Not Your Typical Troubadour
Debra Guy's String-Busting, Stage-Rocking Style of Folk 'n Roll Brings Her Recognition and a Wammie
By Sarah McGurk
Debra Guy, B.A. English '00, is a true musician. At age 23, she is an accomplished, award-winning singer and songwriter. In January, at the Washington Area Music Association's (WAMA) annual awards show, Guy's debut CD, That's Miss Passive-Aggressive to You, was honored with a WAMA Award, or Wammie, for Best Alternative Rock Recording of the Year. The Wammies recognize significant career achievements by Washington-area musicians.
Guy produced her debut album in George Mason's Events Production Office during her senior year, where she worked at the time. With the help of coworker Eddie Boyd, his four-track, and some borrowed office audio equipment, the CD was recorded, engineered, and mastered in three days. All the songs on the album were written and performed by Guy, with the help of a 12-string acoustic guitar, a 6-string acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, a harmonica, and some egg shakers. Her intent was to capture the passion and energy with which she performs on stage, as well as her diversity in songwriting.
The CD, which has sold an estimated 250 copies so far, was produced in response to the demands of her numerous fans who wanted to keep the essence of her live performances for themselves. Guy, who still works as a student events coordinator at Mason, has played many shows on campus, including the Pride Alliance-sponsored concert, Women Rock with Pride, and she headlined for the Women's Center's annual Take Back the Night Rally in 1998 and 1999. Most of Guy's performances occur in the Washington metropolitan area, although her CD has attracted national attention from college radio stations in Vermont, New York, and West Virginia.
Guy began playing the piano at age 5, and by age 12, she was also playing the guitar and writing her own music and lyrics. Her ability to play a variety of instruments, including piano, harmonica, guitar, and trumpet, has helped shape her unique style of music, which she calls "acoustic rock" or "folk 'n roll." Guy admits that, because she doesn't share the stage with a band, people don't know what to expect, which makes booking gigs somewhat difficult.
"They see a girl with a guitar so they automatically assume that I'm going to play quiet folkie Jewel songs," she says. "Then they get surprised when they see me up there singing loud and playing my guitar so hard that I'm breaking strings." Her songs include ballads, love songs, and rock anthems that appeal to fans of rock, alternative, folk, and pop music.
As for future dreams of turning her hobby into a career, playing sold-out stadiums and touring the world, Guy realistically admits that it would be a time-consuming struggle combined with a lot of good luck. She says, "Right now, I'm at a happy medium in the fact that I get to play out a lot, sometimes for money, sometimes for exposure, and sometimes just for fun."
For more information on Guy's music, visit www.debraguy.com.