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May 30, 2019

One of the questions I get asked the most is
How did you decide to become a singer songwriter?
And my answer is always the same:

I didn’t wake up and decide to become a singer songwriter.
Music chose me.

Back in 2006 when I was 17, I went on a rotary youth exchange to Brazil (hence the reason I keep going back to visit). That’s right. Little ol’ me and one full year of non-parental bliss. LOL. I got to live with the locals, speak the language, explore, indulge in Brazilian food (and beer, shhh don’t tell!), kiss a lot of brazilian boys (a Portuguese term called Ficar – shhh don’t tell!!!!)  and basically just live the best freaking life a teenager could live at that age.

It completely changed my world, in a really good way.

You see, before I went to Brazil, I was a very ego centric, very tanned, high heel wearing, cleavage showing teen. And I love sharing my story because everyone is always so shocked that this could ever be me. But it was, and it’s my truth. Isn’t it fascinating how we all come from such unique places, and end up in very VERY different situations than we ever thought we would?

what ended up happening on my year abroad that changed me so much?

About 6 months in one of my classmates invited me to a “festa na roça” which the literal english translation means “party on the farm”. And, I grew up as a farm girl so I thought…. this could be fun!

I arrived at the party and some of my classmates, who were in a band, were performing on a little stage area in the backyard. At some point in the evening (and probably 3 beers in), the lead singer asked the audience if anyone knew the female vocals of the song “Boa Sorte” by Vanessa Da Mata.

It was my lucky day!!

That was my all-time favourite Brazilian song in that era, and I knew all the words and ins & outs of that song. It was a duet, with the english male vocals by Ben Harper and Portuguese female vocals by Vanessa Da Mata.

So here’s the catch.  I had never sang in front of anyone before. EVER!  ( …. Well.. minus my grade 3 talent show performance of Pocahontas….that’s a story for another day.) It’s also worth noting that I didn’t know how to play guitar yet either. The only real musical ability I had was my grade 6 piano lessons, in which I sometimes performed to a room full of proud parents who had to clap for everyone so nobody’s feelings would get hurt.

Yeah – that’s where I was at.

but guess what I did…

I got up on stage and I sang anyway,
and I will never EVER forget the feeling I had when I finished. After singing my very first time in public, with a full band backing me up. MAN! I felt like a million bucks. Truly truly.

Energy. That’s all I felt. Like, out of this world energized.
And something inside of me shifted.

Special thanks/shout outs go to Jonathan Toupin (OIART grad) for recording this song, and Mystery Man Photography for filming!

Fast forward about a year later, to when I picked up an acoustic guitar during my first year in college, and started teaching myself how to play. The first song I learned was called “Upward Over the Mountain” by Iron & Wine. (which byyyy the way, is still up on youtube for the whole world to enjoy, and for me to shrink back and pretend it never happened.)

It was terrible.
But guess what… I uploaded it anyway.

And I got 17 views the first night, and I was ECSTATIC!

Like… Over the moon happy… For those 17 people who actually saw me for who I was.
Over a decade later and I have 8 million views on youtube and have toured the world playing music and following this beautiful path as a self-made singer songwriter.

Isn’t life funny like that?

You can’t ever predict or plan what’s going to happen because we literally can’t know what’s going to happen until the moment it happens. In my case, a stage happened, and then a guitar happened. I started riding the wave, one cover song at a time, which turned into writing my own songs, which turned into radio play and TV ads, which turned into performing and touring.

And now I’m here, and you’re here.

And I’m so in love with life ????

PS. I’d love to know what got you into music, and how you landed up here on the blog! Please share YOUR story/relation to music by posting in the comments below, if you feel compelled. I read every single one and it makes me so happy to learn about you! 🙂

can we be friends?

I solemnly swear to stick by you through thick & thin, and also to tell you when there's spinach in your teeth. lol

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  1. Paul Watson says:

    Great story Jessica! Keep playing and singing, and we’ll keep listening and reading. 🙂

  2. Lynne says:

    Jess !
    I love hearing your back story!! So incredible. And wait. You wore heels, had a tan and went all glitz ? Love your transformation, girly! You are one of the most down to earth, beautiful souls ever. What a great journey it has been so far.

    Big love
    Lynne xx

  3. James Green says:

    I grew up in a musical family so music has always been a huge part of my life. As for finding this blog, I was driving in my car when I first heard one of your songs, you came to our wedding, and now you are stuck with us forever. Ha.



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