Q: You started writing music at a very young age. What was the first song you ever wrote?
A: It was called “When I Am Walking in the Rain“. I was about 8 yrs old. My second song was co-wrote with a childhood friend Ellie and it was called, “Cold Spaghetti”. I still feel the need to record that one. It has a fun kind of “My Sharona” vibe.
Q: You taught yourself how to play ukulele & then started writing more songs. Tell me about your songwriting process, where does your inspiration come from?
A: Inspiration comes from so many sources… Sometimes just being still and noticing beauty around me. Sometimes an emotion or feeling fills me so much that I have to express it in a song to get it out of my system. Sometimes conversations with friends. Experiences in a prayer…The list goes on. Sometimes I’ll start with a lyrical or thematic concept and other times I’ll just pick up an instrument and start playing, see what comes out and begin humming a melody over it. It changes all the time which makes it pretty fun.
Q: You have a song, Keep it Simple, being released on 3/10 that is very personal to you. Tell me what the song is about.
A: It’s about my Grandma Barbie who passed away last year. I was taking time to be alone with myself and my grief sometime after she died and I was trying to reflect on all things I could remember about her. One thing that came to mind is how whenever we would get into deep philosophical and theological conversations, where I would get anxious over complicating things, she would always say, “Keep it simple, Jessie.” I used to think she was avoiding hard questions but I recognize the wisdom in accepting that I won’t ever have all the answers and to hold fast the simple, sustaining things that ground me. After she died, I struggled with feelings of doubt in contemplating mortality. Where was she now? Would I ever see her again? Is she only as alive as the memories are that I and others have of her? I kept coming back to her words. And in prayer I feel a sense of her saying “of course I’m still with you Jessie”. So I channeled all of this into a song. I cried as I wrote it. I decided to release it on the 10th of March because it’s the anniversary of her passing and what would’ve been her 80th birthday and I felt it was a fitting way to honor her.
Q: You have a big show on 3/9 supporting Andrea von Kampen at The Lost Church in San Francisco. How excited are you to perform your new music? What does this opportunity mean to you?
A: I’m very excited for the show! I haven’t played in San Francisco since July of last year so I’m looking forward to playing in the Bay again. And I was stoked to be invited to share a bill with Andrea. I heard her music on a Spotify playlist a couple of years ago, shazamed her song and recognized her name. We had mutual friends in Lincoln. I met her at a show we played in LA and then we kept in touch after that. I’m looking forward to hearing her new music as well.
Q: What can we expect in the future from Jessica Gerhardt?
A: I’m preparing to release a few more new songs this year in the coming months, and I’m working on a couple new music videos. I’m planning to go on tour in June and I’m hoping to release my first full length record in 2021. Other than that, I plan to continue to curate music events in the LA area with fellow artists, both in homes and in venues. My monthly acoustic house show series, Friday at the Fox Den, just celebrated its 1 year and has been really life giving. And I’ve enjoyed putting shows together at The Hotel Cafe, The Hi Hat and The Love Song Bar, to name a few.
You can catch Jessica tonight at The Lost Church in San Fran & her new single will be released tomorrow called Keep it Simple. For more info on Jessica, go to Linktree
I will be attending the Doll Skin show at Alchemy Providence on Saturday, 3/14. That interview will post this weekend…
Until then, I’m Linda Dias – Your Music Stylist