The curators of Tracks Music Library say the music scene in Chapel Hill is special. In their bios on the Tracks website, they reference iconic venues, the community’s camaraderie and a range of genres and talents. They are experts on the subject: musicians, business owners and scholars who have been selected for their knowledge of local culture and their ear for quality.
One of their jobs as curators for Tracks, which is a commercial-free collection of music from over 70 Triangle-based artists, is to create playlists that highlight the best music the area has to offer.
Inspired by the “Celebrate the Women of Tracks" playlist by Kat Harding and by Women's History Month, The Daily Tar Heel is profiling four local women featured on the track list:
A.yoni Jeffries: “I do create music that is genre-allergic, if you will. I really enjoy … exploring the boundaries of my artistry and my culture.”
When Jeffries was a child, her mother heard her humming unfamiliar melodies. As a songwriter and wordsmith herself, she enrolled Jeffries in classical training as a vocalist at only age 8. A North Carolina native, Jeffries is still singing; she currently lives and works in Durham.
Her heritage runs deep into her musicianship — her mother is Native American, and Jeffries grew up near her tribe; her father taught her about her Jamaican background. These influences show up in her work, which includes songs in her native tongue as well as reggae hits. Her most recent project, “Potential Gon Pay,” is a reclamation of her identity and a life spent at the intersection of two very unique cultures.
Rachel Kiel: “One thing I think is interesting about songwriters is there’s this friction between the idea that you have to be inspired to write a song and that you have to sit down and make it a job.”
Carrboro-based singer/songwriter Rachel Kiel nudges herself into creative mode by giving herself what she calls “homework assignments.” She challenges herself to write a song in an interesting tuning on guitar or writes a piece for an instrument she’s not particularly familiar with. One of Kiel’s assignments was to read part of the book “Songwriters on Songwriting” and write the song “Clara” in a style that one of the musicians in the book might have used.