The DMV Makes Music Songwriter’s Showcase is an exciting event that celebrates the exceptional and varied talent of the DC songwriting community. Drawing inspiration from the renowned songwriter’s showcases of Nashville, this showcase is dedicated to promoting the local music scene and providing a platform for talented songwriters to showcase their work.
Chris Dinosaur is a Northern Virginia based singer songwriter and frontman of the Dinosaurus collective. Born in New York, Chris spent his childhood between Texas, Virginia and Ecuador. For over two decades, he was primarily an acoustic guitarist, occasionally singing to support other lead vocalists and bands. During the COVID pandemic, Chris started writing/producing full band versions of his previously acoustic-only songs.
Summer Chambers is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter and ukulele enthusiast based in Arlington, VA. The frontwoman of local band Street Parking, Summer’s original music blends 90’s pop and indie folk influences with introspective lyrics and a soulful voice, forming a unique sound that is gaining her and her band a growing following.
Pete Rafle – aka PR Songsmith – is a Springfield, VA, based bassist, guitarist and singer-songwriter, whose goal is to make the world a little kinder and more connected, one song at a time. An alumnus of Steve Earle’s Camp Copperhead and Richard Thompson’s Frets & Refrains, Pete has had the privilege of honing his craft under the tutelage of Dar Williams, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Gretchen Peters, Richard Thompson, and Sloane Wainwright. You can find him on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook at @prsongsmith.
Paul Wolfe is an acoustic singer-songwriter who’s lived here in Northern Virginia for nearly 30 years, with stops in Charlottesville, Philadelphia, and London along the way—though deep down his native Pittsburgh still feels like home.
Years ago Paul’s children were taking music lessons, and he figured their dad could too. So guitar lessons began, and before long guitar lessons turned into songwriting, and before long songwriting turned into performing…and here we are!
Paul’s songs survey a wide sweep of life and love, truth and trial, experience and imagination. He has received numerous recognitions from the Songwriters’ Association of Washington, and he relishes opportunities to connect live with listeners who bring experiences and aspirations of their own.
Taylor and Hayley Emerson are singer-songwriters who also happen to be identical twins. While they grew up writing their own music individually, they found their voice as built-in collaborators. Their unique perspective as twins creates a harmonious blend of pop music with theatrical flair, inspired by their love for Broadway musicals and contemporary pop artists. Their most recent work includes an original musical titled “Twins: The Musical,” about identical twins who journey to find their individuality in juxtaposed cities, as well as a range of pop songs they’ve written and performed in St. Louis, New York, LA, Washington DC, and even Berlin, Germany and Beijing and Shanghai, China.
With their powerful vocal range and dynamic songwriting abilities, Taylor and Hayley have been praised for their ability to captivate audiences with their honest and heartfelt performances. Their most notable songs include “City of the Night” and “Love Is So Much More,” which showcase their ability to create catchy hooks while staying true to their storytelling roots. With their passion for music and theatre, Taylor and Hayley are poised to make a mark in the industry as twin musical powerhouses.
Pop/Soul Singer-Songwriter, Rachel Burns, is a multi-talented Washington DC-based artist who is inspired by iconic singers and entertainers such as Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, and the like. Writing songs that combine life’s humor and heartbreak, Burns infuses the influences of blues, country, and jazz with a theatrical twist in her original music.
Burns grew up in a musical family and went on to get a degree in Classical Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. After college, Burns performed and arranged jazz, blues pop, and country tunes with bands in Boston and DC for over 20 years. The singer was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer in 2013; placing her active music career on hold as she underwent 9 months of intense treatment. Using her cancer diagnosis as the fuel and guidance to pursue her passion as a musician, Burns began honing her sound and crafting songs that stretch across the spectrum from quirky to uplifting to ultimately funny. The proudly unique artist inspires women across the world to empower themselves through her songwriting and arranging. After cancer treatment, Burns began songwriting which led to the release of her first original single, “Sundown of the Macho Man.”
Burns also had a stint of inspiring women as a humorous Wonder Woman character throughout many protests in Washington DC during Trump’s administration. The intriguing and powerful getup landed her in several major publications including on the front page of the New York Times’ Style section as well as multiple times in The Washington Post. It was during this time Burns crafted the quirky and bluesy track, “Tiny Hands.” The music video for the song, a satirical take on Trump’s infamous reputation and sex scandals, has amassed over 129K organic views since its release in 2020. That same year, the songwriter was also featured as a breast cancer survivor in New York Fashion Week as she animatedly walked the catwalk during the AnaOno FearLESS show.
In the summer of 2022, Burns signed with Lady Savage Management & PR based in Nashville and will be releasing her sophomore EP, ‘What a Nasty Woman’, in Spring 2023. Burns’ vibrant and unique personality can be found on her YouTube Channel, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. Visit www.rachelburnsmusic.com to stay up to date on new releases, upcoming shows, and to connect with Rachel online!
Alex Alavi is a musician and cartoonist from the DC area. His setlist is composed of quirky original tunes reminiscent of ’60s roots rock. Think the Beatles meets Bob Dylan meets that weird guy from your high school.
ok ivy is a singer songwriter in Washington D.C. She writes indie pop songs on her ukulele and tries to remember people’s birthdays (she succeeds at one of those things). Her music strives for Rebecca Sugar lyrical talent and Mitski emotional impact. She’s originally from Oklahoma and originally a poet and then she discovered mass transit and musical notes, so now she plays music around the DMV.
Alan Xtra is an award-winning songwriter from Northern Virginia and founder of The Palace, the best little drag show in Fairfax. He studied Theatre at Ithaca College and can be found playing synth for Shelley Star and The Galaxy, writing for Poppers at Brunch, and fronting Synthpop Duo The Hit Singles. His latest single, 4ever, can be found on all streaming services.
The band moniker LAVA FLW, is an acronym of key places the Black brothers have lived, collaborated, and carefully crafted music, in LA Los Angeles, VA Virginia, FL Florida, and Washington dc. The unreal energy in a live performance of the LAVA FLW original indie sound is other-worldly. LAVA is all about creating new worlds, collaborating with, and inspiring artists. This finally came to fruition in 2021 with The EP Cure, and the emo punk electronic hard rock sci-fi fantasy, the Ultra Black Space Time LP; catch LAVA FLW streaming everywhere and @lava.flw on IG.
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