Lilith Czar, and Deciding Whether to Change Your Artist Name 

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

I’ll never forget Season 2 of the Voice, and the moment Team CeeLo rock singer Juliet Simms stood onstage, tearfully waiting for Carson Daily to crown the winner. With her big voice and Janis Joplin swagger, Simms was a sure bet — or so I thought. Her loss to some other guy whose name I’ve forgotten was one of the most devastating moments in reality-TV history.

Juliet Simms

I hadn’t thought about her for a while, until the other day, when I learned that she’d changed her artist name — and her entire musician vibe — to Lilith Czar

Lilith Czar

But the name isn’t the only thing that’s different. Gone is the wild mane of dark blonde hair and the hippie chic attire. In its place, we have a Goth-metal starlet with a sexy, sinister Betty Page look. The voice, of course, is no less stunning — but getting used to the transformation took a minute.

[SEE RELATED: Why Rockin’ Mama — and Team Christina protégée — Alisan Porter Should Win The Voice]

The timing of this news, for me, couldn’t have been better: For close to a year, I’ve been toying with the idea (and seriously considering) changing my solo artist name. After more than 15 years as Marisa Mini — an identity that scored me two national tours, a Daisy Rock Guitar sponsorship, and two callbacks for a music reality show — I can no longer say I’m the same sexpot-in-a-vinyl-skirt that helped me launch that alter ego. 

There’s also the fact that I recorded music as Marisa Mini that sounds like crap (because I made it on home computers), or simply doesn’t reflect anything about my reality as a wife, mom, or musician. 

Marisa Mini (yep, this is me in 2009)

In other words, I’m still a bad girl who loves to roam. But I’ve already repurposed my best songs for my band Trashing Violet. What’s left, after this process, is just the new material — and new songs that feel more authentic, intentional, and well-executed. 

Me today, living the dream

I’m not the only person who’s considered changing their name. 

Lots of artists explore the name-change process. Sometimes they want a fresh start, other times, their sound has morphed into something different. Other times, they don’t want to be associated with the music under their old names. A handful of artists have changed names several times (Prince was notorious for changing his name to a symbol). 

There are several potential advantage: 

  • the new name feels like a musical makeover 
  • new fans will be less likely to find your old work
  • you will be primed to enter a new market, with different artists. 

But are You Ready for Making a Change? 

Tutorials like this one from Spotify help artists navigate the process of changing metadata and contacting your distributor.

But doing away with your older published work is a lot harder, and requires multiple “take down” requests for multiple outlets (e.g., YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Tidal, etc.). 

This raises an important questions: Are you truly ready to let go of your old name? And is the new name you have in mind “the one” that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Do you really know who you are? And is that persona really a different one than the one you originally loved? 

What I ended up doing

At the moment, I’ve quietly drifted away from Marisa Mini is on hold, and begun to create a new presence. Currently, my music is being recorded under Marisa Bloom. It feels like the right move, given the awful quality of the GarageBand CD I made in 2009. Also, I’m a mom and don’t want my kids easily stumbling upon the dirty, f-bomb-laced stuff I put out (which I am still proud of), before they turn 18. 

At the end of the day, I’m just the girl with the blonde hair and the guitar.

But there are moments I feel pangs of guilt or self doubt. After all, I created Marisa Mini as a cute, quirky, flirty version of myself without my “professional” given name (which I use for writing gigs). Also, Bloom is my married name, and a common one. I’m not the only Marisa Bloom on Spotify, or making music in the Internet-searchable world.

So stay tuned. For now, the advice I’ve heard is to sleep on it and meditate. Make a decision but be open to changing it. Until I have to release my first album as a solo artist with a new name, I’m keeping an open mind.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.  

Jessica Delfino, NYC’s ‘Dirty Folk Rock’ Comedy Gal, Embraces Life as a Mountain Mama

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

I don’t remember the exact moment I met Jessica Delfino in the fall of 2005, but I remember being dazzled by her big personality and ballsy lyrics. I was an intern for Village Voice’s music department, trying to carve a name for myself both as a critic and a musician (yup, I still can’t choose!). And at some point we crossed paths (maybe at a rock show?), and she invited me to a club down the street from the Voice’s East Village offices to see her perform.

Jessica Delfino

As she sauntered on stage and launched into her song “My Pussy is Magic,” I realized I had met a kindred spirit — a master lyricist and sex-positive feminist who didn’t take herself too seriously. Who is this enigmatic creature? I wondered. Jessica’s songs were smart, unapologetically funny, and so memorable. They still are, as evidenced by her Bandcamp page.

Many moons later, Jessica is still a “dirty folk rock” comic genius, whose side gig as a freelance writer lands her bylined articles in esteemed media outlets like The New York Times (as well as lots of under-the-radar ones). But having recently run for the “hills” — literally buying a home in the Poconos a couple of years ago with her long-term partner — she’s kind of transformed into the folkie Maria Von Trapp. 

