Spiotta’s musical journey brings her home

“It’s my hope that my music will help people move through those emotions in order to get through them,” says singer-songwriter Deanna Spiotta.

BATAVIA — Batavia native Deanna Spiotta will be returning to Jackson Square as part of the Home to Home Concert Series Saturday.

The country, rock and folk songwriter got into music at John Kennedy Elementary, which continued through her education.

“I started singing at a young age and entered the talent show in third grade,” Spiotta said. “I think that’s really when my parents and I realized that music, specifically my singing voice, was something I wanted to spend time in.”

Throughout her life, she was involved in musical theatre. Spiotta went to college for music, receiving her bachelor of arts. That’s when it morphed into playing her guitar and singing country and rock as opposed to classical music. She said she grew up listening to a lot of rock, but got into country in her early 20s.

“Realized that my voice I think swell there, and relate to more of the song and lyrics,” Spiotta said. “I like to fuse the two as well. I also like folk music.”

Depending on the length of the gig, about half the songs Spiotta sings are her own. She started writing songs 10 years ago. When Spiotta started listening to country, she said she was influenced by Miranda Lambert. It was then she began to learn how to write her own songs by listening to artists in order to have something to say as well. Some songs are able to be written very quickly, and are written in 30 minutes. Others start with an idea and take longer. A recent song Spiotta finished took six months.

Spiotta said she has about 20 to 25 songs written so far.

“Singing is a weird mix of focus on the actual pitches and your breath. But then also living in the moment, and feeling your feelings through the music,” she said. “It’s like thinking about a lot of things at once in order to make it look easy.”

Eight years ago, Spiotta had moved to Nashville and lived there two years, pursuing a music career. She moved back, explaining she didn’t feel prepared for what was down there.

“The number one thing I learned was my motivation had to change from trying to be known, trying to make money, trying to become well known. I had to change that goal to just expressing myself through music,” Spiotta said. “That’s really what helped me get back to writing. I’ve had periods of times where I didn’t do any writing, or singing or gigs at all. I realized it’s not fulfilling when you are performing just for the attention or to make money.”

She added for anyone interested in moving to a place like Nashville to pursue a music career, prepare recorded music before you go there and build a regional following on social media.

Spiotta now lives in Rochester.

“I want to use my music to help people feel their feelings,” she said. “Feeling your feelings can be really uncomfortable because we have difficult emotions sometimes. But I found music — whether listening to it or playing it — has always helped me express that. It’s my hope that my music will help people move through those emotions in order to get through them.”

Spiotta will be at Jackson Square with the Ghostriders and Old Hippies 1 p.m. Sunday. Leah Ford is also expected to appear with the Old Hippies. The free show is part of a series of “Home to Home” concerts organized this summer by Kay and Bill McDonald – they being the Old Hippies – that have been presented from venues in Genesee County. The shows feature live performances from talented youth and seasoned artists, sometimes with them sharing the stage.

Food and beverage trucks will be available.

There are several ways to experience the concerts. They include:

n Live and in person.

n Listen in your vehicle. In the surrounding area, the concerts may be heard on 92.7 FM.

n Watch the livestream on Bill McDonald’s Facebook page. To reach it, click here.

n Watch later. If you can’t make the concert or watch it live, you can view the concert on the Old Hippies YouTube channel (or watch it again). To watch, click here.

The series – officially called “Home to Home Concert Series for the Common Good” – originally began as a weekly series of live Facebook performances by the Old Hippies. The duo performed from the living room of their Florida home (the McDonalds are snowbirds) in spring 2020 when most people were stuck at home – many consumed by worry and starved for live entertainment – because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Home to Home” summer concert series concludes with the Jackson Square concert, though the Old Hippies have area dates scheduled through the end of September. For the current schedule, go to the Old Hippies website or click here.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1