By Tracy Dietlin
If you haven’t heard Jetta King perform yet, make sure you make it out this Saturday to The Ladies First show at CV Brewing Co where she will be performing with boyfriend and drummer, Tyler Ontiveros, of the rock band Mega Sun. The first time I heard King sing as part of a duo at the CV Music Showcase last year, she gave me chills. The second time I heard her sing was at another competition that I happened to be judging at Big Rock Pub and I was blown away by her beautiful, raw, passionate and powerful vocals and I knew she was destined for success.
King grew up in San Jacinto. “We used to call it San Ja-ghetto. It was pretty rough.
My parents got divorced when I was in 8th grade and I moved to Palm Desert with my mom halfway through 9th because she got a manager position at a Mastercuts in the mall. I don’t recommend moving halfway through freshman year,” shared King with a chuckle.
King got her first guitar when she was 12 but didn’t write her first song until she was about 18.
“I never got lessons, so it was a lot of noodling around until I found the right note kinda thing for a while. It was just Metallica intros that I learned by ear,” she shared laughing. “I still have no idea what the heck I’m playing.”
She’s still trying to flesh out her songwriting process. “I put my fingers in places and hope it makes the right sound! Vocals are a different story. I record myself playing guitar on my phone and then just vocalize over it until words and a melody come out. I try not to force anything when I write. I just open the portal and let the universe write through me.”
King says she’s written a lot of songs, but many of them are old.
“I was so young and they sound like something Taylor Swift would write. I was very emo back then. I currently have four originals that I’m comfortable performing. I have one new song that I’m in the process of recording. It’s almost done! It’s pretty intense,” shared King.
I asked her what famous song she wished she had written?
“That’s a hard one. I’ve never wished that before. I fell in love with Metallica’s …And Justice For All album. Especially, “To Live Is To Die,” which is an instrumental. That song kept me sane when I was sleeping on the floor of my Mom’s apartment in high school. It was so beautiful to me. But that song isn’t famous.”
While she plays guitar and a little piano she really wanted to play drums.
“The drums were always my first love. I’ve always wanted to be a drummer, but my parents were like “NOPE, you make enough noise on your own,” King shared laughing. “I’m a loud person. I’m getting to actually play around on the drums for the first time now! I’m in love!”
Asked how she would describe her musical style King replied: “The style I play, isn’t the style I’d like to play. It’s just kind of what comes out. I’d say it’s a pop rock with the hope to be metal someday.”
While she has done the above mentioned performances, she cites her first real live performance was a few months ago (November) at CV Brewing Co. as a duo with Tyler (Ontiveros). This upcoming show will be a bit different for her.
“I’m actually going to have a full band for the first time! I’ve never played my songs with a whole band before! It’s super exciting! Tyler will be on drums, me on guitar and vocals and my friend Carlyn Park-Basore on bass!”
I asked the difference for her performing solo versus as a duo or band?
“I’ve never performed solo really. Only to friends and family. I sang at the Big Rock Pub show performing my new song but it was more like karaoke singing to a track. This is really playing my songs now. It’s scary because if I mess up on guitar there’s nothing to save me!” King shared with a nervous laughter.
King says her future music goals are, “to get to a place musically where I’m able to collaborate with my favorite artists. That is the end game dream. Being able to jam out with my musical influences and create art together. I don’t think I ever want to play solo again. I’m not really into that kind of thing. I want to rock!!!”
Her influences include: Metallica, Alice In Chains, The Civil Wars, Depeche Mode, Journey, Tool, Sia, Paramore, Eisley, Jonny Craig, Anthony Green, Glen Hansard, Jared Leto. “There are so many. Almost every day I hear myself in the stuff I listen to. I’ve been shaped by music. It raised me.”
She says she would most like to open someday for Metallica. “That’s always my answer to everything. Hopefully I can be metal enough someday,” she said smiling. She says the people she most respects in the music business are: “The little guys who keep playing no matter what; all of the musicians who have been told to ‘give it up’ or ‘get a real job,’ but keep doing what they love. Those musicians are the heroes.”
She’s currently has a diversified playlist she’s listening to. “My Spotify playlist is on crack. It’s so all over the place. I LOVE Parkway Drive and August Burns Red. Those are my favorite bands that I can air drum every beat to. I love metal. Also, I just discovered this band called ‘3’ a few months ago. They influenced Coheed and Cambria back in the day. Amazing stuff!”
I asked who she would’ve picked for her choice of Coachella headliners and what she thinks of this year’s lineup.
“Sia was amazing when she headlined. I’ve been listening to her since I was 13. She’s been around for ages and never wanted to be in the spotlight. She’s written so many songs for other people. I just love her soul. Hmm… Metallica, August Burns Red, and Parkway Drive. (laughing) The headliners are never really who I go to see anyway. I love going to see the little bands that no one has heard of. They’re always mind blowing. I’ve been following Tash Sultana for a while and seeing her last year made me cry. I was so proud of her for going from bedroom YouTube videos to COACHELLAFEST! Amazing!”
In closing King wanted to share: “I’m super excited about this Ladies First show at CV Brewing Co! Wes has been ever so kind to include me and I’m honored! Can’t wait! 2019 is already popping off with a bang! And a huge thanks to my boyfriend Tyler Ontiveros for always being there, working his ass off, playing music with me, loving my craziness. Josh Ballard for letting us practice at his amazing house and letting us borrow his electric drum kit and PA so we can practice at home! And a big love to Mark Houlihan for being there to push me in my music and otherwise. I couldn’t do this without you guys. I love this music community and I can’t wait for the future! I’m so grateful for this journey!”