An In-Depth Interview With
Deborah “Deebo” Gerlach
Deborah Gerlach, aka Deebo, comes from a wide background of performing arts. Today, she is the frontwoman for the Baltimore based Gypsy Soul Revival, but her story goes well beyond that of this band. Get to know a little more about Deebo and the inspiration behind her journey in this in-depth interview!
What are some of your favorite memories from your time in The Big Apple?
Oh man. New York City is such a special place. It’s so alive, especially in terms of creativity, talent and the arts. I intrinsically felt connected there, plugged into a community that made sense to me; that I felt like I innately belonged to, nourished by, for the first time in my life in a very tangible way. I made some really pivotal friendships while I lived there; found a real tribe of kindreds and learned so many invaluable lessons about the craft. Even now, when I visit I feel like I suddenly have my thumb on the pulse of what is current and inspiring in film, music and stage.
Do you still act, or do you primarily focus on music these days? If music, what made you decide to make the switch?
Evoking emotions and self-expression through song is definitely a facet of acting, so I’d like to think that I am mixing the two.
How has your acting experience influenced your performances in music?
Standing in front of people and singing totally taps into my background in acting and performance art. Fronting a band is performing. Taking on a role (even if it is a version of yourself), digging in deep and allowing yourself to be the conduit for the story of the song. I believe in helping, making and allowing people to feel emotions through the expression of a song – to give of myself in a way that makes it feel okay for people to come along with me.
How did Gypsy Soul Revival come together?
The bass player and I have known each other for years, a friendship based upon music and teamwork. Eventually, we decided to put some real energy out there into forming a band together, and a little over two years ago it all fell into place, and rather quickly too. We were really pinching ourselves over how instant the group chemistry and sound meld was. Each member is a real force in their capacity and musical cultivation. I feel incredibly fortunate to play with such talented, professional musicians and call them my brothers.
What makes you proud to be a woman in music?
Oh man…there is nothing that I fucking love more than to see a woman getting after it on stage; really owning self-possession and commanding the audience. I’ve had so many conversations in the past few years with women after shows over how empowering it feels to see someone you can relate to “strumming your pain with their fingers and singing your life with their words.” I’ve been so fortunate to meet so many wonderful women in the music scene to draw inspiration from and commiserate with.
What makes you proud to be a woman in life?
During these times and current political climate, it feels important, more than ever, to speak up and speak out, to be a cognizant force in the change of dialogue regarding social issues. I am a humanist at my core and have a very natural empathy for people. However, I am definitely a woman’s woman. I love women. I feel a very real obligation to my sisters in life, in music (shoutout to my sheroes in the local scenes: Rachel Anne, Mary Lankford, Mindy Miller, Ara Casey, Tooky, Ursula Ricks), to have a very strong and supportive presence and gratitude for their inspiration and individually unique ferocity. I want more for younger generations of women. I want to be a source of compassion, advocacy, strength and positivity for other women.
Catch Deebo with her band Gypsy Soul Revival at Femstock on June 4, 2017, live at The 8×10 in Baltimore, MD!