The music industry wants artists to create music targeted at women. But the fact is, less than 5 percent of the people creating music and media today are women, according to Women’s Audio Mission, a San Francisco-based recording studio built and run by women.
Savannah’s Erica Cobb Jarman is aiming to change that statistic with her own locally based label, House of Strut Records, which will officially launch with a free concert at House of Strut on Record Store Day, which is April 22.
Jarman first hit the Savannah scene a couple of years ago when she established House of Strut, a vintage clothing and accessory store in the Starland District. Since then, she has continued to weave together her two passions of music and fashion by hosting concerts at the store, including the recent Non Stop Boogie Drop, a 24-hour event to benefit Savannah Riverkeeper.
“Living in Savannah for the last 15 years has made me well aware of the vast talent this city has. Overwhelming at times,” Jarman says.
A New Year’s trip to Nashville got the wheels turning for her own record label.
“Spending time in Nashville turned the light bulb on. I kept asking myself: How can I help elevate this pool of talent in Savannah? How do I create more opportunities and recordings for Savannah artists? How can I be a spark? Let me be the fuel to their fire.
“Records are art. They are tangible. It’s not like listening to digital music. There is a quality of sound unlike any other. House of Strut already hosts so many artists. So why not create many ‘Live at House of Strut’ albums for new talent that I recognize and have the talent and drive?”
House of Strut Records’ first signed band is Savannah-based Twisty Cats. The duo is composed of husband and wife Peter Mavrogeorgis and Blake Olmstead and according to Jarman, they recorded their first album in record time.
“I was told by United Record Pressing that I broke the record for fastest production and pressing of an album. We created it in 17 days …
“Just as fast, the Twisty Cats were approached by Capsula to tour Europe with them. This is where my fashion sensibility comes to play because now we needed to create merchandise for the band to take along with them while on tour,” she says.
The fashion aspect is what elevates Jarman’s efforts beyond merely scouting bands.
“Most merchandise is just that — plain merchandise. I want to create wearable and fashionable merchandise that the fans want to wear and appreciate. Therefore, I don’t wish to be a talent scout,” she says. “I want to reinvent the wheel and do right for the artists that will hopefully record under Strut records.”
Merchandise creation, promotion and distribution will all fall under House of Strut Records. But Jarman says the main goal is finding musicians who share her passion.
With laughter, she says: “Easy, my biggest challenge will be finding the talent that wants to put in as much work into it as I do.”
IF YOU GO
What: House of Strut Records launch party with Twisty Cats
When: 9 p.m. April 22
Where: House of Strut, 17 W. 41st St.
Cost: Free and open to the public