On July 1st, Nashville-raised folk-soul artist and benefit concert series founder Erisy Watt packed up her life in Santa Barbara, CA and set out with her guitarist Jeremy Ferrara to share her music across the west. With honey-sweet vocals and a soft hum that speaks to an older time, Watt’s music invites listeners to discover the beauty and freedom of wilder places. A music journey defined by adventure, 2017 has already brought Watt’s music to Thailand, Indonesia, Germany, and NYC. Now, with a newly released EP titled Foolish Things and over 30 shows in more than 25 cities, Watt’s Nowhere Fast Tour is enchanting audiences from the Rockies to Canada and back down the west coast.
In addition to her music, Watt’s benefit concert series Cabin by the Sea is coming along for the ride.
Tell us about the Cabin by the Sea Series and when it started.
I founded the Cabin by the Sea Series in 2014, as a way to intertwine my deep reverence for live music and passion for positive community action. It’s a traveling concert series that raises funds and awareness for local organizations.
How much money has been raised by Cabin by the Sea?
Cabin by the Sea has raised over $8,000 for area nonprofits and musicians since its founding and is finally making its out-of-town debut in Oakland, California on August 24th.
How do you prioritize downtown time when you are off the road and on the road?
We make sure to allow time for adventure while we are on the road. Whether it’s driving a couple hours out of the way to visit a national park or sleep under the stars, we make sure to carve out the space for time in nature. We find it essential not only for our wellbeing but for our creativity. Much of our music alludes to adventures we’ve had in wilder places so we make sure to make time for spontaneity. We also love to cook and make healthy meals for ourselves. On the road, we pack supplies so we can make our own food instead of eating out all the time. We love getting creative with our cooking on the road. It’s a lot of fun and also keeps us feeling nourished and energized!
What would you tell yourself 5 years ago if you knew what you know now about the music business?
I would stress the equal importance of setting goals yet allowing things to progress organically. I would tell myself to always ask “what can I be doing TODAY to improve, to move closer to my goals, to become a better musician, to achieve what it is I’m after?” At the end of the day, we are what we do with our time. If we want to tour, write songs, become better singers and guitarists, it’s up to us to do those things. I would tel myself to keep showing up everyday and doing your best and the rest will take shape how it should. I would tell myself to not feel disheartened by the times where creativity doesn’t come easy, that that’s all part of it, that I have to spend days writing the songs I don’t like to get to the ones I do.
What do you need to focus on the most to be happy playing music as much as you do?
I focus on how grateful I am to have found something that brings me so much joy that also brings others joy. For me, finding that intersection of what brings you joy and brings others joy is such a blessing! I also focus on how music brings people together from diverse backgrounds. It’s a way to share experiences and cultures and a window into someone else’s perspective. Music is such a unique and wonderful facet of the human condition and I am so thankful to play it and experience it. Also knowing that there is always room for improvement and growth with music. There are endless things to learn and take inspiration from. I love that you can play music at any age.
For them, music and Cabin by the Sea are all about “giving back and building community. It’s clear they are proactive people who suffuse their whole lives with purpose, passion, and positivity.” (Richie DeMaria, Santa Barbara Independent).