Today’s Shero Spotlight is Cincinnati-based musician Adalia Powell-Boehne! Adalia formed her band Knotts in 2017 and has been using her platform to advocate for equality and push the boundaries of the indie genre. She seamlessly balances her career with motherhood & I am SO inspired by everything she stands for and am honored to have her on today’s blog!
When did you first become interested in music?
I feel like it’s always been a part of my life. I always enjoyed singing in the choir at church and at school and just like on the radio, I was obsessed with the radio from a really young age and just memorizing all the lyrics and making my own songs. In elementary school. I had a little band. So yeah, I feel like it’s always kind of been part of my life.
What is your musical education and background?
My stepdad was the one who taught me the basics of guitar, it was probably like for a year so I had a little bit of training for him and then I went to study music technology in Kansas City, Missouri. So I kind of have more of a little bit of a musical background, more in the recording area.
What has it been like to be a female musician in the Cincinnati music scene?
I just think about growing up and wanting to play guitar and be in a band, and how I had no examples. So that was just weird. Or even like the anxiety that I would get going into Guitar Center or something, because there’s no women working and because they kind of want to talk down to you. I just remember my heart beating really fast and my palms getting really sweaty. You always feel like you have to prove yourself and prove that I know what I’m talking about and I know what I need, just in those arenas. But, as far as being a female musician in Cincinnati, I feel like there’s been a lot of support and booker’s around here want to have more female voices in their venues and Second Sunday on Main does have whole female lineups. That’s been really dope to see. But, as far as finding bandmates and stuff, sometimes that’s kind of funny, because I had one experience where I had a drummer come, and he kept on asking the band, like, what should I do here, but like not asking me who wrote the song. Like, okay, that’s funny.
How do you overcome feelings of anxiety or nervousness being a female in a male-dominated industry?
I don’t really get it [as much] anymore, but as far as just being in lineups with all guys I just say, you have every right to be confident in who you are as a musician and the world just has to catch up. I feel very empowered with the gift that women have to speak and just be about all kinds of stuff, not just love songs, they have so much to say. So, just embrace confidence in that.
What advice would you give to young girls who are aspiring musicians?
Read a lot of books because they’re super helpful. If you’re thinking about, I don’t know where to start and booking shows or selling music, there’s great books out there like “The Indie Band Survival Guide.” I read that like five years ago, but I still think about how they talk about marketing and getting yourself out there and even down to like naming a band. So, research is really good.
What sort of impact do you hope to make in the lives of your listeners and within the Cincinnati community?
I hope to always be a voice of reflection, positivity, encouragement and hope. I really want that to be a part of the ethos of Knotts. Also creativity, like pushing the bounds of experimental indie music, I’m really about that. But in Cincinnati, I really hope to be a voice in whatever way I can to speak to injustices that are going on especially now but have always gone on and so I hope to use my platform in whatever way I can change things for quality for the better.
What specific projects can this mission be seen in?
I feel like I put myself into every song and as far as just like with our recent release “Shade Tree,” it’s really about being grateful for your life and just enjoying it versus comparing it to other people. Another concept that came out was seeds. A line that came out in one of the songs was “they forgot when you bury a seed it grows.” That was one of my favorites. Black people can not do anything but be great despite all odds, they have long been buried, their voices, their art, their greatness but they still grow.