By Matt Paco
The weather in New York City may have been dreary on Monday night, but nothing could dampen the spirits at the kick-off concert launching Music Unites' Empowering Women Through Music Initiative.
With an unhindered view of the Hudson River from atop the Standard Hotel, violin vixen Caitlin Moe and her performance partner DJ Mia Moretti got the party started with a remix of La Roux's "I'm Not Your Toy." With a reputation for giving high-powered performances -- from sets at Richie Rich's fall runway show to Chelsea Clinton's wedding reception -- Moe added her fiery violin accompaniment to every dance track Moretti threw her way.
"I always surprise her," Moretti explained. "We try to make a little bit of a plan, and then once we start and see what the crowd's like, that's when the surprises come in."
The biggest surprise of all was when Moe, dazzling in rose gold Tuleste Market jewelry, accidentally slipped off the platform. She somehow managed to land on her feet (in 6-inch heels!) and continued jamming as rose petals were tossed at the audience. The duo ended their set rocking out to Lady Gaga's "Alejandro."
Singer/songwriter Diane Birch soon followed, performing next to a foam-filled diamond-shaped swimming pool. The up-and-coming crooner belted out soulful songs like "Ariel" and "Valentino" from her debut album, Bible Belt. "I'm really honored to be part of Music Unites," Birch told the crowd.
The Empowering Women Through Music Initiative aims to help young female musicians, particularly from underprivileged communities, by mentoring them via workshops and a music conference planned for next spring or fall.
"It'll almost be like a rock academy for young women," Music Unites Founder Michelle Edgar explained of the initiative. "Mia is going to do an entire DJ series/ artist-in-residency program. Caitlin is going to do an entire strings program."
"I was really moved by [Music Unites] and excited to be part of it for many reasons," said Moe, who'll tour with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra this fall. "I think it embodies pretty much what we embody as an act because it's about breaking down genres but also pulling them together through a creative process."
While recounting her childhood in Michigan, Zimbabwe and Australia, the daughter of a South African preacher, Birch explained that a program like Music Unites would have been beneficial to her growing up.
"If I had this sort of community of people, I think it would have made a huge difference to me, because I was very much alone in my journey. It's just really great for me to now be that person to help inspire others."