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 pocono967.com) 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

My Year in Rock n’ Roll Motherhood (Plus, I’m a Dog Mom Now, Too!)

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

If I make one recommendation to close out 2021, it’s this: Don’t get a Covid booster shot on the same day you bring home a new puppy. I spent the better half of November 26 shivering in bed while my husband and kids chased this wee little yellow lab around our yard. It was so cute watching her leap around, her gait like a baby horse’s … jumping at everyone and everything. 

This is Callie, our little, (then) 9-pound wonder. 

Callie, on the day we picked her up and brought her home

I’ll skip the part where I felt overwhelmed — after all, this is the time of year where we should be focusing on gratitude and joy. Also, any new bundle of joy is tons of work, right?

So for now, in this super-busy month of December, I’d like to share a few annual highlights in my life as a mom, musician and journalist: 

  • In 2021, I interviewed more than 40 independent and major label artists, who shared their innermost thoughts on balancing work, music, and mental health, as well as their amazing new releases and projects. Some of my favorites included my Q&As with Rissi Palmer, a black country singer and host of Color Me Country, Hartford surfer dad Earl Henrichon, cofounder of Hartbeat Festival, “Mother Mother’ singer Tracy Bonham, who released a children’s record in March, my cousin Anna Wilson and her producer hubby Monty Powell of Troubadour77, and August’s ‘Back to School’ feature with Divinity Roxx, who also plays bass for Beyonce. 
We caught Cal-girl at just the right moment for this pic.
  • I penned a fun guest blog/show review about blues-rock guitarist Samantha Fish for the Connecticut-based MyAmpMusic blog. 
  • I took an abundance of music-business courses — including a livestream songwriting class from New York City Guitar School (which completely changed my outlook and knowledge of putting together sequences of chords), as well as Tom Morello’s guitar Masterclass. 
  • I took about a dozen bass lessons. I still don’t play like Flea, but that’s OK. My younger son Logan fell in love with piano (and ninja), while my older son Nathan decided to give cello a try.
  • I performed a ton with my rock band Trashing Violet and acoustics cover duo Hot Moms. This included amazing gigs like Make Music New York (June 30, at Tomkins Square Park), plus spots at Black Rock Porchfest, Lincoln Parkapalooza, The Cellar, 10Selden, Cafe Nine, Black Rock Social, and the Fairfield Community Theatre.Despite massive challenges — from communications to timing — my band managed to release two singles: Roam” and “Eggs.”
  • I wrote the lyrics (and did the vocals) for a fun Halloween song, ‘Skeleton Crew’ with my guitar partner Anna Lee and her producer/musician hubby Drew.
  • I supported my friends in bands. I went to more live shows this year than the first three years of motherhood.
Callie and me, easy like Sunday morning.

This is only the beginning, a rebirth of my artistry that had hibernated during my toddler mom years. While I don’t know what the future holds, I’m grateful and excited for the possibilities. Here’s to a happy, safe and — as always — a totally rockin’ New Year! 

Marisa Torrieri is the editor and founder of Rockmommy

Discovering the Magic of my Ditto Looper Pedal Four Years After I Bought it

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

It’s not often that I break out of my comfort zone with guitar pedals. In fact, the only pedals I use right now, a Super Badass distortion pedal and a tuning pedal, were gifted to me by the lead guitarist in my band. Occasionally I’ll break out the stomp box that goes with my Fender Mustang amp, but when I can’t get the levels right, I get frustrated and give up.

Patience wasn’t a virtue in May 2017, either, when I heard about the magic of looper pedals and decided I needed to have one. After watching a sales guy demo a Ditto Looper pedal at the local music shop, I was sold. $250 later, it was mine.

But when I attempted to plug it into my amp and record a loop at home, things didn’t work. I watched a dozen YouTube tutorials, but I still couldn’t figure out how to start loops and stop them, let alone smoothly transition into a loop so I could solo over it. And so I put it back in a box and into my closet, where it stayed for a long, long time.

And then I wrote a blog about it — “The Ditto Looper Pedal Isn’t Made for Rocker Moms Like Me” — and moved on with my life.

So what happened this past week that caused me to finally break out this baby, four years later? I’m not really sure. But I was by myself, listening to Samantha Fish playing “Bulletproof” and launch into a solo when I decided to plug in my Gibson SG. I went into a closet to grab a pic and there it was, right in front of me.

