"I was sitting in my apartment when the president of the company called me," says Hernandez of her first exchange with the record label that she would soon call home.
"I guess someone at Capitol had heard my EP and sent it over to him and he got my cell phone number from him and then he called me," she continues. "I hadn't even been shopping the EP around or anything. Actually, I had just met Arthur Penhallow who said he was interested in managing me. But I really wasn't working a lot at the time so I told him we would keep in touch and see how things went, but after that phone call, I was like 'Well, change of plans.'"
After that initial interaction, things have been quite a bit different for Hernandez and her backing Deltas. After shopping around for a management team as well as a producer, they're now working on pre-production of their first record with Blue Note. According to Hernandez, the LP will be comprised of some tracks from her original EP as well as favorites she's been playing for years and even some material yet unheard by the public.
Hoping to finish the record in August or September and release it sometime in February, Hernandez says she's looking forward to the tour that will follow its completion.
"I love touring," she says. "It's my favorite part of making music." And although she's sad to leave her "little home" Detroit behind for a good six months, she's excited to be taking on a North American tour as a signed artist rather than a newcomer.
"When you're just starting out, playing out of town is kind of bittersweet," says Hernandez. "You go from playing at home, where all your friends and family are there, to a show where there are two people in the audience and only half of them are paying attention to you."
With the pipes on this little lady (as well as an innate ability to pen killer, upbeat and incredibly catchy tunes and –fine, we have to say it—absolute adorability), it seems like it would be hard for anyone to only half pay attention to her. Recorded, she sounds downright amazing and live – whewie – there's not a whole lot equivalent unless you want to make the requisite comparisons to Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple and so on and so forth.
Displaying those vocals for the first time since she signed to Blue Note, Hernandez has a show planned at the Magic Bag on 7/20 and will be performing almost all of the material she's working on for her new record. There's a whopping 40 tracks up for consideration, but Hernandez says she and her producer are working to whittle that number down to 16 when it comes to actually recording and only 12 of those will actually make it on the record.
Working with a production team and a major label hasn't changed Hernandez and her style when it comes to making music, either, thanks to her self-professed stubborn tendencies and unwillingness to give up creative control. Artistic attributes that we personally feel will propel this musical genius far beyond the confines of the Michigan music scene with a set of integrity-packed cojones to boot.
As for what she's hoping for in the future, Hernandez says she's just focusing on getting her studio work done and an album released. But there's always something to look forward to.
"I'm really looking forward to touring in South America," says Hernandez. "And making an entire full length album of Latin music." | RDW
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas • 7/20, 8 p.m. • Magic Bag • 22920 Woodward, Ferndale • 248.544.3030 • themagicbag.com • $10