Houston songstress Jessica Clemmons had one of those ‘light bulb’ moments after releasing her sophomore album ‘Loving This Day’ in 2012. Having poured her heart and soul in the record, which saw her rewarded with radio play and an acclaimed support slot on The Overtones UK tour, she found herself pondering the all important question ‘What If’…
Growing up in Texas, Jessica spent her formative years surrounded by the rich heritage of Country Music. While her parents indulged in cutting edge sounds of the Motown era, it was her Grandparents who introduced her to the story-telling vocals of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. Though there was no denying that Motown made her want to move, Country Music became her grounding.
Widely known for her big voice and soulful tones, Jessica wanted to raise the bar… she needed to tell her own story – not just connect with her audience emotionally but allow her words to do the talking. She reveals: ‘I love the way Country Music can tell a story… and I have plenty to say!’
Returning to Houston for a break after her 27-date support with The Overtones, Jessica set about making this transition a reality. Although she liked to think of Texas as the home of Country Music, she conceded that she would have to ‘let Nashville have this one… If you want to write a pop/country album you don’t go to LA or Chicago, you go to the place that specializes in it.’ So that is exactly what she did.
Teaming up in Nashville with country stalwart Jeff Cohen (The Band Perry, Sugarland), Sherrie Austin (George Strait, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill), James T Slater (Rascall Flatts, Kellie Pickler, Martina McBride) and Lindsey Ray (Mariah Carey, Demi Lovato), Jessica knew she had to make every word count.
The result was Jessica’s most personal record to date. Channeling the storytelling that she had fallen in love with as a youngster, she found that the Nashville experience allowed her to open the floodgates and keep it real. She admits, ‘Writing is like therapy for me. I found ‘What If’ a very difficult to write because it was one of the first times I have been so completely open. I think this is very important when trying to connect with the listener. When they feel your pain, heartache or even happiness, it enables them to connect.’
Having spent November and December of 2013 supporting Boyzone on their UK arena tour, Jessica released her debut single from the EP entitled ‘Single Tonight’ in January 2014. The song received a great response from the media and was play-listed on BBC Radio 2. Jessica was invited to sing live on Weekend Wogan, performing a special cover of Glen Campbell’s ‘Wichita Lineman.’
Terry Wogan exclaimed: “Well with the greatest respect to Glen Campbell, that was the most fabulous version I have ever heard. That was terrific.”
2014 has kicked off with a bang as Jessica performed at both days of the Country 2 Country Festival at the O2 Arena, and was chosen by iTunes (UK/IE) to be one of their featured artists in a promotion called Sounds Like Nashville in March.
She returns to Nashville in May to complete her album, which she predicts will be available by the summer. With song-writing collaborations with some of Country’s finest songwriters already under her belt, Jessica will again be joining forces with Jeff Cohen and a host of Nashville’s A-list writers. Her brand new single ‘Love Like That’ co-written with Sherrie Austin is out on 5th May.
Keep up to date with all things Jessica and sign up to the official mailing list. You can opt out at any time if you change your mind.
Though somewhat atypical for a group rooted in country to find success in the UK, it is par for the course when it comes to the unlikely group Jess and the Bandits. The Bandits met Texan favourite Jessica Clemmons, the opening act, during a 2012 tour while playing with The Overtones and instantly bonded over their mutual love of Country Music. As they began to play together more and more, it became painstakingly clear that their chemistry was flawless. Thus, Jess and the Bandits were born.
Made up of brothers Ricci and Louis Riccardi on drums and guitar respectively, Dave Troke on bass, Steven Reid Williams on keyboards & guitar and of course Jessica Clemmons on vocals, each member of the Bandits brings with them a storied history of country creativity. With their debut album, penned in Nashville, set for release in the summer of 2015 and host of tour and festival dates on the horizon it is looking like a busy year for JATB.
View the official music videos by Jessica Clemmons. Simply cick on the ‘Playlist’ (top left) to choose your video. Subscribe to Jessica on Youtube too!