Music is a form of expression that has the ability to heal in the most profound and therapeutic ways…ways we can never fully understand. It is a safe place to emote deepest sentiments of love, anger, happiness, and sorrow but above all music heals. Erica Chase is the poster child of musical healing powers. After an unexpected accident, she embraced the fragility of life and dove head first into her musical dreams.
OCR: Your voice is very unique and easily distinguished from other typical female singers. Has your voice been cultivated by your vocal and musical inspirations or did it occur naturally?
EC: The story of my voice is quite unusual actually. I used to get made fun of for my speaking voice when I was younger because it was so low for a female and it hindered my confidence in my singing voice as well. I was told by a teacher that it was a mistake for me to try out for the class musical because I can’t sing. When I started writing music at age 13, I assumed a guy would be singing these songs at some point, since I was uncomfortable with my vocal skills. However, in college, after not finding a lead singer for my band, I stepped into the role and haven’t stopped singing since. I have never taken a vocal lesson or specifically modeled my voice off of anyone in particular, and the one thing that has brought it to this point, is belief and confidence in myself. I embrace the differences my voice has instead of hiding away from it. Growing up!
OCR:When writing your lyrics, do you make a conscious choice to focus on uplifting and inspirational topics especially in light of your accident?
EC: Ah, my favorite questions are about my writing process! I do not consciously choose to write about anything and let the song write itself. That being said, I never use too many specifics, so that the general public can relate to it, whether the song is about a relationship, politics, friendship, or anything really. The music and lyrics kind of happen at the same organic 20-25 minute period I spend crafting a song and I learn what the song is about after I have written it! It is like surprise therapy! I love writing music and am grateful for the ability.
OCR: You are a rocker fashionista. In an interview during LA Fashion Week you said Steven Tyler is naked because you stole his clothes. What are your favourite pieces of clothing? What’s your go-to accessory?
EC: Why thank you! I do love fashion and as we have seen time and again, it is completely immersed with music. Sometimes artists are known first for their image and clothing over their music. My favorite pieces of clothing are my black leather pants, studded leather jacket, and studded suede high-heel boots! I pretty much always wear this one necklace which is from a company called Bullets for Peace (www.bullets4peace.com). It is an actual bullet casing from the war in the Middle East that has been turned into a pretty cool decked out microphone. I always get asked about this necklace. I love it so much and love what the company stands for by sending its profits to veterans and families of soldiers.
OCR: You have been described as a guitar lover. Out of the guitars you own, which is your favourite? What’s your dream guitar?
EC: Funny you ask this, I just had to stop myself last week from buying number 14! My favorite acoustic guitar would be my main writing and recording Takamine EAN30C. I have two of the same and they are out of production so I am glad I got a duplicate when I did. It just has a lot of character and stays in amazing tune considering all the capo-ing I do in my playing. My favorite electric would probably be my Gibson Les Paul. Nothing sounds like a Les Paul, but it is really heavy! My dream guitar…I have to give you acoustic and electric! The acoustic would be a sunburst Taylor 12 string and the electric would be a vintage 1970s custom shoppe gold top Les Paul. A gal can dream right? Both of those together cost around $15,000!
OCR: If you had a super power, what would it be?
I feel like I already do with writing songs! I can translate thoughts and emotions into something that can affect others in a hopefully positive way. It is an amazing gift and I cannot imagine life without it.
OCR: After meeting Dana Strum and Vince Neil you must have been elated! Never would you have thought that shortly after this encounter you would be in an accident. When you got hit by a car, what first ran through your mind? How did this experience shape your music career? How does music heal?
EC: That was a crazy 24-hour period. I had my first phone call with Dana and just felt a sort of heavy energy afterwards. I knew this wasn’t your average phone call and that he was going to play an important role in my music career and life. The next day, still with this strange energy, I left on my bike to meet a friend for lunch and got hit by a truck. I regained consciousness in the helicopter with a mask over my face. It was crazy and changed my entire perspective on life. I wasn’t sure I had the guts to pursue this path, but the accident made me stop questioning and just jump right in. Now, I make sure to try and be present and live in the moment. Music heals me every single day. It is limitless and comforting and wonderful.
OCR: Your song “We Can Fly” is burning up YouTube with over 700,000 views. As the music industry becomes more integrated with popular pop-culture websites, everyone is competing for video viewership. How do you keep your music from getting deluded in the multitude of competition?
EC: I think competition makes me more driven to succeed. I appreciate every one of those 700,000 people who have viewed my video and those who have viewed it multiple times. I am grateful for the opportunity to share the music that is in my heart with others and am proud of the record we are working on right now. I don’t have a hidden agenda or a gimmick. I write from an honest place and I think people appreciate that.
OCR: You are releasing an album soon. Do you feel that this marks a fresh beginning for you to release your music after your extensive writing process…going from the studio to the stage?
EC: Yes and I am so excited. We don’t have a release date as of yet, because we are right in the middle of recording and we are perfectionists over here! I think if I released an album even two years ago, it wouldn’t completely represent myself as an artist and songwriter. I truly believe the life experiences that have happened over the last 8-12 months have inspired the most realized music I have written, which I am so excited about sharing!
OCR: What struggles do you face as an independent artist? Even without a major record label, do you feel like it is easier to self-promote your music through various networking sites? Does the lack of intervention from a corporation make it easier to stay true to your creativity?
I think there is still a value with having the big machine of a label behind you, but you have to do all of the groundwork yourself anyway and then split the pot. I have my own production, publishing, and marketing companies and have a great team of people that assist in making this all happen. It is a lot of work and it was a lot of work raising the finances, but I am so fortunate to have met some amazing believers in what I do as an artist, but more importantly, who I am as a person. I am doing this because this is beyond my passion and is the driving force in my life, and I’m not out for greed or to step on anyone’s toes to get there. It is the old fashioned method of hard work and teamwork that has sustained me thus far and will continue until we do what we set out to do. I am lucky also that Dana encourages my creativity and has never stepped in and tried to alter my songwriting at all. I don’t know how I would deal with people trying to make me into something I am not. Always be yourself.
OCR: You first started writing songs while you were in Las Vegas. Did you ever find yourself distracted by the lights and vices of Sin City? How did living in such a vibrant place influence your writing process?
EC: Actually, I first started writing songs at the age of 13 when I was in junior high. Las Vegas, however, was a pretty inspiring place because it is a culture like none other in the world. I am not much for traditional rock-and-roll vices and much prefer a night of music and close friends. I did write a song a few years back called “The Strangest Life,” about life in Vegas and it was an interesting reflection on this other-worldly place. I am inspired by personal experiences and people I interact with. It doesn’t matter where I live or travel to, if my energy is open and honest, I will be writing music. I have probably written the most significant music in Los Angeles where I live, but I did write “We Can Fly” in my old place out in Vegas and can remember being in my pajamas doing it!
OCR: What’s next for Erica Chase?
EC: Well, Dana and I have buried ourselves in the studio and working hard on creating a piece of art that will compete with the Top 40 crossover artists out there. After we finish the record, we will market and promote it and ultimately, I will tour the record and we will go from there!
Be sure to check out Erica’s music at www.EricaChase.com, share tweets with her on Twitter https://twitter.com/ericachasemusic, watch her awesome videos http://www.youtube.com/officialericachase, and like her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erica-Chase-Offical-Fan-Page/237720736288621!