I’m Jody. My last name gets pronounced wrong all the time, so if you’re wondering, it’s Suh-mass-cot. Or, Suh-mascot.
I was raised on an apple farm near Albany, NY, in a small town where the 8th president lived.
I started writing songs at a very young age when I still slept with my Teddy Bear and yellow blankie at night.
Not surprisingly, my first song was about my Teddy Bear. (Only a few friends knew about that until now!)
As a child, I was what you might call “painfully shy” – only communicating with adults by whispering to my friends so they could say out loud to the adults what I said to them.
Somehow, I still managed to have awesome friends.
In middle school, I auditioned for the select choir and was rejected, twice.
In high school, I finally made it into select choir, but barely passed music theory class, because similar to advanced math, it just didn’t make sense in my mind.
It was around this time when my Dad bought me a keyboard for Christmas. That’s when the outpouring of songwriting began.
I had never taken piano lessons, but I managed to sound out what I heard in my head.
About a year later, I performed solo for the first time in my life in front of an auditorium of more than 100 people at my school’s talent show: parents, teachers, and peers.
My entire body trembled throughout the 3-minute performance and I couldn’t bring myself to look up from the keys for even one split second knowing all those eyes were on me.
Somehow, my voice and fingers pulled it off and I won the award for “Best Musical Performance” that night — an event that first validated my love for music.
Although my dream was to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston after high school, it wasn’t financially feasible, so I attended SUNY Oneonta as a Music Major instead. I lasted one short semester before deciding college wasn’t for me.
Immediately after dropping out, I took a week-long bartending course in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I worked several bartending jobs in upstate NY, then moved to Los Angeles where I bought my first ukulele and took group lessons for a short time.
When a friend told me about the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA, it didn’t take long for me to quit the only 9 to 5 office job I’ve ever had, in order to attend school as a Vocal Performance student.
That was the best decision I ever made, and by far the happiest time in my life.
Soon after school ended, I found myself saying a bittersweet goodbye to my life in LA. I had abruptly lost my waitressing job, my apartment was infested with bedbugs, my best friend had just moved to another country, and I was experiencing daily panic attacks.
I ended up in Hawaii with my amazing sister and brother-in-law, happily enjoying island life with them. That’s where I discovered Hawaiian Reggae music and immediately fell in love. The reggae rhythms mixed with soulful vocals and catchy melodies were enough to change my entire world of music as I had known it.
And, of course, I was in the land of ukuleles. It was a little piece of heaven for sure.
(And not surprisingly, my panic attacks stopped!)
There have been a whole lot of ups and downs in my music career since leaving music school. I’ve had some exciting successes and opportunities, some failures, some setbacks, and have stepped so far outside of my comfort zone for the sake of sharing my music that I even shocked myself.
I booked my first-ever gig (a 3-hour solo set) at a time when I only knew how to play 2 full songs on ukulele and had one month to learn enough songs to fill the rest of the time. (Approximately 40 songs!)
I practiced so much I hurt my vocal cords. Thankfully, the show went on with the help of a new guitarist friend that I made two weeks before the big day, and it wasn’t a total disaster. 🙂
From there I went on to play solo gigs – just me and my uke – mainly in South Florida, where I moved to in 2014 – The same year that I challenged myself to post a new YouTube video every Tuesday for the whole year, and accomplished it! (You can check those out here).
Despite my efforts and passion for music, however, the doubts from myself and others managed to creep in over time and make me question my decision to pursue it. I spent countless hours trying my best to convince myself that music is not what I’m meant to be doing, because it has appeared at times to be an impossible road to travel, with no clear path to follow for success.
The odds seemed forever stacked against me with my non-spotlight kind of personality and extreme stage fright too.
After years of soul-searching, introspection, solo getaways, and endless self-development, I have come full circle and finally admitted to myself that, despite the supposed difficulty level of succeeding in this world of music, I want nothing more than to sing and write songs and share them with you, and the rest of the world, for as long as I live.
Even if it means being different, sometimes misunderstood, a little lonely in my pursuit, and frightened before each performance. Those are small prices to pay when making music is the one thing that makes me the happiest!
So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening, reading, watching my videos, coming along on this journey with me, and most of all, enjoying my music…that’s what makes it all worth it!
You can find me on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, sharing new videos every week.
Sending lots of love & big hugs.