The vibrant combo of Michigan songwriters Grace Theisen, Katie Pederson and Jilian Linklater is turning heads with a mission of empowering women in music. The Local Spins Q&A with the trio.
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In a Local Spins Q&A, The Rebel Eves open up about collaboration, songwriting and empowering women. The recently formed trio, featuring songwriters Katie Pederson, Grace Theisen and Jilian Linklater, recently wowed fans at Midtown in Grand Rapids. Learn more about this unique collaboration and scroll down for a photo gallery.
Local Spins: How’d this project begin?
Katie: We all started doing writers’ rounds together in 2021. Grace and Jilian were good friends. They lived in Nashville together. Grace and I got connected by our producer Jake Rye and started writing together in 2020 over Zoom.
Local Spins: What can folks expect from The Rebel Eves’ live show?
Grace: They can expect a very honest and vulnerable, hair-raising show. Our three part harmonies are really killer. But our point in forming this band was to step into parts of our lives that we felt had been quieted and we wanted to talk very openly about what it’s like to be a woman in the music industry and how underrepresented we are, and to show people that we can be collaborative instead of competitive, and that together we can go further in this industry than on our own.
Jilian: And we just have a heck of a lot of fun. We make lots of jokes and interact with each other, and people can see how much fun we’re having.
Local Spins: What have you learned from each other?
Jilian: I’ve learned how to work hard and balance it with rest. To take care of myself, to value myself, and not to shrink, but to step into my full personhood.
Katie: I’ve been actively learning to stop caring so much about what people think, especially when I’m speaking my truth; when I’m just being honest and sharing my own experience. These girls give me a lot of confidence to know that that’s OK. Which has been really freeing.
Grace: I’ve learned that it’s OK to take up space and to tell our stories. And that you can have really healthy female friendships. We’ve done a beautiful job of communicating to each other about our fears and our struggles, and that’s actually made us closer, and brought us together, and actually elevated our band, instead of tearing it apart.
Local Spins: Name a song that moves you to tears.
Grace: It’s a song we wrote about how we all left our spiritual communities at the same time and found community in each other. How we want our shows to feel like heaven, loving and accepting and that anyone’s welcome.
Local Spins: Any pre-show rituals?
Jilian: We say to each other, ‘Connection over perfection.’ We stand in a circle and look each other in the eyes and tell each other we’re allowed to take up space, and to lead the crowd on a journey.
Katie: We always do a pre-show huddle. And sometimes dance … actually often dance. We dance a lot.
Local Spins: What’s something you’d like to see change in the music industry?
Katie: One of the songs we have is “American Dream,” which we wrote with Terry Bracken of Bronte Fall. It’s about being a woman in the music industry, and we introduce the song by talking about how women are represented in the industry. Very low percentages of songwriters, artists and producers are represented by women. Part of our goal as a band is to raise awareness, and not complain about it, but try to do something by singing about it, by showing up, touring, recording and letting our voice be heard.
Local Spins: What’s something you can’t live without on the road?
Grace: My answer would be Werther’s and my back massager.
Katie: We’ve had a lot of RX bars on this tour. They’re great when you don’t have a lot of time. We keep a lot of snacks. Jilian’s mom is actually our dedicated snack mom.
Jilian: I guess my hair crimper. Which feels like such a lame answer. But I’ve been really enjoying crimping my hair.
Local Spins: Describe each other’s singing voices using only orchestral instruments.
Katie: A string trio that would be in a really dramatic film, something that’s powerful.
Jilian: I thought about saxophone when I thought about Grace’s voice. Clarinet for Katie, because she’s really smooth, but has a lot of power and cuts through.
Local Spins: What are your plans for The Rebel Eves after this tour?
Grace: We have so many. Our big dreams would be to open for someone like Brene Brown. We want to continue to tour, release and record.
Jilian: We just plan to keep making music together as long as it’s feeling good. We’ll keep writing songs and see how they’re received this summer and fall.
VIDEO: The Rebel Eves, “First Place”
PHOTO GALLERY: The Rebel Eves (w/ Jefferson Rinck, Kelly Witchen) at Midtown
Photos by Chelsea Whitaker