Interview with Young Singer-Songwriter Jamey Geston on Ukes, Get Happy and Santa Barbara

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Young 16 year old singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Southern California, Jamey Geston, describes her music as “indie, folksy beat and with a bit acoustic pop.” Jamey plays the guitar, ukulele, piano and bass). In her short career, Jamey has accomplished quite a bit as she has opened for the legendary Judy Collins, has been a featured artist in BackBeat Music Magazine TV Segment, and our sister site Guitar It Up for Girls, and has won so many songwriting and other awards that you can find on her site.

She has already garnered the attention of musical manufacturers Daisy Rock Girl Guitars, Steve Clayton Picks, Shubb Capos, and Capturing Couture guitar straps as they have given her endorsement deals. In addition, Jamey recently had the opportunity to work with Author Mary Amato in releasing several videos for Amato’s new Young Adult book Get Happy.

Jamey took the time to catch up with us on her latest endeavors, the opportunity behind Get Happy, her Daisy Rock Guitars and Luna Uke, her musical influences, endorsements, and more.

GGM:  You come from a family with a musical background. Can you tell us a little about your family and how you got started in music? 

JG:  Well, my dad is a guitarist and I usually credit him for sparking my interest in music. But my uncle and cousins on my dad’s side are musical, as well. As for my mom, she did some singing in high school and theater productions, I guess I get my entertainment side from her.

GGM:  You play several instruments. What instruments do you play and which came first?

JG:  I started with guitar then self taught myself piano, ukulele, and bass (which is BASSically guitar. Hah. I know, I’m hilarious.)

GGM:  That is cute!  Who are some of your musical influences and how have they influenced your music today?

JG:  Gosh, there’s so many, that have especially influenced me within this past year. I would say that artists such as King Krule and Mac DeMarco opened my eyes musically. They use a lot of jazzy chords which has got me using jazzy-er chords as well. I really, really get inspired when listening to Elliott Smith cause he’s so brilliant. Some other influences musically and lyrically are The Velvet Underground, Angel Olsen, The Summer Twins, Joni Mitchell, The Aquadolls, Nirvana, The Mamas and the Papas…I could literally go on forever.

GGM:  That’s always the way it is.  Tell us about your instruments and endorsements.

JG:  I started out with an endorsement with Daisy Rock Guitars which totally facilitated my choice to peruse music. They were my very first guitar when I was 10 years old and a year later I became endorsed. So far I have 7 Daisy Rock instruments, one being a sweet little champagne pink bass. Also, I just recently started switching to playing electric as well as acoustic guitars at shows and I was gifted the prettiest, most dreamiest guitar from DR called “The Cloud,” it’s sparkly and glorious. I picked up a few more endorsements when I went to NAMM, which are Capturing Couture Straps (which are absolutely lovely), Shubb Capos, and Clayton Picks.

GGM:  We love Daisy Rock and Capturing Couture (they make the most gorgeous straps!). You were chosen by author Mary Amato to record six songs for the release of her new Young Adult novel called Get Happy which is about a 16-year-old singer-songwriter named Minerva who is desperate for a ukulele.  How did you get that opportunity?

JG:  Over the past couple of years I’ve been involved with Girls Rock Santa Barbara, a non-profit organization that empowers girls through music. I volunteered as an artist in their camp program and play at their benefits. Last year at their annual benefit showcase, Mary happened to be there. I played my song, “Beautiful Ghosts,” along with two dancers who choreographed an amazing dance duet. About a month later, Mary contacted me, we met up and really hit it off. I thought there were a lot of similarities with me and the lead character, it seemed like a perfect fit.  I liked that Mary gave me the freedom to make the songs my own and that she was very happy with what I did.

GGM:  Well, that was certainly a great opportunity!  Which ukulele did you use for the videos for the release of Get Happy? 

JG:  Well, I had a Luna Tattoo ukulele, when I was first asked to start the project for the first song, While Mary was writing Get Happy, Yvonne de Villiers of Luna Guitars was designing the “Pearl” ukulele, an etched seahorse design with pearl inlay. In the book it features a “seahorse” necklace which is where the connection with the book and uke came to be. Mary Amato and I were both given the uke for the project, which they customized with a pre-amp. For the rest of the videos I started using that one and it plays sooooo well.

GGM:  Luna makes a fantastic ukulele and the seahorse design fits perfectly with the story line in Get Happy.  I really enjoyed your cover of “Fever” on Vimeo on Santa Barbara Sessions. The setting is great. What’s Santa Barbara Sessions all about?

JG:  Thank you! Santa Barbara Sessions is new performance series that records and films Santa Barbara’s musicians in various locations throughout the city and county. It’s a new collaboration between videographer Bobby Burns of Redmond Digital Media and producer/musician Adam Phillips. We filmed in the Funk Zone which had murals painted on doors of an old warehouse area and one of my favorite places.

GGM:  So, what’s in the works for you for 2015?

JG:  I think this year will be when I finally record all my stuff professionally. I only have demos of my music out so getting into a studio is my main goal. I also plan to continue writing, do some co-writing, and to master a loop pedal I got for Christmas!

Five Fun Facts about Jamey Geston

Top 3 songs on my playlist:

“Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans” – Mac Demarco
“Between the Bars” – Elliott Smith
“Today” – Jefferson Airplane

First gig I ever did: L.A.U.R.A. Foundation Annual Event that raised awareness of innocent bystanders who lost their lives during drive-by shootings in LA. I think I was about 10 years old, gosh, I even remember the outfit I was wearing!

My favorite thing about Santa Barbara is: The Funk Zone, definitely.

If I could perform with anyone, it would be: Nirvana, but during an acoustic set because I’m probably not loud enough for a normal set – haha!

In one word, music to me is: Everything.

For more on Jamey Geston, visit her site HERE.

Photo Credits:  Jamey Geston

Santa Barbara Sessions : Jamey Geston from Redmond Digital Media on Vimeo.

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