Metal Chick of the Month – Ceira Mahoney

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Save us, Ceira!

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure to review the excellent EP The Way I Feel Pt. 2, by British Electronic Rock band SouLost and, of course, couldn’t help noticing the talent and awesome voice from their gorgeous lead singer Ceira Mahoney. Although SouLost is a brand new band, why not showing the world how promising Ceira’s career is with the band and how lucky Stef G, Lux and Law (the other members of the band) are?

Born on Februrary 7, 1992, Ceira (a tricky name for people who don’t know her, that’s actually pronounced “Kira”) began her music and acting career really early in her life. She started singing when she was only four years old, and began training at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in the UK on weekends. Once she turned seven, Ceira joined the Ravenscourt Theatre School full time, where she did a few acting roles such as extra work in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and About a Boy. Our stunning Brit-girl also had some experience overseas during her childhood, as she also played the part of a young goth aged 9 for a company called Malabar, in South Africa.

Then at the age of 14 Ceira got into the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology and went on to join a few bands. However, according to Ceira herself, up until SouLost she had not found any band she had a real passion for like the one she has developed for her current London-based rock group. Based on her two EP’s with SouLost (The Way I Feel Pt. 1 and The Way I Feel Pt. 2, both released now in 2014), it’s easy to understand why she loves her current job so much: the music by SouLost is powerful, captivating and modern, and it can be easily enjoyed by any type of person, from those regular “Top 40 Mainstream” guys and girls to the most diehard Heavy Metal fan you can think of.

If you don’t believe me, take a listen at some of the songs by SouLost, such as The Way I Feel and Save Me, and also watch their official video for the amazing song Without Me. You’ll see that not only her voice is perfect for this type of contemporary rock music, but also her performance as a frontwoman is really above average, truly boosting the quality of the music by SouLost.

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But how can such a young girl like Ceira look and sound so professional with so little time on the road with SouLost? Well, her origins and early start explain part of that, as previously mentioned, but I strongly believe all the inspiration she got from the legend, the unique, the immortal singer Freddie Mercury was the actual spark that ignited her love for music. She has loved British Rock icons Queen and their theatrical side since she was very young (who hasn’t, right?), especially Freddie’s unparalleled performance and voice, of course.

Besides Queen, she grew up listening to bands such as My Chemical Romance and Bullet For My Valentine, and the dramatic quality of their music has been instilled in her forever. Moreover, in regards to her top vocalists of all time, she also draws a lot of inspiration from artists like Alanis Morissette, Amy Lee, Gerard Way and Idina Menzel, among others. I should say this is a very eclectic list of performers, by the way.

Last but not least, as for hobbies our beautiful singer mentioned that, if she wasn’t devoted to music, she would definitely want to train as a tattoo artist, as she has always had a passion for art and body modification.

If you want to know more about this remarkable girl and her cool band SouLost, you can visit the band’s official website, Facebook page and Twitter, buy their music at their official online store, check where you can see them playing live, and also join the uprising #SouLostArmy. And let’s face it: with an “army captain” like Ceira, it will always be a pleasure to follow all her orders.

Ceira Mahoney’s Official Facebook page
Ceira Mahoney’s Official Twitter

“Every moment I’m able to perform is my favourite moment.” – Ceira Mahoney

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Metal Chick of the Month – Alissa White-Gluz

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This is War Eternal, Alissa!

In order to properly celebrate the first awesome year of The Headbanging Moose, no one would have been a better choice for our Metal Chick of the Month than this Canadian girl. She’s at the same time the Beauty AND the Beast, an inspiration to many women all around the world, and her convictions and talent are truly taking her to stardom. From the beautiful city of Montreal, Quebec, here comes Alissa White-Gluz, founder and former lead singer of Canadian Metalcore band The Agonist, and currently the frontwoman of Swedish Melodic Death Metal icons Arch Enemy.

This vegan straight-edge kick-ass Québécois was born on July 31, 1985, and although she claims she has never taken any singing lessons her voice has become really powerful and versatile throughout the years, elevating her status as one of the most influential Heavy Metal female singers of the past decade, even leading to some comparisons with the one and only Angela Gossow. Well, those comparisons don’t seem to have been in vain, because on March 17, 2014, she was chosen to be the replacement for Angela herself and became the voice of Arch Enemy. In Alissa’s own words, “I am very honored and happy to announce a new chapter in my life and musical career beginning now; I have joined forces with one of my all-time favorite and globally respected bands, ARCH ENEMY. ‘Wages of Sin’ was the first metal album I ever bought, and it was love at first listen. It is not often that you get a phone call from your favorite band asking you to join! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such amazingly talented musicians whom I also consider great friends. I look forward to being able to write and perform at a whole new level now with ARCH ENEMY! Music is forever, metal is limitless and this is only the beginning!”

Arch Enemy have recently released their first album with Alissa on vocals, entitled War Eternal, but there was a lot more of our Heavy Metal diva prior to that. She founded The Agonist back in 2004 with guitarist Danny Marino and bassist Chris Kells (when the band was still known as The Tempest), and recorded three excellent full-length albums and one EP with them: Once Only Imagined (2007), Lullabies for the Dormant Mind (2009), The Escape EP (2011), and Prisoners (2012), with Lullabies for the Dormant Mind being in my opinion their best album in terms of musicality, lyrics and creativity. In regards to Alissa’s performance in all The Agonist albums, she was always so electrifying and full of energy that it’s impossible to not get completely mesmerized by her voice and moves, as you can easily see in their official videos for Thank You, Pain, …And Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep, and Panophobia. By the way, I consider the video for Thank You, Pain, with its outstanding production, good storyline and, of course, Alissa kickin’ ass, one of the most professional and beautiful videos I’ve seen in a long time.

