Carla DiGiacomo refuses to play the tambourine. “It’s not my style,” she says with a smile. Small-framed, tattooed and energetic, DiGiacomo seems more likely to grab a microphone and command attention, a la Suzi Quatro, than sing backup vocals and jingle a tambourine.
DiGiacomo, 34, performs regularly at local hot spots like Hammerheads in Dewey Beach and The Frogg Pond in Rehoboth Beach. But she has played weddings, fundraisers and even the grand opening of Outlet Liquors in Rehoboth Beach. “It was something different,” she said of the experience.
“I always had a love for music in general,” DiGiacomo said. But she wasn’t always a singer. DiGiacomo graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 2000 with a degree in math. “I’d never sung in my whole life,” she said.
For five years, DiGiacomo dated the owner of a recording studio. After the relationship ended, she felt like something was missing from her life. “It was the music,” she said.
So DiGiacomo enrolled in six weeks of singing lessons at University of Delaware. Soon after, she met Marty Mitchell, who at the time was the drummer for local band Burnt Sienna.
DiGiacomo said she and Mitchell started frequenting open mic nights in Wilmington as an acoustic act. “When I first started out, I was like a deer in headlights,” she said of her early performances. “I’ve never been an assertive person in that sense.”
It took time, but DiGiacomo developed confidence in her voice. Less than one year later, she quit her day job to pursue music full-time. “It was a risky call,” she said. “You have to be confident.”
For four-and-a-half years, DiGiacomo performed at Kelly’s Logan House in Wilmington. She said the first performance at the tavern in 2006 was so successful, she and her band were asked to play the venue every week.
In 2008, DiGiacomo said she joined Philadelphia band Midnight Java, but split after six months, inspired to form her own group with guitarist Mike Patterson, formerly of Laura Lea & Tripp Fabulous. “That’s when Mike and I put Queen Green together,” she said.
Queen Green consists of DiGiacomo, Patterson and a revolving door of drummers and bass guitarists who are willing to jump in when it’s time to play a show. “Anything that I’m in front of, singing, is called Queen Green,” she said.
DiGiacomo said she hopes to make Queen Green a steady act with committed members. “I like the idea of the electric sound of the full band,” she said.
For now, DiGiacomo plays mostly acoustic shows, often partnering with Patterson or another musician. “I’ve played with all different types of guitar players,” she said.
DiGiacomo has been visiting the Cape Region for 11 years. She and her husband, Rob, who is also a singer, moved to Rehoboth Beach from Wilmington about one month ago. “We always wanted to move here full time,” she said. “Everyone down here just seems to want to relax and have a good time.”
Besides the laid-back lifestyle, DiGiacomo said she loves the area’s music scene. “You can get away with going a little outside the box,” she said.
And DiGiacomo tends to go a little outside the box during her performances. Besides covering popular music from artists like Katy Perry and Maroon 5, she said she likes to throw oldies and even television theme songs into the mix. “Our big one we do now is from ‘The Jeffersons,’” she said.
When she’s not onstage, DiGiacomo and her husband are the owners and operators of Dew-Me Beach, a T-shirt shop on Route 1 in Dewey Beach. The couple also started a small booking agency, BCJ Entertainment, with friend and fellow musician Joe Daphne.
DiGiacomo and her husband are also involved in charity work. Rob’s mother died of breast cancer before DiGiacomo had a chance to meet her, she said. “I do a lot of breast cancer fundraisers,” she said.
When she was performing weekly at Kelly’s Logan House, DiGiacomo said she used the location to plan and execute a breast cancer fundraiser. She played at the Pink Loop, a fundraiser in Wilmington and the BreastFest fundraiser in Philadelphia.
DiGiacomo said she hopes to stay busy with local performances and play fewer shows in Wilmington. “My goal is to book more shows here in the off-season,” she said.
She and her husband have no plans leave the beach. “We’re not going anywhere,” she said. “We want to raise our kids down here. We want little beach bums.”
In the meantime, she said, she would like to beef up her knowledge of music theory and maybe learn an instrument. DiGiacomo said, “I still have a long way to go; I have a lot to learn.”