Exclusive interview with singer-songwriter Becky Kessler that appeared on Gosh!Radio (www.goshradio.com) at 10am PST, June 16th, 2012.
By Robin Rowe
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Gosh!Radio) 2012/6/10 – “Most of my music is inspired by break-ups, actually,” says love song singer-songwriter Becky Kessler. “I suppose I’m attempting to process or make sense of the aftermath and rubble left behind after a good love has crumbled. If I have been through something hurtful, so has someone else, so let’s talk about it. Let’s sing about it. Let’s connect over it and heal it.”
The music of Becky Kessler are raw in sound and emotion, acoustic ballads and love songs with vulnerable vocals and melancholy guitar. If there’s a message in her music, it’s that a broken heart may run deep but can still be mended. Her song Neverland was featured recently on the CBS TV series CSI Miami. Kessler is based in Santa Monica, California, and grew up in College Station, Texas.
“I always describe my music as folk, for lack of a better classification,” says Kessler. “But simply, I’m a singer of love songs. My sound evolves because I evolve. I feel like it’s softened over the years. There is more light that surrounds it and more wisdom. My music is also starting to embrace the southern roots that it resisted when I was younger. I am happily living and pursuing music in Los Angeles, but I carry Texas with me.”
“My music is most like and inspired by artists Jewel and Patty Griffin, both of whom I’ve met,” says Kessler. “I love James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, Imogen Heap, Ryan Adams, The Dixie Chicks, Bon Iver, Motopony, Florence and The Machine. I’m all over the place. If it has a great melody and a gritty vocal, I’m into it.”
Kessler has performed on several continents. She spent the last two years traveling internationally while simultaneously pursuing a masters degree at Pepperdine. She’s most known in Texas and California. The Los Angeles venues she plays frequently are The Mint and The Witzend. She’s been playing in Los Angeles for ten years, predominantly solo, sometime accompanied by Eric David of Stampede and The David Brothers. “I’m enjoying the freedom, but missing the creative collaborations,” says Kessler. “My guitar has traveled with me in my adventures around the world.”
Kessler was in the Texas band Vicki’s Red Coat when she first started out. “We played the Houston music circuit before I moved to Los Angeles,” says Kessler. “I was also a part of an acoustic band in Austin for a while with two very talented players…Naomi Cherie on violin and Chris Robertson on drums and formerly of Vicki’s Red Coat.”
Kessler wrote her first song when she was ten years old. “A very embarrassing ditty about living in the country called Country House,” says Kessler. “I’ve never had any formal vocal training, I just hummed around growing up and people would always comment on the quality of my voice. So, I did a little school choir and a talent show in high school. Then when I was 18, I picked up an acoustic guitar and my angsty teenage journal and the songs started coming. ”
Kessler entered a singing competition in her hometown of College Station, Texas. It was a series that went on each weekend for the better part of a summer. Each weekend had a winner and then those winners competed the final weekend for cash, prizes, studio time and to be sent to the Kerrville Folk Festival. Kessler won her weekend. On the final weekend her competition was a 9-year-old singing prodigy that wore a red-white and-blue sequined vest and sang God Bless America to a crowd of 3,000 Texans. “I thought I was toast,” says Kessler, who won.
Kessler writes all her own songs. Her process varies, but more often she starts with the lyrics. “There is something I am feeling, so I write it down,” says Kessler. “If I feel it strongly enough I feel compelled to sing it, to share it.”
Kessler says one song was inspired by how she felt at the end of a tumultuous five year relationship. “Devastated, angry, sad…every negative emotion that could swamp a person,” says Kessler. “I wrote a closure letter. It thanked him for every single thing I could remember that made me happy. Every good memory, gift or trip we’d made got a shout out in this letter. It’s now the song that more people connect to than almost any other of mine. It almost never left the privacy of the envelope it lived in.”
Kessler has her own label and recently split with her manager. “Everything about me is independent at the moment, but as always I’m open to the right collaboration. Figuring all of this business stuff out on my own is by far the hardest part of working independently. Sometimes I just wanna be the artist, ya know?”
“I would love to just be near Alanis Morrisette in the studio before I die,” says Kessler. “I’d love to sing Dreams with Stevie Nicks. I’d love to open for Patty Griffin.”
Outside of music, a friend of Kessler’s from yoga introduced her to the cause of raising money for much needed orphanages in India:
Kesslers’ album is called Neverland, after the title track. It’s available at iTunes and through online stores distributed through Reverb Nation. Her publishing library is with ASCAP.
Kessler will go into the studio this summer to make a new, five-song EP. It will be more polished, with old and new material and an intentional Southern feel. “Imagine the aesthetic of delicate lace draped over rusted metal,” says Kessler. “Raw, but feminine.”
- The Witzend, Venice, CA. Thursday June 21st, 7:00pm
- Strange Brew, Austin, TX. Sunday July 1st, 8:00pm
About Meet the Music
Hosted by Gabrielle Pantera, Meet the Music premiered in June of 2011. The 1-hour weekly music talk show interviews bands, singers, musicians, composers, songwriters, and music executives. The show broadcasts live worldwide at www.ustream.com/channel/goshradio and is also available through other outlets. For the schedule of upcoming shows, international call-in numbers, and to access the archives, go to www.goshradio.com.
Meet the Music is executive produced by Gabrielle Pantera and is a production of Gosh!Radio and Gosh!TV. Gosh!TV is based at the historic Raleigh Studios Hollywood lot. Many TV shows are shot at Raleigh Studios, such as ABC Castle and ABC Private Practice. For further information about Gosh!TV go to www.goshtv.com.
About Meet the Music
The show premiered in June of 2011. The 1-hour weekly music talk show Meet the Music is hosted by Gabrielle Pantera who interviews bands, singers, musicians, composers, songwriters, and music executives. Show co-hosts vary. Sound engineer David Williams. Producer Robin Rowe. Executive Producer Gabrielle Pantera. The show broadcasts live from Melrose Music Studios at Raleigh Studios Hollywood. Raleigh Studios is a historic studio lot where TV shows such as Castle, Closer and Private Practice are currently in production.