Thea Kearney is a multi-faceted artist — a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and visual artist. She performs her songs in an alternative rock power trio and as a solo acoustic artist under the name Thea K. A native New Yorker and Brooklyn girl, her songs have been described as “urban stories of sociopolitical angst and unrequited love told through an intense mix of contemporary rock with a unique sensibility.”
Playing various musical instruments since the age of 9 (guitar, piano, and violin), Thea has always been interested in both the visual arts and music. She received her B.F.A. degree in Computer Art & Design from The University of Massachusetts and M.F.A. in Computer Graphics from The School of Visual Arts in New York City. While studying at college, she also found the time to play guitar in local rock bands.
After graduating from The School of Visual Arts, and earning a living as a freelance web site designer, Thea realized that music was becoming a much more important element in her life and she began to devote most of her time to music and learning the craft of songwriting. Although Thea has taken the occasional lesson and class, she is a mostly self-taught musician.
Growing up in an urban environment with a diverse mixing of cultures and experiences has greatly influenced her songwriting. Like her talent, her music has many facets. Although the music is essentially rock based, it is influenced by a wide range of genres including classic rock, punk, metal and funk, folk, pop and even classical music.
Although she has been compared to artists like Chrissie Hynde, Alanis Morissette, Patti Smith and PJ Harvey, Thea Kearney has managed to create her own unique style. Her guitar playing developed by studying great players, such as BB King, Carlos Santana, Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix, among others. This in combination with her vocal range has enabled her to become a dynamic and interesting performer as a lead guitarist and emerging singer-songwriter.
In 1998, Thea released a self-titled E.P., produced and engineered by Kennan Keating, who has worked with many acts signed to both major and independent labels. The E.P. garnered positive response, and as a solo artist, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, Thea quickly acquired gigs at music venues in the United States as well as abroad. While performing in England, she was invited to do a live performance on BBC London Radio to promote her solo shows at The 12Bar Club and legendary Hope and Anchor in London.
Thea Kearney was joined by bassist Peter Sampson and drummer Ed Ruokonen in September 2001, to form her first rock trio, initially called Thea and later changed to Thea K. In March 2003, Ed was replaced by Pam Arnold on drums, and the trio emerged to form a tight unit of high-energy rock. They regularly performed in New York City clubs such as Downtime, Continental, Acme Underground, The Orange Bear, and the C-Note. They also recorded an 11-song CD titled Species Closeout, which was released in Summer 2004 on Thea’s independent label, Sea Dragon Records.
In 2006, Thea took a break from playing music and performing to start a family. She and her husband have two sons and she is back playing music again as a solo artist and as vocalist and guitarist for the alternative rock band, Dollar Store Riot since January of 2012.