Friday feature: Vanessa Peters
Branching out to another realm of my favorites today, music! And the lovely musician I would like to feature today is my dear friend, talented musician and world traveler extraordinaire, Vanessa Peters!
I first met Vanessa when I studied abroad in Italy, over 3 years ago. At the time, she was working at Santa Chiara, the same study abroad center that I would return to work at. But Italy was a big part of Vanessa's life long before I ever met her. She first traveled to Italy in 1997 as a high school student, returned to study abroad in 2000, then came back the next year to work as an RC. And so commenced her Italy saga! 2001, 2002, 2004...fast forward to 2009 when I meet her, still writing and singing and traipsing across the continent!
Vanessa was a creative writing major in college so writing and story telling has always been a part of her life. In 2001, she returned to Italy to the study abroad center with her guitar in tow. During a break between working the sessions (when there is absolutely no one in this giant converted convent in the heart of Toscana for nearly a month), the song productivity was rolling! V says she wrote 10-20 songs during that 3 week span of time!
Fast forward again! Vanessa has now played over 1000 shows in 11 different countries. And has had many adventures along the way!
One of her most memorable tour moments through Italy involved a beat up but admirable VW van with a little exhaust problem (flooding the van with fumes and nastiness) and being unable to roll down the windows for fresh air (due to freezing winter temperatures at high driving speeds and a broken drivers window), then repeatedly having to pull a Little Miss Sunshine and keep the van running constantly or risk having to push the van to a start again! All the while travelling north and south then north again for show after show through the Italian road system of crazy (or just passionate) drivers and toll booths, and the occasional public transportation strike. Add in another scare of running out of brake fluid in the Apennine mountain area, locking all the instruments in the substitute VW bug just hours before soundcheck, and a few other bumps and you still haven't even touched the surface of all the stories Vanessa has accumulated during all these years of touring!
It isn't always full of bad luck and mishaps though. Vanessa has successfully toured all these years and spread her music across the continents (I repeat, 11 countries!) and made many friends along the way. Although she doesn't have a favorite country to tour in, she loves Italy for it's good food and people, Northern Europe for the loving and appreciative audiences, and the US for it's avid supporters of her music.
I mentioned Vanessa on the blog last September when she commissioned me to design a treehouse for a t-shirt to promote her kickstarter and collaboration with Treefort Studios in Austin. The album that she was working on is now completed! I just pre-ordered mine last week and received a download of one of the songs off the album (you can listen to it below!)
I love it just as much as all her other work and I'm so excited to hear the rest of the album when it is released July 17th! Even more, I love that although her band has changed and evolved (from the Ice Cream on Monday Days to solo) the music is still consistently amazing and has the melodic soul I fell in love with. Each song takes me back to my days as a student sitting in the courtyard at Santa Chiara, sipping on a cappuccino!
You can pre-order the album through Bandcamp here, and follow along with her tour and adventures via her facebook, twitter, and website! Please check out this lovely lady and support her music and help her kick off her new album and tour with the bang it deserves!