It's a pleasure to welcome Erica Joy to Listen Local. Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Erica may be new to the Kansas City music scene but her voice and songwriting reveal real depth and dedication to her craft. We are extremely lucky to feature an interview with Erica as she prepares to release her first EP in addition to performing regularly in and around Kansas City, recording new music, covers and videos, which we have samples of below. Erica was also kind enough to share her current inspirations and recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourself. Where do you live and work? What does a typical day look like for you?
My name is Erica Joy Freiert, I go by Erica Joy. I grew up in Springfield, MO and went to the University of Missouri Kansas City on a cross country scholarship where I got my degree in Business. Currently, I work at Mass Medical Storage during the day and by night, I work on my music.
During the day I work at Mass Medical Storage. I get off at 6pm then usually can be seen out and about in midtown, hanging out with friends, playing a show, seeing a show, or crashing some open mics.
Tell us about the EP you’re working on. What are you learning about your own craft or the recording process that has surprised you?
I have a bunch of song ideas saved in my phone, little verses, melodies and what not. My good buddy Khitam, who plays guitar with me and is my manager, has been instrumental in really getting me to sit down and hash songs out. We will sit down with a laptop and guitar and literally feed each other lines back and forth and most of the time within 20 minutes we have a full song.
The recording process is a lot longer and more involved than I thought it would be. It’s hard to tap back into that headspace that I was in when I first thought up a song. I’ve been working on turning those emotions into a character that I can now quickly access when I need to get in the right mood.
Can you point to one time in your life where you knew you wanted to be a songwriter? Who or what inspired you early on to create music?
Around 13 years old, I met my birth mom, ps I’m adopted haha. She introduced me to a bunch of singer songwriters that we listened to on long road trips that we took. That and there were a couple of instances where my peers were very complimentary of my voice and that really gave me the courage to pursue this.
Who or what currently inspires you?
Patty Griffin is everything. I’m never not in the mood to not listen to her. Brandi Carlile is also a huge influence on me. As a child, I really loved the Dixie Chicks. Oh and I can’t forget Ray Lamontagne.
Other than people, I am influenced by unfortunate situations whether they’re my own, a friends, or something I hear about. That being said, happiness can also inspire me, I’m not completely depressing haha.
Where and how do you record your music? What advice do you have for others who want to do the same?
I have a little two input interface and mic that I use to record with. It’s amazing how good you can get your music to sound with a home made studio and you don’t have to shell out an arm and a leg.
To record my first single “Fun to Hold You” we enlisted some help from some extremely talented local musicians and producers. Kyle Ward recorded the single and his band mate Jonny Brack played drums on it. They have some higher end equipment that they have set up in a studio in a church basement. Wonderful experience and I can’t wait to work with them again hopefully on my EP by the end of the summer.
I’m still pretty new with the whole music thing. I really hit the ground running in April. I would say, find the time to invest in your craft. I thrive on having a routine where I hold myself accountable whether it’s writing a new song a week or putting up a cover.
1. Patty Griffin: She is my heart and soul. Never not in the mood for Patty.
2. Brandi Carlile: Lyrically, melodically, everything about her speaks to me.
3. Dixie Chicks: I grew up listening to them. They remind me of home.
4. Bonnie Raitt: She sounds like she's been walking around Earth for hundreds of years.
5. Radiohead: Their heart pulls you to a different dimension and makes you think. That's what I strive for with my music.
6. Wicked: That note though. When she is defying gravity and doing what she knows she wants despite societal norms.
7. Lord of the Rings: I'm so obsessed with these movies. I've watched all the behind the scenes extras multiple times and feel as though I was there during the making of the movies.
8. Florence & The Machine: The way they structure their songs is so captivating. It's a major performance but they can relay simple emotion.
9. Johnny Cash: The way he structures his songs is so unfiltered. He's a half step behind the beat and he is there to tell a story.
10. Moulin Rouge: Love that they took old songs and completely owned them