Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas started purely by accident. The frontwoman originally wrote her songs on an acoustic guitar, but after returning to her native Detroit in 2010, she had an itch to play her songs in a more raucous setting. She hastily formed a backing band to perform at the “Dally In The Alley,” an annual street fair located deep in the heart of downtown Detroit. The group proved to be a successful hit–so much so that Hernandez soon dropped the acoustic in favor of an electric guitar and a new outlook on her own sound.
After taking their name from one of the band member’s cars, the Deltas found themselves providing a gritty, neo-soul bite to Hernandez’s originals. Her voice is perfectly suited to the approach, and you can certainly hear the influence that Motown and classic jazz singers had on Hernandez. Even the venerated jazz label Blue Note took notice and signed the band to a record deal.
But Hernandez & the Deltas found themselves caught in a major label snafu. After Universal bought out Blue Note, the group decided to go the indie route. Richard Gottehrer, the Brill Building songwriter who penned hits like “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “I Want Candy,” signed the band to his own label. Demons, their debut EP for Instant Records, buzzes with a classic pop sound. “Caught Up” is the EP’s sugary showcase, yet underneath the exterior lies a hard-hitting tour-de-force.