Michaela DeBenedictis is The Sea Tease, a blend of blues, classic and jazz that creates a unique sound. Her debut album, Resilient is set to release on May 1st.
“The most important thing for me is that fans really sit down and take it in,” she says. “To me, music is a tool that we use to connect with people so I hope that everyone can connect to these songs in some way. I want this album to be something that makes people feel understood.”
You can pre-order the album here.
DeBenedictis released her debut single, “Alive” in the fall of 2019. The single exemplifies her powerful vocals and strong songwriting skills.
In the future, she plans on releasing the tracks “Gold” and “Olivia” to radio and playlists.
“They really represent the two ends of the spectrum on the album and I’m hoping to cover a lot of ground with them,” she explains.
Thealbum release show is May 2nd at Molly Malones. In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, DeBenedictis shares that she is staying in contact with the venue regarding any updates.
“We’ll just have to see,” she says. “I really want it to happen because it has really been a light at the end of the tunnel during this time but I completely understand if it has to be cancelled. Everyone’s safety comes first.”
When it comes to the album, DeBenedictis shares that the work draws on personal experiences.
“Lyrics are very important to me and I take a lot of time to make sure they say what they need to say,” she says. “I draw my lyrical inspiration from looking at things from a lot of different angles and compounding them into a full song.”
She says that in terms of sound, her goal is to create an environment.
“As far as sound, when I am recording I want to stay as true to a live sound as I can,” she continues. “My early exposure to music came from being in clubs and there is such a deep, spiritual energy in those environments to me that is created with sound and the emotion portrayed in it. I always want that thread to be a part of my work.”
DeBenedictis notes that the songs on Resilient were thoughtfully selected for the album.
“Every one of them had a lot of time put into them and are very special to me in their own way,” she says.
She says that the title track is definitely the overture; it presents the theme of the whole album.
“I guess that’s the musical theatre kid in me wanting the album to tell a story and have a big epic musical number that sums everything up,” she says. “I could speak to how special every song on the album is. I kept it short, sweet and to the point because I didn’t want anything to be a filler or anything less than a vital piece of the album.”
In addition to a background in musical theatre, DeBenedictis notes that her early musical career with her father played a role in where she is today.
“When I was 10 I told my dad I wanted to play guitar and he handed me Eric Clapton’s album From The Cradle and I was hooked,” she says. He was a professional musician so I would play with him and his friends who were a bunch of guys in their forties. It was challenging keeping up with them when I was a kid but it made me work harder on what I was doing.”
Her work with her farther in addition to her time spent in school musicals allowed her to develop her vocal and guitar skills in tandem.
“I was playing a lot of blues and classic rock at that time which I learned later was the perfect place for a kid to start,” she says. “From there, I began writing my own music and gigging at 13 and, by 14.”
Debenedictis says that she started an all-girl band in her hometown called Thrift Store Catastrophe.
“As you can imagine, some people didn’t take too well to us being a bunch of teenage girls,” she continues. “We had some people in town that wouldn’t book us because they didn’t believe we could play and we definitely had to prove ourselves to the other local bands in the scene.”
“But, once we did that, we became really in demand,” she says. “I was singing back up, playing guitar and writing so it kept me really busy. Sometimes my dad would let me skip my first class if I had a gig the night before and, because it was a small town and everyone knew everyone, the teachers would accept the excuse and fill me in the next day.”
After high school, she moved her career to Philadelphia to teach music lessons and eventually work at Ropeadope Records.
“My time with Ropeadope was so great and really vital to shaping how I navigate the music industry,” she says. “I worked directly with Fabian Brown, the head of publicity, and Louis Marks the CEO; their mentorship was such a game changer. I’m really grateful that when I moved to Los Angeles I was able to stay close to their label.”
“I hit the ground running when I moved to LA,” she says. “I had a job offer with a local indie label and soon started my own artist services company called Golden Poppy. In addition to this I began playing regularly on the Sunset Strip at The Whisky a Go-Go and The Viper Room.”
Her first gig in LA was at The Whisky a Go-Go. It was there that she met her producer Fernando Perdomo (Echo In The Canyon, Fiona Apple, Eric Clapton.)
Today, Eric Clapton remains a large inspiration for her work.
“Tied with him is definitely Jimmy Page,” she says. “I really take a lot from how they both form their lead playing and I am really inspired by Jimmy Page’s chord work.”
She also notes that hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan for the first time was an eye opening discovery for her.
“He took everything I loved about Clapton and just injected in with this insane amount of emotion and soul that I had never heard in a guitar,” she explains.
She says that contemporary guitarists like John Mayer and Jared James Nichols are also inspirations.
“I’m mainly a chicken picker like Jared but I have been using picks more and more since my sponsorship with theAnatomy of Sound pick company,” she says. “I had never been comfortable using picks but these were a total game changer.”
When it comes to vocals, she says she is inspired by Etta James, Amy Winehouse and Freddie Mercury.
“They all have such an amazing balance of technique and emotion and I really strive for that,” she says. “They were all just such incredible musicians that were really unafraid of being themselves. I was really inspired by musical theatre so people like Idina Menzel and Kristin Cheno with definitely inspire me to stay on top of my technique.”
You can follow The Sea Tease on Facebook to keep up to date with information regarding the upcoming album and release show. If canceled, DeBenedictis shares that the best way to help would be to stream the album or buy the CD and share it with people that you think would like it.
“It would mean the world to me if fans were able to share this with people and connect with each other through it,” she says. “Especially at this time.”