She is a Powerhouse. She is Jeska Forsyth.
There are dates in one’s life that are memorable. Of Those dates, some stand out more than others. July 16, 2022 is one of those dates for me. At The Saxon Pub, Guy Forsyth and his band were nearing the end of their concert. Walking onto the stage was Jeska Forsyth. A story was told about a woman living in Belfast, Ireland who could look out from her kitchen window and see a beautiful field. Then the troubles hit and that field was divided by a wall. She left the country, only returning when the troubles were over. The wall had been removed and a song was inspired.
This song was sung, July 16, 2022 by Jeska Forsyth. I have heard Jeska sing several times prior and knew she was good but I didn’t know, until this song, that she was a powerhouse. The phrase, “I’m coming home.” was sung with such passion and intensity that I had goosebumps on my skin. With every photo I took, the words, “My God” came out of my mouth. It was an incredible performance. To this day, I see and hear her sing it.
Jeska, when she is not singing with Guy or by herself, is the lead singer of her band Jeska & The Vanity Project. The photo above taken August 17, 2023 marks another memorable and powerful night of music. Jeska and her band, delivered an experience. An experience that will be remembered. Who is Jeska? Let her tell you.
1. Who is Jeska Forsyth?
I am someone that loves to create. I sometimes liken myself to a fairy, a tinker fairy. I just love to experiment and create art in many different mediums. I suppose I do this because I’m curious, and that curiosity has led me through many different pathways in my life…. Mostly good ones. I’ve done many things throughout my life, such as Photography, opera, hosting a weekly news segment, modeling, and a bunch of different things. I am someone that wants acceptance, equality, and love. I want to give my whole heart to my audience and the people in my life. I am a mother, daughter, granddaughter, and wife. I am someone that never wants to stop learning and growing but above all, I am music. It’s surrounds me in every aspect of my life filling me with an energy and there’s nothing like being able to give that energy back to my audience on stage.
2. Tell me about The Vanity Project.
The vanity project is a dream that I’ve had for a very long time. When I initially moved to Austin, about seven years ago, I quickly realized that I was not adequately prepared for the stages that I was watching people perform on. I joined a few bands, and started learning how to navigate and really invested myself in the music community watching and learning. A few weeks before the initial shut down, due to the pandemic, I had my first rehearsal for the band but quickly the world changed, and my project got pushed back as my family, and I tried to navigate the pandemic. Once things started moving again, and people started going out of their homes, Shane Keenan and I started performing small shows here in there as a duo and sometimes a trio with a friend we would have join. Shane has always been in the band and has really stuck it out with me, and I have never ending gratitude and admiration for him as a person and a musician. I decided that I wanted a band that performed together all of the time instead of having a large pool of musicians that I would draw from. I was lucky enough to meet Lisa Perlet at a show one night. When she mentioned that she played the guitar, I just asked her if she wanted to join the band. Actually I think I asked her if she wanted to be in a show and she said yes and then she did the show. I just kept having her at all of the rehearsals and shows. Lisa is quite accomplished herself as a musician, she’s also a violin player. She is in a duo called the Caterwaulers with Daniel Tessmer, who is my bass player. I obviously met Daniel through Lisa although I had previously met him when he was running sound for a house concert. Kostamos Yiacoumis is also an early member of the band, but had an unfortunate motorcycle accident and only recently re-join the band after undergoing several surgeries and healing. Kostamos is a beast on the drum kit. Andy Rumelt is our keyboard player who also plays many other instruments, including the harmonica, which is something I just found out in the last two months. He is also familiar with the Austin music scene and has played with people such as Slyd Curtis. We are lucky enough to have a second drummer, Drew Preston, who is also an accomplished musician himself, as well as the owner and operator of a sound company here in Austin called Craftsman Recording.
The vanity project itself is a True Crime band, but not in the initial way people usually assume. We do not do murder ballads, we do not make light of situations where people were harmed or afraid, and we definitely do not mention or glorify the culprits in anyway. While recognizing that murder ballads are an important part of our musical history, I have decided to make it my mission to help break the perpetuation of abuse through music in the vanity. Project is doing just that. We are singing songs, and performing music to educate enlighten shed light on people that deserve to be immortalized in song, and hope to help unite and heal people.
3. Tell me about the Austin Music Environment – Your interpretation of its past, present and future.
The Austin music scene is beautiful. It’s definitely a community and family at times. Initially, it was a really scary thing for me and I was not openly welcomed but through time and hard work, I have definitely seen a change in the way people treat and accept me. I’m not sure if that’s everyone’s experience when they first come to an Austin. I’m not sure if that’s everyone’s experience when they first come to Austin as a musician. I moved here to be with my long-distance boyfriend who is now my husband, Guy Forsyth. I think it might’ve been a little bit more difficult for me because of Guy’s long career in Austin and people believing that I was trying to use him just for his stage. I appreciate every single second he shared with me on that stage and I know that he did it because he believed in me. As of lately I’ve been falling more in love with the Austin Music community as a whole and enjoy volunteering my time with nonprofits, such as the Sims Foundation, HAAM and ATXM , which stands for Austin Texas Musician. I also host the first Monday of each month on channel 16, the female fronted band night. I’m really lucky to live in this city and be surrounded with the people that I’m surrounded by. I definitely walk amongst Giants and believe that as time passes, I will continue to grow closer to my fellow musicians in this beautiful city.
4. A.I. and music – Your thoughts.
Honestly, I’m still trying not to think about it. It really frustrates me that the TV and movie industry are taking it so seriously and there’s so much news and discussion about the legality of AI when musicians have been making basically zero profit off of their own music for a very long time from streaming apps and other streaming platforms. I know it’s not the exact same thing, but it’s what comes to mind when I see everything going on in the TV and film industry right now having to do with AI. it scares me. I hope all of the art that I have dedicated my life to learning how to make doesn’t suddenly become worthless.
5. What question have you always wanted to be asked and have never been asked?
I really don’t know if there’s anything that hasn’t been asked that I wish had been. I’m a pretty open book so I don’t know that I leave a lot of people guessing.