In a world that often seems bent on conformity, a celebration of independent voices, artists and thinkers can seem, well, revolutionary.  But if history’s taught us anything, it is that the most critical and lasting social change has been sparked by the imaginations and actions of brave men and women who dared to go against the grain – whatever the cost.  And that’s exactly why every July, we here at Wiles Magazine are proud to publish our “Salute to Independents” issue honoring the best and brightest independent voices in film, music and more.

Revolution is the flipside of the independence coin, and in that vein, we’re proud to feature films from ESPN Films and the Women in Film Independent Film Series that break gender barriers and celebrate women pioneers – both onscreen and behind the lens.

We’re also excited to roll out this year’s installment of our signature “Salute to Independents” music feature.  Prepare to be wowed by 24 exceptional indie artists from various genres and regions around the world – each of whom embody the spirit of making music for music’s sake.

And speaking of making music, our “Purse Strings” feature is a must-read for anyone with aspirations to become a part of the music business as SVP of A&R for Warner Bros. Records Mike Elizondo shares vital advice from both a musician’s and executive’s point of view.

We’re delighted to feature in this month’s cover story, the lovely and talented  Michelle Williams – one third of one of the biggest girl groups of all time, Destiny’s Child – who discusses how, even within the confines of the super-group, she managed to maintain her own voice.  She’ll also tell us about her plans as a solo artist and actress.

Asserting our individual independence requires each of us to tap into our own ingenuity, to seek innovation and to be inspired into action. And more than anything, it also requires a level of courage that understands that, while standing on one’s own may be a scary prospect, the alternative – apathetic acquiescence – will lead us down a path that, in the end, will be far more frightening.