Meet Erica Chase.
This Los Angeles based singer-songwriter has always been drawn to music. "I have always been heavily influenced by the 60s and 70s rock before technology; when everything was just raw and not over analyzed. At the same time, I have always dreamt about a top 40 kind of singer-songwriter career. All of my music starts on an acoustic guitar and a piece of paper, and yes you can build a track around it, but the essence is in the purity and honesty."
Erica teamed up with Dana Strum (Slaughter), and is working on her newest album. Read on to see what she has to say about her music and life in the City of Angels.
We understand you were an athlete in high school, right? What was your sport, and how did you make the transition to music?
I was a serious basketball player from seven to 17. I was the point guard, the leader of the floor. I always liked the pressure of being responsible for something especially with the potential for greatness for the team. I actually attempted to the play the guitar prior to basketball after being inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Under The Bridge," but my hands were too small and I had to quit for about 6 years. I jumped into basketball and was playing up to six hours a day on three teams at one point. When I was 13, I got back into guitar and it took over my life completely.
Do you remember the first song you wrote? What was it about?
I actually recently just found the lyric sheet to it...um, it was called "Plastic Purse." I wrote it about so called "Mean Girls," at school. I was never the coolest kid in the room, so I was picked on and I kind of wrote an alt rock mini anthem about girls in junior high and how they can be so cruel if you do not fit into their molds. If it wasn't so lame, it could apply to all of the bullying that has unfortunately gotten increasingly more popular of late. I feel for any kid that gets made fun of and I always say it takes so much less energy to be nice. We gotta start treating each other better.
What was your first public performance like?
My first "gig" was my senior year in high school. I was the lead guitar player in an all-girls cover band called "Ruby Red Slippers." I was kind of the hired gun that went to a different school and was a couple years older than the rest of
the girls. One of the girls' dad's was the manager and picked what songs we sung and what we wore. I only did one gig with them at some local fair. I liked being onstage, but had been writing my own songs for a few years already and the band was not open to me doing anything but guitar and background vox. So I bailed.
Are there any reoccurring themes in your music?
I've written a lot about the experience of love and losing love specifically. I think its something very hard to make sense of and move on. I also write political inspired songs and songs about underdogs. I love underdogs. They are always the most awake people I think.
Tell us a bit about your partnership with Dana Strum. How did you two meet?
We met a number of years ago through an ex relation of his and my father. I spoke to dana the first time on Feb. 1, 2006 and sensed that my life was about to change and that this person was going to have significant impact. On Feb. 2, 2006, i was hit by a truck and woke up in a helicopter with an oxygen mask!
Luckily I was fine, and we met in person a month later and i sort of "auditioned" for Dana who was doing his friend a favor by hearing some random girl and telling her if she is any good. He saw something unexpected in me and decided he wanted to be a part of this journey and we have been partners in this ever since. I am so grateful for his undying belief in what I do.
Were you a Slaughter fan before?
I was a really young kid at the height of Slaughter's fame so I wasn't familiar with them until I started working with Strum. Now that I have heard all of their music, including original demos dana has shown me, and seen them live a million times, I am a huge slaughter fan. I love Dana's songwriting and his production skills are kind of absurdly good.
What's it like working with Dana Strum?
We are both obsessed with the beatles, so in turn it creates a great musical chemistry between us. He is tough on me because he knows I can do it. He also encourages me to never stop creating new music and that is awesome.
We've heard your voice is described as akin to Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, and Linda Perry. Who do you think you sound the most like, and why?
I think my voice has an androgynous aspect to it and a grittiness factor. It kind of sounds a bit like all of those people! I have an uniquely lower voice than most female singers, which makes it interesting.
Who is one living musician you're dying to share a stage with, and why?
Bruce Springsteen. I have the whole thing picked out in my head: we would be at Madison Square Garden singing "The Rising" or "The Promised Land." i would be playing rhythm guitar and singing harmonies with the boss! Dream big right?
Your new album is out now, right? What can listeners expect?
Actually, it has not been completed, so you can check out some samples on EricaChase.com and a video. We hope to have it out in the fall or so. It has a lot of old school harmonies and rocking Sheryl Crow like tracks. I am really stoked to have people hear it and come check me out on tour.
What's next for you? What can we expect from you in the coming months?
Well, I am going to be a slave in the studio with Dana and continue to be around town and different events and continue connecting with fans and press alike. I pinch myself everyday that my life's work is not work at all. Music is breathing. Period.