Sad Girl Night 3/24/19 ft: Kelly Hoppenjans, Kira Hooks, Melanie Bresnan
On March 24th, in an overstuffed 20-capacity room at Helping Our Music Evolve (HOME), four female artists opened up to share their vulnerability and strength through music.
Sad Girl Night began in September of 2018
when singer/songwriter Elisabeth Beckwitt decided to create a space for female performers to share their music and the intimate stories behind their songs.
March 24th marked the showcase’s six-month anniversary with performances by Melanie Bresnan, Kira Hooks, Elisabeth Beckwitt, and Kelly Hoppenjans. The night was just perfect as we all enjoyed homemade toffee cookies baked by our host, sipped on beer from our sponsor House Beer, and enjoyed the music.
Melanie Bresnan kicked off the night with a light-hearted warning; “I’ve decided to play all the saddest songs I’ve ever written,” she then left us all feeling warm and enamored with her honey-dripped vocals and rocking style. Having never seen her perform before, I was left in awe. Her songs were magnetic and powerful, and her banter and honesty between songs made me feel as though I was a part of her story. She had a mastery over her vocal runs to the point of receiving a very loving “well fuck you” from a member of the audience after hitting notes so perfectly that we all had to stop and catch our breath. It was awesome to be in the room for! Her last song left the crowd on a high note with the lyrics “I am made of celestial power and I cannot be contained!” If that’s not what Sad Girl Night is about, I’m not sure what is.
The beautiful Kira Hooks was up next. Her set took us on a jazzy and bluesy journey from sadness to empowerment and gratitude. I especially took notice of how genuine Kira’s stage presence feels, it never feels like an act. Instead, she performs with an open heart; receiving the rooms energy and transforming it into a piece of her own world through her smooth alto voice. I love that her songs were filled with carefully placed energy found, not only in the notes themselves, but also in the spaces surrounding them. It’s a rare artist who can take their sadness, jealousy, and existential phases and turn them into positive and healing energy. I noticed that this seemed to come naturally to Kira as I heard her tell stories of redefining herself and healing.
Elisabeth Beckwitt, The OSG (Original Sad Girl) as I like to say, played the third set of the night, leading strong with her upbeat song “Isabella.” Elisabeth has two missions when she performs; putting on a great show, and letting everyone in the audience know that they are beloved goddesses who deserve to be happy, empowered and mentally healthy. Her second song emphasized both of these missions as she explained to the crowd that her upcoming single, appropriately titled “Goddess,” is an anthem of empowerment. I love that Elisabeth shares the stories behind her songs with calls-to-action: see a therapist if you need one, be with someone who raises you up rather than tearing you down, love yourself. Those well-intentioned messages from her make even her darker, moodier songs, such as “Indigo” (unreleased and co-written with Ian DePriest and Steffi Jeraldo), seem positive and hopeful.
The night ended with some incredible 90s vibes from Kelly Hoppenjans who said “I love the theme, and I love all the powerful lady feelings.” Kelly’s set began with an upbeat, rockin’ pop song and as it continued, it unbelievably only got better. We got a sneak peek into her new songs “Portrait of Your Life” and “Glitch in My Head.” The stories behind her songs were relatable and poetic. “Glitch in My Head” was all too familiar to the women in the room who have been in bad relationships. Inspired by a guy who treated her wrongly, she wrote a song about what she wished she would have written with a tube of toothpaste on his bathroom mirror before never seeing him again. Kelly Hoppenjans, along with having a gorgeous voice, has a real talent for songwriting that came across through her entire set but really struck a note with her song “Bandaid Girl.” It’s a particular kind of Sad Girl that can write about the need to love someone who can’t love you back. The guy in the song may have had it wrong, but we will always love this lady after such a show!
Sad Girl Night is about the courage to be vulnerable and to write songs about the experiences that shape us as women- the sadness, the uphill battle to achieve the same as our brothers, and above all, the STRENGTH to continue on, taking care of ourselves along the way. We invite you to attend our next (free) event on April 14th to see it all for yourself.
It’s not just for women, but also for allies. It’s for anyone who identifies as a goddess, or needs a community to belong to. Sad Girl Night is for opening your eyes and ears, and being open to becoming the best possible you.
written by: Christine Harazim