Person of Interest: Misia Vessio – Drummer, Singer and Songwriter

Well folks, it’s the final Person of Interest interview of 2017 and we are going out with a bang. The drummer babe being interviewed today is BEYOND talented and amazing, and I’m so thrilled to have her on the blog. Meet NYC drummer, singer and songwriter Misia Vessio…

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Misia Vessio, photo by Una Stade

Tell us a little bit about yourself!  

My name is Misia Vessio and I am a drummer/singer-songwriter from Queens, New York. I grew up with and still have a severe stutter, but I use the drum set to speak my mind. Music is the main part of my life that got me through my many difficult moments with a stutter growing up. I turned my drumming into a promising career that has taken me around the world (Japan, New Orleans, Los Angeles) and has also given me opportunities to meet so many different people.

Since the age of ten I have been writing songs and taking music lessons. My music is very eclectic, but definitely has mixtures of rock, pop, funk and jazz. This December, I graduated from The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music and I am currently in the studio recording my debut EP, which is slated to be released in Spring 2018. I love what I do and I love making people feel good with the music I play!

How would you describe your sound and yourself as an artist? Which musical artists do you admire?

As an artist and songwriter, I use everything I listen to and everything that is going on around me to guide and influence my artistic expression. Most of my songs are mainly written from heartbreak but I like to keep my eyes, ears and heart open all the time. My sound is very eclectic but definitely blends together rock, pop, funk and jazz. I am very influenced by my most admired and favorite artists: Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette.

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Photo by Una Stade

You have an interesting background in how you began to play the drums – could you tell us more about that?

I grew up in a household full of reading books, visual arts, dance, sports, martial arts, comedy and music. Being able to experience all of this as a child, I grew up in a world of not having to be afraid to be as expressive and creative as I wanted to be. Even though I always had a really bad stutter and it held me back a lot, I always had the arts to help bring myself back up again.

Having a stutter like mine was not easy at all, it is very psychologically difficult to deal with and I really hated myself for having one, which obviously was not healthy. When I had a terrible day at school from having to speak in class and was bullied for my stutter on a daily basis, I would come home, cry, and then write a song or play my drums. Music saved me and gave me a reason to keep moving forward, which a lot of people do not know about. (Also, fun fact, people with speech impediments do not stutter when they sing! The brain is very very interesting like that).

Growing up, my dad raised me on classic rock with bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Cream, and The Doors and he would have my brother and I play along to the radio on our little drum set in our old apartment. I really loved to dance, but after being accepted into The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, I realized that drumming was more of my calling. Throughout my time in college at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, I began to hone in on my craft and musicianship more deeply and soon began playing more professionally. Having met, worked and performed with the best musicians in New York City through my time at The New School, I am fluent in the genres of Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Avant-Garde, Funk, Rock and Pop and my learning won’t be stopping there.

What are your other interests and passions?

My passions are traveling, meeting new people, learning new things, striking up conversations, helping people, helping animals, laughing, reading, staying active and being with family and friends.  

Photo by Una Stade

Within your music and studies, what is the one thing that you are most proud of?

I would have to say my VEVO: You Play Like A Girl video is what I am most proud of so far. VEVO did a special where they chose five girls from the entire country to represent the best female talent that was out there. I was 16 years old when I was chosen and also happened to be the only drummer in the series. In the special, I tell my story of how I started with music and why I want to pursue it.

The main reason I am most proud of this video is because in the video I stutter a lot. This was a huge deal for me to do as a young girl with a speech impediment and it is still very emotional for me. The video has now received over 330,000 views and I am very proud and happy to have captured that time in my life. Second to this was being chosen to play drums behind Tony Bennett for a GAP commercial when I was a junior in high school. I enjoyed working with Mr. Bennett very much and this is also an experience I will cherish in my heart forever.

What can we expect from you next?

I am very happy to announce that I am currently in the studio recording my original music for my debut EP. After the release, I will be going with my band on an East Coast tour. We are very excited about that! I am also the drummer for Modern Diet and we will be going on a North American tour in early Spring 2018. I also play percussion with John The Martyr, a New Orleans based band and our eponymous album is being released next year. Please feel free to like my page on Facebook or follow me on Instagram for the latest updates and performances! 

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Photo by Una Stade

Thanks so much Misia, we’re excited for you! Don’t forget to follow on her Facebook, Instagram and to check out her website, where you can check out vids of her playing. Keep an eye on this girl, she’s going places.

Alright guys, see you in 2018 for our next Person of Interest!

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