I suddenly have recurring visions of her twirling on the hillside with her young son Wyatt and husband in tow, living her best post-pandemic life to the sound of music. 

In reality, she’s balancing a whole lot more, from a Monday Morning radio show to regular gigs at off-the-beaten-path locales (like a popular noodle bar near her new mountain digs). We recently caught up with her to find out what’s up — and what’s next.

ROCKMOMMY: For those who aren’t familiar with your music (or comedy), how would you describe yourself?

JESSICA DELFINO: I used to write a lot of “dirty folk rock” jokes and songs — youth-infused, blunt, outrageous, and angst-ridden bits and ditties (even that almost sounds dirty!) about womanhood, vaginas, and what not. Today, I still do this, but it’s a little less “on the nose” and encompasses the life and challenges of being a middle-aged mom, wife, and woman vs a 20-something wild spirit with a guitar and nothing to lose. I also play many covers and disseminate them, which is a lot of fun, and sadly, a little easier to book gigs doing than singing songs about vaginas.

Mountain mama Jessica Delfino, armed with guitar.

ROCKMOMMY: How long have you been a musician? Where did you grow up and who were your influences growing up?

JESSICA DELFINO: I’ve been surrounded by music in my life since I was a young child but I didn’t start taking music seriously until I was 15 when I took my first guitar lessons and committed to learning / teaching myself how to play all of Neil Young’s repertoire. So I’ve been playing for a few decades now. I grew up in Maine and influences were Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Jimmy Page, RUSH, Liz Phair, 2LiveCrew and all the 70s bro rock they played on WBLM the rock n roll blimp, my Maine childhood radio station.

ROCKMOMMY: I met you in the heyday of the ’00s Anti-folk scene, the Sidewalk Cafe era. What was life like for you back then? 

JESSICA DELFINO: Oh man, it was a totally crazy and fun scene. I moved to NYC after graduating from art school to work and pursue a life in comedy. Williamsburg was just becoming hot. Chinatown was still “closed” to whites, but I managed to get an apartment there. 

The city was safer, but still had a distinct edge. Downtown was still really cool. I spent a lot of time at the Bowery Poetry Club and hung out at this great show called Show N Tell run by two totally lovable art misfits “The Odebra Twins” along with a bunch of other comedians and musicians … that rolled through, many from Rev Jen’s Art Star scene, but a lot of people who were then famous or went on to become very famous. 

I would go out early, around 6 p.m., and do comedy sets anywhere I could literally all night until like 2 a.m. On nights I didn’t have a lot of sets, I’d hang out at The Cellar or other comedy clubs and watch more famous comedians and talk to my peers and then busk in the subway for an hour or so on my way home. I survived at the time on busking, on comedy gigs, and selling my CD. 

I got a piece of press early on in JANE magazine for one of my CDs and that kind of put me on the map nationally. I got fan mail from everywhere and sold a lot of CDs. Then I had a couple early viral videos on YouTube and that allowed me to tour and get bigger gigs. 

ROCKMOMMY: When you became a mom, how did your art change?

JESSICA DELFINO: I admit, I was like, shell shocked for the first couple years of being a mom. Though I was never officially diagnosed, I believe I was suffering from postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression following a C-section and I just got the funny knocked out of me! 

It took me awhile to remember who I was. I wanted to just chill until I was ready to get back on stage and it took me a good, long while. But in the meantime, I wrote and wrote and wrote. Tons of mom related stories and songs and jokes and features for national publications and worked that muscle, and that was how I survived financially and creatively, for a while.

This album cover is everything.

ROCKMOMMY: So you have recently been spending a lot more time in the Poconos. How did that come about? 

JESSICA DELFINO: My husband and I got on this kick watching Doomsday Preppers and we were like, “We have no plan” and decided to come up with one so we went camping on the Appalachian trail which was super scary and then we accidentally fell in love with the area and bought a house.

ROCKMOMMY: Do you miss NYC? Or are you in mountain girl bliss? 

JESSICA DELFINO: I still spend a lot of time in NYC in my Chinatown apartment, but I try to spend as much time in the woods as I can. It’s a lot like where I grew up in Maine so it feels very familiar and comforting and secure.

ROCKMOMMY: How are you carving a name for yourself in the local music scene?

JESSICA DELFINO: I have been performing more and more in the Poconos, which happened during the pandemic. I started really performing regularly again only probably last summer. I am not performing as much as I was before but I’m older! I don’t want to be out til 2 a.m. anymore. I want to be home with a warm cup of tea, writing and then watching Alone or some other mindless whatever or a good movie I’ve seen 100 times.

ROCKMOMMY: Have any upcoming gigs, projects or news you want to share with us? 

