4 To Watch: Petracovich

Nurturing Music

Music Features Petracovich
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Hometown: San Francisco
Members: Jessica Peters and a revolving cast
Fun fact: Peters’ late parakeet, Clarence, was often inadvertently recorded in her home studio. “I put a little reverb on him, and he sounded pretty good,” she says.
Why she’s worth watching: Petracovich’s music is a perfect balance between rhythmic beats, atmospheric backdrops, striking images and angelic vocals. The sound, which has caught the ear of influential radio programmers, is simultaneously worldly and otherworldly.
For fans of: Aimee Mann, Iron & Wine, The Innocence Mission

Midway through my interview with Petracovich mastermind Jessica Peters, she confides that it’s her first interview with a woman. Spurred by this realization, we end up discussing motherhood, inspiration and the importance of authentic experience in the course of analyzing her new CD, We Are Wyoming. As a 29-year-old female and lifelong musician, Peters has determined that “it’s really important for women and mothers to be creating [because] it’s a perspective that needs to be heard.” But now that she and her husband want children, she’s worried she’ll be shunned from the industry. At the same time, songwriting is her way of coping with this fear.

When she’s not working through her worry, her songwriting process starts with journaling, which she admits is obsessive and sometimes poetic by accident: “It’s just a matter of being aware of my surroundings and always writing [them] down.”

She tells me how to journal the Petracovich way, describing the image of a man walking through a field in Wyoming or jotting down a couple’s conversation while eavesdropping on a San Francisco city bus. To Peters, these images and sounds are authentic, and her desire to create something like them is palpable.

For the 30 minutes I know her, Jessica Peters is a down-to-earth nurturer, generous and clever. When I ask where she wants to be in 10 years, she says she wants to be playing music as much as possible—with her family-to-be. “I have this vision of having an RV and going along with another couple who plays music. We would all take care of each other’s kids and tour … I think it’s going to happen.”

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