The 9: Songwriter Series

The 9: Songwriter Series

Founded in 2008 by singer/songwriter Justin Trawick, "The 9 Songwriter Series" is a touring live music event based in Washington, DC. The show was created with the idea of nine artists getting together and combining their talents in order to play in nicer clubs and to larger amounts of people. Each installment features nine solo singer/songwriters performing in rotation and often sitting in with each other, providing audiences with a rich, intimate, varied listening experience. To date, over 60 different artists have participated in "The 9," at events in DC, Arlington, Bethesda, Baltimore, Annapolis, New York City, Richmond, Charlottesville, Charlotte, and Philadelphia. Follow and like "The 9" at and

Justin Trawick

Justin Trawick has been performing in the Washington DC Area and along the East Coast since 2006, citing musical influences like Bob Schneider, The Tallest Man on Earth, G. Love, Old Crow Medicine Show, and David Gray. In June of 2015, Trawick released his first single with his band "Justin Trawick and the Common Good." Written about the search for direction and belonging in a world that constantly feels one step ahead of you, "Goodbye" is available for download on iTunes along with a music video documenting the recording session available on YouTube. The band has opened for over 30 national acts including Suzanne Vega, Brett Dennen, Blues Traveler, Bob Schneider, and Edwin McCain, and shared bills with Dr. Dogg and The Avett Brothers. Founder of the nationally touring show "The 9 Songwriter Series" and co-founder of "The Circus Life Podcast" with guests such as Kevin Eubanks, Chris Thomas King, Ernie Halter, Yarn, and Snuffy Walden, Trawick has built a brand that extends beyond just being a musician local to DC. In February of 2014, Trawick won "Song of the Year" at the Washington Area Music Awards for his song "All the Places That I've Been," which can be downloaded on iTunes as a single along with his five other solo records and EPs.

Maimouna Youssef

Maimouna "Luna E" Youssef is a seasoned singer, emcee, songwriter and poet. The Baltimore native was born into a family of exceptional artists. She began performing traditional African and Native American songs on stage with her family at the age of five. As a youth she joined the Baltimore/Washington based musical theater group called Uprising. Maimouna toured nationally with Uprising as a lead vocalist. In addition, the young Youssef played a leading role in the Broadway musical "Once on this Island". Other theatrical experiences include the original trio showcase "Three Generations" that consisted of Maimouna Youssef, her mother, Nataska HumminBird, and her grandmother, Mountain Eagle Woman.

Since receiving her Grammy nomination for her vocal contribution on The Roots hit "Don't Feel Right" in 2007 for best rap song, Maimouna has swapped musical licks with such music giants as Big Daddy Kane, Nas, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), Dead Prez, Angelique Kidjo, Cody Chestnut, and more. While the Baltimore native made a name for herself locally with her jazz/hip-hop/funk/ band known as Cirius B, Maimouna earned her stripes as a world-class vocalist and emcee while touring with The Roots in 2006. Her musical endeavors were a springboard for her big screen debut in Dave Chapelle's hip hop documentary "Block Party."

She released her first Solo EP, Black Magic Woman, in March of 2011, and her lauded, sonically ubiquitous first full length solo album, The Blooming, in September of the same year. Mumu Fresh has earned a solid reputation as "the next" Lauyrn Hill and has been lauded for her pure raw talent of lyrical flow, vocal clarity, and captivating stage presence, creating a superwoman quality of an artist.
In 2004 Luna E and band mate AzIz relocated to Philadelphia to work with Grammy Award winning producer, James Poyser. There, Youssef's dreams began to materialize when she was introduced to many of her favorite and most respected artists including the legendary hip - hop band The Roots. Youssef was asked to sing lead vocals on their new hit single, "Don't Feel Right." Shortly thereafter, she was packing her bags as she joined the Roots on their world tour.

She began stealing the hearts of audiences throughout the U.S. and around the world as she shared stages and swapped musical licks with such artists as Angelique Kidjo, Brian Wilson's band, Big Daddy Kane, Nas, Dead Prez, Wilco, Zap Mama, Cody Chestnut, Martin Luther, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli. Youssef rocked the stages of many renowned venues such as Denver Colorado 's Red Rocks Amphitheater, New York City's Radio City Music Hall, and Switzerland's Moniteau Jazz Festival. Her musical endeavors were a springboard for Youssef to make her big screen debut in Dave Chapelle's hip hop documentary "Block Party."

Most recently Maimouna has received credits in the Vibe, USA Today and many other prestigious magazines for her haunting vocal chorus on the Roots, "Don't Feel Right", which received a Grammy nomination in 2007 for best rap song.