And I unboxed it.

My beloved Ditto Looper pedal, as gorgeous as it was in 2017 when I bought it. Pictured with my Vox V05 mini five-watt amp.

Did I learn something a few years ago that gave me bravery? Or did the 3-month period of quarantine in Spring 2020 — when I forced myself to learn how to use a Scarlett 2i2 interface, Fender Event Passport PA, and other equipment — somehow embolden me with a new skillset and an open mind?

I’m not really sure. But I plugged in my 9V battery adapter, ran cables between the SG, pedal, and my Vox V05 mini amp, and bam! It worked. I just knew which buttons to press.

I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. She had access to Kansas all along — she just needed the right encouragement and the right time to tap into it.

Happy jamming! And if you want to play solos, buy one of these gems.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

Musician Aly Sunshine, Founder of Kid Rock Outfit Funkytown Playground, Turns Handwashing Into a Fun, Musical Family Activity

by Meredith Kurz and Jessica Delfino

We all know to wash our hands all the time, right? Wrong! You’d think during a pandemic that we’d all have figured it out by now, but here we are, over a year into a full-blown pandemic and infection rates are still sky high. 

Now more than ever, there’s a need to encourage the habit of handwashing.

Aly Sunshine, founder of Funkytown Playground, a music and movement program designed for kids, offers up a solution: a simple-yet-compelling song and animated video to explain when and how to wash hands using language children will understand and enjoy.

Aly Sunshine of Funkytown Playground

The song, “Keep Your Hands Clean” was created pre-COVID, after an especially nasty flu season. Co-written by Aly’s previous bandmate, “Johnny Wheels” who is now an essential worker in a hospital, this catchy tune and animated adventure walks us through the whens and whys of handwashing: When do you wash your hands? How do you wash your hands? (Hint: There is a proper way to do this!) These questions are answered in Funkytown Playground’s easy to remember melody. The song’s accompanying animated video, created by DUST (@BitterestBuggy on Instagram), features animals, children from all around the globe (shown washing their hands) and live video footage. The song was recently updated and remixed by producer and frequent collaborator Steve Jabas.   

“Keep Your Hands Clean” (by Aly Sunshine of Funkytown Playground)

We recently caught up with Aly Sunshine, a singer, songwriter, the founder of Funkytown Playground and an NYC Board of Education vendor, who loves working with children and teaching yoga and movement along with her music. She’s also an aunt to four children, and recently co-wrote the track “Let’s Be One” for Bakithi Kumalo’s album “What You Hear Is What You See” (highlighted in Rolling Stone India).

Rockmommy: What inspired you to write this handwashing song?

Aly Sunshine: There was a really bad flu season and kids kept being out of school, and Johnny and I saw a handwashing poster in the school bathroom but it was so boring and not fun. So we decided to write a song that would be educational and fun. Also, I don’t know if I was ever properly taught how to wash my hands. There are a lot of things we just have to figure out later for ourselves! 

Rockmommy: As a teacher, why do you think it’s important for kids to wash their hands? 

Aly Sunshine: So germs don’t get passed and to keep things sanitary! 

Rockmommy: Doesn’t everyone already know to wash their hands? 

Aly Sunshine: They do! But there is a right and a wrong way to do it. My song explores best practices so that you aren’t just wasting time and water. Plus, a little reminder never hurt anybody. 

Rockmommy: Do you find that all parents and teachers encourage kids to wash their hands when coming in and out of your classes?

Aly Sunshine: Not all of them, but I think people mostly do it after they eat. In my song, I mention that it’s also great to wash hands before and after using the bathroom, after you clean up a boo boo, after touching an animal, before you eat, as well as after you eat, after playing with friends and really any time they feel like it! I also remind them to please use a cloth to turn the water off, and to sneeze into their sleeves, things that aren’t necessarily immediately intuitive. 

Rockmommy: How are kids reacting to this song? What about parents? 

Aly Sunshine: Kids love it! They love the video. They dance and sing to it while they’re washing their hands at the end of my class. Parents too, they think it’s super cute. They love the characters and think that it’s catchy, and they love that it entertains their kids while they’re washing their hands. 

Rockmommy: Can you tell us your favorite line in the song and why? 

