Country music singer-songwriter Jessica Meuse will already be a recognisable name to viewers of American Idol. Finishing fourth in the thirteenth season of the show, Jessica released her debut single Done independently on April 21.
Done has an interesting bluesy rock sound to the production which also really suits Jessica's gritty tone. Her gutsy vocal delivery grows and fades in power throughout the track creating a compelling vocal arrangement that controls the production nicely.
The track opens with an acoustic guitar which then builds as the chorus approaches, leaving a chorus led by drums and electric guitar. It doesn't, however, feel overpowering at any point, leaving the listener with the distinct impression that the producer, musicians and Jessica herself know exactly what they are doing and are confidently able to create a very strong track.
I was recently able to catch up with Jessica and ask her some questions...
You have quite a mixed base of influences, how would you describe your music to new listeners?
I am heavily influenced by 90s country, southern rock, and classic rock. I grew up listening to and looking up to artists like Fleetwood Mac (Stevie!), Lynyrd Skynyrd, CCR, Faith Hill, Lonestar, Led Zeppelin, (there are a TON more) and have frequently been compared to Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, and Janis Joplin! I guess you could say I am a nice mix of good ol' country music and southern rock. I like to compare my vibe to that of Brantley Gilbert or Mumford and Sons - they have a banjo, that bluegrass element, but they can totally rock out at the same time and take you by surprise.
You came through American Idol, do you feel that has given you an advantage?
Definitely. American Idol is a huge, mainstream, national television show, so of course that gave me an advantage…I used to be a totally under-the-radar (if I was even on the radar), struggling performer and writer. Idol was a huge platform that I am incredibly grateful for, and it taught me more than I could explain in one sitting. It definitely gave me the jump I needed.
What are you enjoying most about your time since American Idol?
I am enjoying working and focusing on my own written material more rather than learning cover songs, rehearsing them, etc. I currently have more time to write original material and network with other artists and build my fan base.
If you could take only one thing on tour what would it be?
My guitar of course!
Do you find it harder to write tracks from personal experience or to put yourself into someone else's shoes?
Just like in a mundane situation, it's harder to see from a perspective other than your own. It is definitely easier for me to write from my own experience than to try to imagine someone else's. However, I have written from another person's experience before! It just took me a while. I had to really imagine what it was like and take myself and my personal reaction out of the picture.
Which is the hardest track you've ever written?
Probably my more emotional songs, my sadder songs. They're more like open wounds, not wrapped up in any other emotion like happiness or anger. I have an older song I wrote called "Hate Me" - actually, it was one of the first songs I ever wrote - and it was really hard to write just because of how raw and emotional it was. Being a singer-songwriter is wearing your heart on your sleeve and putting to music the things some people may not necessarily have the words or strength to say.
Which song are you most proud of?
It's honestly hard to just pick one song, because all of the songs I write are so personal and true. They've all played their part in getting me through something or taking me somewhere. As far as musical success goes, however, I am super proud of my song, "Blue-Eyed Lie," because I ended up being the first contestant on American Idol to sing an original song in the finals. I had no idea at the time that that hadn't been done before, but when I found out, I freaked out! And it charted!
Where would you like to see your career take you?
I would love for my career to take me all around the world, playing larger venues with a full band, making a living doing what I love. It's not about fame…I really just want to see the world, meet my fans, and create music and art. That's my goal!
Are there any plans to tour the UK?
Definitely. I have always wanted to go to the UK, and travelling is a huge part of who I am. I have several fans over there, and I would love to meet them!Thanks to Jessica for her time! I am definitely interested to hear what a full album from her will bring, undoubtedly an artist to keep an eye on!