By Rabbi Rachel Esserman
On her website, www.KidBess.com, Bess Greenberg describes herself as a “professional basketball player turned documentary photographer, turned curator, turned visual artist, turned musician.” What do all these different activities have in common? During an e-mail interview, Greenberg noted that one thing ties them together: rhythm.
“I have always had a strong desire to be challenged and to try and continually grow – that has been a driving force behind my different ‘career paths,’” Greenberg said. “But over the years, I have recognized that there is an important thread that unifies my different explorations – rhythm. I believe rhythm exists in everything and I have been consistently pursuing, finding, following and creating rhythm.”
Family connections play a large role in Greenberg’s life. Her mother, Stacey, also sings and plays guitar, and her father, Mickey, was a basketball coach. One of her brothers, who goes by the stage name Jeremy Davidson, performs on TV and film. “It appears obvious to me that I developed into a mixture of my two parents, as well as my three older brothers,” she said. “They all were responsible for introducing and sharing their passions to me, and it was contagious. They have always been profound models of hard work and love – they still are.”
Greenberg has performed with a band and as a solo performer. She notes that each experience offers something different: “I am thrilled to have a band (KidBess and The Magic Ring), and I love playing solo, as well. The main difference I experience between the two is the strength in vulnerability that surfaces while performing solo. The nakedness of a vocal and one instrument has an intimacy that is not possible to achieve as a group of musicians. Simply by strength in numbers, the band is less vulnerable. But I believe there is a time and place for both in my life. I am passionate about developing the full sound of the songs I write, and I am fueled by working with amazing musicians and friends; we get to create magic together.”
Judaism has also played a role in her and her family’s lives. “While growing up, our family attended Beth David Synagogue in Binghamton,” she said. “We weren’t the most religious family in the congregation, but we always celebrated the High Holidays with our closest family friends and those memories are the fondest to me. Judaism is – and has always been – about family and love.”
To hear Greenberg’s latest work, visit www.KidBess.com. Her music is also available on www.youtube.com.