Vocal Artist | Musician | Lyricist | Composer | Producer
Darja Igorevna Väärsi
is an Estonian Actress, Vocal, and Visual Artist. She was born in Estonia and immigrated 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 & artistically renown half-sister Anastasia.
Her family is of noble descent, Igor's great grandfather Prince Zhestkov was a personal guard to Imperial Nikolai and belonged to The Page Corps (Пажеский корпус): "a military academy in Imperial Russia, which prepared sons of the nobility and of senior officers for military service." 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. He saved the lives of countless other youth that were wrongfully incarcerated. On her mother's side, her great-great-grandmother Elisaveta Alekseevnaa 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.
In her youth, she overcame hardships such as supporting herself since the age of fourteen, domestic violence, and a near-fatal gunshot. Her past, love of natural splendor, and non-human animals inspired her to dedicate a decade of her life to Veterinary Medicine and focus on various non-profit work such as animal rescue, animal rights, alternative diet outreach, endangered species, and wildlife preservation (Fish & Wildlife Dept). She adheres to the ethical vegan lifestyle.
She's worked on mainstream Amazon, Showtime, Netflix, HULU, Fox (Empire), NBC shows, films, commercials, and number one MTV music videos as lead talent (TATU), composer, and in other roles. She is a globally published Visual Artist (Vogue, Elegant Magazine, etc.), HMUA, Photo Editor, Wardrobe Stylist, Model for the runway, films/album covers, Art Director, Producer, worked in entertainment journalism, and as a paralegal most recently.
Darja is the founder of the alternative music project California Widow where she combines elements of gothic country with rock and shoegaze and has released industrial music under her real name. She enjoys contributing music to soundtracks (Amazon Prime) and working in concert with other artists on projects of all genres, most recently post-rock/gothic outfit: Deeper Graves (Yakuza, Nachtmystium, Wolvhammer) and post-black metal project Chrome Waves. As a Vocal Artist, her musical compositions speak from the heart and oftentimes cover very intimate and personal content. As a mezzo-soprano, she can perform in any style or genre. One of her favorite jobs was working as an animal trainer in the world's most renowned cat circus and their band: Tuna and the Rock Cats. She has a passion for photography, surfing, the great outdoors, fitness and is collaborating on a typography print series. Having become a nationally certified sailor she is working towards a captain's license.
Session Musician | Producer
Brendan is the session musician and accompanying producer for certain California Widow tracks. He founded industrial project Defcon, is a North American Audio Director for Wargaming, toured with Wolvhammer (Guitar/Backing vocals), and is a professional live concert sound engineer that has worked with Marty Friedman Dave Ellefson, Chance the Rapper, Alcest, and so forth.