Jessica Hernandez started singing at an early age.
"I sang in choirs and competitive choirs," she says via phone from her home in Detroit, where she is writing songs for her next record. "I was always singing and always into theater. I sang with a jazz band and got into that scene. I went to school for fashion but made friends with all the band kids because that's how I grew up. We would start all sorts of side projects in dorms, but then I started playing guitar and piano and picked up drums and bass. When I was 19, I dropped out of school to do music full time."
Various musical styles come together with her band, The Deltas, resulting in a rock band with defiant lyrics and attitudes, hard-hitting drums, girl group-influenced vocals, heavy guitars and cha-cha rhythms. Hernandez's music has a sexy swing to it, but with a rawness and urgency in its delivery.
"I'm just not a mellow person," she explains. "I'm pretty intense and hyper and energetic. If you talk to my fiance, he'll tell you I'm crazy and a lot to handle. It's not in my nature to be a mellow person. It's not my personality. And that's more true on this next record. There's more urgency and a kind of Latin punk vibe for (it). I think that showcases my personality more. Everybody wants me to sing ballads. ... I'm like, that's fine and well, but that's not my personality."
On songs like "Demons," "Sorry I Stole Your Man" and "Picture Me With You (Carnie Threesome)," the intensity is easy to hear. In the same vein, she says the album title for 2014's Secret Evil originates in "the songs, but it's about the point I was when I wrote that record — a lot of the songs I wrote when I was 19, 20, 21, I was kind of a shit kid. I was not the best. I was going through a lot of things and figuring out who I was and what kind of person I was and there's an underlying feeling of being secretly evil."
That attitude can work in New Orleans, especially at Halloween. Hernandez has visited New Orleans, and she says it appeals to her.
"It comes into my music," she says. "New Orleans reminds all of us a lot of Detroit — the grittiness of it. Detroit has a rich music culture, very eclectic music culture. You have the garage scene and the punk scene, and there are really big artists who came from here. I grew up in a house that was big into Motown, and then my dad listened to MC5 and The Stooges and Alice Cooper. New Orleans has all that rich musical history, and people in New Orleans have the same kind of New Orleans pride in the same way as Detroiters have. They are similar places, and we really like playing there."