"I’m a big fat lesbian,” says singer/songwriter Veronica May, never one to dance around any topic. “I’m the youngest child of the oldest children, there are seven of us. I was the youngest for a long time, and then my little bro came around 12 years later. I had to sit at the little kids’ table every year for Christmas and Thanksgiving, until my legs were taller than the actual table. I’m attributing my present passion for coloring books and yo-yos to this.”
Now 34, that experience of being the big kid in a group of smaller kids also presaged May’s future day job as Glee Club director at Clairemont High School, a job she landed in 2011. She also teaches music to young students at an area foster school. Before her current occupations, she spent 11 years working with autistic and special-needs people as a certified neurologic music therapist (“Yes, it is a real job, and yes, it works”).
May was originally a pianist and percussionist, but she’s been turning up around town with her guitar for about a decade now. She won Best Acoustic at the 2008 San Diego Music Awards and has also performed with Lindsay White in the Lovebirds (a soft-rock duo) and the Forget Me Nots (a 1940s-inspired pop jazz ensemble).
“I go through a lot of phases. Sometimes, I’m in an instrumental lilting melody ’40s rag phase. Solo, you’ll see intricate loop-pedal work incorporating my background in piano, drums, and guitar, with songs of hope, change, love, spirituality, and pain. My band is loud as hell.... I headbang super hard during band shows. Always two days after, I can’t turn my neck.”
Her upcoming album, Awakened, features guests such as Jeff Johnson, Jason Mraz, and Jeff Berkley. In advance of its release, last month she debuted her first solo music video for the track “Heaven and Hell,” which she says doubles as a public service announcement about bipolar brain disorder. “I have bipolar 1 disorder and have had three manic episodes,” she says. “My mission is clear: to raise awareness through music.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
“I do this thing with music where I obsess over one album and one album alone. Right now, that would be a live recording of Gary Clark, Jr.”
ANYTHING YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?
“‘Down on Me,’ by Jeremiah, featuring 50 Cent. It’s dirty and trashy and condescending, and I hate that I love the beat. When the lyrics are too much, I either turn the volume down at that part or plug my ears.”
“Cannibal! The Musical. Something about pus shooting from a woodsman’s eye is very nauseating. That’s how Cannibal makes you feel. If I had ever watched The Search for Santa Paws, then that would probably be my answer. But I have not. I might now, though.”
“My house. Just kidding, don’t be a creep. I’d say Ocean Beach. It makes me feel like I’m on vacation.”
“Too vulnerable to say. Sheesh, way to put me in a compromising position.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
“John C. Reilly played a show that I played on. I ended up in the same green room as him, and we talked for 30 seconds about peeing our pants. The sweetest 30 seconds of my life.”
BEATLES OR STONES?
WHAT REMAINS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
“Play with the Alabama Shakes.”
SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
“I have a clubfoot.”