Grammy-nominated artist Melissa Ferrick will be performing at a free concert in Jamaica Plain this summer.
The event is part of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy summer series, which is hosted by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, a private nonprofit organization that advocates for the six Emerald Necklace parks. The series includes free yoga and six concerts in the Boston and Brookline parks, a movie in the Fenway Victory Gardens, games for all ages and food trucks. The season kicks off July 9 at Allerton Overlook in Olmsted Park with the Allerton Overlook in Olmsted Park with the Henry Ackery Gypsy Jazz trio. All events in the series are free.
Ferrick’s extensive discography includes 17 albums released over the span of the last 24 years. She started playing her first instrument—the violin—at five years old. From there, Ferrick also learned the trumpet and received a scholarship to attend Berklee as a songwriter and a trumpet player.
“I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life when I was in high school,” Ferrick said. “For me, it didn’t matter in what form– symphony trumpet player, guitar tech, conductor, singer, etc. I just knew I needed to be around the arts; it’s where I feel most comfortable.”
Ferrick toured as an opening act for Morrissey at age 20, and signed to Atlantic Records in 1992 when she was 21 years old. Ferrick said that while on tour with Morrissey, she didn’t really understand what was happening until it was over.
“I am more in awe of that experience now than I was then,” Ferrick said about the tour.
Ferrick said that each of her albums is a snapshot of her life and how she interprets life around her.
“I tend to write from a first person perspective, and most of my lyrics are strewn with descriptive language, which helps bridge the gap between the writer and the audience,” said Ferrick.
Ferrick has been lauded by some as a queer and folk icon.
“Being ‘out’ has been a great experience for me,” Ferrick told the Gazette. “I have learned a whole lot about myself and community… I think by being out I have helped others feel less alone.”
Ferrick said that regardless of how she is perceived, she is true to herself as an artist.
“How others perceive me does not affect how I write or perform at all,” Ferrick said. “I am me as much as I can be every day–I am not in charge of how other people see or feel about me or the art I create.”
Ferrick is now professionally involved at Berklee College of Music in many capacities. She is the artistic director of the Performing Songwriter Division for Berklee’s Five Week program, where she oversees the auditions of approximately 200 students, the callbacks of the top 80, and the production of four shows which showcase the top 40 performing songwriters each summer.
Through her experience directing this program, Ferrick started covering classes for teachers and auditing classes, learning how to teach. She is now an associate professor at Berklee, and will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017 to obtain a master’s degree in education.
“I believe my students gain a sense of belonging and positive reinforcement from their peers as well as me,” Ferrick said about her teaching experience. “The opportunity to seek my M.Ed at Harvard is an honor; I am sure I will get a ton out of this program. I hope to continue to make a difference within higher education.”
Ferrick’s concert on August 13 will be at Pinebank Promontory, which is between Jamaica Pond and Perkins St.
“I have a lot of friends who live in J.P. and I know the Emerald Necklace series is really important to the community at large,” Ferrick said. “I feel honored to have been asked to perform. I hope my performance will bring some happiness to J.P. and the surrounding community.”
Other concerts will be on July 16, 23, and 30 and Aug. 6 and 13. Free yoga in the Arnold Arboretum will happen on Sunday mornings July 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 10-11:15am.
To learn more about the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, visit emeraldnecklace.org.