Michaela DeBenedictis is The Sea Tease; a solo project where she combines blues, classic and jazz to create a powerful blend of music. She recently released her debut album Resilient this spring.
DeBenedictis says that music has always been a safe space for her to truly express her genuine self.
“Music has always represented freedom to me,” she says. “My sexuality is a facet of being myself in my truest form and my music allows me to do that.”
DeBenedictis says that she is bisexual and that it was very conflicting growing up due to being raised in an environment that denied that bisexuality existed.
“I didn’t come to terms with it myself until I was 19,” she says. “I just broke down and cried to my partner who was like “yeah, I figured.” It seems like everyone saw it but me. I had to break out of the invalidation and the confusion that came with not being validated in my environment growing up.”
She says that to her personally, her identity means self acceptance.
“Accepting myself for who I am, and who I am attracted to, is an act of self-love,” she says. “On another level, my identity allows me to think outside of the traditional gender roles that seep into everything around us. If you think about it, gender is just a created concept. The idea that we assign personality traits and skill sets based on body parts we are born with is actually pretty out there if you think about it. “
She also says that her identity effects her music because it effects the way that she sees the world, and therefore how she creates.
“Not really seeing gender or not having it be very important to me has freed me from thinking, and writing, within the binary,” she says.
When it comes to her music, DeBenedictis draws influence from a handful of soul and blues artists. She names guitarists like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as vocalists like Etta James, Adele and Rachel Price of Lake Street Dive. She says that her dream collaboration would be to work with John Mayer.
“He is such a huge inspiration to me,” she says. “Even if we just end up at a jam session together I would be so happy.”
DeBenedictis describes her debut album as “bluesy desert magic.” The album is currently available on all major platforms.