Singer, songwriter and actress Schuyler Fisk grew up on a farm outside Charlottesville, Va. with her parents – actress Sissy Spacek and production designer Jack Fisk.
Singer, songwriter and actress Schuyler Fisk grew up on a farm oustide Charlottesville, Va. with her parents – actress Sissy Spacek and production designer Jack Fisk. They chose to live away from the smog and stars of Los Angeles. Today, their daughter lives in California but looks back east to home.
Growing up on a farm in Virginia with my family (and five dogs, many horses, tons of chickens, a few fish and even a hedgehog), I was a true tomboy. I rode horses bareback through the woods, caught crawfish in the creek, collected eggs from the chickens every day and helped my dad crack the ice out of the horses’ frozen water buckets.
My parents had flourishing Hollywood careers and balanced them with our small-town, hometown life perfectly. They made a decision to raise my sister and me far away from the lights of Hollywood, but at the same time showed us the real side of what it means to be an artist in the entertainment business.
I admit that when I was younger, I didn’t understand why we couldn’t live in LA like most other actresses and production designers, mostly because I craved that spotlight and wanted to be able to start a career of my own. Of course I was only about five or six at that point, so my parents laughed at me when I told them, “I love the smog in Hollywood!” They told me I would have to wait for it.
My sister and I, meanwhile, got to see the real work and creative process that goes in to making a film. It seems like a lot of that gets lost in a place like Hollywood, where the emphasis is on what parties you go to, who’s in the magazines or what Hollywood hotspot you lunch at with your famous friends.
In the town where I grew up, there is an amazing arts community that continues to grow. I have no doubt that my own music has been inspired largely from my Virginia roots. The title track from my record “The Good Stuff” is about missing home in Virginia and the seasons in particular, at a time when I felt homesick for the farm and like I didn’t belong in LA anymore. As I was writing the song I came to realize that growing up in Virginia doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate all the little things in LA if only I would just slow down enough to notice – a rainstorm pounding down on my roof or a patch of flowers on the side of the road. There is good stuff everywhere, and I find it in the diversity of each season in Virginia, in gorgeous spring flowers blooming out of the crack in an LA sidewalk, in the incomparable colors of fall leaves, driving with windows down on the Pacific Coast Highway, floating down the James River in the summers.
I feel blessed to call the beautiful state of Virginia my home. The Blue Ridge mountains were the most idyllic place to be as a child. Now in California, I often find myself stopping people on the street that are wearing “Virginia is for Lovers” T-shirts and ask, “Are you from there too?!”
Fisk has written music for the films “The Last Kiss” and “Penelope” and performed with musicians including Sheryl Crow. Her film and television acting credits include “Orange County” and “One Tree Hill.” Her mother, Sissy Spacek, narrated the recently released PBS documentary “Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People.”