Aly Sunshine: Probably, “You won’t get in trouble for the big pile of bubbles in the sink; you’ll even get some time to think,” because I want kids to have fun. It makes washing your hands playful as well as educational. It gives them something to think about; how suds and foam make it a fun thing instead of it being a boring activity. 

Rockmommy: What’s coming up? 

Aly Sunshine: I just did a “Hooray For Fall” video which can be seen on my YouTube channel — it’s a video shot with a drone, and has lyrics displayed, and the video features pretty fall colors, trees and pumpkins. It’s about carving jack-o-lanterns and fall activities. It’s very interactive. I get kids to howl like the wind, look out the window and see the branches, do the yoga tree pose and more. People have been giving me really good feedback about it. 

Watch the handwashing video here to learn more about how Funkytown Playground is making handwashing a more pleasant experience for all.

Meredith Kurz and Jessica Delfino are contributing writers for Rockmommy.

This ‘Skeleton Crew’ Will Get You in the Halloween Mood

Hey mamas and papas!! Today is Halloween, my favorite holiday of the whole year. It’s stunning up here, 64 degrees and sunny, and in two hours, we’ll be trick or treating.

Before I slink on my skeleton costume, I thought I’d share a new song I wrote, and recorded through ProCollabs with my friend (and Trashing Violet guitarist) Anna V., and her producer/bassist/drummer husband Drew. It’s called Skeleton Crew and it’s my first foray into Rockabilly, and I hope it’s not my last (this orange Gretsch, available via Sweetwater, is still at the top of my guitar wish list).

Check it out here:

Girls Girls Girls’ Nikita Seis and Tawny Lee on Reviving the ‘Crüe,’ Partying with Tommy Lee (and MGK), and Gigging in 2021

NYC-based Mötley Crüe tribute band Girls Girls Girls plays such a high-energy, awe-inspiring live show that phone calls and email requests to play private events are pretty much the norm (as are fangirls like me).

So when the band received a random email in late 2018 about playing a private party in Los Angeles, GGG bassist Nikita Seis was hesitant to celebrate. It just seemed like another fan request.

Girls Girls Girls, NYC’s Mötley Crüe tribute band, partying with Tommy Lee in 2019.

I just got the typical email that I always got about possibly ‘playing a private party in LA in March,’” Nikita tells Rockmommy. “I was on my way to see The Struts with a friend and told her about the email, and how nine times out of ten those are just some random person asking us to play their party and they never pan out.” 

But her mindset changed a few hours later as she pulled in to the driveway of the suburban Nashville home she shares with her husband and kids, and the host of SiriusXM’s Hair Nation confirmed the date for the release of Mötley Crüe’s biopic The Dirt, for March 22nd.

“At that point I realized there was a chance the two could have something to do with each other, and the next day, when I spoke to the woman in charge, it was confirmed,” Nikita tells Rockmommy. “She told me the filmmakers wanted us and it was contingent on all four members of Mötley Crüe signing off on us.”

After dusting off their instruments and scrambling over the next six weeks to bring on a new singer, rehearse like crazy, and try to stay sane while balancing job responsibilities and parenting, the band pulled off a visually and musically epic rock set at LA’s legendary club Whisky a Go Go — to the delight of an audience that included none other than Tommy Lee and Machine Gun Kelly (who plays Lee in the movie), front and center.

Girls Girls Girls rocking out. (Photo: Drew Osborne)

It’s a moment and a memory bassist and rock-n-roll mom continues to savor, especially now, as the excitement around live music’s return is being tempered by the delta variant, and the summer 2021 window for worry-free gigging is starting to close.

But she — and the rest of her Crüe-playing bandmates, including lead singer Trixxx Neill, guitarist Denise Mercedes Mars and the drummer better known to GGG fans as Tawny Lee — remain hopeful, even in the midst of uncertainty.

We recently caught up with Nikita and Tawny to talk about the tribute band’s 15-year legacy, and how they balance rock aspirations with work pressures, motherhood (Nikita’s kids are 11 and 9), and life on life’s terms. 

Rockmommy: I’m so psyched to interview Girls Girls Girls! What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in the last two years?

Nikita Seis: This is probably obvious, but getting to play the afterparty for the ‘Dirt’ premiere at the Whisky [in Los Angeles] was probably the coolest thing we’ve done in the last 15 years!

