Interview With Musician Jessica Meuse
In the world of reality shows featuring singers, dancers, comedians, musicians, and so much more, establishing oneself in the entertainment universe can be both an exhilarating and grueling task. All too often, young people with the best of intentions jump into the business and quickly fall away once they realize how much dedication and persistence are required to “make it.” Thankfully, there are gumptious musicians like Jessica Meuse who are willing to invest the time, resources, and energy to make their dreams come true. Recently, I was able to ask Jessica a few questions about how she got started in music, her experiences with two high-profile singing reality shows, and what her future plans and aspirations are within the industry.
RH: Why did you decide to become a musician? What were your earliest musical influences? What kind of training have you received?
JM: I always loved music, and I always sang, but I think I realized I wanted to pursue it on a professional level after my first public performance when I was ten years old. Most of my early musical influences are from 90’s country – Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Sara Evans, and even Wynonna. I grew up with that and was surrounded by it my entire childhood. I also listened to a lot of classical rock as a kid, so that was an influence as well. As far as training, I’ve never gone to vocal classes. I had professional vocal coaches when I was on The Voice and American Idol in 2012 and 2013/2014, and that taught me how to hear and control my voice from an outsider’s perspective. That has changed my entire way of thinking about my vocals, specifically! There’s so much technique that can be used with breathing and projecting a voice that I could never have understood without the coaching I received on those shows! My other musical training is in violin – my first instrument – and I was trained on that for several years with multiple teachers.
Tell us about the “Stars of Alabama” contest you won.
I was amazed that I won, first of all, even if it was third place! I had just learned “Sound of Silence” and was so paranoid that I would forget the words or jumble up the verses! The contest was early on in my public performance days, right when I started booking shows at bars and cafes in Alabama. My stage presence wasn’t totally up to par, and I was super nervous about the whole thing because I was so young! I just remember how stoked I was when I got third place!
Tell us about your time on The Voice and what you achieved on that show.
My time on The Voice was very brief. It was my first experience EVER in Hollywood, and they had called me for a private audition. Of course, being young and inexperienced, I thought, “Wow, this is it! I’m going to make it!” Nope. That was when I found out there was so much more to the music and television industries than I could possibly fathom. It was an ideal first experience, but it shattered my heart when nobody turned around during the blind auditions. I definitely learned a lot, though, and I received some vocal coaching that you can’t put a price tag on!
I understand you accomplished something on American Idol that hadn’t been done before. Please tell us about that and your entire time on that show.
I was the first person in the history of the show to perform an original show during the live final rounds! The craziest part of that was I had no idea about that until I discovered I had a wikipedia page and read down to that part! I was genuinely surprised. I had no idea I was the first person to do that, but I was excited to learn of it. The best way to describe my time on the show is immensely educational. It’s what you make it. I took the experience and soaked up every bit of advice and wisdom that I possibly could from my “teachers” – which were stage managers, roadies, sound techs, wardrobe, coordinators, as well as the judges and producers. I think the most interesting aspect of it all, however, was the psychology of the show and watching different people evolve throughout the course of our time on Season XIII. I absolutely loved my time in Hollywood on American Idol, and I wish it had lasted longer! Looking back now, it was so incredibly surreal. There are so many times I reminisce and think, “Wow. That was real. I really DID that.” It’s like a dream.
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