New York City has rappers. Philadelphia birthed neo-soul. The “Motor City” gave the world Motown and Nashville has country. In comparison to those musical meccas, Boston still struggles with its musical identity.
But that doesn’t mean that the city is short on talent. From Donna Summer to New Edition to Aerosmith — and a lot of others in between — Beantown has had its share of international phenoms.
“Boston’s music scene is underrated,” says Raquel Barrientos, a member of The Dotted Eyes. She’s one of the many performers working to carve a niche in a city still trying to get respect. Singer Shea Rose agrees. “Boston is a great place to hone your craft.”
Shea performed at last year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) film, music and interactive festival. She galvanized her Twitter followers to vote for her in the Red Bull Soundstage contest for the chance to perform at the festival.
In a city teeming with talent, Exhale takes a closer look at five musically diverse women, from a sultry jazz vocalist who can scat with the best of them to a guitar-strumming folk singer whose path to stardom was thwarted by tragedy.