In high school, Bethany Collins felt overshadowed by the more bold, confident students in the choir groups she belonged to — until she had an epiphany.
“I got to a point where I said ‘you know what? I really love this and I want to be doing more of this,’” she said. “‘It’s important to me, it makes me feel whole and alive and connected.’”
Roughly five years ago, after watching her husband’s music career progress, Collins decided to create a band of her own. Through a series of Facebook and Craigslist posts, she found the current members of Sōleffect— drummer Casey McGraw, guitarist Scott Smith, bassist Brian Lindsey, trumpeter MacDaddy, and her fellow lead singer and “soul sister” Laura Knutson.
“The main thing that makes our band special is the connection that Laura and I have because she’s my best friend on the planet,” Collins said. “We just have this amazing connection, and that shows up when we sing together.”
Knutson studied opera in college but fell victim to self-pressures of perfection. After a 10-year break from performing, she became more confident with her voice and herself.
Knutson said she feels free and present when on stage with Collins and wants the crowd to experience that as well. When she is her true self, her audience can do the same.
Both women wrote the group’s 10 original songs. Through songwriting, Collins also became less afraid to be herself.
“When we write these songs from our heart, we’re spilling out ‘This is me, this is my heart, this is how I feel,’” she said. “I’m sharing it with these people and they may love it or they may hate it or they may be inspired by it.”
The two lead women’s health and well-being retreats, which help them as individuals but also as a team on stage, according to Knutson.
As a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, Knutson teaches a class called “Finding Voice,” where participants sing, chant and empower one another.
“Having these women who can see you and tend to you and with you at your most messy and vulnerable and most powerful dynamic states, we become fully who we are,” Knutson said.
For anyone interested in music, Knutson said it is important to recognize that dreams are attainable.
“Trust yourself, believe in yourself and just allow yourself that ability to have higher vision and really believe it’s possible,” she said.
Looking to the future, the group plans to continue making music and possibly go on tour, according to Collins. The band performs originals and covers all around the county, at venues including The Siren, Bristols Cider House and the California Coast Beer Company.
Emily Tobiason is a journalism major and content writer for KCPR. Josie Doan is an art and design major and designer for KCPR.