story by Chellie Bowman
(above photo by Kaitlyn Flint)
I met Louise Page on a sunny porch at Otherlands Coffee shop to interview her. Originally from a small Pennsylvania college town known as Happy Valley (and if you’ve ever met Louise this will make total sense to you) Memphis is now her home, lucky for us. She may be relatively new to our music scene but she has deep roots here—her mother is from Memphis and she spent her childhood coming often to visit her grandparents.
I first saw Louise perform at the Mariposas Collective Benefit she organized back in February of this year. All proceeds from the show went to support relief efforts for asylum seekers passing through Memphis. Her performance had a powerful, theatrical quality—the music is driven by her raw vocals and strong piano-playing skills (I would later learn this was due to 15 years of classical training). She played with a full band– percussion (Michael Todd), violin (Annalisabeth Craig), trumpet (Jawaun Crawford), and saxophone (Michael Laurenzi). It was robust. Dynamic.
At 25 years old Louise is now a musician full-time, something that really feels like a brave, bold move. She’s always hustling. But she didn’t always put herself out there. Throughout college, like most of us, she struggled with finding herself and being open. She spoke about being very nervous back then—to share a song or sing out. Her hands would shake before playing.
She’s unstoppable now. Music became her therapy: “It’s made me a better and more confident person. A person who knows myself better and can be more open with people.”
Graduating with a BA in English (from Rhodes College in 2016), storytelling is central to her song-writing practice. Songs usually begin as poems that explore heartbreak and heavier emotions. It becomes a way for her to make something beautiful and meaningful out of something sorrowful. She explained that while often her songs deal with sad subjects their message is empowering. The title of her first EP Salt Mosaic released in 2017 embodies that juxtaposition—a sort of chaotic hodgepodge of art and beauty made from raw, salty bitterness.
Her second EP Simple Sugar continues to explore empowerment—the title track giving the message that you can be alone and independent and still happy. Her musical influences also speak to this focus on cultivated strength— Fiona Apple, St. Vincent, Lady Gaga, Mitski, Cher, Lesley Gore, Nancy Sinatra, Dolly Parton, and Madonna. She is inspired by strong female vocalists, especially those who are also highly skilled at their respective instruments.
LGBTQ advocacy is also something very important to Louise, and she has a strong connection to the community. Apart from trying to navigate her own identity amongst the letters, she has an older sibling who is trans and non-binary. “I have lots of trans friends. That’s a community I try to support with my (cis) privilege, to educate other people and take that labor away from trans people who have to describe it all the time. I also realized in college I considered myself part of the queer community as well.” Some of her first shows were at drag artist Moth Moth Moth’s infamous variety hours. In fact the title of one of her singles “Blue Romance” is named after a particular show theme that inspired her. She also learned a lot about performance and performance art from these shows and the drag community. In fact, Moth and Brenda Newport both star in her “Blue Romance” music video alongside Louise (https:// youtu.be/QXMCfZHGiNg) “It’s a community that’s really lifted me up…We life in a very difficult time right now for marginalized communities—it’s easy to feel hopeless and alone. I’m really interested in organizing shows that serve a dual purpose as entertainment and activism. It lifts people’s spirits to be around other people that share their feelings. By coming you feel like you’re doing something when there’s some sort of injustice that’s weighing you down.”
Now that Louise is more established and has more power in booking her own shows she makes sure to use that privilege to support the local queer community. By making these efforts explicit and posting them on her website she continues to proactively work to make the music scene more inclusive. But she’s quick to tell me that she still has work to do—that you can always do better.
Currently she has a couple of music videos in the works and is recording her first full length album Silver Daughter which is set to be released July 20th. She also has recently added another member to the band, bassist Gunter Gaupp. Keep a look out! Follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/weezypage/) and Instagram (@weezypage). And for even more information, view her website louisepagemusic.com.