The singer's parents recognized her talent first.
Before Jessica Hernandez became the powerhouse lead singer of a rock and soul band, she decorated cakes in her family's Mexican bakery in south Detroit.
Her parents recognized her musical talent long before she did.
"I was always into music, singing in choir, things like that, and I thought my parents were lying when they told me I could sing," says Hernandez, 25. "Then I got a little older, and other people told me I should be doing it for a living, that I should go on The Voice or American Idol. That didn't seem like my thing, but once I started writing my own music, [a music career] seemed more possible."
After graduating high school, Hernandez moved to Chicago, which led to the formation of Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas, an act that combines her vocals and multi-instrumental talent (including piano, guitar and drum proficiency) with the skills of vocalist and guitarist Michael Krygier, bassist and vocalist Steve Lehane, keyboardist and accordionist Taylor Pierson, trombonist John Raleeh and drummer Stephen Stetson.
Hernandez has led her band to success in Detroit and beyond over the past five years, with gigs at South by Southwest and Riot Fest. The group, whose influences range from country legend Hank Williams to gypsy punks Gogol Bordello, visit the Frequency on May 21.
Hernandez credits her hometown with shaping her career -- and her character.
"Detroit has a really strong music scene," she says, noting that there's enough going on to find inspiration but not so much that it's hard to focus. "If you're in New York or L.A., it's easier to get distracted. In Detroit, you stay in and write -- and practice."
In other words, Hernandez hunkers down to write music.
"I write my best songs when I'm depressed," she says with a laugh, noting that she's more productive and less social when feeling blue.
But Hernandez doesn't seem reclusive when she hits the stage, belting out tunes with a persona that brings to mind Dolly Parton, Tina Turner and Grace Potter. With extensive touring planned for this summer, it seems she's just warming up.