Bad Bitches of SXSW

Writing music is like falling in love. It’s totally unplanned and sparks something—a drive, said Crista Ru, half the POWERS duo.

Her and Mike Del Rio, the guitarist and singer, fill the voice memos on their phones with 15-second song ideas when inspiration strikes.

Headlining a showcase at Bar 96, on Rainey Street, on Monday—the first taste of some SXSW music—they make the crowd dance while breaking all their hearts.

One of South by’s badass babes, Crista plays bass and sings. Headbanging her bright red hair and stomping her platformed tennies, her voice is like dark chocolate. The audience swoons.

I wait to talk to her after the show while a guy chats her up about sunglasses. He doesn’t want to let her go.

Crista tells me music comes to them like a magical light from heaven that shocks both Mike and her in the brain. I tell them that is very convenient, and they agree.

From New York, the duo is now based in L.A., and despite being over-the-top babealicious and having 1.5 million followers on Spotify, they are sweet and down-to-earth.

When I ask them if they’re a couple, Crista responds, “A couple of nuts.” They look at each other lovingly.

Check them out at Spotify or at

Bridgit Mendler spreads her arms and closes her eyes, floating on her own mesmerizing and melodic vocals. The petite blond, originally from Northern California, sings from an emotional place. She likes to improvise on stage and connect with the audience.
Find her album Hello My Name Is Bridgit Mendler and her new EP, “Temperamental Love” music on Spotify and at

Kat Graham, the actress and singer from Los Angeles, brings it fierce and full of soul. Accompanied by a female keyboardist and bassist, her curls bounced as she jumped with her music.

Graham stared in the Vampire Diaries. She’s playing Jada Pinkett in the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me, set to release this summer. And she’s releasing a project she recorded last year, with Babyface and the late Prince, that’s coming out March 31.

Find her music on Spotify and