May 9th, 2022
Artist, musician, filmmaker, teacher, gardener, beekeeper, parent, and partner, “Wurmy Wormfield,” aka Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, has been a working artist from the age of 13. Many have experienced the Silverlake, California-based entertainer and filmmaker’s onscreen work. Yet, few are familiar with his decade of creative dedication to help overturn a Los Angeles public-school parking lot, and transform it into a community garden and educational center. This call to action inspired a transformative personal journey that brought forth a lifelong love of music, birthed the alter-ego Wurmy Wormfield and has culminated in the sweetly opulent folk-pop, debut album, For You, The Garden.
“The work with the garden, and the music inspired by it, is a continuation of my lifelong creative expression,” Wurmy says. “The filmmaker, teacher, parent, musician, and co-creator of the community garden space are all one living and intertwined creative vine.”
Chances are, For You, The Garden is not your first experience with Wurmy’s artistry. As a director, his work includes D’Arcy Drollinger’s award-winning rock operas, Cereal Killers and Possession of Mrs. Jones, seminal collaborations with Tony-nominated cabaret singer and actor Justin Vivian Bond; and the feature films Fancy's Persuasion, Kissing Jessica Stein, Legally Blonde 2, and The Hammer.
For You, The Garden is a compilation of Wurmy’s previously released EPs and singles into one convenient place. The 18 songs bring to life the community garden he helped put together in Silver Lake, CA. He sings about everything, like bicycles in “Bicycle Day,” natural medicines in “Joshua Tree,” and even the power of love and forgiveness in “Good Morning, I Love You.” You can hear his fun and infectiously happy attitude towards life in his artistry.
We got a chance to talk with Wurmy about his debut album in this exclusive premiere parenting panel. Let us dive in:
How many children do you have? And what are their names and ages?
Wurmy: I am blessed to be the parent of two kids – River Jack, born 2016 and Stella Hawk, born 2020. This album, For You, the Garden, is in many ways for, of, to, and by them. They are my inspiration and my guiding force, teachers and muses.
In what ways has parenthood helped your creativity, if any?
Wurmy: My parenthood has in very way re-inspired my creativity. I was told long ago by my old pal John Oszjca that I should be making music for kids. I did not listen. Then my filmmaking work started feeling stale and uninspiring and music really started filling the empty spaces in my creative heart. When the kids came, I knew I would sing to them every night. My voice has changed so much in the last five years since river jack was born – just that regular practice of intimately connecting through sound has really refined and polished my vocal expression.
I also believe in music literacy as a fundamental human right, so i feel kind of obligated as a parent to keep up my musical practices and schooling inorder to provide a living example of how that looks.
What has parenthood taught you about yourself, your music, or your creative process?
Wurmy: Through parenthood I have remembered how much I love to cook. By being a father, I have made a new peace with my deceased father (Wurmy Wormfield I). I have learned that, well, to be blunt, I am kind of not always who I think I am. (at least not always). My patience and intelligence and cool have been tested and overturned more than I ever imagined possible. I have discovered a well of love and dedication within myself that gives me strength, gets me up in the morning, or cleaning up late at night. And I have learned that I know a LOT LESS than I think I do. Parenting is very humbling.
How do you juggle your family and your career? Who is your support system?
Wurmy: My partner of 23 years, Jason, is just incredible. So dedicated and such a force of love and protection for our family. We also have a dear friend from the community garden, Tia Helen De La Paz Dion, who comes twice a week, in the evenings, so we can take walks, or go to dinner or watch Drag Race without worrying about the kids for a minute.
As a musician I feel very lucky to be in a second career wave. I have kind of already figured out how/where/with whom I am going to live and in this way I am more in the position (at 55 years) of a grandparent. I feel stable economically and am able to explore artistically without the added pressure of feeling like my music has to put food on the table for my kids or pay the bills. Also, having already dreamed of myself as a filmmaker, and having kind of done that, I do not feel the driving pressure to ‘make my mark’ that I witness in some artist/parents. I just feel in the flow and ready to make more music.
Has the pandemic taken away or added to your creative flow?
Wurmy: Oh wow, the pandemic has been a great tragedy and the suffering and loss we have all encountered was just unimaginable before it all began. I guess in the way that our human suffering and our human creativity are connected there is a link for me (and us all), to be certain. I am currently researching my new album, “LET’S ALL DECOMPOSE!, Funeral for a Seed with Wurmy Wormfield & Friends”. I’m going to bet some of the juice for that came directly from the dose of mortality I felt so intensely during these pandemic times, of witnessing loss and more loss and death all around.
What is one thing you wish someone had told you before you became a parent? Any advice for others?
Wurmy: Do less, stay present more.
Make the time to have joy and laughter with your kids.
Have you ever written a song for or about your kids?
Well, the whole album, For You, The Garden, is really For, Of, & To my kids.
As an older dad, and a pandemic dad, I am extremely aware of the time passing, and I wanted to make sure and set nature / love of nature to song so the kids could always know how I feel about it, and even share that joy with their own children, one day.
Listen to For You, The Garden here.
Interview originally posted here.
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