24 Maine Creatives to keep an eye on in 2024
2024 will once again be a significant one for Creatives working across the State of Maine. Below we will introduce you to 24 artists, performers, writers, makers and creative leaders who share one thing in common; they’re making waves and setting trends in their fields. Keep an eye on what Launchpad’s inaugural Creative Class will do in the coming year!
One of Maine’s most well known musicians from his work with Rustic Overtones and Paranoid Social Club, Gutter added to his accolades in 2023 with a Grammy award for Stompin’ Ground, a song he co-wrote for Aaron Neville.
Currently performing with his group, Dave Gutter and The ____, at venues across the state, Gutter continues to cement his place as a standard-bearer in Maine’s music scene and we can’t wait to see what comes next for his career.
Savage, a Bangor native, found critical success with her screenplay for the film Wildflower after it was selected for the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and eventually released by Momentum Pictures. The film featured an all-star cast including Jean Smart (Babylon, Big Mouth), Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond, Bupkis).
Savage has openly expressed a desire to write and produce more films to be set and filmed in her home state. More great projects are sure to come from this emerging Screenwriter.
An award-winning bassist, composer, singer-songwriter from Odanak First Nation, Mali is also a community organizer and advocate for Indigenous rights. Formerly a member of folk trio Lula Wiles, she turned heads in 2022 with her debut album, Sweet Tooth, and has continued to establish herself as one of the most talented emerging artists in Maine, drawing from jazz and indigenous influences. GRAMMY.com has previously named her one of the top ten emerging jazz artists to watch.
On finishing her album, Sweet Tooth; “Telling Indigenous stories through the language of jazz is not a new phenomenon,” Obomsawin explains. “My people have had to innovate endlessly to get our stories heard – learning to express ourselves in French, English, Abenaki… but sometimes words fail us, and we must use sound. Sweet Tooth is a testament to this.”
Although many might not be familiar with Lundy, they may be very familiar with his work, as he currently serves as Executive Editorial Director at Double Elvis Productions, which produces the music / true-crime podcast Disgraceland, a podcast about musicians getting away with murder and behaving very badly. Thirty-ish minute episodes that trace the most insane criminal stories surrounding our most interesting and infamous pop stars. The series boasts millions of downloads and has often been rated as the #1 podcast in its genre.
An Orono native, Lundy has also worked on many other Double Elvis productions including Badlands and 27 Club. More is sure to come from this talented writer and music-lover in 2024.
Limoges returned to Maine after several years in New York City and quickly made a name for herself in Maine’s music landscape. The singer-songwriter’s EP, “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea”, continues to gain attention for its bold style. Born and raised on a mountain by the sea in coastal Maine, Alice Limoges was singing before she could walk. After spending 7 years working in the New York City music scene, the coronavirus pandemic guided her back to Maine in 2020. With a voice reminiscent of a young Fiona Apple, Alice possesses a powerful, strong voice with the heart and soul of a classic folk troubadour.
Working from her home studio in Camden, Maine, Limoges continues to perform around the MidCoast area, and we look forward to what she will bring in the New Year as she continues to cement herself as an emerging artist to watch. Keep an eye out for new music coming in the new year.
The King of Maine continued to push the boundaries of his creative work in 2023 including his collaboration with Bissell Brothers Brewing; What Could Go Wrong? IPA, and a foray into the visual arts as well.
Spose, also known as Ryan Peters, never lets you wonder what he’s up to for long. One of the more prevalent content creators in the Maine arts scene, it was no surprise that he had not only crossed over into visual arts but that he did it the way he always does; unlike anyone else. “Anyone Can Paint”, a collection of his painting works, opened at Over Here Studios on Thompson’s Point in December.
The creation of siblings Zak and Lena Kendall and featuring Jackson Cromwell and Mike Knowles, they self describe their sound as “Indie-Soul-Funk Band.” Goldenoak was formed in 2016, and eight years later continue to prove themselves as talented musicians and innovators, working in Maine’s music scene.
In 2023, they unveiled their own festival, Under the Oaks, a 2-day event in Farmington, Maine featuring camping and performances from the band and many of their friends, as well as workshops for attendees like “Mushroom Foraging” and “Songwriting using Nature as Inspiration”. You can see what the band has in store for the coming year at goldenoakband.com. The release of their most recent single “Geese” in 2023, left fans anxiously awaiting their next album. Under The Oaks will return in 2024, Aug 30th & 31st, so save the dates!
