Jessica Gerhardt, a singer-songwriter and ukuleleist from Santa Monica, California, has been singing her whole life and started writing songs when she was only eight. She gained confidence in performing and being on stage through her involvement with The Virginia Avenue Project, a program that brings kids together with professional artists to create theater, shepherded at the time by founder and Artistic Director, Leigh Curran. She picked up the ukulele at 15, after receiving one as a gift, and taught herself to play. Her debut performances of original songs were at an open mic night for high school students called Downbeat 720, organized by the talented Joe Hernandez-Kolski and Joshua Silverstein. She has released a new single, Be My Hands, and took some time out to speak with The Fountain about potentially performing in Scotland and who she is keen to cover still.
TF: A new single, how exciting, what as the reception been like to the track?
Really positive! People have been really affirming and enjoying the new track and the visuals of the music video. I find it pretty neat that it’s been.
TF: You’ve titled it Be My Hands, what inspired that title?
I think in relationships sometimes we just let our first impulses and desires lead, but I often feel like I need a higher power within me to guide my actions – to guide my hands in the way I touch a loved one, to guide my eyes in how I look at them, to guide my words in how I speak to them and what I share with them, and to guide my heart and how I love. The song is a reflection on that.
TF: You were brought up in Santa Monica and now live in LA, can we expect to see you live in Scotland soon?
My younger sister actually studied abroad at St. Andrews and wants to go back for a visit. Plus, I have a few other friends living out there now… perhaps a trip later this year would be fun!
TF: What has been your favourite gig to date?
My last gig at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood was a pretty big blast. I put a bill together with some very talented musician friends and their bands (Sean Pawling & Kinglii) and we all brought out a good crowd of people who really appreciate music. It felt super supportive and exciting. I couldn’t help but gush from the stage about how fun it is to perform live music. I really love it.
TF: You’ve done a few covers and worked with some collaborators over the years, is there any song you would be keen to cover or anyone you would be keen to work with?
Yeah, I’ve covered “Little Bird” by Emmylou Harris, “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads, and “Glory” by Wye Oak. I’ve actually got another cover in the works right now that I’m hoping to release in the next month or so. But it’s a surprise, so stay tuned for updates! I would love to collaborate with some of my biggest influences one day: Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Jenn Wasner, Sufjan Stevens, Josh Garrels, Audrey Assad, St. Vincent, David Byrne, or Moda Spira. Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed writing songs and collaborating with a few of my close musician and producer friends here in LA as well.