Whirling fiercely in the wake of wildfires, fear-induced headlines and a pandemic in its path was the too-real tornado that struck Nashville in March 2020. Admittedly shaken up by the storm, Folk-Americana singer/songwriter Calista Garcia snapped out of fear by turning to music… specifically, “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson. As howling winds have continued over the past year, Calista has kept her calm by tapping back into this feeling through renewed awareness of the beauty that remains. On nature walks by her house, for example, she has come to notice how the canopies of leaves wave hello as she walks by; it is from this tender place, she has created a musical world to reflect what she has witnessed. Lending her lyrics now to listeners, Calista Garcia’s “A Beautiful World” EP, out October 29th, 2021, provides refuge through the power of rose-colored perspective.
“I created ‘A Beautiful World’ to be an expression of radical optimism,” Calista shares. “Optimism, not because life is full of sunshine and rainbows, but rather in spite of how tough it can be... I think holding knowledge of the bad and still believing good can prevail is the bravest thing we can do.”
As she has accessed hope through songwriting, Calista has found herself writing the EP in solitude from safe places like the park benches nearby, her piano and the floor of her bedroom. Notably, the only co-write on the EP, “After You’re Gone,” came from a Zoom collaboration with Rachel Weisbart and Patrick Oberstaedt of the Gender Gnomes; speaking to the loss of family members during the pandemic, this song has already moved listeners to tears including composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa. Produced by Buddy Speir and Calista Garcia at 38 North Studio, “A Beautiful World” was engineered by Sean Russell (Damien & Stephen Marley, Allison Krauss, Bruno Mars), mixed by Grammy Award Winner Jim Scott of Plyrz Studios (The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Sting, Foo Fighters) and mastered by Grammy Award Winner Richard Dodd (Dixie Chicks, Tom Petty, Boz Scaggs). Featured musicians include Calista Garcia (vocals, acoustic, electric and resonator guitar, harmonica, Wirlitzer electric piano), Buddy Speir (acoustic & electric guitar, Wurliter electric piano, percussion), Harrison Finks (Hammond B3 organ, piano), Eric Scott (bass, backing vocals), Ben Tufts (drums, percussion), Denise Garcia (backing vocals) and Jim Scott (percussion).
Without question, Calista Garcia’s fiercely-hopeful disposition has continued to propel her music career forward. In spite of its challenges, 2021 has managed to be a hallmark year as Calista was recently nominated Chris Austin Songwriting Finalist at MerleFest, playing a summer of live shows alongside Bad Cameo and as a part of Show X’s tour with The Last Real Circus. Previous releases include her critically-acclaimed debut EP “Wild Woman” (2019) which was selected in the 2020 Independent Music Awards for “Best Roots/Country EP,” recognized by the International Music Awards (IAMA), International Songwriting Competition (ISC) and the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest (MASC). In addition, Calista Garcia’s extensive musical history includes her title as 2020’s National YoungArts Gold Winner in Voice/Singer-Songwriter, 2021 Alicia Key’s She is the Music Foundation Songwriting Fellow, 2020 Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project Fellow, 2017-18 Berklee Performance Showcase Winner, 2017 Bernard Ebbs Young Songwriter of the Year and two-time Grammy Foundation Young Songwriter Program Artist. As Calista continues to shine light onstage, tour plans continue with an upcoming show at The Birchmere alongside the renowned Rick Wakeman of “Yes” on October 24th, 2021.
An emblem signifying growth and maturity for her as an artist, “A Beautiful World” has helped Calista to reflect on the world around us all and her place in it. With pure intentions to impart good on the world, she is humbled by how these songs have already served to hold her up this past year; she hopes they will do the same for others, too.
In Calista’s words, “My greatest wish is that this song helps you as a listener let go of your fears, and feel a little freer from your hangups. This really is a beautiful world we get to live in.”