by Jessica DeSimone of Warren Teagarden and the Good Grief
Since I can remember, I’ve been performing. My earliest memories are dancing around my childhood home, singing along to my mom’s records, or doing what I can only describe as a cobra pose inside the giant planter boxes at our local shopping mall, pretending I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I used to feel like I could fly when I sang, like I had tiny wings sprouting from my back.
As I got older, my grandma taught me how to play piano, back when my hands were so tiny I couldn’t hit an octave. In school, I added choir, theater, and dance team to my repertoire, and I was sure I would be a big theater star one day. But of course, pragmatism won, and I went to college for something far less fun and ended up in a career even less fun, leaving a part of myself behind.
For years, my creative self was suffocated. I was dying to tap back into the freedom that came with being on stage, that rare out-of-body experience when you get to leave yourself behind and become something else entirely.
Listen to the album while reading the text.
After years of not touching my piano and only singing to myself, I thought, “I’ll take lessons and become a singer/songwriter just like Ashley Simpson.” Yep, that’s where I was. Turns out, it’s incredibly hard to write a song, especially when you’ve completely lost your musical foundation, let alone any memory of musical theory. I was feeling lost and floundering a bit, so I did what any kid does in the city – I turned to Craigslist in search of a new hope (no, not Star Wars Episode IV).
In 2014, I joined Warren Teagarden and the Good Grief as their backup vocalist. I felt so out of my element. Being in a band was everything I wanted, but I had been offstage for so long, and it was very different than theater. In theater, you’re pretending to be someone else, but with original music, it’s just you. It felt incredibly vulnerable. We played together for a few years, did a fantastic tour from Portland to San Diego, and then, in 2019, we released our first album together, Modern Drugs. This was by no means the first Warren Teagarden album – Warren’s repertoire was quite prolific at this point, with five other albums on Bandcamp. For me, however, Modern Drugs was the first time I participated in the creative process of making an album. If someone could bottle that feeling and sell it, they’d be rich.
We just released our second album together, Winter Tan, and we have so much to be proud of on this album. Warren’s voice, tonally, but more so as a writer, is so unique, especially with these newer songs. The lyrics are complex and deep and thoughtful and, at one point, actually made me cry – keep an eye out for Mistaken For A Radical (live or on a future album), and you’ll know what I mean.
I have a much more significant vocal presence on this album, which I’m thrilled about – I had a bit more creative freedom to play around and see what came out. I’m so happy with how the album turned out and am eager to share it with our family and friends and hopefully make some new fans.
Warren has some inspiring new projects up his sleeve that I’ll be involved in. We don’t have any songs written by yours truly yet, nor do we have any keys on this album, but hopefully, by our next one, I’ll have picked up my inner creative out of the dirt, dusted her off, and given her her wings back.
creativity, songwriting, singing, performing, stage