Fans of Hamilton’s Jolie Tea Co. may well find something - or rather someone - new to fawn over later this month. Performing on Friday Sept. 30 at the second of the company’s ‘salon nights’ will be local, award-winning singer and songwriter Courtney Reid.
A Virginian by birth, Reid currently calls Gloucester home but spends her days in Hamilton where she teaches painting and drawing at the .
“She was my art teacher. For about four years I took art lessons from her,” owner Amy Job said of multi-talented Reid on a recent afternoon.
As fate may have it, however, Reid’s career as an art instructor may prove to be short lived. In June, the singer experienced what pop artist Andy Warhol described as her “fifteen minutes of fame” when her image was streamed via a Sony JumboTron over Manhattan’s Times Square.
The back-story of this classic American phenomenon? At a friend’s prodding, Reid hashed out a tune for a Folgers Coffee jingle contest last winter - and this spring was chosen the winner.
Reid had intended to become an art therapist when she traveled north to attend . But she hadn’t anticipated having to negotiate statistics class. That, and singing was second nature to her.
“My cousin said all I would do was walk around the house and sing,” Reid said, reminiscing on her childhood.
Reid remembers being at a Julie Miller concert in Nashville when she was little.
“I thought, I don’t know what she’s doing up there, but I want to do that (too),” Reid said about the country songwriter.
Having found her future in therapy to be a null set, Reid switched her major to art.
All the same, Reid credits Gordon College and Gordon student Joseph Rodrigues for setting her on her musical course.
“He discovered me in chapel and invited me to join his band. (So) I showed up at a rehearsal, loved the music (and in the end) we did really well,” said Reid.
Later, with Rachel Taylor and Rollyn Zoubek, Reid formed a band the three eventually named Maeve.
“We went to the Inside Out Soulfest - the Christian version of Woodstock, I can’t even tell you the year,” said Reid, who does remember, “(Katy Perry) was a Christian singer then (and) we played right after her.”
More recently, Reid experienced the shock and sadness of loosing her older sister to cervical cancer.
“She died at 37, the age I’m at now,” said Reid, who described her sister as fearless.
“She did everything. She did a lot of living in the time she had,” explained Reid, who viewed her sister’s passing as a wake-up call.
Deciding that the best approach to life is to make the most of the "here and now," Reid decided to go solo and to give it all she’s got.
To this end, in August she entered a ‘Music Matters’ contest hosted by WXRV/92.5 The River. Intended to promote local artists, the contest’s purpose was to select an opening act for Augustana and Brett Dennen.
“I entered at the last minute with a small group and made it to the top five,” she said.
Moving on, Reid is looking forward to the evening at Jolie Tea Co. and busking on the streets of Salem with Rachel Taylor for the month of October.
“Beyond that I don’t know how, when, what, where. Too much planning almost paralyzes me.”