Jessica Woodlee has amassed a reputation as a major talent well beyond her years. She is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist possessing a 3-octave range. Jessica filled her life with music from the start – studying and playing guitar since the age of 7 while also taking voice lessons learning piano, violin and auditioning for Broadway. Driven by her passion for music she then taught herself the ukulele, electric bass and recently upright bass. At age 15 this power house is just getting started.
With her natural aptitude for music and her dedication to improvement Jessica’s advanced vocal ability is no surprise. As a vocalist for her high school jazz band, Jessica won the “Best Soloist” award at the prestigious Ellington Jazz festival. She became a three-year member of the Papermill Playhouse Touring Troupe (NJ), with several lead roles, bringing the joys of musical theatre to youth with special needs.
Not everything came so easily for Jessica though. “I wrote the song ‘High School’ as I was struggling through the start of freshmen year,” (her debut focus track). “It was disillusionment to shake myself out of this fantasy I had built around what I thought high school was going to be. On the surface the song is simply me trying to cope with the everyday challenges of high school, such as bullies and insecurities, and attempting to look at the bigger picture. However, as that time has come to pass I have since realized that “High School” can really be a metaphor for any rough time in anyone’s life because no matter how hard it may become, nothing lasts forever. We might as well savor every moment and find beauty in spite of pain.“ Its interesting as we have played this song for adults and teens alike everyone seems to find a bit of their own life story in it. It’s simplicity and rawness has often been compared to that of Adele’s music.
That honesty and the ability to channel her emotions through her music led to the songs on Jessica’s upcoming EP, Karma. “Much of the EP is about feeling pain when I relied on someone who didn’t come through for me. I had to figure out how to be true to myself when the world felt like the world was falling apart. For me, there is something so powerful in being able to say I can get through this and believing it!”
The track, “Good Reason,” showcases yet another side of Jessica as she came to realize that she wouldn’t let other people stand in the way of her goals in life. “I walked into my voice lesson after a particularly awful day at school where I found other kids laughing at one of my videos. The hopelessness I felt trying constantly to impress everyone in that ridiculous school actually helped me understand something. They were going to hate me anyway. It's easier to drag someone down because of jealousy than it is to support someone. So, I thought to myself - Why not give them a good reason to be jealous and not apologize for who I am? I went home that night and thirty minutes later the entire first draft of “Good Reason”was done. Though I’m not as confident as I wish I was, that song allowed me to realize one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned.”
Lessons learned. A way forward in life discovered. Raw, real, and approachable, Jessica’s music combines the best of Pop, singer-songwriter, Blues, and Jazz to create a sound that’s all her own.
Jessica’s debut EP, Karma, will be released in early 2019.