The healing power of singing is enormous.
Singing to me means connecting with the people around me and sharing my experiences.
I sing more often that I speak, and even as tiny toddler, I would let my voice carry me into spaces that resounded deep within my person. When I sing to myself, it means intimacy, allowing my own space in a very busy world. It means honing vocal skills and experiencing enormous creativity.
I have studied vocal improvisation with Rhiannon, jazz with the Nashville Jazz Workshop, Annie Sellick and Virginia Schenck, Full Voice with Barbara McAffee, taken vocal coaching with lay cantor Gayanne Geurin and practice community singing with Elise Witt.
As a songwriter, I have a full length studio album of original songs, Strange Glass House. One of my very favorite things to do is sing with and for people. Working as a studio vocalist for background, harmony and lead vocals, as well as co-writing projects are also all things that I love.
Improvisational Singing Circles
Currently, I have fallen in love with the magical cohesion that happens in live improvised singing groups, and this is my primary musical focus right now. We sing with our ears first, listening to and supporting each other. Together we build and cascade through songs that are being created as they happen, melodies that float above, with lyrics that are shared and rhythms that happen with our mouths, our hands and our bodies.
This kind of singing is magical to me because it heals something that seems broken to me about how our society uses music. There is no spectacle, no separation between artists and audience. Singing does not happen to show off, or be a vocal acrobatic, it happens to communicate on an entirely different wave than I have experienced before this. The level of connection that happens between vocalists is unsurpassed, and I truly believe that a process like this can serve to bring peace and healing to our culture. I am on a mission to search for this and am working on plans for a documentary that is about this.
Lily of the Suburbs
Strange Glass House
Lily of the Suburbs studio album, Strange Glass House, is a study in delicate and expressive songwriting, held by her intriguing rich voice and a poetic telling of her own story. Lily of the Suburbs is the moniker Jessica Lily performed under from 2009-2013. Songs like Strange Glass House recount an encounter somewhere between dream and uber awake, sonically crawling through a fragile and crystal clear space, bearing a humanity, wanting to be grounded. The Flood Song brings together the reality of a thick river of water forcing out collections of memories, hopes and things, clearing its path, breaking open and letting go. Tonight laments the cyclic nature late night mental chatter, the regrets and the fears that surface. It steadily soothes them into a new pace: the second half of the song becomes something new and just as the album closes, there is a space for a new start. Strange Glass House is complimented with delicate and expressive instrumentation on the mandolin, banjo and guitar. It is nearly old fashioned country influenced and rock driven, but stands beautifully outside the box.
Background and Lead Vocalist
In the Studio
My love of singing has brought me to work on a variety of projects with other musicians, songwriters and bands. As a hired lead or background vocalist, I have enjoyed interpreting lyric, and bringing life to songs. This process has also stretched me musically, to find ways to be a seamless blend, add power to the instrument’s momentum, and even to tell a story with passion, heart and melody. Here is a sample of some of the studio vocal projects I have worked on.