Meet Erica Driscoll, a stunning Brazilian songbird and our Muse of the MONTH. You may recognize her as the voice of the indie-rock band #BLONDFIRE. This self proclaimed shy MUSE has secured a place in our YOUNG HEARTS not only for her multi-instrumental talents but she also reminds us that as cliche as it may sound - to listen to the universe. In this exclusive Q & A you'll find out what #tourlife is like for an #indie band, the exact moment that she knew she was on the right path and what her definition of success is. #CHECKIT #HAUTESTREET #theMUSEdiaries
HAUTE STREET: Erica, we're so excited to have you as a part of our Haute Street family! Can you share with us a little bit about your diverse upbringing?
ERICA DRISCOLL: I grew up between a city in the North of Brazil called Belém, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. My Mother’s Brazilian and my parents met when my Dad lived there for a few years while he was in the Peace Corp. Both places seriously couldn’t have been more polar opposite from each other, so it definitely made for an interesting childhood. While I enjoyed growing up in Michigan, I feel like being able to spend time in Brazil really opened my eyes to the fact there was a big world out there.
HS: What is something that most people don't know about you?
ED: I can be incredibly shy.
HS: What is the hardest thing about being on the road?
ED: I mostly miss the simple things at home. My own bed, healthy food, having a real day off.
HS: What is some advice that has kept you going and growing?
ED: Don’t settle and never give up! I think most of the reason people are successful, is that they won't take no for an answer.
HS: Who is a woman that has influenced you to become the person you are today?
ED: Definitely my Mom who loved the arts and exposed me to that world growing up. We were always going to see the symphony or to an art museum.
HS: Who would you say are your music icons?
ED: So many, but off the top of my head…Pet Shop Boys, Morrissey, Sinead O’Connor, Debbie Harry, many more…
HS: What is a hardship that you have had to overcome in your lifetime?
ED: A few years ago we actually got signed to EMI UK and we’re dropped while we were in the process of writing for the record. The label had gotten bought out by another company and they were dropping bands and firing A&R people left and right. It really felt like such a let down to think we were going to be putting out an album and have it not happen for us. We definitely felt a little bit lost after that, and weren’t really sure where to go from there.
HS: How have you turned that into a positive? How did that change you?
ED: I think it made me more self-reliant. As cliché as it sounds, I feel like everything happens for a reason. At the time they had us doing a lot of co-writes for the album, which were fun, but sometimes the songs weren’t feeling completely like us. This time around we knew what we wanted, had created a buzz on our own, and were already having a decent amount of success with or without a label. So when it came down to it, people just trusted that we knew what we were doing.
HS: Can you tell us about an AH-HA moment in your life?
ED: When I was living in NYC, my publishing company had set up a songwriting trip for me to go to LA to collaborate with different songwriters and producers. This was my first time doing anything like this all by myself, and I was really nervous, but excited about it. I ended up having a great experience with everyone I worked with and really felt like I was in my element. Funny enough, I actually worked with Wally, who is now my husband, on the very last day I was there. We hit it off right away and not only did I meet him, a song we wrote ended up making it onto Jessica Simpson’s album. If definitely felt like the universe was trying to tell me I was going in the right direction.
HS: What do you do to calm your nerves before a big show?
ED: A nice glass of wine…or two ;-)
HS: What is the hardest part about being a musician and making a career out of it?
ED: That there’s no set way to succeed in this business, so it’s all about finding new and different ways to keep going.
HS: What advice would you share with someone who has similar aspirations?
ED: Figure how who you are musically, what makes you unique. Don’t just follow trends, but follow your heart. Envision exactly where you want to be, not just that you “want to make it”. What exactly does that mean to you? Then make little steps everyday towards getting there.
HS: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
ED: Sipping champagne in the south of France!
HS: What is a piece of advice that you would give your 18 year old self?
ED: Don’t worry, it’s all going to work out!
HS: Where did your love of music come from? When did you know you wanted to do this?