The show itself was very surreal, playing ‘Kickstart my Heart’ and then watching Tommy Lee and Machine Gun Kelly walk down the stairs and come over to the side of the stage and start rocking out. I felt like the whole thing happened in slow motion and I’m not sure how I even hit the right notes. It was like I was just sort of out of my body, because I did spot them when they started coming down the stairs.

That’s the side of the stage I usually play on, and we’ve had several fans over the years tell us we’re “wrong” because our Nikki [Sixx] and Mick [Mars] are reversed, but we decided to switch for that show. If we hadn’t, I’d have been right next to Tommy. Denise [our guitarist], as always, was so engrossed in her playing she didn’t even notice him! 

Tawny: OK, obviously playing at the Whisky afterparty with Tommy Lee air-drumming up front was the coolest thing we did in the last two years/ever. The second-coolest thing, on a personal note, was playing Toronto in January 2020. 

My sister, GGG backup singer Hurricane Yoshi, had just moved to settle in Toronto the month before, after over 10 years of living in NYC, so being able to perform with her in her new hometown was pretty sweet and helped dull the pain of the slap in the face that is losing your sister to Canada (or any other country, to be clear).

Rockmommy: How did the Motley Crüe movie experience come about, when you went to LA?

Nikita: I’m not sure how they found us, but I just got the typical email that I always got about possibly ‘playing a private party in LA in March.’ I was on my way to see the band The Struts with a friend and told her about the email, and how nine times out of ten those are just some random person asking us to play their party and they never pan out. 

But when I got home from the concert and pulled in to my driveway, I heard on SiriusXM’s Hair Nation ‘Mötley Crüe has announced ‘The Dirt’ will finally be released on March 22nd.’ 

At that point I realized there was a chance the two could have something to do with each other, and the next day, when I spoke to the woman in charge, it was confirmed. She told me the filmmakers wanted us and it was contingent on all four members of Mötley Crüe signing off on us. This was right before Christmas, so she said we might not have an answer immediately.

This was okay for us because we hadn’t played in three years at that point and didn’t really have a permanent singer, so it bought us some time to find one. We auditioned Trixxx Neil and one other girl via video. The show confirmed right around February 1st and we had about six weeks to prepare for the show of our lives, with a singer we’d never performed with and with a band member (me) living in a different state. To have pulled it all off felt like a huge achievement!

Rockmommy: What was the last gig you did in the “before times” in early 2020? 

Nikita: We were so fortunate to have played a couple of gigs in Canada in January/February 2020. COVID was just hitting the news, and we had to answer some questions on whether we’d traveled to China recently while going through customs. I remember seeing that a few cases had been reported in Atlanta, and I was flying through there, but it still felt like it was just hype. We got to play a club in Toronto and a casino in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Rockmommy: When the pandemic happened, what did you do? So many people played acoustic shows on FB Live, but that’s hard to do with a full band! 

Nikita: I never really felt a need to put GGG out there during the lockdown. We’re best as a live band, with the makeup and the outfits and the energy of the crowd. Personally, my bass stayed in its case from when we got back from Canada until we booked our most recent show that we just played. 

Tawny: On account of unfortunate timing, I moved to a new apartment during the height of the NYC pandemic, and I’ll admit I went into full lockdown mode and put my drums into various storage spaces — under the bed, on closet shelves, in ceiling storage, down in the basement — and didn’t dig them out until our Maryland show [in summer 2021] was booked.

Rockmommy: Speaking of Maryland, what was that like? Was there a renewed appreciation for what you’re doing? 

Nikita: It was great to be out there again, but there was also sort of a weird cloud hanging over things, with delta sort of starting to emerge. Like the first “welcome back” thing that happened was showing up to the grounds and finding out we had a different sound man because the person I’d been talking to all week was now in the ICU with COVID. And the day before I was supposed to leave, both my husband and son got sick. They tested negative for COVID, but I had the stress of possibly having to cancel the show. I was grateful that it was an outdoor show. We all want to return to normal but it still doesn’t feel totally within reach. But the bikers and fans at the show were awesome and it did feel good to be on stage again!

Tawny: The members of the Hell’s Angels we met were among the sweetest, most respectful guys we’ve met on the road. It had been so long since we played that it felt brand new again, meeting the other bands on the bill, doing sound check, meeting people from the audience… It was great.

