A singer/songwriter who adorns her artful indie folk with quirky melodies and razor-sharp harmonies, Jesca Hoop's sparse songs nod to influences like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Vashti Bunyan. She debuted with Kismet in 2007, kicking off a string of albums that were unpredictable while working within the parameters of her established sound. In 2016, she partnered with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam on Love Letter for Fire.
A native of Santa Rosa, California, Jesca Hoop got her big break thanks to her gig as a nanny for Tom Waits' children in the early 2000s. Hoop had grown up in a musically inclined Mormon family, but left the fold soon after her parents separated when she was 14. She traveled around California, Wyoming, and Arizona writing songs and honing her craft before settling down with the Waits family for a period of five years. Tom Waits took a liking to Hoop's offbeat folk songs, which in their own way linked her with so-called "New Weird Americans" like Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and Faun Fables. He passed her demo (a version of the song "Seed of Wonder") along to Lionel Conway, who in turn handed it to KCRW's Nic Harcourt. The DJ gave "Seed of Wonder" some airplay, and it became popular enough with listeners that record companies started paying her court. She signed with 3 Entertainment, an offshoot of Columbia Records. With production by 3 Entertainment head Tony Berg, her full-length debut, Kismet, was released in 2007 and landed on the Billboard independent and Heatseekers album charts.
The Kismet Acoustic EP followed in 2008 via the Last Laugh imprint after Columbia shut down 3 Entertainment. Hoop next struck a deal with the independent Vanguard Records, which issued her sophomore album, Hunting My Dress, in 2010. The live recording The Complete Kismet Acoustic and the EP Snowglobe both saw release in 2011. Hoop's third album, House That Jack Built, was co-produced with Berg and released by Last Laugh in 2012. Again reworking prior songs, the acoustic LP Undress come out in 2014.
In 2016, Hoop collaborated with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam on the Sub Pop release Love Letter for Fire. She followed that with her own Sub Pop album, 2017's Memories Are Now. Her first solo effort to be recorded outside of Tony Berg's Zeitgeist Studios, it was tracked in North Hollywood with producer Blake Mills. Memories Are Now returned Hoop to the Top 20 of the Heatseekers Albums chart. Marking a move to Memphis Industries, her fifth album of original material, 2019's Stonechild, was produced by longtime PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish (This Is the Kit, Aldous Harding). Its guests included indie pop harmonists Lucius and This Is the Kit's Kate Stables and Rozi Plain. ~ Margaret Reges & Marcy Donelson