Angelica Garcia appropriately likens her journey to "going down the rabbit hole."
Upon graduating from Los Angeles School for the Arts, the 17-year-old native Angelenofound herself living in a 200-year-old gothic brick home encircled by magnolia trees andunder a blanket of bright stars in Accomac, Virginia. Her stepfather traded a career inthe music industry for Episcopalian priesthood, and an Eastern Shore church wouldserve as his (and the family's) first congregation. Behind that residence where UnionGeneral Henry Hayes Lockwood once passed through during the Civil War, Angelicabegan to fashion her musical world in the dusty old parish house. Nodding to herpersonal "holy trinity" of Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and Jack White, she tenaciouslypenned music.
"Living there helped define my sound," she declares. "It was really hard for me, becauseall of my friends were in Los Angeles. I didn't know anyone, and I felt very isolated. So, Iwent into that parish house alone. When you're sitting there by yourself, you don't haveto ask for permission. There's no one to judge you. You get to do everything you wantto. I had the chance to be free musically. A lot of it was my way to resurrect hope andfeel better. You write what you know because nobody knows what you know. That's the
best way to be honest."
The singer and songwriter's vision embraced the environment as she recorded the
sounds of crickets, drumming on a shoebox, creaking doors, and more to build a richsoundscape with just her piano, guitar, and MacBook. Those ideas would eventuallyevolve into the 12 songs comprising her 2016 full-length Warner Bros. Records debut,Medicine For Birds.
In 2014, the label signed Angelica based off the strength of the parish house demos,and she embarked on her first national tour with Delta Rae. She'd take the initial ideas
to a Nashville studio with producer Charlie Peacock [The Civil Wars, Switchfoot] inJanuary 2015.
"It's like the songs grew up at that moment," she explains. "Charlie showed me how bigand crazy they could be. I felt like a hermit coming out. He was the ambassador to thissonic realm I didn't know about it. The music became limitless."
Now, her style struts between ghostly gorgeous countrified blues and sly swampAmericana. With a childlike whimsy, quirky sense of humor, and dynamic delivery, itcould easily soundtrack an apparitions' ball in some Faulknerian mansion. Punctuatedby stomping percussion, revival-worthy handclaps, and airy banjos, "Woman I'mHollerin'" conjures up a heavenly haunting chant, "They want my blood!"
"I wrote it in one sitting," she recalls. "It's all about being afraid people are going to comeafter you. We all get scared, and it captures that feeling. You're worried and reaching
out for help."
Elsewhere, "Magnolia Is Medicine" pairs a lithe finger-picked acoustic guitar with herbreathy verses. It uncovers the meaning behind the album title too. "The Magnolia tree
represented the South for me," she says. "It was the medicine that made me feel better.In the same way, I want these songs to make other people feel better."
"Bridge Is On Fire" spins a psychedelic electric sitar into a gloomy, grim narrative oftowering flames and the ashes of a relationship. "I'm telling the story of a guy and girl,"she continues. "He's panicking about this bridge burning, and his love being on theother side away from him. However, it turns out she lit the blaze. Her decision to startthis fire was more important than the relationship. It's a self-actualization."
Medicine For Birds is Angelica's actualization. It's the culmination of a life devoted tomusic that began in Eastern Los Angeles harmonizing with her mother at 5-years-oldand performing at the city's most famous haunts in high school to landing at the bottomof the rabbit hole on the other side of the country.
It's the gateway to her wild world…
"I love it when someone tells me they relate to my work," she concludes. "that's theultimate validation. When you're all alone working on music, you open up. The more
songs that I write, the more I realize this world. It's kooky. It's spooky. It's playful. It'sfunny. It's somber. It's goth. It's light. It's me."