I first mentioned Jesca Hoop here, when I blogged that she had been added to the Lilith Fair line-up for 2010. Unfortunately she wasn't playing at the New Jersey Lilith that I attended, but is apparantly due to grace the stage at the Australian venues this month.

Those of you who managed to catch the Californian singer-songwriter and guitarist on Other Voices earlier this year will know that she is one interesting lady. I might as well start by mentioning her can-you-believe-it background; Hoop's previous employment includes the role of nanny for Tom Waits' and Kathryn Brennan's three children. Pretty decent work experience for your CV if you can get it, eh? Waits quickly became Jesca's musical mentor, with him taking an interest in her beautiful and enchanting songs. He has said of Jesca: "Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night." With praise like that from a legend like Tom Waits, she is certainly one to check out.

It's been a great couple of years for Jesca. Tipped by Time Out, Esquire and The Times, among others, she has quickly gained recognition for her bewitching sound and quirky style. She has also gained some pretty impressive fans. Guy Garvey apparantly became so enchanted by her music that he invited her onto his radio show. This eventually led to an invite for her to join the Elbow US tour in April 2008, which led to a UK tour in October 2008, followed by another US tour in August of this year. Interestingly, he also lends his powerful vocals to Jesca's "Murder of Birds".

Jesca grew up as part of a Mormon family of five children in California. Her childhood is said to have been very musical, with her and her siblings regularly singing traditional folk songs infused with their own elaborate harmonies. Drawing on her distinctive voice and natural gift for inventive song craft, Jesca stepped away from her strict upbringing to pursue her own path. This led her to Western States such as Wyoming and Arizona, where she worked as a homesteader and with troubled youths in a wilderness rehabilitation program. Eventually she made her way into the aforementioned nannying position.

Her contact with Tom Waits led to her initial exposure through the Southern California radio station KCRW and her musical journey continued from there. As well as sharing a stage with Elbow, Jesca has also toured with Mark Knopfler, Polyphonic Spree, Matt Pond PA, Greg Laswell and Andrew Bird. She has headlined tours of Ireland, the UK and France and, as I mentioned above, is set to appear at Lilith Fair dates alongside Sarah McLachlan later this month.

Jesca has released two full-length albums and two EPs to date, the latest of which, Huntng My Dress, became available in Ireland in November 2009. This album is very exciting indeed. Filled with dreamy, gently-picked chords and mystical harmonies, Hunting My Dress transports the listener into a dark yet comfortable state of musical bliss. Sure, her lyrics are eerie and sometimes downright unsettling, but this only adds to the lady's appeal. Jesca is refreshing, intoxicating and just on the right side of weird. Check her out!

You can read more about Jesca Hoop on her official website or her MySpace page.