Donna Missal Gives Charlotte Empowering Music to Remember

Donna Missal Gives Charlotte Empowering Music to Remember

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Following her debut album release, This Time, singer-songwriter Donna Missal has hit the road to spread the empowering messages that shine through her music. She stopped at intimate venues along the Midwest and the East Coast for the first leg, including the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte on February 26.

This Time, released with Harvest Records, struck a chord with listeners because of Missal's ability to lift up other women with her raw vocals. She is known for destigmatizing issues that all non-men know to be true but are scared to discuss, like the toxicity of women tearing each other down. In particular, the lyric "When women hate on other women, everybody loses" from the opening track, Girl, is so important to listeners that it's featured on her merch.

Before performing "Girl" to listeners in Charlotte, Missal explained that the messages and themes embodied in This Time are meant to talk about what she's experienced as a young woman trying to make music. That there's this intrinsic idea in our culture that women always taught that there are only a few spots for us, and in order to get the spots you have to be in competition with the women next to you and put them down. Slowly but surely, we're learning this isn't true and we're learning how to better interact with one another - and we're thankful that music can teach us how to do this.

Throughout the entire performance, Missal made a point to make eye contact with every single person in the crowd. She grabbed listeners' hands every moment she could, so her empowering messages could resonate even stronger with each person she touched.

This is Missal's very first headline tour and album. In the past, she has opened for Bishop Briggs, King Princess, Sir Sly, and Joywave to name a few. That being said, she has been making music and singing for 10 years - since she was 18. She told listeners in Charlotte that she didn't think she'd be able to make it as a musician. She had this idea, placed on her by society, that all of her value was placed on how she looks, but she always wants to push boundaries. She reminded us that we as women feel like we're working against a ticking clock no matter what we were pursuing, but we can't forget that time is actually on our side more than we think. The older we get, the more we are valued, so we must respect our processes instead of comparing ourselves to people who may seem to have more success than we do at the moment.

It's nearly impossible for someone to leave a Donna Missal performance without feeling they could conquer the world, no matter their gender. Through music, Charlotte learned about Missal's success and learning about the prejudice she has faced, which she then turned into inspiring lyrics that have become special in the hearts of so many.

Missed Donna Missal's first leg of tour? Catch her on the second leg. Buy tickets here.

For a full gallery of photos from Donna Missal's Charlotte performance, click here.

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My Friend Got Sick In The Dominican Republic

From visiting the beautiful beaches to spending six hours in a hospital of a foreign country.

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I visited the Dominican Republic from June 7 to June 14 this summer for my high school graduation trip. My family and best friend Jordan stayed at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana. I'm not hopping onto the bandwagon of all these stories coming out about this country that relies so much on tourism. I'm not here to condemn the resort or the country, because despite all the trouble I went through, I had an amazing time. I'm simply here to tell my story about what happened.

Right before we left for the trip, we heard all the stories about people dying in the country. This obviously made us all paranoid because we didn't want to end up like those people. We wanted to be careful. Most of the people who died at resorts had a drink from the minibar in the hotel and were poisoned by insecticides, had bloody diarrhea, throwing up blood, and had eventually had respiratory problems. We were aware of the symptoms and were knowledgable before going into this foreign country.

The first four days of the trip we were all having an amazing time. We enjoyed the beautiful beaches, swimming in the fourteen different pools, and eating like gluttons. I met so many beautiful and kind people from the Dominican Republic. Every person welcomed us as "familia", Spanish for family. On the fourth day, we decided to go on an excursion through the hotel. We went snorkeling and swam through the clear blue water. Jordan and I danced with the crew members on the boat. We shopped for souvenirs from locals and finally called it a day.

When we got back on the bus to the resort, my dad was shivering and was short of breath. His stomach was cramping and his forehead was on fire like he had a fever. After the longest thirty minutes of my life worrying about him, we finally made it back and he rushed to the bathroom. For the next twelve hours, he rested in the hotel room. The next day he was fine and had seemed to just catch a twenty-four bug.

Then, the next night Jordan was spending a lot of time in the bathroom. I figured it was just because she was adjusting the spicy food of the Dominican and that it would pass. In the morning when I had woken up, she told me had a fever and had been going to the bathroom every hour. My mom gave her anti-diarrhea medicine and she felt better the next day after resting in the room. We got her dinner of a small pizza and we went to bed, an uneventful day.

Jordan woke me up at 2 A.M. that night calling my name from the bathroom and asking for a trashcan. It was coming out of both ends at this point. After calling my mom and her dad, who was still in the U.S., we decided to call the resort doctor and have her come to the room. The doctor then determined that she was extremely dehydrated and needed to be transported to the hospital.

We got there at 4:30 A.M.. and Jordan had an IV put into her with anti-diarrhea medicine and saline. After multiple tests, the doctors said that she had a bacterial infection in her stomach. They gave her antibiotics and multiple packets of pills to take home and we left the clinic at 10:30 A.M. at last. She's going to be fine, but we were all scared because of all the news stories going on.

When we got back to the resort, multiple people who we had seen at the clinic came up to us and told us how their relatives experienced the same thing Jordan had. When I did some research, an article stated that 45 people had gotten violently ill from eating at the Toro restaurant at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana, which is where we ate the night before Jordan got sick.

We were lucky, you could say. I'm not sure it's necessarily all the resort's fault or the country's though. Although all these things happened to us, I believe that it's a matter of doing your research before you go to any country. Any country's food could make you sick. We don't know exactly where Jordan or my dad got sick from. All these bad news stories coming out could've played into why we reacted so harshly.

Saying all this, I would still love to visit the Dominican Republic again. I want to visit so many other countries across the world. For anyone else that is reading this and is scared to visit a country like this, I say just go for it. Know the risks, but know that there are rewards. You can't let fear hold you back from living your life, because dying in America is just as likely from other things.

