The debut digital release by former WWE diva turned rocker Christy Hemme arrived on Tuesday, April 14 with the four-track EP, "Where Are You." The lead-off single, "Don't Give Up," is a melodic rocker that will stick in your head long after you hear it, while the EP's other tracks "Footprints," "I Am," and "Enough" will surely not disappoint either. In addition to her fast-rising music career, Hemme is a Playboy cover girl, a current TNA knockout on Spike TV, and is proud to support the US Troops - especially overseas, where she recently performed in front of troops stationed in the Middle East.
And the buzz continues to grow around Hemme, as her Myspace site, Hemme Powered, is nearly 60,000 fans strong.
"We are so excited to release a sound that continues to evolve as we strengthen and grow as a band," says Hemme. "This is just the beginning! It is so fitting that "Don't Give Up" is the first song released, because it has been such a winding road up to this point. As a band, this was the song that we played and it kept us going, kept our heads up, and wouldn't let us stop believing in what we know we have to give from our hearts through our music."
Go ahead and experience Hemme's brand of rock for yourself here:
For many celebrities -- be they actors, wrestlers, comedians or sports stars -- making music is merely a hobby; something to do between regular high-paying gigs. For Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestler Christy Hemme; however, it’s a calling. An all-consuming passion that has led her down a rigorous path of voice training, music lessons, writing, rehearsing and, most significantly, overcoming her once crippling fears.
Of course, judging from her band HEMME’s debut EP, Where Are You?, you might assume Hemme has been singing all her life. An emotive, infectious, and natural sounding set of rock songs, the EP resonates with confidence and self-empowerment. From the bittersweet pop splendor of “Don’t Give Up,” which gradually builds from a melancholy verse to a triumphant chorus, to the mystical “I Am,” a slower, more reflective number that opens with spiritual sounding vocals and twists through atmospheric hooks and poignant sentiments, Where Are You? is a quest for answers that’s filled with questions, but culminates with the realization that everything happens for a reason and just is what it is.
“This EP is so fulfilling to me because I’ve loved music all my life and I’m finally able to express myself with it and feel good about it,” Hemme says from her new home in Florida, where she recently moved to be with her band mates. “It’s the perfect foundation for what HEMME is and where we’re going.”
As comfortable as Hemme sounds behind the mic and as natural as she looks onstage, she used to be terrified of singing and although she loved music all her life, she hid from her ambitions for years until they started visiting her in the middle of the night.
“About four years ago, I stared having dreams of songs and lyrics,” she says. “I’d wake up and hum them on my answering machine and write them down. That was a really defining point in my life because I knew I had to make a decision, do I listen and follow this thing that is calling me or do I tell it no and push it down. I couldn't fathom telling my souls ambition no, so I willingly followed it."
Hemme took singing lessons, met with numerous musicians and songwriters and started working on her own material. In 2006, she wrote the melody for her wrestling theme song “Society Box” on a keyboard and recorded the track in Tennessee. Then she wrote more songs experimenting with various music styles from hard rock to acoustic pop. But her defining moment came nine months ago when she met guitarist Eric Friedman (ex-Submersed, Daughters of Mara) and the two started exchanging musical ideas. Eric, a well respected guitarist/songwriter, exudes a sound and presence that is poised to be one of the newest guitar heroes of this coming generation.
“There was an instant chemistry and we started writing a ton together. Eric brought my vision to a whole nether level. I could actually hear the grandeur of my dreams with the fearless sound that I knew the music was begging for,” Hemme says. “We hooked up with one of his good friends, [bassist] Tim Miller, who’s a really creative and talented person as well. When we all write, there’s a huge spiritual connection. We fit together like puzzle pieces."
Through her lyrics, Hemme addresses not only her positive views about life and her conviction that overcoming fear leads to personal growth, she also revisits the personal obstacles she has had to overcome to get to where she is today. The first single from Where are You?, “Don’t Give Up,” is about her determination to confront the anxiety that once overwhelmed her and prevented her from singing.
“Before I started wrestling, I toured with a dance team,” she says. “When I first started, I would say my name on stage when we were introducing ourselves and then I was so nervous I would run off fast as I could. Singing in front of people, which is something that comes from your soul, was the biggest fear I could possibly even imagine. I would get major panic attacks over truly being seen or heard because of what I saw as the ultimate rejection. When I first started taking singing lessons, my biggest hurdle was getting over these really heavy panic attacks. Thankfully, I don’t give up on anything. I’ve always felt since I was a little kid that I was limitless and could do anything.”
Other HEMME tracks, such as “Footprints” and “Enough” are about conquering addiction and other personal demons. But the most personal and impacting song on the EP for Hemme is “I Am,” which is about breaking free from the bonds that shackled her in her youth as the daughter of an alcoholic mother and a workaholic father.
“Since neither of them were around, I learned how to be a caretaker at a very young age. I was an awkward kid, and my mom was always an if-you’re-not-pretty-then-I-don’t-see-you kind of person. When I decided I wanted to model, I think to appease her, she told me certain things were not meant for some people. That was when I made a very conscious decision to be like my dad. He was my hero, so strong that he could physically and mentally handle anything,” Hemme reveals. “ When I was at school, I was just this big nerd, and I can remember many times when I’d be in the bathroom crying because I wanted to have friends or be with the popular kids. So that song’s really about not letting yourself be permanently attached to what you’ve been through and not letting your experiences dictate who you are.”
These days, what’s most satisfying to Hemme is baring her soul and expressing her beliefs through music. And while she hasn’t given up wrestling (she’s just temporarily sidelined with a neck injury), she’s not about to stop singing with Where Are You?. As she promotes the EP, she and her bandmates will continue to write and record new songs for HEMME’s first full-length album which will be out before the end of the year. Like the EP, the new disc will be filled with personal, spiritually uplifting songs.
"Music has always been my world to escape in. I am largely inspired by bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Jeff Buckley, Incubus, The Cranberries, Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. Since I was very young, I have always been drawn to deep concepts, amazing poetic lyrics, soulful singers and bands where the music and feel as a whole takes precedence."
Thematically the album will take over where Where Are You? left off.
“ The album will conceptually follow though one nights sleep and the cycle of dreams that have inspired these songs. It is about the connected stories that follow from the EP to the album because once you find out where you are and are open to the reality of it, you need to accept yourself and how you got there in order to create change and follow your true passions in life. People in general are not honest with themselves in their waking state but they can’t hide from what they truly feel in their subconscious. Paralleling the music, I am following the journey of finding meaning and discovery through my dreams.”
In between entering the studio to compose and track their next record, Hemme plans to bring their music to live audiences across the globe, and through live performance, the star wrestler turned singer hopes to connect with crowds like never before.
“When I first started performing, before I met the guys in my band, I was doing harder stuff so I could kind of cover up and hide from the audience,” Hemme says. “But now that I’ve stripped everything down to what it is meant to be, it’s really exciting to be able to perform this stuff live. I love to actually look people in the eye and breathe through a sound they can feel, connected to my passion. Nothing’s more powerful than that.”