Besides her work with The Agonist, Alissa has also been featured as a guest musician in the following albums: Canadian Folk/Melodic Death Metal band Blackguard’s Profugus Mortis,  Canadian Melodic Black/Death Metal band Erimha’s Irkalla, Canadian Industrial Death Metal band Synastry’s Blind Eyes Bleed, American Melodic Power Metal band Kamelot’s Silverthorn and also in the single Sacrimony (which the amazing official video can be seen here), and more recently in Dutch Symphonic Metal band Delain’s The Human Contradiction. She was also a live guest singer during Kamelot’s recent 2011/2012 tours, as well as, along with Swedish singer Elize Ryd (Amaranth), replaced Anette Olzon while she was sick for a one-time Nightwish concert in Denver on September 28, 2012. An interview with both artists talking about that experience can be seen here and on Nightwish’s Showtime, Storytime (DVD), on the documentary footage section.

Also, in 2006 Alissa appeared on Canadian Idol singing a cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and in January 2012 she was featured as a coach on an episode of MTV’s Made. I don’t know if these can be considered part of her music career, as those TV shows are useless and do not bring any real benefits to real musicians, but anyway she was there and it was an alternative way for her to be exposed to different audiences that are not really into Heavy Metal.

While Alissa was with The Agonist, she toured the world with many different famous bands such as Epica, Kamelot, Sonata Arctica and Danzig, which is very demanding and time consuming, and now with Arch Enemy the frequency and intensity of world tours have just increased, making her eating habits and exercising more than essential for a professional and powerful onstage performance. That’s one of the reasons why she maintains a strong exercise routine, working out between 5 and 6 times a week, especially to strengthen her muscles. Alissa mentioned she loves working out, which is in her opinion the best remedy for anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues etc., and it’s one of the things that make her feel a happier and healthier person. I agree with her 100%, as I also love working out and feel the same results as she does, and also because The Agonist and Arch Enemy are always in my workout playlist.

Another important part of her life is her veganism, which according to Alissa herself is her most powerful source of energy and health. Although she was a vegetarian all her life, she decided to become a vegan when she was a teenager and carry that flag forever more, always mentioning that her family has been a huge inspiration for her. “My parents, along with my brother and sister, are vegetarians. I wasn’t raised in any way where I was forced to be a vegetarian too. I always had the choice. My mom would say, ‘I don’t eat the stuff, so I won’t cook it, but if you want to eat it, you can. Let me tell you why I don’t eat it.’ So she was open about it.”, she said. “From a young age, I learned what a non-vegetarian diet entails. I made the decision early on that I was going to stick to the lifestyle. It’s easier to stick with something like that than change it, if you’ve always done it. I’m grateful that my parents were open-minded with me.”

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In regards to her personal life, Alissa has mentioned during some interviews that among her favorite bands and musicians are Devin Townsend, Gwen Stefani, Muse, and, of course, Arch Enemy. Hence, it’s always interesting to see non-Metal bands or artists among the playlists of Heavy Metal icons (see other examples here and here), which makes us feel less “guilty” when singing any songs that are currently part of the top 40 list. Among her favorite places she has already traveled to, we have Japan, Peru and Austria, and in terms of movies she said her favorite one is still The Little Mermaid, which is by the way the reason why she started singing. I just don’t remember Ariel or Sebastian doing any guttural during the movie, but that’s just a minor detail, right? Moreover, our Heavy Metal goddess has been selected multiple times as one of “the hottest chicks in metal” by Revolver Magazine. Why am I not surprised at all with that?

Last but not least, Alissa is not only an animal lover (I believe she has two rescued kitties at home), but beyond that she’s an important animal rights activist just as her idol Angela Gossow, having already received an award from peta2 for her work in an international campaign advocating against the hunting of Canadian seals. Honestly, that’s for me her biggest achievement in life, even more important than her contribution to heavy music, and something she’s probably very proud of.

She mentioned in some interviews that she’s been active with a lot of different organizations helping kids, third world countries and animals, but that her true passion is in animal rights. She also said she started doing fundraising for peta2 and WWF when she was still in high school, and that the partnership between peta2 and her started when they used some stock footage in The Agonist’s first music video, Business Suits and Combat Boots. Since then the organization and Alissa have been working together to promote veganism and fight against animal cruelty as much as possible through different campaigns, protests, lectures, and many other activities. So don’t waste your time, go support peta2, get involved, do something good for this fuckin’ world, and you might end up meeting Alissa somewhere, an amazing person and one of the best frontwoman of the recent history of Heavy Metal. How about that?

Alissa White-Gluz’s Official Facebook page
Alissa White-Gluz’s Official Twitter

““The biggest thing for me is animal rights. That’s the number one factor that sort of means everything in my life, more than music or anything else. I think it’s a huge problem, and I think it’s refreshing to meet people, now and then, that actually do care about their impact on the planet, and not just care about themselves.” – Alissa White-Gluz