Lamont, a native of Sullivan, Maine, is a filmmaker, multimedia producer, and the owner of Good to Go Studios. In 2019 she launched the podcast Concert Cast; a deep dive into the culture of live music in New England and beyond. Her 2022 short film, “The Mushroom Huntress” won a jury prize at the New England Film Festival.
Lamont has proven herself as a versatile multimedia producer specializing in podcasts, branded content, and short films. Recognition for her work include a Spotify Editor’s Pick for Concert Cast in 2022, the New England Film Festival Jury Prize for her short film, “The Mushroom Huntress” and her dark comedy, “Passive Aggressive Dads” was honored as Best Comedy at the Beaufort Film Festival in 2019. Lamont’s expertise extends to branded content productions, where she has successfully produced meaningful video campaigns with renowned companies such as Mitsubishi, Southwest Airlines, and Subaru. Lamont fosters deep connections with her audience and approaches every project with genuine curiosity and passion for people’s stories. Lamont’s momentum has been picking up over the years and our bet is that 2024 will be a big year.
Brit Martin is everything you look for in an up-and-coming pop artist: strong vocals, eye-catching choreography, energetic productions, and a heaping side of personality. Whether it’s opening for BIA and Erica Banks or creating comedic content to support her new releases, Brit strives to create an escape for her listeners – somewhere they can come to dance, laugh, and find a little solace in the world. Brit’s latest musical era focuses on Nostalgia Pop – a variety of upbeat songs that harken back to the 2000s and beyond, including summer jams like Down and Sweet
Indie Pop is not a genre that you find in abundance in the Maine music scene. One element of Martin’s draw is the tenacity behind everything she puts out into the world, be it on stage (always accompanied by dancers with on-point choreography) or her active social media accounts. Try to keep up at britmartin.com.
Well known for her work as a reporter and arts & culture columnist for the Bangor Daily News, Burnham branched out in 2023 to publish a collection of photographs capturing the unique culture of the City of Bangor in the 1970’s. Her work Downtown, Up River: Bangor in the 1970s includes 140 photographs selected by Burnham from the BDN newspaper archives, highlighting a tipping point in the city’s history as it transitioned from lumber capital of the world to a modernized state fueled by controversial revitalization plans.
Burnham continues to prove herself not only as a skilled writer, but as a documentarian and tastemaker of Maine culture.
As a performing artist, Jeff Beam has been a keystone in Portland’s music scene for many years, creating new work and pushing artistic collaboration. His 2020 self-titled album turned heads for his ability as a multi-instrumentalist.
What many may not be aware of is Beam’s deep contributions behind the scenes in Maine’s performing arts. In 2023, Beam made the change from his nearly seven year tenure at One Longfellow Square as their lead booking manager, to take the helm at Vinegar Hill Music Theatre in Arundel, Maine, as their new General Manager and Talent Buyer. His arrival immediately left a mark on the venue’s calendar bringing in acts typically booking in larger markets like Portland and Boston. We’re excited to watch as Beam continues to breathe new life into the venue in 2024 and beyond.
Rachel Gloria Adams
Rachel Gloria Adams is a multidisciplinary artist living in Portland, Maine and an alumni of MMaine College of Art and Design. Her work takes form by way of quilting, painting, design and large scale murals; having been commissioned to create murals for several institutions including the Children’s Museum of Portland, University of Maine and the Farnsworth Museum. She is also the founder of TACHEE, a design company that offers small batch printed goods + design collaborations.
In 2023 we saw Over Here Studio emerge, a project of Adams and her partner Ryan. Located on Thompson’s Point, this pop-up exhibition space and working studio has limitless potential. It’s exciting to think about the impact and potential collaborations coming in 2024 from this small but mighty space.
Mad Horse Theatre Company
Mad Horse Theatre Company, is the South-Portland-based Theatre ensemble known for innovative interpretations of cutting-edge contemporary plays. Mad Horse has also been recognized for its unique uncommon “pay what you decide” ticket pricing structure that has kept the company accessible to the community.
Notable recent productions have included Doug Wrights “Quills” and “Straight White Men” by Young Jean Lee. Early 2024 will see Mad Horse continue its long-standing run of unconventional productions that push the creative envelope as it presents “Heroes of the Fourth Turning”, a work that bravely explores ultraconservative ideas and was finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in drama.
Speak All Evil Podcast
This one’s for the horror enthusiasts. Hosted by friends Trent Gay, Cat Smith, Kevin Kennie, and Dave Gutter this weekly podcast is about to break 200 episodes! That’s pretty impressive considering they rarely miss a week and keep the commentary & film picks interesting. These podcasters talk about all things evil, dark, scary, disturbing and gruesome. It’s what it sounds like; Horror film fanatics talking about horror movies, social issues, current events, and why you SHOULDN’T look away. They explore the vast horror film genre in all its connotations as it applies to life and death as we know it with films of old, new, obscure, and everything in between.
Podcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years and not all are created equal. One of the things that makes SAE stand out is the production quality. With the rise in true crime content and the fact that Maine has been the longtime home of one of the most prolific horror writers of all time in Stephen King, it’s no surprise this podcast is highly rated among fans. Take a listen if you’ve got the guts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Pandora.
Known for his whimsical approach to sculpture, Meade is no stranger to Maine’s visual arts landscape. He is a multi-disciplinary artist, encouraging the audience to experience art and be involved in his work. He is also a partner and teacher at Maine Arts Workshop in downtown Freeport.
Over the past few years, Meade has also been an event organizer at the Freeport Harraseeket Grange #9, along with his mother Kathleen, helping to transform the historic Grange Hall into one of the most vibrant community arts and gathering spaces in the State. From Crafters Clubs, to Makers Markets, performances, film screenings, and more, the Freeport Grange has helped redefine what modern Grange Halls can become by embracing the creative community around them.
Gigi Gabor & Cherry Lemonade – Curbside Queens
Curbside Queens (originally 2 Queens, 1 Driveway) was born out of the early days of the pandemic lockdown 2020, at a time when community morale and engagement was hitting a low. Cherry Lemonade and GiGi Gabor floated the idea of driveway shows, utilizing Gigi’s SUV and a boombox, as a way to celebrate during a pride month devastated by a global pandemic. What was originally thought to be a fun thing for 2 or 3 weekends quickly turned into 19 weeks, 8000 miles, and 88 shows all across Maine.
Fast forward to 2023 with a bus named Peg and a cast of eight Queens and growing, Gigi and Cherry have begun working with businesses and venues to bring the art of drag to a broader audience across the state. It goes without saying that art, in any form, is about self expression, creativity, performance and finding belonging. Maine has a vast, growing and talented cast of drag Queens and Kings that only appears to be picking up speed, not slowing down. Drag brunches, shows and fundraiser events can be found every week, creating more spaces for the art to grow and the community to expand. Thanks to Gigi & Cherry’s unstoppable drive and passion, the next one could be in your backyard.
Ryan Adams is a Portland Maine artist, born and raised, where he lives with his artist and designer wife and their two daughters. His background in traditional graffiti led him to creating large-scale mural work as well as hand lettered signage. His signature ‘gem’ style of work is a geometric breakdown of letterforms with shadows and highlights embedded within, to create depth and movement throughout the pieces. His pieces tend to be bold, colorful and clever; often including statements within.These statements can be literal or figurative, but often bringing attention to a social or cultural issue.
Adams is also one half of the founding team at Over Here Studios with his partner Rachel Gloria Adams, a pop-up exhibition space and working studio and the Piece Together Project, a set of rotating murals that represent and honor members of the East Bayside (Portland) community.
Banhazl is what you’d call a gig economy all-star. A little of this, a little of that but making a big impact. Banhazl, a bartender herself, is Co-Creator @theregularsmaine, a monthly feature in The Bollard profiling interesting bar regulars from around Maine. This series highlights locals and regulars at some of Portland’s bars like LFK, Hot Suppa and CBG. You’ll learn everything from their favorite drink to their life stories.
And like many hospitality workers in Maine, Benhazl is a talented musician as well. Leading synth pop/garage trio Learn Meats with vocals and bass guitar, always front & center, with Cody Landy (Kaoss, percussion, vocals) and Scott Howe (guitar, vocals). This entertaining trio has emerged as a leader in the scene. This past year, Banhazl and her bandmates launched “Service Industry Variety Night”, a recurring showcase hosted by BPM (formerly known as Blue), that features other musically talented artists monthly. Less like an open mic and more a curated showcase, performances are always varied, entertaining and eye opening to the depth of talent our state has grown with help from driven leaders like Banhazl.
One third of the indie trio Weakened Friends, Hoffman stands out on stage from the minute the first note drops. Her energetic and flawless bass guitar style have made her an inspiration to many young musicians and added something to Weakened Friends that’s irreplaceable.
While touring and recording with the band may be what Hoffman is best known for, it’s clear that 2024 will have bigger things in store for her with the recent announcement that she had won “Studio Engineer of the Year” in the 2023 Boston Music Awards. In an industry overwhelmingly represented by men, Hoffman, a graduate of Berklee College Of Music, has been a staff engineer at Zippah Studios in Boston since February 2010. In addition to assisting/co-engineering on sessions, she has built up an impressive client base of her own. The future is bright for this powerhouse and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
**According to a recent article in The Guardian, women and non-binary people claimed less than 5% of producer and engineer credits across the top 50 streamed songs of last year in major charts. In 2022, a study on representation and equality in the music industry found that only 3.4% of producers were female while approximately 96.6% were male.
