This is Jessenia.
Jessenia, tell us more about how you got into music & acting.
I come from a family of musicians and artists.
My cousin, Brooke Simpson, from The Voice (to name a few) has also been an inspiration for me.
I started at the age of 3 years old, doing ballet while my mother would sing to me.
At a very young age, I felt out of place and knew there was something I was missing that was going to be a big part of me.
At the age of 7, I started imagining myself as a pop-star (at the time, Britney Spears and NSYNC were popping), creating my albums and pretending I was signing autographs to my stuffed animals.
I went from singing in the mirror with The Cheetah Girls and P!NK, to having my first singing talent show.
I was so nervous, my knees felt like jello and my legs felt like heavy bags of sand.
With the lights shining bright on my 10 year old face, I was not only terrified, but liberated.
I knew in that moment singing was not just hitting the notes, it was me exposing myself to the world, sharing and connecting the deepest parts of myself through music.
It wasn’t long before I was joining more talent shows and even joined a McDonalds singing competition.
Eventually, I got the coolest opportunity to sing the national anthem live at the Raleigh Mudcats Stadium.
And goodness gracious, was I the nervous wreck!
I remember saying to my parents, “What if I forget the lyrics?! I can’t forget the lyrics! It’s the national anthem, they’ll never let me live that down!”
It’s crazy how something I am so passionate about and do habitually, still gives me the butterflies.
I’ve grown to realize most of those butterflies stem from excitement.
Needless to say, the National Anthem was a smashing success, and I even got a free baseball from one of the players as a token.
Although singing was an early gift in my life, I got very much into poetry and even went to the Poetry Regionals.
I began writing and developing my own songs at the age of 12 years old.
Sometimes, I have dreams about the songs I write and other times I am inspired by personal experiences, my wild imagination, and others’ stories.
I can definitely be the one to say music was my first love.
Acting has given me a new way of outsourcing all of my thoughts and feelings.
I have always been an animated individual from a very young age, so acting became a natural delight for me.
It’s humbling to take a second to be someone else for a day and play out their story for the day.
It has given me a chance to experience and feel things that I normally wouldn’t in a day to day basis.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I decided to do stage theater where my love for acting truly blossomed.
I played a flirtatious townswoman and a young alien daughter from the Twilight Zone segments.
Sharing the floor with such talented individuals, the wardrobes, the writing, everything!
I felt like all of those times I expressed my crazy animations through flinging my barbie dolls in the air and pretending they were in 90s episodics, got me to the stage and the big screen.
I ultimately decided to take both my acting and music career more seriously by working with agents and getting the opportunity to be in TV films, commercials, a short film, and even a web series.
I thoroughly enjoy video games and experiencing so many different characters inspired me to get more involved with not just TV/film acting, but voice-over acting as well.
It wasn’t long before my passion for music and acting molded into one when I created my own radio show and commercials.
It was during that time I discovered my niche for dialects and languages.
In doing so, it has opened up a lot of possibilities for the acting and music world for me.
How would you describe your sound/style of music?
Music was always paradise for me.
I can best describe my sound as pop and contemporary R&B.
My parents had a huge hand in the styles of music I listened to.
My mother introduced me to soul and R&B groups like Envogue, TLC, Sade, Brandy, and Alicia Keys.
She also introduced me to rock-n-roll, alternative music, and Latin as well.
My father had his hand in introducing me to old school hip-hop and R&B like Dr. Dre, The Wutang Clan, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, and Tupac.
I ratted my brain for days on what my genre was or “should be” because that’s what was expected; to have a sort of label.
I draw inspiration from a wide range of sounds from all over the world from different timelines, because music is universal.
That’s part of what I love most about creating compositions.
What has been some of your favorite projects you've got to work on over the years?
I have done a lot of projects over the course of the years and they have all been such an amazing experience.
Developing my brand is one of my favorite projects I have worked on thus far.
It was tough, confusing, and all over the place in the beginning.
But it was a stepping stone in the right direction to developing not only myself as an artist, but as a person as well. I learned a lot about myself, embracing the challenging moments.
I taught myself photography and its important use in marketing and aesthetics.
I taught myself things I never would have seen myself doing otherwise.
Marketing, branding, promotions, copyrighting, trademarking, the works!
I sort of bonded with myself and learned more of what my strengths and weaknesses were, which kept me motivated to learn more, do more, collaborate more, and open my mind to other possibilities.
Do you have anything new or upcoming we can expect to see from you?
I have my very first album coming out soon.
A web series I am in, along with a few commercials are also coming out.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, a lot of the entertainment industry (along with the world) has been put on hold.
However, I am still working and creating, and am thrilled to share with you some exciting, new content!