Six female artists from Alaska to add to your summer playlist

From debut albums to EPs, Alaska’s female musicians are coming out swinging this summer.

Ava Earl, who made a name for herself on the Anchorage Folk Festival stage, is releasing her fourth studio album this week. Meanwhile, newer artists like Kodi Hannah and Nichole-Lee put out their first EPs this month.

Ava Earl — When she was 14, Ava Earl performed on Salmonfest’s stage as the youngest solo act. Now, the 18-year-old singer-songwriter’s fourth studio album, “The Roses,” is coming out July 23.

The Girdwood folk musician traveled to Nashville in February 2020 to record the album, which was produced by JT Nero of the Americana folk band Birds of Chicago.

Earl said in a statement announcing her new music that she wrote the title track about a friend of hers from a few years ago, from whom she has since drifted apart.

The first part of the song is about Earl blaming herself. She said it took her a long time to realize “that some people can be part of your life without having control over your emotions.”

Earl will be performing “The Roses” in full at her album release concert, happening this Friday in the Sydney Laurence Theatre at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.


Ava Earl’s music can be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and other platforms.

Nichole-Lee — Nichole Baldwin, known as singer and rapper Nichole-Lee, released her EP “Booked & Busy” on July 2 with five songs. One features Anchorage drag queen Glenn Coco.

Throughout the EP, Nichole-Lee sprinkles in lyrics recognizing her dual citizenship in the U.S. and Bermuda.

“I wanted to pay homage to the places that raised me and made me who I am,” she said in an interview.

Earlier this year, she released her first music video, “HADOUKEN,” named after a special attack from the Street Fighter video games she played growing up. The music video was filmed at Hatcher Pass.

“If this year has taught us anything, it’s to just do, and go back to your passion,” she said. “Seek out your passions and go for it.”

“Booked & Busy” can be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify, TIDAL and other platforms.

Bethlehem Shalom — Following the fall 2020 release of her EP “Bad Mouth,” Bethlehem Shalom Hansen said she’s been keeping busy with a steady stream of live shows. Earlier this month she performed with Mac Holtan of now-disbanded headbanging band Old Hounds and Justin Ferguson of the electric-pop group Aural Imago to open for lovelytheband at Williwaw.

Hansen said she has music she still needs to record but is eager to release her new song, “Greed” — what she describes as “psychedelic dream pop.” The song will be released in mid-August.

“I definitely feel like there’s a style change happening,” she said. “People are going to see a different side of what I’ve been trying to make for a long time.”

She is playing this week, on July 24 at 7 p.m., at Penny Royalty in Anchorage, and will also play at a show at Akela Space on Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Her music can be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and other platforms.

Erin Heist — Juneau-based singer-songwriter Erin Heist released her EP, “Another Rainy Day,” on July 16, which includes three original songs, her own version of Bill Callahan’s song, “Rock Bottom Riser” and cowboy ballad “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie.”

Before the EP, Heist said, she had never recorded anything professionally.

“You think it’s weird to hear your voice on an answering machine,” Heist said.

Heist said the first single from her modern folk EP was inspired by the heavy rainfall Juneau saw in the summer of 2020.

“This EP project was to help me get ready for even bigger projects,” Heist said.


She said she has a new set of songs she will record this fall, and will have a full-length album coming out next year.

“Another Rainy Day” can be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and other platforms.

Kodi Hannah — Singer and songwriter Kodi Hannah recorded her debut album, “Dandelion Baby,” at Frostline Studios in Anchorage. The album came out July 9.

The 20-year-old lives in North Pole and has been working on the album for nearly two years. Not too long after she signed her recording contract, the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

“Luckily, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and we started meeting up and recording the album with three or four people in the studio at a time and trying to get it done while working through the COVID regulations,” Hannah said. “And we did, and it’s out now, finally.”

Hannah said she worked on the album and its songs for a long time and has been itching to write new music. She’s eager to get back into the studio, too.

But for now, she’s excited for everyone to listen to the album.

“I know that it’s new for everyone else hearing it for the first time,” she said.


“Dandelion Baby” can be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify and other platforms.

Liz Snyder — Liz Snyder, singer in the Seattle-based band Whiskey Class, along with bandmate Patrick Troll, have plans to release an EP this fall.

Snyder is originally from Alaska and will perform at Salmonfest on Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 6:15 p.m

The band has released a single called “I’m Afraid” and will put out another from the album, “I Just Rule,” on Aug. 18.

The EP represents the start of a new chapter for Snyder as a musician, she said. She and Troll are in recovery, and this release is the first one done in sobriety, she said, which is “pretty special.”

“In the past couple years, I have had to reinvent my entire relationship with music,” Snyder said. “And this EP is sort of a small taste of that rebirth.”

“I’m Afraid” can be streamed on Bandcamp.

Samantha Davenport

Samantha Davenport is a former ADN reporter.