Jesca Hoop

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Jesca Hoop
File:Jesca Hoop Live.jpg
Hoop with guitar in concert
Background information
Birth name Jessica Ada Hoop
Born (1975-04-21) 21 April 1975 (age 44)
Santa Rosa, California,
United States
Genres Folk, jazz, blues, pop, experimental
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Labels Last Laugh (UK)
3 Records/Columbia (US)
Vanguard Records (US)
Bella Union (US)
Associated acts Tom Waits, The Ditty Bops, Guy Garvey, Iron & Wine

Jessica "Jesca" Ada Hoop (born 21 April 1975 in Santa Rosa, California[1]) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, who writes and performs in diverse musical styles. She has released four albums, two EPs and a collection of acoustic songs. Hoop worked as a backing singer on Peter Gabriel's New Blood Tour in 2011.[2]


Early life

Hoop was born in Santa Rosa, California to traditional Mormon parents Janette and Jack Dennis Hoop, and grew up singing hymns and folk tunes with her family in four part harmony. At age 14, her parents separated and two years later she broke away from her Mormon religion. Hoop described losing her faith as "Now I feel free of it: I have faith in people".[3] Hoop moved off the grid into the rural and wilderness areas of Northern California and Wyoming where she "lived under a tree for a summer, in yurts, in cob dwellings, and in a chicken shack that I converted".[3] At the age of 20 she was employed as a wilderness survival guide in a rehabilitation program for wayward teens in Arizona. This course involved "no camp, we would just walk, for two months. They would learn how to make fire by friction, and the experience was life-changing. The environment was transforming".[4]



While she had been creating music since she was a teenager, being a survival-guide provided Hoop with the "mental space to write as I worked".[3] By the turn of the century, Hoop had moved to Los Angeles where she became a nanny to Tom Waits' children. He and his wife Kathleen Brennan became instrumental in developing her career and brought her in contact with his music publisher Lionel Conway.[5] His company gave her a publishing contract and "an advance, something to live off, and helped to develop".[6] Conway sent a demo of the song "Seed of Wonder” to the DJ Nic Harcourt who began to play to the song on Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW. It became one of the most requested songs on the show and created a considerable amount interest in the acoustic live shows Hoop had begun to play around Los Angeles.[6] She then signed to Columbia Records’ subsidiary "3 Records" and developed her first record with Tony Berg, producer and head of 3 Records. Her debut album "Kismet" was released in September 2007 in the US. Following a reshuffle at Columbia, Hoop was dropped 3 months into the release.[5]


As a result of meeting Tom Piper, the touring manager of the band Elbow, Hoop moved to Manchester, England in 2008.[7] Initially she found it difficult to adjust "as a California girl, I find it hard to stay under that canopy of cloud".[3] After settling in the Chorlton area of the city, Hoop spent 18 months recording new material for the album “Hunting My Dress” which was released in 2010. She had parked "a lorry trailer in my back garden that we use as an extension (...) where I go to write".[4] In the same year she signed with the US-based label Vanguard Records.[8] It was followed by the “Snowglobe E.P.” in 2011, which consisted of a handful tracks recorded prior to her move to the UK. Hoop described them as "folk songs"[3] and the EP received a degree of critical acclaim.[9][10] The following year she released “The House That Jack Built” and in 2014 “Undress”; a re-interpretation of songs recorded four years ago.


Hoop has collaborated with many recording artists, including Stewart Copeland, Guy Garvey, Iron & Wine, Willy Mason, Blake Mills, Shearwater, Erika Wennerstrom, The Ditty Bops and many more. Hoop's extensive touring since her debut record saw her opening for Mark Knopfler, Elbow, Placebo, EELS,[11] Shuggie Otis, Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, Punch Brothers, Shearwater and The Ditty Bops.


Hoop's style has been characterised as largely experimental with folk, rock and electronic influences. Her early mentor Tom Waits described it as "like a four-sided coin. She is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or a red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night".[12]

She often finds that "I have an identity crisis every time I write a catalogue of songs, I think: what is this music? Where does it fit?".[3] She explained her tendency to move between a number of styles as "I am impressed by the power of music and its ability to transform the vessel it enters. I am everyday affected by it. If I want to change my mood, I change my music".[8]





  • Silverscreen Demos (November 23, 2004)


  1. "RYM entry" Artist entry on Rate Your Music, accessed June 26, 2012.
  2. YouTube: 'Red Rain' on the Late Show with David Letterman Retrieved 15 Dec 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Guardian 2011" Maddy Costa, 'Jesca Hoop: 'I used to live under a tree', The Guardian, April 6, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Citylifers" Chris Gilliver, 'A Quick Chat with Jesca Hoop',, November 26, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "LA Times" Nic Harcourt, 'Tete-a-Tete Jesca Hoop', Los Angeles Times Magazine, September 10, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Anastasia Brown, Make Me a Star: Industry Insiders Reveal how to Make it in Music (Thomas Nelson, 2008), p. 159
  7. "Independent interview 2012" Fiona Sturges, 'Jesca Hoop: Tom Waits’ nanny is on a musical odyssey from California to Chorlton' Independent (UK), June 23, 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Glasswerk" Laura Johnson, 'Jesca Hoop To Release New EP', Glasswerk, January 28, 2011.
  9. "DiS review" Lauren Strain, 'Ep Review: Jesca Hoop - Snowglobe EP', Drowned in Sound, April 5, 2011.
  10. "NME review" Simon Jay Catling, 'Album Review: Jesca Hoop - Snowglobe Review', NME, March 30, 2011.
  11. "Plug in Music: Jesca Hoop to tour with The Eels this fall
  12. "Stereogum" Newsitem, 'New Tom Waits’s Nanny – “Intelligentactile 101″, Stereogum, June 21, 2007.

External links