JESSICA DELFINO: I am on social media @JessicaDelfino and TikTok @JustSomeMom. I wrote a book of jokes that was a bestseller in puns and wordplay on Amazon called Dumb Jokes For Smart Folks. I’m always working on a million projects and that is what keeps me feeling young. 

I have a couple of regular shows I do in the Poconos. One is at a noodle house called Sango Kura, PA’s only sake brewery, and one is a morning comedy show called Coffee and Comedy for moms and their babies at a play space called Bloom, which is inspired by a show I used to perform on in NYC and is one of my most favorite things I’ve ever done. 

I also host a weekly radio segment at 7 am on Mondays called The Mom Report on 96.7 FM which can be heard across NY/NJ/PA (or on where I talk all about mom stuff. I’m also working on 40,000 screenplays and books and features and songs. And raising my son, who sometimes sings with me on stage, which is really the best. It’s so much fun. 

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy

Happy 2022, a New Year to Rock Your Goals

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

I learned in my 20s that having resolutions is a recipe for failure — but having goals is totally doable. Of course, there are a few caveats: Goals must be reasonable and realistic, not just aspirational. 

That’s why, every year, I set goals but I keep it simple. 

For example, instead of setting a goal of being most perfect environmental person who composts everything and quits using plastic, start with bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. I did this a few years ago. At first, I’d occasionally forget to put my bags back in the car, but over time, the habit of bringing reusable shopping bags with me became ingrained in my psyche. Today, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t bring at least one reusable bag with me to the grocery store. In 2022, I’m ready to try composting, starting with coffee grounds and orange peels.

the cutest photo I could find on short notice

Last year I set several goals inspired by my life of creativity and motherhood — and I’m thrilled to say that I met most of them, or at least made some measurable progress:

2021 Goal: Read 1-2 rock memoirs, cover to cover

What happened: I cracked open exactly one rock memoir, Dave Grohl’s Storyteller. That’s OK, because my older son wanted me to read the Harry Potter series with him, and we made it through four books (and believe me, they’re LONG!).

2021 Goal: Practice guitar for 15 minutes per day (most days, with the exception of vacation)

What Happened: I did it! This was an easy goal to exceed on most days.

2021 Goal: Record a solo EP (3-5 songs) & record an EP with my band

What Happened: I recorded two singles with my band, and one solo single produced by my lead guitarist’s husband. But I wrote a ton of original music. 

2021 Goal: Learn to play 12 hair metal songs, solos included

What Happened: I actually learned to play TWO hair metal songs: Alice Cooper’s “Poison” and Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly.” Progress, right?

2021 Goal: Play 6 in-person club gigs

What Happened: I played 6 in-person club gigs with my band and solo, as well as six outdoor events in Connecticut and New York City, thanks to my trusty PA. These included Make Music New York (in Tomkins Square Park), Black Rock Porchfest, Lincoln Parkapalooza, and my drummer Nick’s garage (for a party). I probably had more fun playing most of these (and bigger audiences). 

2021 Goal: Record an album with my sons from my home studio

What Happened: I didn’t record an album, but a few days ago, we recorded an awesome version of ’12 Days of Christmas.’ My kids totally rocked it! 

One of the secrets of my success is setting my intentions. During my morning meditation (which is only a few minutes a day), I visualize my goals and progress. I also casually follow the principles of Feng Shui (which was trendy in the early ’00s), and situate my home environment to align with my goals (side note: It also helps that I keep my work areas clear and clean). 

Here I am with my band, making my own happiness with a gig at Tomkins Square Park (Make Music New York 2021, with three of my musician friends’ bands).

Another secret is plain old hard work. You won’t make progress in anything, whether it’s getting in shape or learning a new skill, without working towards it. On nights I felt tired, I’d still set a timer and run my scales so I could clock in 15 minutes of guitar-playing time. 

But an even bigger determinant of my success was whether the goal is easy to achieve. As a mom of young children, I know I don’t have four hours a day to play guitar and sing, unless I give up exercise. But by setting a more sustainable goal, I’m more likely to succeed. Most busy parents can spare 10 to 20 minutes a day to improve a skill — even if remote learning returns.

So for 2022, I’m leveling up my goals just a little. Here are seven of them: 

  1. play 15 minutes of guitar and/or vocal practice a day
  2. Interview 2-3 artists per month for this blog; 
  3. Launch a podcast; 
  4. Play 6 shows with my band;
  5. produce a 6-song EP by spring AND at least one music video; 
  6. Edit 5,000 words per month and finish editing my novel (which I’ve been editing for at least two years);
  7. Prioritize quality over quantity, and faith over fear.

So there you have it! Those are my goals and intentions, set with loving positivity, for the next 12 months. I’m so eager to get started. What are your goals for 2022?

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.