Girls Girls Girls! (From left to right: Denise Mercedes Mars, Tawny Lee, Nikita Seis, Trixxx Neil)

Rockmommy: So all-girl tribute bands have grown, but good ones are rare. Do you get compared with Mötley Crüe a lot? Are people shocked (or not surprised at all) that girls can KICK ASS playing like the pros?

Nikita: We’ve been together almost 15 years now. I do kind of feel like back in those days we got a lot of surprise at the fact we were girls kicking ass, but thankfully we’re hearing that part less these days.

Rockmommy: GGG’s members have tons of personal responsibilities. Like kids, spouses, and jobs. How do you make time for music?

Nikita: It’s got progressively harder for me at least. My kids are 11 and 9 now. It’s easier now than when they were younger, but it is still hard to find the time to practice. Thankfully, since I’ve been playing these songs for so long, it’s really just minimal upkeep. I have a very supportive husband who steps up when I have to fly out a few days for rehearsals or gigs. 

The last gig that I played in the same city as my family was in 2016, and my son was 5. At that time I didn’t want to have him at the gig because I felt like I’d have a hard time being Nikita and not being Mom. Now I’d like for my kids to see me play at least once, so I’m waiting for the right show so they can see me. They’re getting to the age where I’m not cool anymore, so hopefully I can change their minds!

Tawny Lee: I have zero kids, and it’s still hard making time! So big props to Nikita and all the other musician parents out there. My career has always been pretty demanding, but GGG is important enough to me that I will always make time, even if that means working in the van with no internet or plugging in at a hotel “business center.” Which has been tricky at times, given that historically my work has had no idea about my side gig. It can be tricky to reasonably explain why I’m driving to PA and then OH and then upstate NY in a three-day stretch, or why I’m visiting Alaska in January.

Rockmommy: Any upcoming shows for the fall, or tour dates?

Nikita: We have a few upcoming shows we’re scheduling that we haven’t announced yet! Hopefully with the pandemic they all go off without a hitch!

 Rockmommy: What is your favorite Motley Crüe song?

Nikita: This is like asking who your favorite child is. But ‘Live Wire’ is sort of the song that kicked off the first album, first video, etc., and it really set the tone for their whole career. Just a kickass piece of music, with a little bit of cowbell!  And ‘Girls Girls Girls’ will always be one of my favorite songs, not just because it’s our namesake. 

I remember being a sixth grade girl watching that video for the first time  There’s a part at the end where Nikki Sixx is summoning a brunette to come to him, and I remember wanting to be that brunette. As inappropriate as that is, that’s the girl who steps on stage now with her bass, even if at home I’m a mom who drops her kids off at sports before going to book club.

Tawny Lee: Yeesh, Sophie’s Choice. ‘Live Wire’ overall, ‘Primal Scream’ for the beat, ‘Ten Seconds to Love’ for the ridiculous lyrics, and…’Public Enemy #1’ because it makes me happy. And ‘Take Me to the Top.’ And…OK I’ll stop.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy

Superstar Bassist Divinity Roxx — Who’s Toured with Beyoncé — Drops Uplifting Back-to-School Jam (and Practice Tips)

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

Grammy-nominated bassist Divinity Roxx made a name for herself playing R&B, funk and hip hop alongside musicians like Beyoncé. But’s it’s her solo bass slapping and lyrical riffs — poetic, hypnotic, and pointed — that take me to a different headspace (check out ‘Rebel’ here)

This fall, Divinity’s creating more of that — for the next generation. Her latest song (and video) “Ready Set Go!” is funky, fun and inspiring tune that we all need now, after the most challenging academic year in modern history.

“Put that pep in your step, put that pride in your stride,” she sings to the beat as a cool keyboard-and-bass melody flutters underneath, urging the listener to embrace the day.

Divinity Roxx

“When I started writing the lyrics, they seemed to write themselves,” Divinity Roxx tells Rockmommy. “I wanted to talk about being prepared for a new day and everything that goes into that. I wanted kids to feel like every new day is filled with possibility and as long as they were prepared, they could meet that possibility with success.”

We recently caught up with Divinity to talk about making music, theory and the best way rockmommies like me (with small hands and limited time) should practice.

Rockmommy: Hi Divinity! For our readers who don’t much about you, how would you describe your music?

Divinity Roxx: My music is a mood elevator, a culmination of all the genres that have inspired me over the years based on hip-hop and funk. 