ED: My Mom was definitely a big influence on me discovering my love for music. She taught me to play the piano when I was really young and always had records playing in the house that she’d be singing along to. Ever since I was little, music was the one thing I felt confident about. It just felt natural to me and I didn’t have a choice, but to keep going with it.
HS: Where do you draw inspiration from?
ED: I get inspired by so many different, sometimes random things. I really love quirky movies like Beetlejuice, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, Old Disney flicks, Shriley Temple, Fred Astaire, just being out in Nature is inspiring. Sometimes reading a random word or phrase somewhere, like in a magazine will inspire a song title or concept for me. I just never know where it’s going to come from.
HS: Do you have a favorite BLONDFIRE song?
ED: That changes all the time for me. Although, “Where The Kids Are” was such an important part of people discovering the band, that it will alway be a favorite of mine.
HS: What's it like being the only girl on a tour van?
ED: At this point I’m used to being the only girl, but I definitely become one of the guys on the road. Usually, as the tour goes on, the jokes get dirtier and dirtier and I pretty much become a weirdo that can’t relate to a mature human being! Insanely long drives will do that to you!
HS: Travel tips for being on the road?
ED: I usually pack mostly black clothes and throw in just few colorful things. It’s so much easier to put outfits together on the road when things are easy to coordinate. Plus, black IS rock and roll!
Food wise, we always try to hit up Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods whenever we find one. There are so many times that the food options are horrible. Pizza and burgers once and a while are fine, but when you’re living this as your day to day life, you start craving something healthy and it’s good to stock up when you can.
HS: Can you tell us about one of your favorite shows you’ve ever performed at?
ED: There have been so many good ones, but one that sticks out in my mind is Firefly Festival in Delaware last year. That show marked the end of 4 months on the road for us and we had a huge, really fun crowd. Plus, Tom Petty headlined that night, which was the night of the “Supermoon”! We listen to him a lot in the van, so it was a pretty epic way to the end the tour, singing along to every word under the giant, magical, Super Moon!
HS: Is there a destination that you haven't performed at yet where you would love to do a show?
ED: I’m really hoping that we get to perform at Lollapalooza in South America this coming year!
HS: Do you have any upcoming collaboration you can share with us?
ED: I’m really excited about a song I just sang and co-wrote with the amazing Russian DJ, Arty! That should be coming out soon on his new album.
HS: Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
ED: I have to say my Brazilian hometown, Belém. It’s a big city that’s located right on the Amazon River and the streets are lined with Mango trees. Beautiful people, culture, and amazing food!
HS: What would you recommend that someone do/see/eat/experience while there?
ED: I would definitely tell them to go see the Ver O Paso fish market, take a boat tour on the Amazon, and see a show at the beautiful opera house, Theatro da Paz. Food wise, eating a bowl of the real, pure Acai is a must. They serve it with sugar and tapioca and it’s the most amazing thing ever!
HS: Finish these sentences:
ED: I can’t live without…My guitar, good coffee, watermelon with cinnamon on it, coconut oil for everything, white cotton sheets, dry red wine, and most importantly, my Wally.
My biggest pet peeve …Judgmental people.
My most embarrassing moment was…I’ll never tell!
HS: How do you define success?
ED: Success is about living a healthy, happy life, surrounded by the people you care about, doing what you love. If I ever get frustrated that things aren’t going the way I want them to, I like to remind myself that “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
HS: The top 3 on my bucket list are …
ED: I definitely feel like playing music has allowed me to have so many amazing experiences in my life already. If I can dream though...play a sold out show at the Hollywood Bowl, do a song with Tom Petty, The Pet Shop Boys, U2, Johnny Marr, or Dave Gahan, and I've also always wanted to go to Greece...
HS: What do the MUSE diaries mean to you? Why did you decide to be a part of this movement?
ED: I love that the Muse diaries are all about women telling their stories and inspiring others. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that!?!
HS: What would you like to ask our next MUSE?
ED: What would you answer for question number 4? (What is some advice that has kept you going and growing?) :-)