Okay, before I get started, I need to do something real quick...
That's Reba. She's cheering for me.
WOW. Reba is so excited about me winning the Preds game Smash Hit semi-finals! She can't believe I made it to the finals that happen Friday April 12th, 2013!
Thanks, Reba, for all your support!* (please note SMALL disclaimer at end of this post)
I am so thankful for this opportunity. That's so cliché to say/write, but I really mean it. To be able to play for 19,000-something people for two whole games, and now a THIRD!
I'm VERY tempted to wear a billboard somewhere on my body with my website and contact information on it for the next game. I ain't above it.
For this last performance, I sang Dolly Parton's "Jolene," and it was a blast! It's dark, it's twisted, it's soulful-ish, it's the south, it's everything.
There was one other guy I was competing with - Mitchell Tenpenny. He was awesome. And SO cool. Oh, Competition, you try and divide us, but it ain't gonna work. People are awesome, and we singer-type need all the support we can get.
I somehow managed to get the highest amount of votes, and I will be singing one more time for this competition.
BAH, I really hope I get this.
April 12th. Friday. 2013. Tickets are cheaper right now. StubHub has 'em, Craig's List has 'em, the world is your hockey puck(oyster)! Why don't ya grab some and come vote for me? *bats eyelashes*
I leave you with a couple more pictures from the game. Yeehaw!
*Technically, Reba does not know me from Adam, nor does she know I am using this picture. TECHNICALLY, I might have just googled "woohoo!" and this picture popped up, and I just ganked it off the Internet, blah blah....
Most of the time, life runs in a pretty predictable pattern. You eat your breakfast, go out and till your land for the day, pay some bills, buy some dish soap, have a few thoughts of wishing you could buy the more expensive dish soap, eat dinner, and then go to bed, wake up, and do it all again. ...Then every once in awhile, something really crazy and interesting happens, and in about 10 seconds, your life goes from organized and predictable to messy and AWESOME!
Apparently, it was my turn to have the random-awesome moment this week! Sa-weet!
A long time ago (it felt like a year!), I submitted a video into a singing contest. It was for the Nashville Predators' "Smash Hit" singing competition. They held live auditions in downtown Nashville. I had missed them and saw something about it on the news that evening. They then said videos were also being accepted. That night, about an hour before the deadline, I sent in a video and forgot all about it.
Fast forward to this past Friday night. I get this email:
You have been selected to compete in our Smash Hit vocal competition. I wanted to check with you to see if you were available Monday the 25th for a 5pm sound check and 8:30 performance during the second intermission at our game.
Once I know your availability, I'll send you the details for the day."
What?! What did I sign up for again? Is this a scam? I was confused. After a couple more emails, I realized what was going on, and it started to sink in.
(Although, for one competitive-singing-tv-show-that-shall-remain-nameless, I made it to the top 15, but I wound up rolling my eyes at a comment the judges made about my performance, a moment which was focused on in the episode, and then "suddenly" I was cut. Oops... teehee.)
Now, on to the night of the game/competition. Long story short, we got up on the "band stage" at 2nd intermission, each sang our one song, and afterwards the people at the game texted in who their favorite was. Then after about 5 minutes, voting stopped and they announced the winner.
Somehow, I managed to win this particular singing contest and advance to the semi-finals.
...Which will be held NEXT TUESDAY, APRIL 2ND.
Did you see that? I'll type it again, just in case.
NEXT TUESDAY, APRIL 2ND.
And cheap tickets can be purchased here. And then you can come and vote for me. Come on, you know you wanna see me on a Jumbo Tron. A JUMBO TRON, for cryin' out loud!
If I win the semi-finals, I will advance to the final round. If I win the finals, I will get the most incredible blessings I could think of right now. Like a fully paid-for showcase in Nashville provided by William Morris Agency, as well as William Morris Agency representation, as well as studio time. Oh my good grief, knowing how difficult it is to have such great representation, and how expensive it is to have a showcase, this would be a dream come true. Especially since I have an album coming out soon!
Also, I just want to say (write)... Ryan, the guy whom I was competing against, was really awesome.
It is so hard to "accurately" JUDGE someone's music.
...Which is why I hold very loosely to things like competitions.
But I still wanna win. :P
I never said that.
I leave you with some photos and low-quality video footage of the events of last night. If you get dizzy watching them, just close your eyes. :P
movin' and shakin'
This past Thursday, my husband and I drove to Georgia to have a creative meeting with the producer and his team.
On the way there, we stopped in Chattanooga and went to the Tennessee Aquarium and Cheeburger Cheeburger (a famous burger place). We went in honor of our 1st wedding anniversary that happened yesterday (Sunday). aaaawww :P I have one picture from it. You really don't wanna see it. It's very lame.
See, I told you. Moving on...
We made it to Georgia. Valdosta, GA to be exact. Home of the - well, I'm not real sure yet. We did find a $2.50 movie theater and a few pawn shops. And we found one of those parking lot fairs, too. But we didn't do any of it because
we have no money we're extremely fancy.
We met Mark the producer, Jim the business guy, and Steve the assistant, at the new studio.