Rockmommy: How long have you been playing bass? Did you start with another instrument? 

Divinity Roxx: I’ve been playing the bass since my 2nd year in college. I played the clarinet throughout elementary and middle school.

Rockmommy: This song “Ready Set Go!” is such a perfect ‘back to school’ anthem right now. It’s super catchy! How was this created? 

Divinity Roxx: Ready Set Go! was created initially as part of a pre-k curriculum. They were looking for a song about being prepared, so I thought the title ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ was perfect. When I sat down to write it I wanted to create something really fun and catchy. 

One of my favorite songs is ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ (I’m not kidding). It is the simplest song, yet it is so profound, lyrically and musically. It will also stand the test of time. I’m always striving to write a song with all of those qualities. Twinkle is also in the key of C. I wanted ‘Ready Set Go! to be in the key of C but I didn’t want a typical 1, 4, 5 progression. So, I used a bit of my theory knowledge and started playing chords on the piano around the key of C but starting on F major, and eventually, I began making my way around the progression of the song, which still turned out to be a 4, 1, 5 kinda thing. 

After looping that for a bit and adding the drums, I picked up the bass and began playing around the progression. The line started writing itself. I’ve learned to let the bass do that. I try to interfere but the bass is usually telling me what it wants to do, and it’s always right. 

My favorite part of the song is the bassline, especially in the 2nd half of the chorus. It kinda feels like that Atlanta skating rink vibe. I’m from Atlanta and I used to love skating at the skating rink. My dad would take us there on the weekends. The DJ kept the party going so I wanted to keep the party going in the song. When I started writing the lyrics, they seemed to write themselves. I wanted to talk about being prepared for a new day and everything that goes into that. I wanted kids to feel like every new day is filled with possibility and as long as they were prepared, they could meet that possibility with success.

Rockmommy: How was the video produced? It’s so fun! 

Divinity Roxx: I wanted to make a lyric video because we didn’t have much of a budget to hire a videographer and do the whole music video production hullabaloo. We (my wife and I) set up two tripods and recorded the video with our phones (iPhone and Android) in front of a green screen in our apartment. We spent a day recording me by myself performing the song in my home studio. Then we asked our little primo and my Goddaughter if they’d like to be in the video. 

They loooved the song and had been singing it for months so it was only right to have Sofia and Ryan join us. Again, in front of the green screen in our apartment, after their parents said yes, of course. I was resistant to editing the shots myself because there were so many good shots to choose from and I wanted someone else who was looking at it from a different vantage point to choose the best shots so I had a friend of mine who is a talented video editor edit the video.

I had found a company online to do the graphics and sent them some reference ideas about how I wanted it to look and they knocked it out of the park. Lyricvideo.tv. Those guys are great. I think they’re based in India.

Rockmommy: What are some of the best musical moments you’ve experienced this summer? 

Divinity Roxx: This summer, while strange, has afforded me some awesome musical moments. I was really excited about a song I was featured on, ‘Family Reunion’ with a fellow Family Music artist, Fyutch. I also played my first Family Music live show at Levitt Pavilion in Westport, Conn. That was exciting. And I played an adult show in Tenafly, N.J. and gained a new group of fans. I hadn’t played live in a long time so it was great to get back on the stage. Still got it… ;). 

Rockmommy: What are you looking forward to, or hoping for, for the fall? 

Divinity Roxx: I’m looking forward to releasing a full-length Family Music Album titled ‘Ready Set Go!’ in October and I’m also looking forward to releasing my next single, ‘Happy and Healthy’ in September alongside an even cooler project that I can’t disclose at the time but I really hope I’m able to share it with Rockmommy when it drops. 

Rockmommy: How can I get better at playing bass while trying to juggle everything else in my life?

Divinity Roxx: Try to use the time when you are practicing to experience some joy. If you set a 20-minute timer to “practice” be sure that you split that time up into sections, with a warm-up (1-2 minutes), some focused scale stuff (5-7 mins), and then some jamming (playing songs, making up songs, jamming along to records, etc) (12 mins).

And/or switch off between focused practice and focused fun. I think when we start a new instrument as adults (especially when we already play an instrument), we spend too much time judging ourselves and whether we sound good, or whether we’re improving-which means we aren’t having any fun. Playing music is supposed to be fun. And if you only have 20 minutes, then make it the most fun 20 minutes of your day.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.