It’s a safe bet that Ariel Thiermann will have butterflies in her stomach when she takes the stage at Kuumbwa Jazz this Friday, and not because it will be her first major concert in four years. Thiermann says she always feels a great sense of anticipation and excitement before performing—she likes it that way.
It is all a part of the catharsis of singing. “Music is such a moving tool,” Thiermann explains. “It has such an undeniable effect on our bodies, and our hearts, and our emotions.” Thiermann grew up in a “very artistic” family. Her brother is a professional surfer and her mother is a professional children’s folk singer, who regularly pulled Ariel out of school to accompany her on cross-country tours. She began singing at age 5 and started her own a cappella trio, Mayim, at 14. As she grew older, she began writing tunes like “Climb to You,” a charmingly mysterious number where Thiermann channels Tori Amos, as an eastern rhythm propels the track forward, while her voice moves fluidly, from deeper registers into falsetto, then back again. Recently, while she was taking a break from gigging to work on a master’s degree in psychology, Thiermann never abandoned her love of singing. Instead she incorporated it into her studies. She now works with individuals, couples and groups, conducting what is known as “expressive arts therapy.” In her practice, called “Get Vocal,” Thiermann encourages people to work through personal and interpersonal issues by singing and writing songs. Just as she breaks free of her butterflies before every performance, Thiermann has helped even hard-shelled individuals break free of their baggage with music. “It’s a way to support people in any kind of growth they want in their life,” Thiermann says. “Singing helps them clarify their purpose by tapping into themselves.”
INFO: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $17/door. For tickets, call