Country singer/songwriter Jess Taylor seeks the big time.
She may not sing about prison and whiskey, but make no mistake, Jess Taylor is an 18-year-old dynamo – bursting with energy, talent and ambition. She’s aiming for the stars, and hopes to be one as a country singer/songwriter. A lifelong Floridian who lives in Lighthouse Point, she performs as Jess Taylor. At this point, she is steps ahead of other young singers with similar dreams. She has a professional talent management company promoting her and has racked up some impressive performing credits. How many young country singers from South Florida have been awarded the CMG Radio International Chart Buster Award for a recording? How many have opened for the rock group Spin Doctors? How many have opened for country music legend John Anderson?
There’s more. Her award-wining original song – “Do You Feel It Too?” – was produced as a beautiful video that’s been seen on the country music television network GAC (Great American Country). That video – along with a second – can be seen on You Tube. She also has three single records available on iTunes.
She sang on the VIP Stage at Cruzan Amphitheater in West Palm Beach when country star Brad Paisley was in concert there. She also performed for large crowds at NASCAR events and was chosen to sing the National Anthem at a Marlins spring training baseball game at the stadium in Jupiter. Locally, she often has Friday and Saturday night gigs, singing and playing guitar at various venues. Like other aspiring country music stars, Jess heard the call of Nashville, America’s country music capital. She was booked for a few gigs there, including a performance at a party for the cast of the TV show “Nashville.” While there, Jess was able to climb on stage at the now-famous Bluebird Café, a magnet for singers and songwriters who line up around the block for a chance to show their stuff in the Nashville music community.
When talking about a future in music, Jess’s eyes shine. She becomes more animated and bubbles with enthusiasm. “This is all I want to do,” she says. “I want this so bad! I know I will sing all my life, whether it’s on a big stage for a big audience or in a small club for 10 people.” Her passion goes beyond singing, extending to writing songs she sings. “My songs are my babies,” she says. “ I love writing songs. You can touch so many people.”
Her passion for music is far from something new. She has wanted to be singer for as long as she can remember. She’s been told that when she was two years old, her grandmother gave her a birthday card – the kind that sings a song when you open it. The song was “You Are My Sunshine.” She’s been told that she could sing along with the musical card. Her mother says Jess could “hold a note” at that early age. Dreams in the highly competitive music world don’t easily come true. But Jess Taylor’s been working at it for years. As a child she put on home concerts for family and friends. Later, she accepted unpaid gigs, and landed her first professional – paid – performance when she was just 14. For a young person to successfully chase a career in music, it usually takes more than talent. It often takes dedicated support from parents or family members. Jess’s parents have been with her all the way, encouraging her to pursue what she really wants to do. “They’ve been supportive since I was a child,” Jess says.” They still go to a lot of my gigs.”
Jess’s mom, Robin, who prefers not to publicize the last name to preserve some privacy and security, tried to expose her daughter to many things – ballet, karate, music, competitive swimming and other activities so that her daughter could experience different things and choose a path. “Our job is to teach our children to be strong and confident adults,” she says. “Knowing who you are is very important. I always said, ‘Know who you are and go after it’.” Young Jess knew exactly who she was and who she wanted to be – someone who writes songs and sings them for others. Along the way, she’d like to be a role model that young girls will look up to. While trying to build a music career, Jess is also getting a formal education, attending Florida Atlantic University with an eye on a communications major. She also finds time to work part-time at Bonefish Mac’s Sports Grille and the Lighthouse Point Yacht Club.
While many aspiring young singers and musicians search unsuccessfully for a booking agent or manager, Jess didn’t have to go looking. One found her and came calling. He is Darnell Ellis of Midwest Star Records who heard her music on ReverbNation, an online music service. He contacted the family and has been managing and promoting Jess for the last few years. The video of the song she wrote – “Do You Feel It Too?” – was produced by MU2 Production, in Miami. The video was shot in one day at a location in Southwest Ranches. Although you might not notice in the video, there was a light rain that made the shoot a bit difficult. If you watch closely, you’ll see some bugs buzz through the air near the final scenes. The producer first thought that was disruptive, but then he and Jess decided it unintentionally adds to the ambiance of the country scene.
You can see the video on You Tube if you just search for Jess Taylor. You can also check her web site – the website for Jess Taylor Music: jesstaylormusic.com. Not surprising, jesstaylormusic.com is also on Facebook. These days, Jess Taylor’s eyes are focused intently on the road ahead, the road that leads to recording studios and country music stages. Can she get there? Jess’s mother: “She has the drive. She’s really focused. She is confident, and she is driven.”
Spend an hour with Jess Taylor and you’ll know all those things are true. You might believe she can get where she wants to go.