Songstress Cole Williams and her band That’s Our Cole rocked the Maple Leaf Wednesday night with a high-voltage show that brought guest rappers, trumpeters, and violinists to the stage and got everybody up and dancing, not least of all Cole herself. It’s a wonder she had the energy–the recent Brooklyn expat is all over the place this month, doing all sorts of great work across New Orleans. And music is just the beginning…This is a lady you should definitely be watching out for, so here are five great ways to connect this October.

1. Her Shows

Go to the Maple Leaf on a Wednesday night. Cole’s popular African Rock residency is back, with a charitable twist. The band has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness and will donate a portion of the proceeds from all of their October shows. (And you thought that funky hypnotic groove couldn’t get any better…)

2. Her Jewelry Line

Sure, you’ll find her performing ceaselessly at the Leaf, Chickie Wah Wah, the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and elsewhere around town, but music ain’t the only art Cole rocks. Her new DOPEciety jewelry line, CANDIbyCole, features unisex bracelets handmade with colorful beads and stones “carefully selected to charge the chakras and inspire the soul.” Dope!

3. Her Empowerment Seminars

Cole is a self-made entrepreneur who wants to pay it forward to other up-and-coming, independent-minded women. Check out her regular Women’s Empowerment Series at Cafe Istanbul (drinks, inspirational speakers, and a great chance to connect with other musicians, artists, writers, freelancers, and business entrepreneurs.)

4. Community Work

She may have only moved here in January, but the multi-talented newcomer has jumped into New Orleans’ music community with both feet. She teaches after school voice and music theory lessons to elementary school kids at the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School, and she’s one of premier local radio station WWOZ FM 90.7’s newest hosts/programmers. (You can hear her most frequently subbing in for Marc Stone during his “Soul Serenade”, which runs every Tuesday from 2 – 4 p.m.)

5. Albums

And of course, you can pick up her CDs: her first release, The Basement Session EP, and her most recent release was Out of the Basement, Out of the Box, which Cole has described as her coming-of-age project as an independent artist. OffBeat recently premiered her new track “Stand Tall” (check it out here!) which will appear on her upcoming third album. Her stunning vocals, percussion wizardry, and insanely talented backing band form a lush, atmospheric blend of rock, funk, Jamaican soul, jazz, and who knows what else, but read the album jackets and you’ll see that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Cole does most of the production herself, and says her true craft is composition.

[Photo by Phillis Kwento]