So I have this friend, okay more like bestie, who is an amazing singer. And I’m not just saying he is an amazing singer because he is my bestie. He is such a good singer that even if he wasn’t my friend I would still go to Fred’s Records and buy his cd because I would want to financially support his music career and listen to his cd on blast four times a day. His name is Jerry Stamp.
Jerry Stamp was born and raised in St. John’s, NL. He is a classically trained opera singer who has been in the local and national music scene for years as a solo artist and the lead singer of the band King Nancy. Some people tell him his voice sounds like Dallas Green. Some people don’t agree. But whatever, that doesn’t matter right now. Recently, George Strombo listed Jerry’s song Embers as the #1 song as part of his Magnificent 7 segment on The Strombo Show (listen here). So George Strombo thinks Jerry is a musician to look out for. Not in like a “he’s an assassin so watch your back” kind of way, but in the “he’s gonna blow up the music industry and become super famous so you’re better off trying to befriend him now before he forgets who the little people are” kind of way. When I heard George Strombo say this I screamed really loud for about 4 minutes without stopping. I probably scared the shit out of my neighbours.
Ever since Jerry’s newest album – Rogue Doubt – was released, I have been listening to it non-stop. Not only do I absolutely love Jerry’s voice, but I can really relate to these songs and feel connected to him when I listen to them. See, Jerry has been battling an auto-immune disease (Psoriatic Arthritis) for awhile, and it’s been pretty bad lately. So he basically poured his heart and soul into this album in fear that he won’t be able to make another due to the arthritis in his hands and many other symptoms. He also poured his heart and soul into this album as a way to cope with the changes in his life since that first inkling of pain radiated from his ring finger. His songs – especially “Ring Finger” and “I Fear My Love” – speak to the scary unknown that you are faced with when you are diagnosed with a disease. Everyone with a chronic illness has been there, and Jerry does a beautiful job of being the voice of people like us who have struggled for years with illness, uncertainty, pain, doctors appointments, medications, and a host of other issues that coincide with being chronically ill. Jerry just gets me.
I recently sat down with Jerry (on Facebook because I was too lazy to visit him even though he’s my bestie) and asked him some questions for my blog that I think his fans would really like to know the answers to.
LW: Hi Jerry. First question: if you could be on one episode of The Mindy Project, describe what your character would be like.
JS: I have never seen an episode of The Mindy Project, so I have no clue how to answer that.
LW: You could have at least googled the premise of The Mindy Project to answer the question…come on!
JS: Ugh…fine…hold on…I guess it’d be funny if I was a guy looking like me but playing a female character at her office. Cause awkwardness is funny.
LW: If you could be any inanimate object, which would you be?
JS: The arty answer is a piano. The not-so-arty answer is probably Salma Hayek’s hairbrush.
LW: What inspired you to create this album?
JS: Fear. I was planning an album to be recorded in 2011 which I pushed to 2012 due to my health issues. But then it was pushed further while I had hoped to get things under control. By late 2013 it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t getting better and I had to come to terms with the idea that I may never get better and may in fact lose my ability to perform and record. So I wrote with that in mind and ran into the studio in early 2014 and laid it down.
LW: Can you tell us a little more about your recent health challenges?
JS: I don’t want to get too into it because I will just get going and never stop and then we’ll both be crying and slobbering all over ourselves and that is a bad way to start the week. In general the issues with Psoriatic Arthritis or PsA are stiffness and pain in joints, muscles and tendons, dryness of skin (which causes pain in skin), dryness of eyes (which causes pain in eyes), and a host of other things (which usually also cause painful bits in their respective areas). Basically lately I was doing a little better. I was on a new (to me) biologic drug that was showing signs of improvement but then my body started to reject the drugs. So now I am in the nebulous nether world of waiting to get the all clear to begin my next medication. Which will be my 7th in 10 months. So I’m kinda tired of it all. I have also been off work for almost 10 months now too so no healthy and no money don’t exactly help make things very good-like.
LW: What is your favourite song on the album?
JS: Asking me to choose my favourite song is like asking a parent to choose a favourite child. Which if you ask my parents is definitely me over my sister. I mean she was just trouble growing up. I was easy peasy. A dream child. Always did what I was told. Brought them honour. In reality it changes from time to time, like I hope it does for listeners. This week it is I Fear My Love because I am practicing it for a benefit show I am performing at on Saturday. It’s a piano number and I don’t get to perform it often because there are rarely pianos in venues.
LW: Who is your favourite 26 year-old local female blogger?
JS: I don’t know her name but I know she is local and 26 years old and her blog has recently been picked up by Huffington Post, Hello Giggles AND the Arthritis Society. I can’t recall her name so let’s call her…Todd. [He is clearly describing me and not some guy named Todd…so I’m putting that on my resume now.]
JS: Ahhh-dorbs! But if I was going to get a dog it would be something rugged like a wild wolf that I would rescue and form a lifelong bond with. We would understand each other on a deeper level. And he wouldn’t have a name because he wouldn’t need one.
LW: Ice cream?
JW: Mint chocolate chip.
LW: Tina Fey or Amy Poehler?
JS: For what? a date? Tina Fey! I like brunettes….well sometimes I do…what was the question? I enjoy them both but I do think Tina is funnier and she can hold character longer and knows it. She proves this by always cracking up Amy Poehler…You realize you aren’t really asking questions as much as saying words or names and putting a question mark after them right?
And there we have it folks, hard-hitting journalism at it’s finest. When Jerry Stamp is an extremely famous musician just remember who first asked him what he thought about corgis.
Jerry will be performing at a benefit concert for a great cause this Saturday (February 28th at 8pm – Holy Heart Theatre). The show is called “Under the Covers” and it will feature covers sung by Jerry, Sean McCann, Chris Kirby and the Ennis Sisters. It’s also being hosted by none other than Mark Critch. Tickets are $25 and will go towards the Iris Kirby House – a safe place for women and their children who are experiencing relationship abuse.
Jerry’s splendiferous new album Rogue Doubt is available for preview and purchase on iTunes, or locally and online from Fred’s Records (it also comes in vinyl!). If you would like an autographed photo of Jerry I will be selling them for $50 a piece but don’t expect high quality because I will be taking the picture from Facebook. And don’t tell Jerry. He doesn’t know about this. I just want some extra spending money and I figure I might as well exploit my famous friends to get it. Okay, I’m just kidding. No autograph pictures are available at this time. But if you go to one of his shows I’m sure he will sign something for you. He’s nice like that. He also has tons of sweet t-shirts.
Now I will leave you with Jerry’s latest music video for his song “Firing Line.” Thanks for making such great music, Jerry!