Jessica Dobson, Sera Cahoone, Cumulus and More Rock Rain City Rock Camp for Girls Benefit

Watch Deep Sea Diver cover The Clash’s “Police and Thieves” above.

Over the course of a week, the students at Rain City Rock Camp for Girls get a lot done.

The Seattle-based non-profit music camp whose mission is “dedicated to building positive self-esteem in girls and encouraging creative expression through music” first teams the girls up into bands. They then decide which instrument they want to play and settle on a band name—something that can take adult bands months to figure out. Once they’ve gotten that settled, they design a logo, and start writing a song together. At the end of the week, they perform their new song at Neumos.

“They come into camp with a really pop star mentality,” says Alexandra Niedzialkowski, lead singer of Cumulus and a counselor at the camp. “They’ll come in loving like, Miley Cyrus, or Ke$ha and stuff like that. So we try and introduce them to the idea that they can write pop songs and still rock out.”

Niedzialkowski has just finished rocking out with her band at the Rain City benefit show at Chop Suey. The group was recently signed to Chris Walla’s (Death Cab For Cutie) new label Trans, and have plans to release their full length this fall.

“We kinda introduce the girls to things like The Gossip, and we’ll show them Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill and they just love it. They’re just ready to absorb everything and it’s awesome to present them with representations of strong women.”

The benefit show featured an all-lady line up with performances from Sera Cahoone, Deep Sea Diver, The Redwood Plan, The Local Strangers, Cumulus, Naomi Wachira, Betsy Olson, Kaylee Cole, and Hannah Williams. In honor of the cause, we asked some of the performers to talk about their lady rock icons growing up.

Jessica Dobson of Deep Sea Diver: My lady rock icon growing up was probably Björk. I mean, I had all the posters, I had the box set—I had everything. There’s just something otherworldly about her. That voice too, you can’t beat it.

Naomi Wachira: I have two—Tracy Chapman and Miriam Makeba who’s from South Africa. I grew up in Kenya, and these were two very influential women in my life. They were huge on social issues and dignifying the human experience. They’re not entertainers, they’re about empowering people to be the best that they can be. Miriam Makeba really sang about Apartheid and trying to dignify black people in South Africa. Tracy Chapman really talked about social issues like domestic violence, and about knowing yourself and who you really are. Those are things I really value as an artist and they’ve absolutely influenced what I do.

Alexandra Niedzialkowski: I think Mirah was originally the first person who really inspired me to start writing songs. I found her in high school. It was a lot of like that scene of Olympia and Anacortes stuff. I watched Damian Jurado and Mount Eerie, but mostly Mirah really hit me because she writes amazing pop songs. She writes these beautiful pop songs that are so catchy and subtle. Her song writing has really impacted my song writing and probably my voice too.

For more information about Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, go to:

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