I recently had the chance to speak with singer-songwriter Erica Chase. She is bursting onto the scene after a brush with death gave her new perspective on life and music. Just one of many setbacks to her dream, the accident thankfully did not hinder her ability to create and make the music she so loves.
You’ve known from a very young age that you loved music, but there have been many speed bumps on the road to your career. Do you feel that, in the end, they have made you a stronger person?
“Absolutely. If I did not go through this journey, I would not be prepared to be where I am at now. At the darkest moments, music was always there for me and my drive and determination never faded despite having the rug pulled out from under me a few times. My accident was the catalyst for me to chase my musical dreams, but I had no idea that the years following would lead me to battle through my own fears and insecurities which not only strengthened and prepared me, but they also helped me become fearless with my songwriting.”
You very nearly didn’t make it to fulfill your music dream. How long was the recovery from your accident?
“My physical injuries were mostly minor, so within a few weeks to a month, I no longer needed a cane to walk with and my head was feeling normal again…well, my normal! It has taken me years though to really wrap my head around what happened and how close death stared me in the face. It is still surreal to think about it and gives me chills.”
Were you afraid your injuries might affect your ability to perform?
“When my parents first got to the hospital, the first thing my mom did was make sure my hands were fully intact so that I could still play guitar. They were and are and I am so grateful that this was the case. I know my musical abilities are in my mind and soul, and if for some reason, I could not play, I would find some way to express my music. There are a few musicians that come to mind, such as the guitar player Jason Becker, who still creates music despite being incapacitated with ALS, and Rick Allen (Def Leppard) who lost his arm, but found a way to still play drums professionally. Where there is a will, there is always a way. The guitar is something that has always just felt so good in my arms, and I definitely feel lucky that my accident did not take that from me.”
Did your brush with death affect your songwriting?
“Yeah, I would say so. It taught me perspective and I started writing songs outside of my personal realm and realizing there is more to life than the bubble we get stuck in sometimes. I still feel as though, there are so many lessons from that experience that I haven’t yet even tapped into and I am excited to see how my songwriting evolves through the next phase of my life and career.”
What kind of sound can we expect to hear on your first album?
“The sound of my music is a melodic mix of old school influences such as the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Motown, and today’s hit makers like Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, and Jason Mraz.”
How did you develop your unique sound?
“I’ve always just been a huge music fan and listen to everything from Miles Davis to Guns N Roses to Ed Sheeran to Bruce Springsteen on any given day. I just love really good melodies and good organic songwriting. I am of the school of less is more. You don’t need epic solos and crazy production to make a great song: you can add these things later if you wish, but the song must stand alone on the guitar or piano. Simple, yet timeless.”
Did you take classes in music, songwriting, or guitar, or are you self-taught?
“I took some guitar lessons when I was younger, but I mostly learned by listening to music and figuring it out. I have never taken any vocal lessons, cannot read music, and nearly failed out of music theory twice! I had to withdraw to avoid failing! It was the only class in school I ever had to do that with! I am an instinctual musician and I just know what feels good and what feels forced.”
Tell us about the music video for “Paris.”
“Chris Hicky directed and came up with the treatment for “Paris.” I am such a huge fan of his work with Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and others, and had my team reach out to him and he really took to the music and was inspired by it. He wanted this video to be my introduction as an artist to the public. Because the song is sort of a haunting, yet triumphant piece, he used a variety of images on, behind, around, and through me on a projection machine to really echo the vibe of the lyrics. It was such a cool experience working with him and we are currently working on a second video with him now.”
What kinds of things bring out the nerd/geek in you? What gets you so excited that you just can’t contain yourself?
“Oh man. I am super nerdy in so many ways! I really love guitars and have amassed a good collection over the years. I read different guitar forums on gear and watch a lot of rig rundown videos on YouTube to see what different artists are playing with. I also am a rule follower. My friends and family joke about my lack of street cred! I really have always been the kind of person to do all of my homework way before it was due and then ask for extra credit! I also am super into cleaning and organizing. I think I would be a great professional organizer if I weren’t an artist!! Music and love get me so excited I can’t contain myself. They are the most important things in my life and anytime I pick up the guitar or am deeply in love, I am a happy girl. Also, my puppy Hendrix gets me super pumped because he is ridiculously cute!”