Milwaukee music is in the midst of a renaissance. Much of the rapid growth, inarguable improvement, and increased national attention to which the city has been privy lately can be largely explained by the ongoing youth movement in local music. IshDARR, 19, and WebsterX, early 20s, were prominently featured (among other local rappers) in a recent piece on Vice‘s affiliated Noisey music site. Soul Low has fast become a beloved fixture throughout Milwaukee venues, most of which members weren’t old enough to enter legally as recently as two years ago. Midnight Reruns, whose members are mostly under 25, just hit the road yesterday to tour in support of what could be the band’s breakout album. When coupled with established older acts, the new wave of artists have ushered in what could be looked back upon years from now as the salad days of the Milwaukee music scene.
At 17, Megan Schmidt—a senior at Milwaukee High School Of The Arts—is only serving to extend the age range and sonic scope of the city’s talent. The young musician has funneled her creativity into a project called HoneyBee, in which she plays guitar and sings. Her songs found their way to Sam Gehrke of Soul Low, a fellow MHSA alumnus and owner of Delaware House Records, who was immediately taken with her powerful voice and beyond-her-years musicianship.
“She sent me the first couple of songs and I couldn’t get over how lovely her voice sounded and how well the simple song progressions complemented her melodies and lyrics,” Gehrke says. “I also wanted to release this EP because I’m super big on helping out younger artists.”
HoneyBee’s debut, The Hollow Tree EP, is a gorgeous and emotionally-wrought introduction. Originally slated for a summer release, the five-song effort is a perfect fit for fall with Schmidt’s warm, soothing voice occupying the crevices of her barren, minimalist guitar arrangements. The 18-minute experience brings about the beautiful-yet-fortelling elements to early autumn as well as the chilling and bleak emptiness of winter. “[It] makes you wanna sleep in and sip coffee on the porch with your favorite sweater on,” Gehrke says.
After graduation, Schmidt says she plans to continue her education in the area and study biology. Hopefully she’ll also keep playing music. The Hollow Tree EP will be released October 27, with an all-ages release show planned for some point in November. For the time being, pour yourself some coffee, head to the porch, and stream HoneyBee’s debut EP now, only at Milwaukee Record.