She has the swagger of a modern-day Shania Twain, with the vocal power of a young Christina Aguilera. You may recognize her from Season 14 of NBC’s The Voice (Team Blake), where singer, songwriter, and national recording artist, JessLee showed the world what it meant to take you to church! Just one week away until the release of her newest single, “Over Him,” the recording artist has been busy at work.
Grit Daily sat down with JessLee to get a glimpse of how she got her start in the industry and the much-anticipated release of her new single, “Over Him,” due out in one week. We were granted an exclusive opportunity to listen to the new single, which can only be described as—GIRL POWER.
As the South Florida’s artist continues to boom throughout her hometown of Florida, and across the nation, we wanted the scoop on the bigger ‘boom’ she’s bringing to fans in her upcoming release. Having been in Nashville for just three months, JessLee has been producing massive waves that will only continue to rock the music industry, becoming the genre-bending artist she so passionately embraces.
Genre-Bending With Grammy-Nominated Producer, Brad Hill
For the Voice recording artist, her new single, “Over Him,” produced by 2x Grammy-Nominated producer, Brad Hill, is a complete rebranding. Hill, the power behind Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne, Brett Young, and countless others, has been a major player in helping JessLee expand her vocal style into something much bigger.
“The way my team has been describing my new branding, I’m very proud of,” JessLee told us. “Specifically, how they’ve configured the tagline—they like to call me ‘the modern-day Shania Twain, with the vocal power of a young Christina Aguilera.’ It’s different, but accurately describes who I am. I’ve always had this pop-vocally edge, and have always been able to do a little more than the average country singer—just a little simpler.
It’s Time You Get Over Your Fear of Letting Go
But for someone who may not be accustomed to the singer’s new style, or maybe is a first-time listener, what can they expect from JessLee?
GD: For someone who may not be familiar with your work or may be accustomed to your “previous sound,” how would you suggest your fans approach the album and the single, ‘Over Him?’
JL: I think for the people who know me and have already loved and listened to my music, they should be ready for something bigger and truthfully, a more polished way to release who I’ve already been. For those who are newer to my music, just being able to like the song and lyrics itself, is important. Overall, the song is speaking to my ladies—to women. It’s about a girl telling another girl how she’s in this unhealthy relationship, and how she deserves better, and by continuously letting him back in her life, she will never be over him or be able to move forward. So, get on with it. Ideally, it’s talking to a girl, but everyone has experienced that in their life—where they’ve been in a relationship with an unhealthy person and letting them come back into their life. I’ve been there, and I couldn’t let it go.
GD: Digging deeper into your vocal style, how would you describe it now than when you first started?
JL: When I first started, I didn’t have a producer until now—until I started working with Brad Hill. Until I was with him, I was always able to capture segments of who I am, still mixing it with country music, but never able to reach that commercial aspect I was trying to hit at well. The stuff I have released is great and part of my growing process, but it’s a little more cerebral and obscure. Being with Brad and being able to work with him has been awesome because he’s been able to capture this style and this sound that I’m looking for, and putting it in a nice pretty, commercial package for me. He’s done a killer job. What I’m doing now stylistically is being this country-pop with little rock elements, kind of when you go back and listen to Shania Twain, who tested the boundaries of country music at that time. My heart and soul is in country music, which is what I love, but when it comes to singing, I definitely love pushing the boundaries and being a genre-bender.
GD: Do you have a process when it comes to writing new music and recording?
JL: Funny enough, I have never had a successful writing session where I felt as if I was following a process. For me, my writing experiences are definitely unique, because they are all so different—whether it’s self-write or co-write. I call myself a chameleon, because I feel you have more of an advantage being a chameleon writer, rather than making everyone following your process. If you can be the person that is accepting other ideas and suggestions and welcome others’ creative processes, it opens the door for the ability to have more exciting and new opportunities.
My favorite experience is when you have a co-write and when you can ask the question to each person in the group—how are you feeling? Having something everyone can relate to and/or feel, helps for third-person writing, where you get to feel what that person is feeling.
GD: When you finish writing or recording, who is the first person you go to?
JL: Aside from people on my team, on an emotional level, it’s always been my mom. I always like to run it by her. I remember when I was a little girl and starting to write, it’s a lot of content—I remember my Mom being there and telling me when I could be doing better. I like constructive criticism and having people around you that make sure you’re growing. I found people on my crew and in my circle, who are all people who are open and truthful. You have to be truthful with yourself and your crew. My mom has always been the person to do that when it comes to going outside of my team.
Embracing Social Media to Expand a Unique Fan-Base
Unlike many artists, JessLee loves to communicate directly with fans, doing her very best to answer their comments, direct messages, and/or at least respond with a smiley face.
When we first reached out to her, mind you, during 2019 CMA Fest, the artist was quick to respond. Unheard of!
GD: What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
JL: I have grown to love Instagram because it is still the best application for discovery and being able to communicate with people. It’s such a cool concept of content-focused and watching people’s successes. While some embellish their life, I love to highlight real-life. It’s great having a platform where people can gloat about themselves and share their life with others. It says more about who you are as a person if you’re playing the comparison game, but if you living your life and sharing that with everyone, it’s great. But it’s great for communication purposes. The way they have made it so easy to respond to people. It’s organized and easy for me to reach out to people and thank them for their continued support.
Fixing A ‘Lack of Love’ With a ‘S.T.R.O.N.G. Message
During the interview, Grit Daily and JessLee were able to really talk heart-to-heart, as both are strongly invested in anti-bullying education.
Similar to the #CYBERBYTE initiative, which we have endorsed, JessLee’s trademarked and copywritten non-profit, Music & Muscles, spreads her personal experiences by sharing her S.T.R.O.N.G. message to young people.
For all intents and purposes, it is the missing piece to the puzzle, providing an interactive way for students to learn about the importance of staying healthy, determined, and strong—mentally, physically, and spiritually.
“There’s a lot of stuff we touch on, the artist said, “but primarily, although I think bullying is important, there are so many sub-categories people can go in and talk with young people about. I truthfully believe my program is unique in that it doesn’t just touch on just one subject, but rather, goes to the core of what I think the problem is—a lack of love. I think if someone is in love with who they are and the life they are living, they won’t feel the need to shoot up a school, or bully someone, or say something negatively about someone. Because they are too busy loving who they are. It comes down to talking to students about being able to invest in themselves and learn how to invest in their life, and learn that when someone says something about them, it has to do with that person and their insecurities. It teaches you to have the strength to not be the person to do those negative things to others. Taking that energy and investing it into being a bigger and stronger person.”