Gina Sobel

Gina Sobel's music is overflowing with energy and improvisational spirit. She's a devoted multi-instrumentalist - virtuosic on flute and voice and just as expressive on sax and guitar. Gina's composition takes two main directions. She writes songs with piercing lyrics and soaring vocal melodies as well as jazz tunes that bring in elements of funk, modal jams and found sounds. She pulls these two sides together with her rock band Gina Sobel and the Mighty Fine. Gina also leads a jazz quartet (the Sobel 4tet) and plays as a solo artist and in a number of other groups.

Aaron Tinjum

Hailing from the suburban comforts of St. Paul, Minnesota, Aaron Tinjum was born with a background in F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan and Prince. A former high school English teacher, Tinjum switched tracks in 2011 and moved to Austin to pursue a life of music and food trucks. It is in Austin where he met violinist extraordinaire and former mariachi Katie Smith, and subsequently formed his new project, The Tangents. After releasing their debut single 'Tongues' in May, they are now poised to release their debut EP "Mirrors in the Dark" this Halloween on iTunes, Amazon and other distributors.

Cynthia Marie

Singer-songwriter & piano player, Cynthia Marie grew up playing classical music, and continued expanding her repertoire to jazz standards, original music, and eventually, folk music from around the world.

After putting together her first band, Golden Tree Story, she recorded the album "Openings", a collection of songs about love, friendship, and life - learning how to endure, understand, and relish it. It's a peek at a young person's mind, as they are experiencing the world, striking a chord between idealism and defeat, remaining hopeful.

On June 2nd, 2013, she released a new EP, "Beyond" - offering a reflection on war, a child's journey to a new home, and hope for the future ..The EP's central track, "Orphan Moonlight," is an original song about a refugee orphan, and serves as the focal point to the music on this 5-track album. She also recorded an arrangement of "None but One", a song by one of her all-time favorite folk singers, Jean Ritchie. The lyrics are an important call to peace, describing a scene where "some do stop to help the weak, some trample on the others" and "all of them are brothers".

Her music has received support from Seattle Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Jack Straw Productions, and has recently been played on KBCS & Hollow Earth radio. She enjoys performing her music throughout the Pacific Northwest, and is looking forward to an east coast tour this winter & more recording & travels in 2014.

Zia Hassan is a storytelling singer-songwriter who tries to capture earthly moments from a cosmic vantage point. He writes songs about reality, surrogate motherhood, space, time travel, and solar particles. He's also been referred to as "DC's #1 Love Song writer," and he has often been hired to write love songs for anniversaries, weddings, and birthdays. He sings with soulful passion and a soaring falsetto. His on-stage stories open small universes, beckoning new listeners to enter his strange and loveable world.

Zia released his first solo album, Grow Slow, in 2009. The album was received extremely well, especially on the internet -- every single song from the record was up-voted to the front page of, a popular music ranking service. Songs like "A Love Like That" received the most praise, spawning a fan-made video on YouTube. "Carry My Love," a song about a surrogate mother carrying a baby for her sister, a cancer survivor, touches the heart of anyone who hears it. To promote the album, Zia performed through an online broadcast so that international fans could hear his live act.

Zia's love of sound goes beyond traditional music. In addition to writing solid pop folk tunes, he produces experimental work as well, working as a “sound sculptor” in the tradition of Brian Eno, John Cage, and Steve Reich. In 2010, he released the innovative The Flop, The Turn, The River; an album of field recordings and interviews from the smokey mountains set to instrumental and spacey music. In 2012, he released the album Lines with collaborator Scott Colman, which used processed field recordings of the DC Metro. Zia is currently working on integrating neuroscience into his live show using a brainwave-sensing headband to create music using nothing but his mind.

Zia's sound has been compared to Duncan Sheik, Bon Iver, Paul Simon, John Mayer, Ellis Paul, Joni Mitchell, Ben Gibbard and others. He's played at a lot of great DC venues like IOTA, Velvet Lounge, Ebenezer's, The Atlas Theater, and The Hamilton, where he had the opportunity to share the stage with his musical hero Teitur. Zia is currently in the studio working on an extremely ambitious supermassive project called Sports, Weather, Time and Space - a two disc album (one contains folk songs, and the other contains a 60-minute ambient sonic tour of the solar system), a DVD of short films about reality, and a book of short stories and poems.

Elena Lacayo

Elena is the lead singer and songwriter for the bilingual folk-rock band Elena & Los Fulanos out of Washington, DC. Since 2011, they have been creating music that ranges from twangy, heartbreak-themed folk Americana, to soothing, introspective, violin-infused Latin rock.



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