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Women Business Magazine

June 2007


Danielle Egnew:
Her Passion
Singer/Songrwiter, Actor, Producer, Radio Co-Host
by Linda DiMarco

Wow, what a talented musician with a charismatic personality. Her professional titles include singer/songwriter (both independently and as frontwoman for the currently-on-hiatus Pope Jane), actor, producer, radio show co-host, clairvoyant and ordained minister! If that isn’t enough, her musical contributions are equally diverse, writing songs both for herself and others, creating a line of meditation CDs and penning soundtracks and scores for films.

Danielle helped found the all-female rock band Pope Jane in Billings in 1994, and even though the band dissolved two years ago, people are still talking about it. Danielle said much of her success is due to her days as the
lead singer and guitarist in Pope Jane. The music is still so vital that most of the songs Egnew is using in the musical score for the new film “Changing Spots” are Pope Jane’s.
“The director Susan Turley liked the songs so much she wanted the entire
soundtrack to be our music. The score is like a Pope Jane greatest hits,” Egnew told Women Business Magazine in a recent telephone interview from her home in Los Angeles. Egnew landed one of the leading roles in the film, a drama about relationships. She spent most of 2006 involved in the filming of it and is in the final stages of finishing its score. The movie, which is expected to be released in 2007, includes a large live music sequence where Egnew is lip syncing to her own songs. “2006 was crazy busy in a good way.
I thought L.A. was going to be a lot tougher nut to crack,” Egnew said. Egnew and the rest of Pope Jane, including Kristen Coyner on drums and H olly Shawver on bass, moved to Los Angeles in 2002 to pursue a record deal.

“This radio talk-show host, Sheena Metal, wanted to play Pope Jane music between her talk segments,” Egnew said. “She was L.A.’s Howard Stern at the
time. I sent her music and she said, ‘You have to come out here.’ We played a couple of shows and were immediately booked on Sunset Strip, which is great
because there are so many bands out here.”


Dreamworks, MCA and Universal
record companies were all interested in
signing Pope Jane. Then the bottom fell
out of the record industry and all three
deals went sour. “It was really disappointing,” Egnew said. “That’s when Pope Jane ended.”

Shawver moved back to Billings and
Coyner moved back to Washington.
Plans are in the works to record another
Pope Jane album, though.

“Even though we weren’t playing music anymore, Pope Jane just kept going and going with digital downloads,” Egnew said. Egnew is also wrapping up a solo album named after one of her favorite places, Red Lodge. Also in 2006, Egnew was invited to be part of a celebrity cast of a production of The Vagina Monologues in New York City, with among others, Ally Sheedy. “I did get a blush or two reading the script
and I thought, ‘How am I going to say


this out loud?’ But when they put it all together, it was such a healing experience. We
were in New York for seven days to produce this and we stayed at the St. Regis. I’ve never stayed at a five-star hotel before. It’s the kind of place where you call the butler to bring
you coffee in the morning."

  “Winning that award was a testament to everybody who believes in my music and everything they did to help me get here,” Egnew said.

As a composer and actor, both Danielle’s pop and orchestral works appear in the  upcoming 
Egnew’s first love was musical theater, and she studied theater at the University of Arizona and Montana State University-Billings. Now she feels fortunate to combine all of her talents by writing movie scripts, acting and playing music. Her first script, the sci-fi thriller
Thunder Walk has been optioned by a film company. Danielle shared with Women Business, “ If I were
    feature film Changing Spots (Clear Pictures 2007) in which she also stars as former rock star “Peg Franklin”. Danielle was honored to be
part of the VDAY 2007 West LA celebrity cast of The Vagina Monologues with Jennifer Beals (The L Word, Flashdance),
Alexandra Hedison (Designing Blind, the L Word), and a host
of others. She is also an alumni of the New York 2006 VDAY cast of The

ever to go back to school, itwould be for the sciences – Physics, Astronomy. I love science”. Danielle’s future includes filling out her film production division of Ave Vox Entertainment by fulfilling her dream of filming her screenplay Imogene’s Waltz in Montana. I’ve gotten a lot more involved with film, as I’ve always loved the medium, and I’m currently one of the producers as well as talent in a comedy
called Girl Band written by my pal Renie Oxley. We’re getting that project together now, and it’s going to be amazing. I also want to buy a cabin back in my home state of Montana – I used to have a home there, and with all the
writing and recording I do, I could use the peace and quiet up there for a nice backdrop."

“The biggest thing is you just can’t quit,” Egnew said. “At the end of the day, you’ll be the one standing out in the wheat field and you know how far away you can see someone
standing in a field. Always let your voice be heard! I think many women are afraid to appear too pushy or overbearing, so they don’t often represent their ideas with conviction. At
least not verbally, anyway. This is really a tough sociological tendency to break, the need to be the nurturer and healer in lieu of being the leader and the one who delegates. But truly,
the true leader is the one who nurtures the group and heals tensions, so leadership is really a natural thing for women, once we accept that it’s okay for us to step into that role”.

Egnew is also co-hosting a radio show, “The Music Highway with Sheena Metal,” where she plays all-independent music. And, lastly, one of Egnew’s biggest honors was when she was
named Best Pop Alternative Female Guitarist in 2006 through a nomination process that included L.A. music business executives and

online voting. She won a custom Minarik guitar, which led to an endorsement by the guitar company.

  Vagina Monologues alongside Ally Sheedy (High Art, The Breakfast Club) and Kathryn Erbe (Law and Order: Criminal Intent).

In her career Danielle has had to dealt with many challenges as a woman. “The music industry is traditionally a good ol’ boy’s
network, and in the last few years that has really begun to change – thank goodness! But it’s even commonplace as a female musician
to go into a music store to buy guitar strings and have the guy clerk talk to you slowly,
like you’re either five years old or missing a few chromosomes upstairs."

Egnew continues, "When I was coming up through the ranks fifteen years ago, it was difficult as a young female Music Producer to be taken seriously. Thankfully, my work spoke for itself, and I was afforded a lot of opportunities. But it never stopped me having to work twice as hard to prove that I could do what my male counterparts could, or the attitudes of many of my more traditional guy piers, who insisted that women really had no place in the corporate music world. We were supposed to be talent, and that was it. You know, look really pretty in a tight dress,
giggle and sit on the A&R guy’s lap – the whole Betty Boop thing."

"It was difficult for me," Egnew admits, "as I was also talent, and I wasn’t supposed to aspire past singing and possibly playing an instrument. And this attitude was only back in 1991! The music industry was about 35 years behind everything else in terms of getting with the equality program! Very 1963. So it was
challenging launching out with my own label at that time. But I learned a lot from the same guys that were giving me a hard time, and I can thank them for that”.

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