“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” This is a quote that has been at the forefront of my mind as we have ventured into the year 2018…
Music is powerful and can speak when there are no words. From as long as I can remember, music has been a constant in my life and has always been there when I needed a good laugh, a good cry or an angry vent session. Journals and notebooks dating as early as 1997, as a 10 year old little girl, I have created songs and lyrics. My songwriting has evolved throughout the past 20 years and has been something that has gotten me through so many ups and downs this crazy world has thrown at me.
Being on stage and performing has always been a passion. All throughout grade school, middle school and high school I was involved in all of the music programs. I participated in everything from singing in the church choir to playing the Trombone in a Jazz Band to playing the part of Mother Abbess in the Sound of Music to singing in the choir and show choirs. My dream and passion for performing followed me through every age.
My senior year of high school, my mom and dad surprised me with my very first guitar on Christmas! I immediately started teaching myself how to play basic chords. My very first song I mastered was “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain.” Learning the guitar took my lyrics and my songwriting to the next level. I was able to add music to these hundreds of songs I had created.
A night out in college at a local bar listening to a band , Zero 2 Sixty, with my family and some close friends in early 2009 proved to be a crucial start to my music journey. After an unfortunate incident, the band’s singer had to leave the stage mid-set and was not able to perform the rest of the night. My mom, being one of my biggest cheerleaders, yelled up at the band, “We know a singer!” I think I turned 50 shades of red. I was so embarrassed! With hesitation, I took the stage with the band. The band began to play, Joan Jett ‘I Love Rock n Roll’ and I began to sing. I remember the bar crowd just stopping and staring up at the stage. Little did I know, this was the start of something.
After the song, I was greeted by the crowd who was cheering and high-fiving with me as I exited the stage. After dancing the night away to the band, a friend wrote my name and number on a napkin and gave it to band as they were packing up after the gig. I left that night thinking, “Oh my goodness!! I am going to be in a band!!” I remember returning to my college classes at Loras telling everyone about the experience. Months and eventually a year went by and I never got a call.
I was graduated from Loras College with a Public Relations Degree in May of 2009. After graduation, I found myself a bit lost wondering what the next step was. We all go through our school years following this linear path year by year and follow without having to plan other than graduating. After graduation, the journey begins as we make our own path. The unknown of my future was terrifying and left me anxious.
January 2010, I missed a call from a number I was unsure of. The voicemail was from a Dave Krambeck. Dave was the bass player from Zero 2 Sixty and was wondering if I was in town or available to audition for the band. I couldn’t believe after all this time, he had still had my number. He explained they were searching for a new lead singer and I had always been in the back of his mind since the night we met. After a few phone calls back and forth, I made the terrifying decision to put myself out there and audition.
After my audition of two Pat Benatar songs, I was immediately offered the lead singer position with Zero 2 Sixty. The band had an upcoming show in nine days and wanted to know if I could be ready. I had a huge decision to make with getting a call that same week from a company I was interviewing with. I had been on my fourth interview with the company and was waiting on the offer. Knowing I was unable to commit to the demands of the job I was interviewing for and performing with the band, I turned down a fantastic job offer to pursue my dream of performing. Telling this man I had interviewed with that I was turning down the job to join a band was terrifying. The man replied, “ Good luck with that.” I remember panicking thinking, what did I just do? My mom’s famous words that week to me were, “Follow your heart.”
Nine days after joining the band and a week and a half of 4 hour rehearsal nights, my days were devoted to learning the set list of the band. I performed my first show at the Lux Club in Dubuque January 2010. With a packed house and lots of family and friends in attendance, we pulled off the show. From that night, Zero 2 Sixty was revived and we began booking shows. The band became an outlet to start to perfect my craft of singing and performing. I couldn’t be more thankful for the number of shows, the people I have met and the things I have learned from my bandmates and other musicians along the way.
