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Interview:
Jessica Hernandez rolls with the punches, and keeps rolling
 

By GARY GRAFF
21st Century Media/Digital First Media, @GraffonMu

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Jessica Hernandez has been to the music business mountain top, got knocked down and is now climbing her way back up.

And you won't hear her complaining about it at all.

The eclectic singer-songwriter from Detroit's Mexicantown was signed last year to Blue Note Records by company chief and Detroit native Don Was, and she and her band the Deltas decamped to Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas, to record an album. Then EMI, Blue Note's parent company, was taken over by the Universal Music Group, leaving Hernandez's team of supporters in the dust and the artist with a tough decision to make.

"Don said, 'You can stick around and see if Universal wants to put the record out, 'cause now it's in their hands, or you can take your record back free and clear," recalls Hernandez, who didn't spent much time wringing her hands over the options.

"I didn't want to risk hanging around to see if Universal is interested," she says, "so I decided to take the record back and shop it around, and we found a good match."

Hernandez is now part of Instant Records, a label started by Richard Gotthrer, writer of pop hits such as "I Want Candy," "Hang On Sloop" and "My Boyfriend's Back" and producer of artists such as Blondie, the Go-Go's and Marshall Crenshaw. The company released a five-song EP, "Demons" -- with two tracks recorded at Magnetic Studios in Pontiac -- earlier this month, and it will release the full-length album she recorded for Blue Note in March. Meanwhile, Hernandez and the Deltas have been busy on the road, and she says the flurry of activity has kept her from getting too flustered from the roller coaster she's been on in recent months.

"Nothing good or bad has really hit me because I've been working my ass off," Hernandez explains. "I feel like when you're that busy you don't have time to focus on whether things are negative or positive; you're focusing on 'What is the task at hand? What do I have to do today?' What do I have to do this month?' I was just in the moment, trying to stay busy.

"There's so much responsibility I have now, trying to keep the band moving forward despite the ups and downs, I feel like I haven't sat and thought out what was actually going on -- which is kind of nice. I didn't know I was kind of depressed when the whole Universal thing happened, and I didn't realize I was in this weird funk until I signed the deal with Instant and we put out the EP and the tour started going well and all of a sudden I'm like, 'Oh my God -- I feel so happy!'

"So now I"m just feeling super-excited again, and really relieved."

Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas perform Wednesday, Nov. 27, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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