In honor of National Women’s History Month, we’ve teamed with Chrissy Powers to showcase seven female creative entrepreneurs who are inspiring us with their incredible work, but also in the way they support other women! Each of these ladies were photographed wearing pieces by Dôen—another strong, female-led brand. Stay tuned as we highlight these women all week.
In the process of producing this ‘Women Supporting Women’ series and having the chance to tell the stories of women I know, I intentionally chose people who exemplified the characteristics of grit, grace, passion and vulnerability. Rheanna Downey is a singer/songwriter who embodies all of these qualities, but especially passion and vulnerability.
Rheanna’s music has meaning that goes far beyond what we hear on the radio. She is passionate about loving others and seeing that we all thrive in life. If you spent a morning drinking coffee with her, you would most certainly walk away feeling lighter and encouraged in your own path in life.
Rheanna—voice, words, heart and all—is a gift to anyone who knows her. Read on for photos from our shoot with Rheanna and fellow musician Jasmine Commerce (whom you’ll meet tomorrow) and be sure to listen closely as she shares her perspective on encouraging women, both near and far!
How did you get into doing what you do? What was your mindset when you started out?
I don’t know that there was ever a time when I wasn’t writing music and playing for people. Over the years I have just been growing in what that means for me as a business pursuit. I think I have been joyful in turning my passion into a business that blesses my family with an income.
What were some key moments in your career when you felt vulnerable or doubted yourself? How did you grow from it?
So many of my big moments, I doubted. Whether it was putting out a record, or playing a big venue that I had booked, or even sharing my music in hopes that it would be received. Overall, I think I have just realized that art is vulnerability. I grow in simply stepping out. Every step takes me somewhere, and usually the things that I doubt and are afraid of are illusions.
Why are you a supporter of women in the business and why is that so important?
I think, particularly, the business of putting out records and performing it really is a male-dominated world. And that is not to say that there aren’t women making music. Obviously there are, but you just feel it as you set foot into any studio or venue, or when you deal with most people in the industry. Finding strong women who are moving with integrity and without compromise is really valuable, and I wish more women knew that it’s an option. So, for me, I really feel it’s a necessity to support one another and encourage each other—not work against one another.
What are some things we can do to help support other women in the creative industry more?
I think the willingness to share our journeys is key. Just be willing to support each other without feeling like we will lose ground in the process, knowing that there is room enough for all our viewpoints and fearlessly giving to one another.
Encouragement has done wonders for me, and I feel like the ones who have encouraged me have been the ones with the most abundance.
How do you overcome the sense of competition within your field—especially on a local level?
I really think that competition within creative fields comes from a sense of lack or insecurity. I just know that when I remember that there is space for my little perspective and that my perspective does really matter, then I no longer feel the need to compete. Maybe because I am not looking for approval in that sense, and rather just offering something of myself. So, maybe the simple answer is allowing it to become a selfless endeavor at heart.
When you feel like someone may be threatened by your success, how do you think it can best be handled?
I have always tried to be kind and encouraging. Kindness softens a heart, and when people feel that you are for them then they naturally respond.
How do you stay positive when you might not get the gig, job or opportunity you were hoping for?
I have faith that the doors that are supposed to open for me at the appropriate times will. It’s not that I don’t deal with disappointment, or have high hopes, because I don’t think that you can call yourself a dreamer if you don’t. But I know at the end of the day, that a good part of the joy is the pursuit. I know that there are gifts just for me, just as there are gifts designed for others. Our paths won’t all look the same, and there is something beautiful about that. Not all opportunities are meant for me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t pursue what I can. You never know if you never try.