By Harriet Kaplan
Emerging new artist Erica Chase has a pop/rock sound that sets her apart from the current crop of female vocalists “with a grittier and unique” sound. The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/guitarist offers up an Adele/Sam Smith/Ed Sheeran vibe that should whet the appetite of music listeners with her first single and accompanying eclectic video for “Paris.” Chase has been through a lot and almost died in an near fatal accident, but she is determined to now live life to the fullest, throw caution to the wind and “chase her dreams” to their fruition “surrender her passion over practicality.” Erica Chase spoke to BoC about her journey so far as an artist, her musical influences, soberly reflected on being hit by a truck, composing “Paris,” fate leading her to working with producer Dana Strum and Chris Hicky directing her video.
How did you decide on a career in music and become a singer?
Erica Chase: Music has always been the driving force in my life from an extremely early age. I just had to move through life’s obstacles to really embrace that this is my calling and go full throttle into it. My near-death experience (which I will get into in a few questions) was really the catalyst for me to chase my dreams and surrender to passion over perhaps, practicality.
Was your family musical? Did your parents ever sing or perform?
Erica Chase: I love my parents dearly, but you do not want to hear either of them sing! No one in my immediate family is musical. I always gravitated to instruments and loved getting into my mom or dad’s cars when I was young to listen to the radio and get inspired.
What music did you listen and enjoy growing up and how it influence your musical direction and why?
Erica Chase: I got into the Beatles from a young age because my parents were huge fans and I grew up hearing a lot of it. My uncle also introduced me to a ton of classic rock. But I also was fascinated with Top 40 pop and always fantasized that my music would fit into that mode too. The biggest musical influences for me from childhood to now would probably be: Beatles, Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Jeff Buckley, Wilco, Ed Sheeran, Radiohead, Michael Jackson, and Adele.
Have you recorded other albums or EPs before or is “Paris” your first attempt at recording? What is the story behind “Paris” and creating the video concept? How did you chose Chris Hicky to direct it?
Erica Chase: I have recorded nearly 100 songs in some form or another, but nothing was ever released to the public until “Paris.” I spent a lot of time honing my songwriting skills and my voice as an artist. “Paris” just manifested itself at the right time and we all sort of knew it was the one to put out there. It is a song about a love lost, but when you think of that person, the memories flood back and there is some comfort in that. Chris Hicky is one of my directing heroes and we reached out to him after seeing his video for the Keith Urban/Eric Church song “Raise Em Up,” with the hopes he might be interested in directing a new artist’s video. To my utmost grateful surprise, he dug the song and wanted to do it. He came up with the treatment, but strangely, Dana and I had spoken about a similar concept without him knowing, so it was really meant to be and we were all in sync. He used some cool projected images on, behind, around, through me to sort of milk the emotions of the lyrics. It is a cool, artsy video and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it turned out. We are working on the follow up with him now.
How did you connect with Dana Strum and how did he become your producer?
Erica Chase: Dana and I got connected through an ex mutual friend of both his and my dad. He agreed to give some unknown girl a phone call and talk about the music business. This was at a time of uncertainty in my life. I had been rejected from a teaching program and was in my last semester at college. I really wanted to be an artist, but was just scared to go after it. That all changed after this phone call and the accident.
You were riding your bike and got hit by a truck and nearly died. This happened after you met Dana Strum? How long did it take for you to recover from this accident and were you always thinking of music as you started to recover from this horrific accident? Did that motivate you to get well?
Erica Chase: I had spoken to Dana for about an hour about all things music and business. The conversation left me feeling some pretty heavy energetic vibes. It was like fear and elation combined and it was really crazy. Less than 24 hours later, I jumped on my bicycle to meet my best friend and got hit by a truck. Everything went completely white and I woke up in a flight for life helicopter with an oxygen mask on my face. It was a pretty clear sign that life is too short not to chase your dreams and passions. Literally overnight I knew I had to jump in headfirst even if it wasn’t the safe choice, even if it was the road less travelled; I had to be an artist. My injuries were pretty much fully recovered in a month’s time and I met Dana in person shortly after that where I auditioned for him and he saw some raw potential in me. Since that day many years ago, he has been my manager, producer, mentor, and often my therapist!
What you think you bring to the table with your music that sets you apart from other artists?
Erica Chase: I am songwriter first and foremost and that sets me apart from a lot of traditional pop artists because I write all of my songs myself both music and lyrics. I also have taken the things I’ve been through, bullying, near death experience, lost loves and have translated it into a way that anyone can identify their own story within my music. I believe that is your obligation as a songwriter: once a song is out of you, it belongs to the world and everyone has a piece of himself or herself in it. Lastly, my voice is not your typical female pop singer voice. It is lower, grittier and unique in that way.
Photos by Veronica Gutlerrez