Students find passion for music, form band ‘Sunday Voicemail’


Courtesy of Yaling Liu

Sunday Voicemail performed for the first time at coffeehouse on Sept. 23.

Maddie Shaw

Bright stage lights shine on the members with guitar pics in hand as they brace to make their debut. 

Student-led band Sunday Voicemail, formed by five seniors, performed for the first time at the Midtown drama department’s first Coffeehouse of the school year. The members include Neisha Ball, Cat Sands, Paola Fernandez, Nadia Thurston and Alannah Edwards. The five members were friends prior to creating the all-female band.  

“The band is definitely not serious,” senior and lead singer Neisha Ball said. “We just wanted to have something that we created, for us to share, just because it’s senior year, and we’re all separating soon.”

Senior Cat Sands, the band’s bassist,said the inspiration struck the friend group randomly.

“We all went on a road trip together where we were just driving through North Carolina listening to songs, and it was like an epiphany,” Sands said. “We all had a realization at once that we should start a band.”

Sunday Voicemail benefits from its all female line-up, said Ball, who named the band.

“I honestly don’t really think about being all female very often — it wasn’t intentional, but I enjoy the extra layer of sisterhood it adds to our dynamic,” Ball said.

The group is currently a cover band, but Sands said the group hopes to move towards songwriting. 

“We play a wide variety of songs,” Sands said. “We try to let every member of the band put forward a couple of songs to choose from. I would like the band to grow to where we can write our own lyrics; I think that’d be really cool.”

Ball said the band can face challenges with song choices as they’re discovering their sound.

“We decide what songs we cover together, so my taste in music influences the discussion as much as anyone else’s does,” Ball said. “But along with that, a lot of times it’s difficult having to let go of a song we all really love just because it’s out of my range, and I can’t sing it.”

Sands draws her vision for the band from her experiences with her mother.

“My musical inspiration actually comes from my mom, because she has this whole five shelf collection of CD’s and records,” Sands said. “She would always play the same stuff in the car when I was little, and I’ve grown up with her music taste.”

Electric guitarist senior Paola Fernandez, believes the group member’s prior friendships adds a unique element to the band.

“I think the difference between us and other bands is that we were already best friends when we started, and we really just do it for fun,” Fernandez said. “We all share a love for music, and starting a band really helped combine our music taste. It’s more of a leisurely thing, so I think that helps make it a more relaxing space.” 

The creation of Sunday Voicemail has allowed members to tap back into their musician pursuits, Sands said.

“I’ve been playing the bass guitar since third grade,” Sands said. “It’s been an influential thing in my life because I’ve gone through periods of time where I’ve been super into it and periods of time where I’m in a creative slump with it. I think this band will definitely motivate me to practice more everyday.”

Ball recognizes the band as a way to spend time with friends rather than a serious endeavor. 

“I do use the band as a creative outlet, but more importantly, it’s about having fun together,” Ball said. “We’re definitely very amateur; so, having no expectations for each other makes it less about the quality of the music and more about putting something out there all together.”

The band practiced in preparation for its Coffeehouse performance on Sept. 21.

“I was a little nervous because I’d never performed in front of people,” senior acoustic guitarist Nadia Thurston said. “But, I was mostly excited.”

Thurston hopes the band will continue in the future.

“I hope we can keep doing it,” Thurston said. “It’s been hard to balance practicing and giving time to the band with all of our schedules, but it’s very fun.”