She works hard for the money

Sacramento singer-songwriter Rebecca Peters juggles three jobs, Britney Spears, and angry chickens

Remember, tip your entertainers well.

Remember, tip your entertainers well.

photo by lisa baetz

Rebecca Peters plays at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 27, at Shine, located at 1400 E Street. The cover is $5, and Clark Reese and Casey Groat are also on the bill. For more on Peters, visit

Rebecca Peters fondly remembers her earlier, stranger shows, booked via Craigslist. There was one on a farm, where wasps kept landing on the keyboard, and she got paid in vegetables.

“You learn so much from the weird ones,” she says—such as how to best feed angry chickens.

Peters likes to say she’s been singing ever since she emerged from the womb. She was active in choir and musical theater in high school, but after she uprooted herself from Vacaville to attend Sacramento State University, she wasn’t sure how to book gigs. So she looked to Craigslist.

She still has to sift through the hundreds of “Nude Model Wanted” ads to find the occasional “Musician Wanted for Event” posts, but it’s less necessary these days. Peters has, at last, arrived on the Sacramento music scene.

After circling open-mics and acoustic cafe sets, Peters is excited to finally have a solid, experienced band behind her: guitarist Jayson Angove and bassist David Albertson, who are both in local rock band Humble Wolf, and drummer Kevin Prince, who also plays with Jeremy Briggs. They’ll play their third show together on Friday, June 27, at Shine.

Folks might recognize Peters from Access Sacramento’s Sacramento Has Talent competition earlier this year. She won one of two open-call slots and performed in front of hundreds at the historic Crest Theatre. In an elegant black dress, she spun Britney Spears’ hit “Toxic” into a fun, dynamic ballad.

Peters didn’t take home the top prize, but people definitely took notice—including those closest to her.

“I think it helped my family and friends believe in me a little more, to think music is an actual career goal instead of just a thing I do on the side,” Peters says.

Second-place winner Hans Eberbach gave her props after the show, and now Peters can sometimes be found onstage, giving his band Hans! and the Hot Mess spontaneous vocal support.

Similarly, Peters has found a valuable friend in local musician James Cavern. Their bluesy voices are showcased together on a gorgeous acoustic track, “Sorry,” released in 2012.

The band, the support, the gigs—it all happened fast, considering Peters just graduated from college last winter. Plus, she works three jobs—up to 70 hours a week—including two gigs as a restaurant server.

“Sometimes I feel like I have this void of creativity because I work so much and my brain is dead,” she says with a laugh.

It’s remarkable that she has time to perform at all, let alone rehearse with her band or write anything. She’s got a few songs that she hopes will eventually form an EP later this year. Otherwise, Peters has a two-hour set list of covers. Cool covers.

“I definitely try to change them a lot and make them my own, so people can recognize me as an artist instead of a cover band,” she says.

“Toxic” is a favorite, as well as “Electric Feel” by MGMT, “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals, and “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo. Yes, those songs are all from very different artists in very different genres and time periods, and that’s the point. Peters twists songs already atypical to the open-mic variety and gives them her soul-influenced, folk-rock treatment.

In addition to writing more music—and maybe quitting one of her jobs—Peters wants to go on a California tour by the end of the year. But she’ll continue to play acoustic sets around town, too; she likes the vulnerability too much to abandon the singer-songwriter lifestyle completely.

“My heart lies more in an acoustic sound, where you can embrace dynamics, where you can embrace the beauty and simplicity of music,” she says. “And in a selfish way, it lets my voice shine a little more.”