By Mark Dawson  – January 19, 2017 1:32 pm ET

In her debut EP Simple In Disguise, Jess Pomerantz isn’t trying to imitate her legendary cousin, Phoebe Snow. Sure, there are similarities between the two artists. Both are poetic singer-songwriters who pull their unique stories from places of hurt, loss and love. But where Snow’s musical stylings were based in folk, Pomerantz is shaping herself as a pop rock artist who draws influence from 90s rock, 60s/70s singer-songwriters and theater. Produced by Wes Kleinknecht at his studio Treehouse Sound, Simple In Disguise is available now on Spotify, Tidal and iTunes.

“Many of my songs on Simple In Disguise are about love and the impact of a broken relationship,” Jess says from her Manhattan home. “I have experienced some very difficult break ups and have used melodies to get over my pain.” She feels lyrics are the most important part of any song. “Through them, we learn the artists’ feelings; the inner workings of their hearts and brains.” It’s something she learned from her late, great cousin.

“Phoebe first took me under her wing in my teens,” Jess explains. “I remember being 18 and meeting her for lunch at a Vegan restaurant. We ate and talked about life, our history and how lucky we are to be here after the atrocities our family suffered in Hitler’s Europe. Then she took me to her voice class. I remember thinking, ‘You’re famous, why are you taking lessons?’ I was floored when my cousin, known for that deep earthy voice, started singing opera!

Then it was my turn. She made me sing a few scales and I caught the tears in her eyes. She said, ‘No matter where I am, when it’s finally your turn to hit it big, know that I’m with you and watching you.’ Those words have stuck with me always. I hope Simple In Disguise makes her smile from heaven.”

The EP opens with “Simple,” the one song on the album that is not about a past love. It tells the touching story of a young girl being bullied by a popular mean girl. It’s a song Jess pulled from her own childhood diary. “The girl eventually stands up to her bully by uncovering the real person beneath the make-up and cool clothes. I want young people to be comfortable in their skin and for those who may be lost to know they will find their place. Happiness isn’t about conforming to someone else’s definition of cool.”

“I used to sing more eclectic music, trying to make myself different,” she continues. “I found I wasn’t connecting to my fans because I wasn’t being authentic. It took me time, but I have finally found my voice.”
In addition to love, a major theme in Jess’ songs is self-discovery. In “Undressed,” the second track on the EP, Jess comes to understand she deserves better than being treated as second best by a guy. In “Kiss You Happy,” she realizes that a guy confessing his love for her pales in comparison to Jess conceding love for herself.

“I used to want to be a doctor,” she reflects. “I thought it was the only way to help people. Then, it occurred to me that every time I felt any emotion, whether sadness, anger, or love, I turned to music. I have always found solace in the fury of Alanis Morissette, the serenity of the Dave Matthews Band and the poetry of Phoebe Snow.”

She hopes fans will connect to what she’s saying in Simple In Disguise. But make no mistake, it is not an album of tranquil introspection. “Believe it or not, much of the album is danceable,” she contends. “I’m not only serious; I also love to have fun. I’m a work in progress but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a good time on this crazy ride to self-actualization.”

Visit jesspomerantzmusic.com. Follow Jess Pomerantz on Facebook at @jesspomerantzmusic and on Twitter @jess_pomerantz. Simple In Disguise is available now on Spotify, Tidal and iTunes.