Press "Enter" to skip to content

Elizabeth Setzer sings like a natural woman

Mid-November is a hectic time for all Mills students. Projects
and term papers are due, finals are coming up, no one seems to have
any extra time. These were my thoughts, as I was getting ready to
go see a Nov. 19 one-woman concert by music student Elizabeth

As I entered the Student Union, the front row was already
filled, more people continued to pour in, while others were helping
themselves to hot cider and chocolates. Setzer had managed to draw
a crowd of 30 to 40 people to her first Mills performance,
sponsored by Women of Music at Mills (WOMAM).

She opened with a Jeff Buckley song called “Last Goodbye.”
“Wicked Day” one of her own songs, was a soft, slow, and
bittersweet acoustic tune that had the crowd mesmerized. Her high
notes were perfect and when Setzer went from guitar to piano, she
showed her diversity in instruments as well as style. She did an
emotional rendition of “Natural Woman” (it gave me chills).

Setzer, tall and slender, with a long mane of hair, looks like a
cross between Janis Joplin and Sheryl Crow, and some of her
original ballads are not far off the mark.

A natural musician, Setzer comes from a family of artists. Her
father is a guitarist and music teacher, and her mother is a dancer
and dance teacher.

Setzer has been singing since age three and studying piano and
guitar since age six. She says that she gets her great musical ear
from her mother’s side of the family. “My Mom, my Grandma, and I
sing Italian folk songs, we call it harmony by osmosis,” said
Setzer. In high school, Setzer fronted her own punk band called
Dawn’s Revenge, whose name was derived from the movie,
Welcome to the Doll House. She wrote, sang, played the
guitar, and the keyboards.

She says that she was influenced by Riot Girl punk bands like
Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney, who were singing
about feminist issues. Dawn’s Revenge, played in San Diego
coffee houses and other venues.

“One time we opened for Le Tigre, so I got to meet my
idol Kathleen Hannah, who was the lead singer for Le Tigre
and Bikini Kill,” Setzer said.

Nowadays, Setzer listens to and is most influenced by Laura
Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha
Franklin, and is experimenting more with piano and voice.

“I used to think piano was for classical and jazz, not voice,”
said Setzer “I’ve been writing more songs for piano and voice.”

Setzer, who is a sophomore at Mills, would like to perform at
Bay Area venues and is really excited about the support of WOMAM, a
new club on campus.

“This new organization gives me a lot of inspiration and there
is more cohesiveness for women in music,” Setzer said.

For more information on upcoming shows by Setzer, e-mail For more information on WOMAM, e-mail
President Alicia Byer at