Chris Gilman & Cecil Gardner / Moonshake Crew
Chris Gilman & Cecil Gardner are no strangers to the live event world. They founded Moonshake Festival in Hiram, Maine and have both before and since been behind some of the largest pop-up dance parties in the state. Known for their immersive light shows by C. Gilman and diverse DJ sets sometimes including co-founder Cecil Gadner as “Cecil G”, these parties aren’t just simple set ups. Bringing in custom sound systems, lighting gear & rigs and even haze machines, these dance parties have been known to transform breweries, art gallery’s and storefronts into legit dance clubs for one night only. If you’re a lover of dance music there is no shortage of variety with sets spanning house, disco, electro, dancefloor, techno, and beyond. This duo has made a strong name for themselves as promoters with vision and the skills to execute. Their pop-up events continue to sell out in advance, including their NYE takeover of Space Gallery on December 31.
James McLaughlin / 33ByHand
Founded by Skowhegan native, James McLaughlin, 33ByHand made the big, bold leap this year to its first brick and mortar shop on Portland’s busy High Street on the ground floor of the historic State Theatre building. McLaughlin is the creator and maker behind leather design company 33 By Hand, handling everything from design and material selection to the hand crafting of each piece.
In previous years he spent time in the music industry working in studios as a recording and mixing engineer, and DJing, still performing today under the name “Jams Frrever. Having always been an artist, he has always had style uniquely his own, and creates every day in various ways and mediums. His true passion has become the blending of rugged outdoor performance and durability with contemporary and bold fashion forward design. This mix of function and style is where 33 By Hand lives and thrives. You can find the storefront at 142 High Street in downtown Portland, Maine. If you find yourself in the area on a First Friday, we can almost guarantee the doors to the shop will be open.
Jasmine Clayton / Kurier
Everything you see at Kurier is cut and sewn by hand in Maine by designer, Jasmine Clayton. In her storefront on Congress Street in Portland, items from wallets and bags to the wildly popular clogs fill the shelves and racks. The name means “courier,” and the theme of carrying is continued in the brand’s carrier pigeon logo as well as its function-first handbags. They have simple, elegant shapes, minimal hardware, and colors that are gorgeously saturated but muted enough to attract the color-curious. Handmade from the finest Italian and American leathers, industrial strength thread, and premium antique brass and steel hardware, these are the items you use everyday, everywhere. Made one-by-one, each item is as unique as the person that wears it.
Clayton keeps expanding and growing her collections and reach. She even convinced a Swedish clog maker to teach you the craft via the Internet. “Not having a lot of money shouldn’t mean that you can’t have handmade, nice, ethically made things” Clayton said in a 2021 interview in Maine Home + Design. Kurier is a small team but with the rapid expansion we saw in 2023, there’s no telling what’s next for the local brand and its tenacious leader.
Ben Thompson / Bensbeendead.
Bensbeendead., the moniker of vocalist, songwriter, and producer Bennet Thompson, gained notoriety when he dropped his debut ep “Gardening” in 2020. The project was met with rave reviews and landed editorial placements on chill vibes, chill pop, and fresh finds. In December 2021, Ben dropped a second ep titled ‘Lovely Creatures’ through alt:vision records and in 2023, released his first full-length LP “Sail Eden” which garnered an overwhelmingly positive response and so far has landed an editorial placement on Late Night Vibes. Keep your eyes on this talented musician in ’24 as he continues to create and release new work.
A mogul in Maine’s live music scene, Wayne steered her venues thru the COVID pandemic and emerged on the other side with a bold statement in 2023 bringing a slate of acts to State Theatre and Thompson’s Point that may have been their best season ever. Caamp, Maggie Rogers, Billy Strings, Fleet Foxes and Robert Plant (to name a few) graced Portland with amazing outdoor music performances that continued to build on the message that live music is back and it is only growing stronger.
Wayne has previously been credited as a driving force for the rebirth of Congress Street and Portland’s Cultural landscape with the re-opening of the historic State Theatre in 2010. No stranger to charting a path, she’s done the same with the State Theatre presents series at Thompson’s Point. She grabbed the reigns durig the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent venue shutdowns with NIVA and MEMA to help guide venues and musicians statewide. Live Music remains the pulse of Portland and we look forward to seeing what Wayne and her team have in store for 2024!