Belting out the blues, tossing her red mane, Tempa dominates the stage with distinct animal energy. Yet she's quick to credit her band, The Tantrums, for a schedule that's booked solid through October. "This is the first time I've been the leader of a band," she says. "It's like an intense musical marriage. Sometimes you have to be fierce and strong with all that male testosterone, sometimes soft and feminine. I love those guys and that's the magic in the band."
Tempa's musical career began in a West Virginia holler, where she spent the first five years of her life with grandparents, singing on the porch with uncles and cousins. One of these uncles was a songwriter who performed with country great, Ralph Stanley.
Retrieved by her hippie mom, Tempa spent the next few years in the swamps of Florida where the family lived in a school bus. She learned early to take the lead in caring for younger siblings, and making her way in the world.
Now at 36, Tempa is the mother of three children and has successfully battled lupus for the last eleven years. Newly wed to her songwriting partner, Tantrums guitar player Joseph Barton, Tempa says she wants to be a good mom, be in love, and write make a connection with people through music.
--story and photo by Jane McBee