I married by long-time boyfriend, Ben Pape, in 2011. If there is anyone who should get an award, it would be him! I have been blessed with a man who is not only my best friend but also my biggest fan through all of this. He has cheered me on, carried equipment, taken thousands of pictures and endured many long nights to be there for me in the music journey. He is my rock and the reason I can do what I do.
Through some tough times between 2011-2012 in my personal world, the band and my bandmates were a constant that kept me moving forward and gave me an outlet to release any stresses or issues I had been encountering. During these years, I had a lot of bumps and twists along the way but it defined me and made my skin a little thicker. It was during this time, I really started to become my own person and do things for me. It is so easy to get wrapped up in what others think of you. “Find out who you are and don’t be afraid of it,” was a quote that I stuck to through this time. Walking away from negativity and releasing people who in the end were holding me back was hard but one of the best things I could’ve done for myself. I must say…it made for some great songs!
Zero 2 Sixty became a huge family affair mixing all our families and loved ones together. Family is so important to me and I am so fortunate to have quite the support group! The band created a reason for my family to be able to gather and enjoy the music. Those first few years, my family was at every show dancing, singing and cheering on the band. I am forever grateful for this time of my life. At the end of the day, it was music that helped bring so many people together and created so many memories for my family.
In 2012, I was approached my Jon Sendt, a local musician, to start an acoustic duo.We started our first rehearsal/jam sessions in January 2013 not knowing the fate of this duo. Broken Strings was born out of Jon’s ‘Man Cave Garage’ and we started to compile a master list combining many of our favorite genres. In April 2013, we played our debut show at the Yardarm. From that first show, we began booking like crazy playing at many local bars, wineries and festivals.
Each step in my music journey I have made, I evolve and learn new ways to keep perfecting my craft of singing and performing. Broken Strings was a completely new way of performing for me by allowing me to be vulnerable and completely genuine to the style of music I love. It was nerve-racking to be front and center without the rest of the band. The acoustic duo helped me perfect my harmony skills and playing songs on the fly as they are requested. I was such a trained, rehearsed musician; The thought of performing on the fly each night without a set list terrified me. In the end, it has made me a better musician and performer.
Currently, I am still performing with both Zero 2 Sixty and Broken Strings. Keeping a busy schedule balancing the bands, my career at the River Museum and finding to time to be present for my husband, family and friends can take a toll. In the end, my world I have created has taken me places I could have only dreamed of as a little girl. There is something about those stage lights and the way music can bring so many unknowns in my life together. Connecting to the music is what it is all about for me.
In 2016, I ran into a local musician, Gladys Ressler. She explained that she was trying to get a a hold of me because she had heard I was a songwriter. She was in the middle of putting together an all female show featuring woman singer-songwriters from the area. I was terrified at the thought of not only playing my guitar in front of people but also performing my own songs. For some reason, I put my fear aside and agreed to do the show. I don’t remember ever being as nervous as I was on stage the night of the show. I was so proud of myself to have accomplished yet another step in my music journey and this show opened the doors to more opportunities. Since that show, I have played multiple songwriter rounds including a few in Nashville.
In late 2017, I was introduced to Dustin Harmon, a musician and Owner of Warm Glow Studios from Madison, WI. After a brief meeting and many emails back and forth, I decided to proceed with starting the process of recording my first EP Album. In the process, I hired Co-Owner of the studio and musician, Anthony Salas to record the guitar tracks and produce the album. This project has been exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Putting yourself out for the world to judge is no small feat. In the end, I couldn’t be more excited to finally let my music be heard.
I’m chasing something that I have been dreaming of since I can remember. It is important to remember where I came from and who has helped get me to where I am now but to never lose sight of where I am going. I am excited to embrace 2018 and all it has in store for me. At the end of the day, I am living with no regrets and continue to prove to myself that I am capable of anything if I put my mind to it. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” I am learning to embrace and dance with my fear for it has created many beautiful moments in my life.
I look forward to sharing my journey with you along the way!
Much love, Elizabeth