Six Stories Told is a band with an infectious pop beat. They’re made up of a diverse group of young individuals, each with unique backgrounds and interests. This diversity does nothing to stop the band from writing and performing cohesive songs, though. Joanna DeRosa, Jesse Sheppard, Tyler McDermott, and Adam Peters took the time out of their extremely busy schedules to talk with us about their music and interests.
Joanna, did you take vocal lessons as a child?
Joanna: Yes! My mom and dad met when my mom auditioned to sing in his band and then they fell in love, got married, and BAM—my sibling and I were created. My whole childhood my parents would work during the week and gig on weekends, similar to what I do now. My mom’s day job happens to be as a voice coach. She teaches a nonprofit vocal group called Joy’s Vocal Stars and also individual lessons. Through this group I was able to sing for so many fundraisers and charity events and I still go back and help my mom choreograph and teach! I started singing when I was three because both of my older sisters were doing it. My mom taught all of us and is solely responsible for me nurturing my music. She put me into musical theater and I know that’s why I’m so comfortable on stage!
What drew you to performing?
Joanna: Performing is like breathing, as cheesy as that may sound. It’s the one thing that doesn’t feel forced in my life. I was exposed to this entire world so young watching my parents and being on my first competitive dance team when I was only five! I started doing plays and vocal competitions at the age of 6 so I got all of my nerves for performing out early on in life. Now the stage feels like home. If I’m having a bad day, if life is out of control, the one thing I know will be constant is the rush I feel when I step on a stage. Performing is the number one aspect of my life that makes me feel truly confident.
Is it hard to keep in shape for your dancing? On average, how much time in a week do you spend practicing
Joanna: Yes! I have an autoimmune thyroid disease that makes it really tough to lose weight but I don’t let it stop me! I run every single day and work out four times a week with different lifting routines or body weight exercises. I constantly get my levels checked because if they’re off it will be literally impossible to lose anything. I teach at a dance studio seven days a week and by teaching all of the kids and being a competition team director I get to revisit my technical training each and every day when I go over it with all of my students. I teach voice lessons and private dance lessons as well so all of this keeps me wanting to learn more so I can pass on more knowledge. I do not like going to sleep at night unless I can honestly say that I did at least one thing to better myself that day. I am working 24/7 to be the ideal me and the most important aspect of that is that I am never satisfied. I never settle into thinking “okay I’m good. I can just take it easy.” I like to be busy, I love to push myself and I know that there’s always room for improvement.
Jesse, what prompted you to give guitar lessons over Skype?
Jesse: I’m always looking for a new way to be able to connect with our fans. Unfortunately during the off tour months, it can be a bit tricky finding a way to connect especially when many of our fans are in the UK. I was getting a few tweets from people asking if I’d do Skype guitar lessons with them. I loved the idea, ‘cause I would be able to connect with fans while helping them learn music which I thought was so cool.
Are there any challenges to teaching that you might not see just playing the music?
Jesse: What I find to be a challenge with teaching is that sometimes you may explain a concept to someone, and it just doesn’t click with them. So I have to find different ways that I can approach teaching a particular topic, so that it can make sense for them.
Any special charities you support?
Jesse: I’ve just recently gotten started with helping out a few charities through my college. I’ve done a few walks such as cancer walks, but I am now just starting to help out at the Walden Humane Society which I love because I love animals!
Tyler, your Twitter bio states that you are a forensic biologist. Truth?
Tyler: I currently attend Pace University doing undergrad work for a Forensic Science concentrated Biological Chemistry degree. After combining that with minors in Criminal Justice, Mathematics, and Psychology, I plan to further educate myself using postbac research (which I’ve started to prepare) as well as a graduate degree in Forensic Science & Toxicology. So that’s that I guess lol
How old were you when you started playing drums?