Yes, this is it. This is what a Grammy winner's studio looks like. Okay, maybe not ALL of them, but swampy, soulful, southern ones can make this old building a bad@$$ music-making hub.
'Don't judge a book by it's cover' would be an appropriate reminder at this moment.
Anyways, My husband played guitar, and I played a little piano, and we played through my songs. We re-worked a couple of things, but every song is being kept the same as I had written them. Pretty awesome. :)
That's Mark there on the right. :)
After the meeting, we left the next day to play a show at The Rookery in Macon, GA. We like them there, and it's a good place to try out new songs.
Then, we got up the next morning, visited with my cute lil Nana Banana,
...and then went back home to recoup. I'm still recouping. I'm sleepy. Somebody gimme a Red Bull. No, please don't give me a Red Bull, that stuff tastes like ABC bubble gum dipped in dirty Koolaid.
Oh, you sweet, sweet Maconians. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... 1. You know how to lay back and let loose. You're just fun people. 2. You have good taste in burgers. (The Rookery's burgers are pretty ridic.) 3. You're super cute. Every single one of you. 4. You thought my jokes were funny (some people don't, can you believe it?! hehe).
And best of all, most wonderful thing of all is...
YOU CAME!! YOU CAME TO HEAR ME SING!!!
I'm honestly so amazed at how many of you came to hear and cheer and bob your sweet little heads to the music. You allowed me to do my most favorite thing in the world -
be a totally obnoxious ham entertain. I am working on getting down there again in March. Yeehaw!
I leave you with this lil cute picture of y'all from my point of view. :)
Not a sad sack in the place. I heart you.
With Love, Jessie.
Like any good starving artist, I have been trying to play as many shows as I can. This includes the ever-interesting "Open Mic Nights." As one can imagine, open mic nights are GREAT people-watching. It's kinda like the DMV of the music industry, if you get my drift.... I kidnapped my husband last night, and we drove down to the historic Bluebird Café in Nashville. I've decided that's why God made marriage. So people don't have to go to awkward Open Mic Nights alone. Among other things.
I knew it was going to be a bit crazy, as the Bluebird is quite the tourist attraction, and it's probably tinier than any other bar or restaurant ever, in the history of ever. But alas, this is what people do if they wanna be a singer/songwriter, so I better get in line.
We walked up to the unassuming line with a smile on our faces. We were ready to OWN this thang.
But as a few hours passed, standing in line in the cold, our attitudes got a little cold, too. We tried to entertain ourselves, and as the line grew, it worked for a little while.
But we quickly got cranky. Like, super cranky. I'm not posting pictures of that.
We finally got inside. Yessssss. We signed in, got a hot chocolate and prepared for a long night. They then called out by random drawing, who was playing when. By the time they got to #30, they said, "The following people MAY be able to play 1 song tonight, but it's not guaranteed: JESSIE SMITH...."
"AW H*LL NAW," I yelled. "YOU GONNA LET ME PLAY, SON!"
Just kidding. I didn't say that. I just made this face.
I was fading FAST. Then, the announcer guy said, "If you want, you can take a number and come back next week and have the opportunity to play in the first hour, because this is a big pain my @$$." (That was a loose translation.)
So we took our number and happily got outta dodge.
Maybe next time we will ACTUALLY get to perform.
Before I begin this, I want to say, I am in no way "above" performing for small crowds. I've played many-sized concerts, large crowds and small. However, playing for small crowds is kind of the norm for a starving artist like myself. That being said...
My band and I performed a show yesterday at the Putnam County Fairgrounds in Cookeville, TN called the Upper Cumberland Music Festival. Now, before I continue, I must say 1. the music festival apologized to us, and 2. it's a pretty small town. They were very nice about the whole thing.
THAT being said...
We pulled up in our packed-out Suburban to the fairgrounds around 1:30 PM. We would go on at 3:30 PM. The festival had food vendors, games, little animal rides, a small stage, and a really big main stage (where we were to perform). The only problem was...
There were ZERO people in the parking lot. And when I say ZERO, I mean ZERO attenders. There were lots of workers buzzing around, trying to find something to do. Keep in mind, this was the 3rd day of the festival, and it had begun earlier that morning. And it was now the afternoon.
Imagine going to your local county fair. Now imagine not a SOUL is there but you. Funnel cakes, corn, and fried beef sticks, and only you, walking awkwardly around them, not knowing quite what to do with yourself. That was us.
"This sounds kind of weird, Jessie, but not THAT weird," you say. "Oh really?" I ask.
"Take a look at the stage..."
Or this angle...
(Note the sound booth there in the middle).
Like I said, not a soul. Plus, the grandness of stage size (and fairgrounds size) created a slightly eerie, never-come-here-by-yourself-at-night kind of feel.
Lucky for me, I have a built-in travel fan-base.
Everyone, meet my in-laws!
They parked their travelin' chairs right down in front of the stage, the perfect place for doing "The Wave." They helped triple our fan base that day.
embarrassing humbling experience, however, did not get our spirits down! (Ok, it got my drummer's spirits down a little, but he's almost through the anger stage of the grief process, so he'll be fine...eventually.) We put our stompin' boots on and performed the crap outta that empty ghost town fairground! And that's kind of what it's all about right? Besides, you know, actually making money.