Hello, hello, hello!

In just one week from tomorrow I will be boarding a plane to head to Europe for the next 5 weeks.  Talk about crazy!  What’s crazier still is that I’ll fly back only to do three shows almost all in a row in Ohio and Michigan.  What’s even crazier STILL is that these are some seriously big deal shows for me – places like Trinity House Theatre and The Ark.  Like I said – talk about crazy!  So….I made this animation to help get the word out as much as possible; but I’ll need you to go nuts passing it on to any and all of your friends who live in or near Michigan or have heard of Michigan or can spell Michigan (but even if they can’t spell it, feel free to give ’em a hint or two…).  Seriously – pass the word around!  And for those of you who have nothing to do with Michigan whatsoever and wouldn’t even be able to point it out on a map, never fear!  My album is mixing and mastering as we speak – almost ready for the taking no matter WHERE you live!  So, without further ado, here’s the video along with info on where to direct all of those Ohio and Michigan friends of yours:

Friday 5/21/10 @ 9pm – Donkey Cafe  (17 1/2 W. Washington St. Athens, OH – $5)

Saturday 5/22/10 @ 8pm – Trinity House  (38840 Six Mile Rd. Livonia, MI – $15)

Wednesday 6/2/10 @ 8pm – The Ark (316 S. Main St. Ann Arbor, MI – $10)

www.myspace.com/jessicaripkamusic

Finally. My Own Clothes.

Back when I was in high school and wore nothing but oversized jeans and extra large flannel shirts from the men’s section of my local thrift store (see attached), my friend, Jeanette, decided to intervene and take me shopping at New York & Co.  It was a ploy, really.   She said she needed more skirts – and by ‘she’, she actually meant me.  So we sailed over to the mall and wandered through the racks – the smells of cool and popular perching loosely on every display shelf while I struggled to not compare my XXL sweatshirt to the XXS skirt pinned to the disapproving mannequins.  

“What about this one?” Jeanette asked, holding up a plum skirt and matching silky top.  

“Sure…,” I said, scratching at my collar to avoid paying attention.  

“I meant for you,” she added.  I stared back at her blankly.  “I mean, you could just try it.”  

After much persuasion and coercion, I managed to try on the pile of clothes gradually piling over her shoulder.  And while they may have been a vast improvement to my wardrobe at the time, nothing felt like ‘me’.  I hadn’t paid enough attention in English class to bring to mind Shakespeare’s, “To thine own self, be true.”  Instead, I bought a plum skirt and matching satin top that sold for more money than I’d made in the last six months.  They also landed straight in my dresser – never to be worn or seen again.

Two years ago I had a similar experience – this time in a recording studio with my friend, Jesse, who offered to produce an album’s worth of my music just in time for my 27th birthday.  And while I had a better handle on what I was wearing by then, I had that same nagging feeling when we listened back to the track.  “Something’s not right, here….” I’d think, trying to see my reflection in the song I knew I’d written but somehow didn’t recognize.  It was that plum skirt again – plenty fashionable and attractive enough to make it seem worth my while; but distinctly not me.

Last winter I left LA to record the same batch of songs in the throes of one of Michigan’s worst winter’s.  I spun out on the highway while driving out to meet my engineer, Pat, out in Ypsilanti.  And while we had all 11 songs recorded and at the ready by spring’s thaw, I had that same plum skirt feeling at the pit of my stomach.  

To Thine Own Self Be True….

At this point, I, for one, began to wonder if I was simply one of the unpleasable types who never can settle on what she wants.  Maybe I should release the album I did with Pat.  Maybe I should just suck it up and deal with it – just live with the tracks and move on.  But ‘living with’ your art rather than truly enjoying it is like merely putting up with your spouse and never making love to them.  And that, well…..that certainly wouldn’t fly with me.  

So I set out again – this time entirely on my own.  Laptop and microphone in hand, I recorded sounds everywhere and anywhere – from the stillness of my church’s sanctuary late at night to the bustling practice rooms of Ohio University.  I found, Eric, a (truly phenomenal!) cellist on Craigslist who graciously recorded song after song without so much as a smirk at my low-fi approach.  I spread out all the instruments I could find on my living room floor – spending entire afternoons spinning webs of harmonies and embellishments.  It was there in the living room – with the taste of spring just beginning to seep through my windows – when I felt it.  This is me, I thought, This fits.

So, dear reader near or far, here’s to holding out for what our truest self would be.  And be on the look out this spring for my first album’s release (‘my’ being the operative word here….).  It’s mixing, mastering, then off to the masses!