• Feature

Cincinnati Women in Music: Jaki Howser

Photo Cred: Chromatic Anthem

Jaki Howser is insanely talented, has a heart of gold, and crushes everything she does. Whether it's with MADQUEEN and Bi, playing at her church, molding young minds, or ripping up the trails on her bike. It was an honor to get to chat with my friend, Jaki on being a Woman in Cincinnati Music.

What are some things we might not know about Jaki Howser?
 I am a high school Music teacher at Badin High School where I teach Piano, Music Technology, Drum Set & Percussion, Voice, and Rock Band- I love to road cycle & mountain bike when I can- I am currently recording my first full length album under MADQUEEN- I love the outdoors and plan to do my first attempt at the Ohio to Erie trail by bike (330+ miles)- I live with anxiety and depression, but music & exercise are the ONLY things to alleviate it. 

As a Woman in Cincinnati Music, do you feel that gender has ever hindered your path? Do you feel that you have to work harder to get your voice heard?
 I hate to admit it, but yes, it has hindered my path. I've been a church musician since I was a high schooler, so that dynamic has rarely existed in the church, but playing live shows, I get "mansplained" to alot, especially to sound guys and other bands. I have ABSOLUTELY had to work harder to make my voice heard. There is a strange stigma that female musicians are not as good. I heard growing up "you're really good for a girl drummer". What does that even mean? My goal is to be a really good drummer despite gender. Even booking shows, sharing the bill with "bigger names", ect, I have learned to shut that down and out of my head and keep my head up. It only gives me more fuel to be better.

What Women in music (or behind the music) do you admire?
BIlly Elish 100000%, Haley Williams - honestly, I rarely listen for or seek out musicians based on gender and often inspired by songs and bands rather than gender. However, locally, there are PLENTY of women in music that I appreciate and admire: Kate Wakefield, Kelly Fine, Paige Braley, Chrishawna Clark, Rae Fisher, Mayalou Banatwala just to name a few. I appreciate females who better their skill and don't settle. Don't just play an instrument because you're a woman....learn it, study it, take lessons, BE BETTER THAN just a female musician. Push yourself, learn new skills, be better than the stigma. Also, to be honest, there are quite a few females in my rock band class every day who will blow the musicianship out of the water in 4 years. Just wait...if you feel out of practice, better start studying. There is a new wave about to hit and I'm honored to be training them up.

What do you want people to take away with them when they think of you?
 I want people to know that I work hard for what I want, I never settle for less, I give and get respect, and that I write good pop tunes. I'm around so many wonderful musicians that push me to be better and I want to do the same for others. I also hope people like my music. If they don't tho, that's ok, at least I"m happy with it!