa Albright.
"Our story is in there, so listen to that. We have a voice too and we love sharing it." – Jerrika Mighelle
“Tunes from the Womb,” is a women-focused show that airs every Thursday at 5pm. Jerrika DJs music exclusively by women, non-binary, and trans artists. Through her program, she puts the focus on artists who have been historically pushed to the side in the music business. “I love promoting other women,” she says, “and I am sharing music that I think is worth sharing.”
Both of Jerrika’s sisters, Jerissa and Elizabeth, are mothers, and touring is not as easy for them as it is for Jerrika.
“That’s something you have to think about,” Mighelle says. “I feel like I keep doing what I’m doing because I think they would if they could.” Her sisters performed on Jerrika's album, occasionally join her in local performances, and have been one of Jerrika's biggest influences over the years. They have also been active and passionate about promoting other women musicians.
Jerrika loves the Eau Claire music scene for the support and community of musicians. Eau Claire is full of DIY musicians. They write their own music, record it, promote their own work, schedule their own shows, and perform. They mostly rely on word of mouth to get their music and performances known. She described DIY musicians as a “rebellion against the system.”
DIY musicians thrive in Eau Claire because of the strong community built around the music scene. Jerrika said that they often go to each others’ shows and help promote each others’ music. Eau Claire is a well-documented musical hub which gives artists endless opportunities to perform. From house shows to the Pablo Center, Jerrika said she doesn’t have to look far for places to perform.
Jerrika encourages local venues to keep booking women and for local people to keep going to their shows. “Like, share, and subscribe!” she said, laughing. She said this is the best way to support local artists. “The fact that you are listening to them [women musicians] is supporting them and that is beautiful,” Jerrika says. “Then share it. We need more of that perspective. Our story is in there, so listen to that. We have a voice too and we love sharing it.”
At the Pablo Center, on Feb 21, she will perform in an all-woman show called “Jerrika Mighelle and Friends.” The show features local women artists from all genres, from storytelling to music. She hopes to promote and celebrate women artists in the Chippewa Valley. For more information about the performance, visit www.pablocenter.org.