The storytelling of doom and forlorn romance through dark lyrical imagery interwoven with somber musical landscapes. Taking you back to the western frontier where men would leave behind their wives in search of striking gold. They had plans to reunite but never did, leaving them a California Widow.
Vocal Artist | Musician | Lyricist | Composer | Producer
California Widow is a brand, music project, and art by Darja Vaarsi:
Estonian Actress, Model, Singer, HMUA/Stylist, Photo Editor, Producer, Veterinary Technician, and Paralegal. She’s worked on Amazon, Showtime, Netflix, HULU, Fox (Empire), NBC, films, commercials, number one MTV music videos (Lena Katina/Tatu), various publications (Vogue, Elegant Magazine, runway, film/album covers, etc).
Her music ranges from gothic country, folk, rock, shoe-gaze, blues, to metal but works in all genres and released industrial music under Darja Vaarsi. She enjoys contributing music to soundtracks (Amazon Prime) and is the vocalist for California Widow (solo endeavor), collaboration Deeper Graves (Wolvhammer/Nachtmystium/Yakuza), and backing vocals on Chrome Waves. Both of her projects debuted in 2020 being featured in Dark Beauty and Decibel Magazine.
She was born in Estonia and came to America with her family as a political refugee. Her father Igor was an Estonian freedom fighter, her Moldovan mother Olga an award-winning USSR English teacher & author. She has two siblings: an Irish twin brother Gerheart & half-sister Anastasia. She comes from a long line of classical musicians, both of her parents were folk singers, her mother played piano and accordion while her father played guitar. She first began writing music in the 4th grade when she created and put on a play for her elementary school on the topic of environmentalism and different social circles involving students from all grades.
Her family is of noble descent, Igor's great grandfather was a personal guard to Imperial Nikolai and belonged to The Page Corps (Пажеский корпус). His grandmother Natalia's girlfriend was a personal companion to Tzarina Alexis, wife of Nikolai the second. He was classically trained in fencing, horseback riding, and ballroom dancing growing up in the basement of a castle that was confiscated by Russia but that Natalia was permitted to maintain. There they kept rare paintings his family had rescued by famed artist Karl Bryullov. He was a war hero that survived a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head at fourteen followed by wrongful imprisonment and torture for over a decade by the KGB. He saved the lives of countless other youth that were wrongfully incarcerated. On her mother's side, her great-great-grandmother Elisaveta Alekseevna Shabalina belonged to the noble Shabalin household. Her family bribed their way out of the USSR & trekked thousands of miles across Europe destitute and displaced for half a decade with their St. Bernard Pelia in tow. After sponsorship by Italian diplomats and through collaboration with American intelligence they were provided asylum in America.
Since age fourteen, she carved a path on her own overcoming foster care, rape, domestic violence, a near-fatal gunshot wound, and other hardships. One of her favorite jobs was working as an animal trainer in The Amazing Acro-cats cat circus and their band: Tuna and the Rock Cats. She loves being involved with non-profits focusing on animal rescues, welfare, environmentalism, wildlife protection, previously running animal rights branches, and collaborating with the Fish & Wildlife Dept. She has a passion for photography, stunt training, fitness, adventure sports, the great outdoors, surfing, is plant-based, a nationally certified sailor working towards a captain's license, and on albums for both projects.
Musician | Producer | Backing Vocals
was a contributor to California Widow in the past. He founded industrial project Defcon, works as a North American Audio Director for World of Tanks/Wargaming, toured with Wolvhammer, and was a professional live concert sound engineer that has worked with Marty Friedman Dave Ellefson, Chance the Rapper, Alcest, and so forth.