CSN InterNational & Los Angeles
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"I know how important it is for women in my profession to take some time to enjoy their music. Chick Singer Night gives women that opportunity. It's not a competition. It's not about who's the best. It's an evening when women can get together and share their music and their experiences with each other."
This small empire continues to grow, and it's clear that Chick Singer Night is here to stay.
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Originally from Milwaukee, WI, CSN Founder Lori Maier moved to Chicago in 1985 with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz Vocal Performance from the University of Miami, a vocal demo tape and a stack of her original songs. Within a few short months she was singing in clubs, recording commercial jingles and, most importantly, putting together a band to perform her original material. It wasn't long before the Chicago Sun-Times named her "one of Chicago's rising stars."
Through her recording sessions and live performances, Lori met other female singers who all shared similar frustrations. "It's really difficult to know how to pursue a career in music, and even more difficult to find time to remain creative while working at promoting yourself, rehearsing your band, booking a club and trying to expand your network of contacts," says Lori. She decided to put a show together for her singer friends and give them a chance to make their own musical opportunities. She put together the band, booked the club, wrote the charts, printed the postcards, sent out press releases – eight featured singers for one night only. On November 1, 1988, Chick Singer Night was born.
It was standing room only that night. The stage was filled with Lori's friends, the room was filled with incredible music and Lori knew she was on to something special. She decided to make Chick Singer Night a monthly event, setting out to create a showcase that welcomed all singers to share the same stage; an open forum for women to sing in a place free from competition or criticism. "I know how important it is for women in my profession to take some time to enjoy their music. Chick Singer Night gives women that opportunity. It's not a competition. It's not about who's the best. It's an evening when women can get together and share their music and their experiences with each other."
As Chick Singer Night's reputation and popularity continued to grow, Lori took on the position as head of the Jazz Vocal Program at DePaul University and became very involved in organizing and producing fund-raising events for Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital and a number of Chicago area churches. Her songwriting flourished and she included some of those songs in a musical recounting the history and spirit of Chick Singer Night called "Is Anybody Out There?" The show opened to excellent reviews. The Chicago Tribune called it "a work of undeniable accomplishment" and compared Lori's songwriting to "the openly lyric tradition of Michel Legrand, Marvin Hamlisch and Joni Mitchell." The Southtown Economist wrote "'Is Anybody Out There?' is a small work that deserves some big attention." When Billboard Magazine named her Pop/Rock Songwriter of the Year for one of the songs from the musical, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that "Lori has lifted her career to higher levels since the Sun-Times picked her as one of Chicago's rising stars."
Chick Singer Night was in its ninth year when Lori decided to spread her wings and move to the west coast. It wasn't long before she joined the Voice Faculty at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Her plans for a Chick Singer Night in Los Angeles were put on hold while she worked on her most important productions – her daughter Elise and her son Jack. "My daughter was almost 3 and my son had just celebrated his first birthday. I felt like I was ready to focus on my 'other life' again."
Her "other life" kicked into high gear in no time. First she launched CSN L.A. The Nashville, Miami, Las Vegas, New York and Hawaii editions followed soon after. National sponsors took notice and joined forces with CSN. The event gained national radio, television and press coverage. An L.A. Times feature story referred to CSN as "a small empire." With more shows set to launch both in the states and abroad, CSN will soon be an international presence. This small empire continues to grow, and it's clear that Chick Singer Night is here to stay.
Lori is Boss Chick of CSN Productions and Breathe Foundation. She can be reached or by Contacting LA CSN (see the CONTACT page).