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Woman Crush Wednesday: Singer Regina Debilio

Regina Debilio's brand of folk is irresistibly old-fashioned.EXPAND
Regina Debilio's brand of folk is irresistibly old-fashioned.
Jay Simon

This is a time when we need constant reminders of the miracle implicit in simply being alive, and that's exactly what happens when you hear Regina Debilio's voice. Our woman crush this week is a Dallas singer-songwriter, who makes up half of the duo Honey Folk.

Debilio studied opera, and her range suggests a higher education. The world seems to agree. Her vocals have filled the famous walls of the Sistine Chapel and Carnegie Hall. She also loves to cook. See for yourself why we're so obsessed.

What’s one thing about this time period that you find most fascinating?
This generation seems to “replace” people very easily, the inconvenient, damaged, old and slow, and replacing it with the “new.” Places like Deep Ellum really reflect this push and pull. I feel like we’re all on a train that keeps picking up speed toward an unknown destination.

What’s the hardest song to sing?
I studied opera at SMU, and I remember there being many songs that were challenging because of the language — I had to study German, Italian, English and French diction — and some songs that were challenging because of the vocal technique stuff. “Comme Autrefois” by Bizet was one of my favorite challenging songs. There’s a long cadenza at the end that took me months and months to work on.

Describe yourself with two words starting with your initials.
"Rags digger."

What non-material things do you collect?
Moments. I really love spending time just enjoying a moment. Those are some of my favorite times with people — connecting over something.

Debilio hates arrogance and bland food.EXPAND
Debilio hates arrogance and bland food.
Jay Simon

What’s one song you play when you feel like being sad?
I wrote a song called "Radio" that I think is going to come out on our album. I wrote it when I was really in a dark spot. Jeff Buckley’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman.” Jeff Buckley’s voice breaks my heart. It's so powerful and yet he has such control over it and it gives me chills every time I hear his version.

What’s your dream duet?
I love The Highwomen. Their harmonies are amazing, and I’d love to sing with them one day. Plus, they’re badass songwriters and women in general. Ah, that’d be awesome.

What’s the best way to impress you?
By not trying to? Cockiness is the biggest turnoff to me. Just be yourself!

What’s the most interesting chapter in your autobiography?
It hasn’t happened yet! Or at least I hope not …

What’s one thing you’ve yet to try?
Touring! I am dying to go on tour and travel around more with my little family.

What’s a food combination no one seems to understand but you?
Hot sauce on french fries or spaghetti, or a lot of other things. I like making things spicy.

Who’s your woman crush in music?
There are so many. … If I’m answering for living people, I think Brandi Carlile is one and Esperanza Spalding. Women songwriters (in general) that are badass at their instruments and also sing are my heroes.

What’s something you’re disproportionately proud of?
My son! I just became a mama this March, and I cheer him on for everything he does.

Tell me your favorite personal tradition.
On my mom’s side of the family, we all get together on New Year's Day at my great aunt and uncle’s house and they make pozole. They set out all of the traditional toppings and we all eat. Kids are running around playing and eventually everyone ends up gathering around listening to music. My uncles play mandolin, guitars and sometimes the guitarrón (Mexican bass). They sing in Spanish and English. Everyone sings together and they dance to the traditional songs. And of course, they almost always break the tequila out at some point.

What’s one game show that you think you could win?
Yeesh … I don’t know about that one. Maybe Family Feud. I’ve got a promising crew.

What do you miss most about going out?
Live music. And some people.

What was your favorite toy growing up?
I had a stuffed animal dog that my dad got me. It was scruffy and light brown colored. He handed it to me through the window of our car one day. It was a surprise. I have memories of putting my hands around his black nose and making the fur look like the petals of a sunflower around it.

What’s a song you can’t wait to show your son?
Anything Levon Helm wrote. We kinda named (son) Levon with Helm in mind — I want him to know who he is.

Tell me an era in music history that you feel you would’ve fit in with, if you’d only lived in that time and place.
I think the Jazz Age would have been really fun. I don’t know if I would have the chops to sing back then, but I sure would have loved to have been there.

When are you truly satisfied with your day?
I’m truly satisfied when I feel like I got things done. I’m a little bit of a stress ball when there are things that I didn’t get around to doing. So, it feels good when I can lay down thinking, "OK, now I can rest."

If you could spend a few hours with anyone in history, who would it be, and what would you be doing?
I think, after reading so much about different theorists in my counseling classes, it would be really cool to talk to them about some of their theories… maybe Alfred Adler? His ideas really speak to me. Carl Jung was also pretty awesome, Gestalt…

What’s something you’ve been told about yourself that made you laugh?
That I look mad or mean. I kind of have a resting you-know-what face and I don’t really mean to.

What makes you feel like you’re an old soul?
I think that the more grounded I stay to what feels natural and intuitive, whether it be with relating to people, writing music, singing or myself, the more I feel connected to something old.

And what makes you think you’ll never grow up?
My love for spontaneous adventures. I can get really fired up about a new idea or endeavor. This can lead to really productive or really dumb adventures.

Finish the sentence: You know you’re my friend if ...
I cook for you.

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What question do you love to be asked?
Wanna catch a show?

And what’s the answer?
"Hell yeah!"

Debilio in her Americana band, Honey FolkEXPAND
Debilio in her Americana band, Honey Folk
Jessica Waffles
Debilio and her newborn son, LevonEXPAND
Debilio and her newborn son, Levon
Jessica Waffles

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