What is your Full name?
My full name is actually Jessica Wegley but I still perform under my maiden name Jessica Saenz.
How old are you?
What is your genre of music?
I have a lot of roots in jazz/soul but I’ve really started to branch into the pop scene recently. I’m working on an EP right now that will have some electro-pop influences, which is definitely different than what I’ve done in the past.
Give us a little bio about yourself.
I’m a singer/songwriter and worship leader just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2014, I released a live album called “Live at the Keynote Cafe” that is on iTunes and is a collection of jazz/pop songs that I’ve written myself. I strive to promote self-awareness and love through my music and have had some amazing opportunities in my career like writing with songwriters in Nashville and getting the golden ticket on the X-Factor in New York. As I mentioned, I’m currently working on an EP that is scheduled to release this summer and is much more pop than my other music. Lot’s of changes coming this year and I’m excited to be on this journey!
How long have you been doing music?
I started playing piano and singing around 12 years old and I’ve been performing since I was 13, but I’ve been doing music as a full time job since I was 19. Loving every minute of it!
What made you go in to music?
I feel like it’s always been in me and I don’t know that I have had to make the choice to do music so much as it chose me. My parents bought me a keyboard for Christmas when I was 11 or 12 and I taught myself to play by ear and started writing around that time. It eventually just got to the point where I couldn’t help but create music ALL the time, and I haven’t stopped since!
Are you a signed?
Not at the moment. I’ve been approached by a label before but the longer I’ve been doing music, the more I’ve really become passionate about going the indie route and doing as much as I can without a label. The industry has really changed over the past 5-10 years and it’s becoming easier and easier to have a solo career without the help of a major label.
I found you on YOUNOW, what’s was your reaction to it all?
I actually just started broadcasting about a month ago and it has been an incredible experience so far! I feel like I’ve finally found my niche with the community there. I’m very much a people person and it’s really a neat opportunity to let fans in on my day to day life as a musician.
What’s been the best about starting a YOUNOW channel? Would you recommend it to others?
I would HIGHLY recommend it to others, especially other aspiring artists. The best part of broadcasting on YouNow is that people can truly be invested in every aspect of my music career. They can see me live when I’m in the studio, when I’m writing, when I’m headed to a show, etc. It’s truly amazing to allow fans to be on this journey with me.
How many times a day do you broadcast and what times because I know a lot of people would love to know?
I’ve found that mornings really work the best for me, so I usually broadcast at 9am EST Wednesday through Friday. I’ve been broadcasting at other times as well, if I have some free time or want to broadcast a gig but I always try to post when I’ll be broadcasting so make sure you fan me on YouNow to get my notifications! I’m hopeful that I’ll get to broadcast more in the future too, especially if I get a Partnership with them.
What instruments do you play?
I mainly play keyboard and sing. I know a little bit on guitar and I used to play the flute in high school but I usually try to stick to keys and vocals!
Who are your influences?
Alicia Keys was one of my biggest influences when I first started playing piano. A lot of old school jazz/soul artists like Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald have influenced me in the past but as I’m moving more into the pop scene Amy Winehouse and Sia have really been an inspiration to me.
Will we see an album, if so can you say when?
Yes!! This summer I’ll be releasing an EP and I have plans to release a full length album sometime next year. I’m actually doing the recording and producing myself (I’ve been live streaming from the studio so you can check it out!) and I’m working with a great local talent, Daniel Blake, to mix and master the album. It’s totally different than what I’ve done in the past and I’m really looking forward to this new phase in my career.
Will you be doing any gigs or a Tour?
Absolutely! Live performance has always been my forte so I plan on doing some touring after and leading up to the release of my EP. I’ll be posting all my shows on my website if you ever want to check it out!
If you are, where are you heading?
I’m actually still working out the details yet but it will likely be East Coast with the release of this EP.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Writing has always been an outlet for me, so I think when I started writing it was just a way for me to express myself in whatever I was going through at the time. Nowadays I’m a little more intentional about my songwriting so I still do it as a form of self expression but I’m also mindful of the fact that I’m writing music with the intent for it to be listened to and appreciated by others. I write as a way to communicate my faith to people or to communicate the things that I’m passionate about, and my passion for those things is usually where I draw from for that inspiration.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
That’s a good question…I’ve always been one to shoot for the stars! I hope in 5 years that I can be touring more often, writing more, and maybe branching into modeling, acting, or motivational speaking. I think as long as I’m able to create art and inspire people, I will be content.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I really don’t do much outside of music!!! haha Outside of my solo career, I’m also a worship leader at a church in my area so I lead the worship band every weekend and am at the church pretty frequently. I’m also huge into yoga and meditation so I’m usually either playing music or stretching out on the mat!
If you could collaborate with one UK Artist who would it be?
Adele without a doubt!!
If you could collaborate with one USA Artist who would it be?
Probably Tori Kelly. She’s got a crazy range and I hope that I will have a similar path to success as her!
Where is your dream venue or festival to perform in UK?
I honestly haven’t given a thought to that….I’d be happy to do any show in the UK at this point!!
Where is your dream venue or festival to perform in USA?
I think the House of Blues in New Orleans would be an amazing venue to play at. I love the music scene there!
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
I’ve had several songs that have meant something to me at different phases of my career but recently Sia’s song and video for “Chandelier” was really inspiring to me with the new music I’m writing. The song content, the production quality, and the artistic expression of it through the video and her performances really awakened my artistic side and reminded me that music is an art form and can be expressed in so many different ways.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Learn some business skills! I think when I was a teenager, I was still holding on to the hope that someone would “discover” me but as I got older, I realized how infrequently that actually happens and one of the best things I did for myself was to get some business skills under my belt to learn how to market myself so that I can continue making music.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Don’t let anything hold you back if you’re serious about your love for music. People don’t like to talk about it, but if you’ve spent any time in the music industry, you know that there will be countless failures before you reach any sort of success. Too many musicians get let down by a big failure and then call it quits. You WILL have failures. LOTS of failures. And then some more failure! Use those experiences to learn and grow. There’s always another open door somewhere and there’s no such thing as that one big chance to get your foot in the door. Make your own way and keep your head up!
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
I have a couple and I actually have them tattooed on me. The first is a bible verse: “The Lord will fight for you; You need only to be still,” -Exodus 14:14 It’s just a reminder that I don’t have to try to force things to happen. If I do my part and let God do His part, He’s got my back. The other is simply “Live Free.” We have the freedom to be who we want in this world and I’m constantly working towards self-awareness.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
I don’t know that I could limit it to just 5!! haha Aside from the obvious musical equipment, I always have to have cough drops, water, duct tape, business cards, and sometimes wine is a necessity. haha
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?