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The Driver Era Gives Their Everything In Latest Track "Feel You Now"

Listen to The Driver Era open up about the meaning behind their latest track, what it took to produce it, and how they're interacting with fans on tour.

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The Driver Era combines unpredictable sounds across multiple genres with each release. Listeners never know what to expect from brothers Ross and Rocky Lynch because each track is so unique and nuanced. Their latest single "Feel You Now" was released on March 29. If you didn't get a deep enough glimpse into Ross and Rocky's minds in their lyric video, they opened up to Odyssey about what the track means to them from emotional and technical standpoints.

Odyssey: I love the energy that you guys bring to "Feel You Now." How would you say that it's different from the other three songs that The Driver Era has released so far?

Ross Lynch: Oh, it's super different. The first song we released, "Preacher Man," had a more rebellious view. And then following with songs like "Afterglow" and "Low," which have a bit of a sweeter touch – especially in the chord structure. I'd say "Feel You Now" is our most "pop" song that we've released.

Rocky Lynch: Yeah, like, electronic pop.

Ross L: It's definitely got some rock elements too.

O: Oh yeah. It really appeals to everyone in your fanbase. It's definitely pop and upbeat, but also the lyrics are pretty meaningful. So how are you hoping that "Feel You Now" resonates with your listeners, lyrically and musically? What main message do you want people to take away from it?

Ross L: Well, I always like it when the listener interprets songs however it can be the most personal to them. So, however people resonate with the song is it's really up to them because that's how it's going to mean the most to you. But what it means to me is it's about the struggle between your head and your heart – which everyone deals with so often, especially in me. I sometimes get into a spell of overthinking. At the end of the day, the song is about love. That's the message – love over fear.

O: Totally feel you with the whole overthinking thing.

Ross L: It's hard, isn't it?

O: Did you base the lyrics off of your general experiences with the battle between the head and the heart, or was it more from one specific instance?

Ross L: It's a collection of experiences – this song isn't particularly one life occurrence. Typically how we've been writing recently is we've been trying to turn off conscious thought. Without sounding too cheesy, I try to connect to my higher self and just try to let that come through. So with this particular song, it just came out.

O: I feel like that definitely like shows your true, authentic selves. I really appreciate that you're able to get into that realm. Not a lot of artists can do that.

Ross L: Yeah! That's, that's my whole objective. A lot of the greatest songwriters ever said that the meaning of the song would come to them after they wrote the whole song. For instance, John Lennon would say the song writes itself. I am the device that it flows through. That's where "Feel You Now" came from.

O: How do you two balance the songwriting and producing? Is Ross mainly songwriting and Rocky mainly producing?

Rocky L: We go back and forth. Our most common way of making a song is that I'll tend to be a little more production oriented and Ross will tend to do a little more lyric and melody. But if you split us up, we do a little bit of everything. For instance, "Low," our last single, I produced entirely on my own because Ross was in Vancouver filming a Netflix show, like a baller. And then you get to "Feel You Now," and that's a track where we wrote and produced with the drummer Ellington, but the single after that is just Ross and me, and we did the whole thing ourselves. So, it kind of goes back and forth.

O: I like the teamwork element.

Rocky L: Yeah! It just kind of flows like that. It'd be a fun experiment to say, "You know, let's just swap."

Ross L: I would love to do that.

Rocky L: It'd be like, "Ross, sit down at the computer. I'm going to head over to the guitar." We'll float, we do everything. We flip back and forth continuously while writing, and it would be really fun to just be like, "hey, you're only going to touch production and I'm only gonna touch lyric and melody." But that could be a fun thing.

Ross L: I'm surprised we haven't done that.

O: You should totally do it.

Rocky L: We're going to do that now because of you!

O: I'm glad I could inspire you! But yeah, I love the balance. You can really tell listening to your music how well you two work together. How would you say your balance of talents worked together specifically on "Feel You Now?"

Ross L: I think Rocky is a really, really talented musician and engineer. The amount of precision that is in "Feel You Now" a lot of people won't get because they're not musicians. It's really, really precise. He does such a good job about letting the song flow and building it, EQing it just right. And compression and all those little details to such a precise state that the song sounds really crisp. For this particular song, it's what it needed. We had Ellington do a drum pass on the bridge, that's where all that crazy, hectic drumming comes from. All the intense synths and intricacies of the production is just really unique.

Rocky L: I got to start paying him. He's my hype man.

Ross L: I mean, I've said it to Rocky, he said it to me. I don't want to work with anybody else.

O: So you've just started touring…how has it been?

Rocky L: We started on the East Coast and then we spent some time in Colorado, which is where we're originally from.

O: That's awesome! I actually spoke to a couple of the fans that were at your Denver show, but several of your other shows on this tour as well. They said that a Driver Era show really feels like a safe space to them and that each show is very memorable. So how do you go about making sure your live shows are meaningful for fans?

Ross L: Denver is our hometown and after the show, our uncle came backstage – he might be our biggest fan. One of the main things that you said was, "You guys left it all out on the stage." Like all, all of our blood, sweat, tears, energy, everything. We show up and we leave it there. We give it all. I think that's what people really resonate with. Some of our fans have been to 50 of our shows before and they'll follow us on tour, so much so that we know their names and their faces.

O: That's so important. Even just fan interactions, it's so easy to tell how much you guys care about what you do.

Rocky L: That's honestly dope to hear. Because sometimes, you do put in a lot of time, effort, and love to try to dedicate most of your life to something. And it's nice to hear that people see that and feel that as well about a project we've been working on.

To hear "Feel You Now" and other songs live, see when The Driver Era is coming to a city near you. Find tickets here.

Keep up with The Driver Era on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube. Subscribe to their community here.

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