This post was originally published in Anthony’s personal blog theUPPERninety on August 26, 2015.
It’s a damp Saturday evening after the rainy weather has subsided; I make the drive across town to a local Starbucks, and on arrival I find comfort on an outdoor couch to avoid the noise and clutter of inside. I take my laptop out of my leather backpack and begin looking over my spread and questions. Not long after, two girls walk by me, myself unnoticed. “Here” the text on my phone reads. I proceed to reply and before I can the two girls reappear from inside “There you are hahaha” with a whole-hearted smile. Hannah and Riley take a seat in front of me. “Annabelle couldn’t make it”.
The show must go on.
I was excited for this meeting because the potential I saw in this particular group was enormous. I haven’t always been the biggest advocate for supporting local music but some life changes forced me to broaden my horizons. In respecting local music, it gives you a better respect for the guys making the big bucks and music culture as a whole. They weren’t always the person you see glorified by the media. Most of them were the same people trying to get radio cuts and demos listened to by record companies.
Encountering young musicians attempting to follow their dreams is not unusual in any shape or form, but when you come across an all-female band it should grab your attention, and quite frankly, you don’t see that too often. In all genres there are women struggling to find equality in the music world; and to be aware of that before diving into the industry and being aware of the adversity you’ll face takes some grande huevos.
In Rock and Roll, as well other genres, men have been portrayed to society as the dominant gender. Sad but true, but with Rock greats from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin, the convergance can easily be stolen from their female counterparts. Since as early as the 1960s, women have sought out respect in Rock, so there is no surprise that three teenage girls (Annabelle, Hannah, and Riley, better known as the “Surreals”) from Jackson, Tennessee, are taking Rock by storm.
The story for these girls started in 6th grade when band members Riley and Annabelle were on the KIK messenger app contributing to the Beatlemania Fandom by writing their own fan fictions about them and the Beatles. Riley had come forth with a tale of how the three met the Beatles and created their own band, though Riley faced a dilemma with naming them. With this story gave birth to the Surreals. They then vowed to bestow that name to the band that they hoped to form in the future. Two years later Annabelle, Hannah, and Riley were together vibing to Led Zeppelin; They all brought forth the idea that they should start a band . . .
“That’s not how it came to be!” Hannah chimes in.
“Yeah, it did,” pronounces Riley, “Then we forced you to play an instrument.”
“That is true, they did force me to play an instrument. We were at my house, and Annabelle and Riley were already in a secret band.” The trio then began to practice and were playing Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box to audiences on an internet video chat website called Omegle.
What goals do the Surreals have for the future? When faced with the question of goals . . .
“We are goals,” Hannah quickly remarks. “Hahahaha, goals. You’re looking at ’em,” Riley cosigns. “I guess every band’s goal is to get to the top to play gigs everywhere and anywhere for everyone and anyone.”
Hannah then continues, “We want to make an impression; we want to be around for as long as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles, which is really a struggle since, again, [we are] an all-female band, and the rock world is dominated by men.”
Struggling with finding their sound with very few members, the Surreals find inspiration from the likes of the Beatles, Nirvana, and the White Stripes. These three face adversity eye-to-eye with difficulty in finding venues that would allow three sixteen-year-old girls to perform, but mostly with the lack of support for local music. “People are very close-minded when it comes to listening to new people. . . . We have such a hard time trying to find places that’ll take us since they want [higher acclaimed artists],” Hannah states.
Support for music is a rather large problem that most people don’t realize. Unless you are someone that isn’t stuck in tunnel vision, you won’t care about local music. In this day and age we are more curious to hear what our favorite artists are going to put out soon or just wait to hear new music on the radio or find out about it on social media. Though we still have sites and apps such as Spotify and Soundcloud that provide us with an easier route to discovering new sounds, we still tend to stick to our old ways. If you can, help out and support your local musicians by attending their shows near you, buying their music if you like them, referring bands, or even providing them with feedback if you don’t enjoy them too much; and though you might not see it, there is beauty in the struggle.
Here’s a taste of their music:
If you’d like to hear more from the Surreals and to keep up with them, stay tuned on their website.
Anthony Merriweather is a Communications major at Jackson State Community College and writes primarily for his personal blog tU90. He aspires to be a full-time journalist.
Header image provided by The Surreals.