Tyler: I started playing drums around when I was 12 because my friends and I were into the video gam, Rock Band. Our virtual band wanted to perform a virtual world tour and none of my friends could play the drums so I got stuck tryin’ to figure it out. I eventually did, which built my hand-eye coordination to a level where my parents told me to try real drums. I said “nahhh real drums are definitely way harder! I will suck!” The next day I got beat once during a “drum off” in the video game and that fueled my motivation for learning real drums. I turned to my parents and asked to try drum lessons because this virtual crap was starting to piss me off haha.
What’s your favorite thing about being in the band?
Tyler: Being in a band/being an active musician offers me a healthy output for science built stress in my daily activities. This line of work constantly has your gears turning in ways that aren’t conducive for a relaxing day job. It’s a lot of fun, it keeps you thinking, it’s highly rewarding, and is always presenting a challenge to you. Because of this, I look forward to taking off a lab coat and putting on a leather jacket every once in a while you know? Haha
Adam, from your tweets of your dogs you are clearly an animal lover. Are there any animal charities you promote or donate to?
Adam: My dogs are awesome, and animals in general are really cool. They’re like Pokemon but real, you know? I always recommend people adopting pets from their local animal shelters rather than from breeders. Pure breeding dogs can be really dangerous, and our cute little mutt friends need love too. The domestication of animals is kind of weird though. I would love to domesticate an emu- I think they’re so funny.
Do you play any other instruments?
Adam: In addition to bass, I play guitar and some piano. I played snare drum and the trumpet as a kid, but sadly SST wasn’t in the market for a horn player.
What’s your favorite movie and why?
Adam: My favorite movie is probably Scott Pilgrim vs The World because it’s about a socially awkward bass player who had his heart-broken really bad and still decides to pursue another girl who is way out of his league. It’s me. The movie is about me.
For the band: what brought you all together?
Jesse and Tyler are neighbors and the only remaining original members of the band! They did a Rock Camp USA at the NY School of Music where you are placed in a band and learn a song over the course of a few weeks. They took the concept one step further and formed a real band. Fast forward four years and find yourself in NYC at Webster Hall. That Rock Camp band was opening up for Tyler Ward, a YouTube star, as was Joanna’s sister. It was the current singer’s final show and one of the parents asked Joanna if she sang like her sister and wanted to try out! She went and they threw her directly into the studio (on the first day) and recorded Round and Round, a single off of the current EP Epilogue. That year the band did some weekend tours where they met Adam, who was a fill in bassist for a band that SST played with a lot! They all hit it off and now finally, a few months later, added Adam to the band and solidified the line up for Six Stories Told as it stands today!
What do you all do for fun when you’re not “working”?
Joanna: I work a lot but my work is fun! So I guess when I’m not teaching dance, dancing myself, singing with the band or writing I like to take the very scarce amount of free time and go to movies, watch Netflix, sleep, adventure with friends, see my man friend who is awesome, write in my journal or scroll through Tumblr and other social media. Online shopping is a blast too
Jesse: My favorite things to do when I’m not working is playing ultimate Frisbee, going hiking, and eating all kinds of crazy foods.
Tyler: For fun I’m into ultimate Frisbee, snowmobiling, hiking, traveling, and trying adventurous cuisine—all of course w/ loved ones (family, friends, significant other, etc)
Adam: I like exploring unknown areas of knowledge, supporting Bernie Sanders and his campaign, I drive a lot sometimes not by choice, playing with my dogs, seeing my mom makes me incredibly happy because she’s the most amazing woman in the world and that’s that, and dancing. I like to dance.
What kinds of things bring out the nerd/geek in each of you?
Joanna: Okay. I love Nintendo video games such as Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros, the Little Mermaid, the Ninja Turtles, cooking shows, giraffes and musical theater songs.
Jesse: Talking about the TV show Dragon Ball Z because as a kid I watched like every single episode and practically memorized the entire series lol.
Tyler: Nerdy side obviously could be anything related to my science, conspiracy theories, or criminal investigation. I also was a huge video game (particularly Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, or Halo) fanatic.
Adam: The things I geek over are comic books, politics, and MySpace music.