Jessica Horton’s love of music and singing began 27 years ago when she was just three years old.
She would travel with her grandparents to old school houses and opry houses where they would sing for the people. Â People would leave donations, and later on, this would actually pay for her first year of college.
As Jessica got older, she encountered others her age who began making fun of her for singing the classic country music and for dressing like a cowgirl for her family’s concerts. This peer pressure led Jessica to focus on other interests during her high school years and put her dreams of a music career on hold. “Looking back, I would give anything now for some of those moments with my grandparents,” Jessica says.
Jessica continued to dream of the day she would be singing professionally. As she began college, she feared her passion and dream seemed unattainable and thought it may never be more than a hobby, but God had other plans in store for her life.
She would go on to study classical voice in college and receive her degree in music education. She began teaching piano and voice. She discovered a new passion for her teaching when she began tutoring English to Chinese students online.
Musically, Jessica was influenced by the late Patsy Cline. She attributes much of her vocal warmness and tonal quality to her influence. Ministry opportunities began to open up for Jessica and she is currently serving as youth director for her church in addition to leading praise and worship.
During June of 2018, after some encouragement from her husband, David, Jessica reached out to M.A.C. Records. After hearing her sing, the label immediately knew she was a voice that should be heard.Â Leslie McKay of M.A.C. Records received a message on Facebook from Jessica that said, â€œOkayâ€¦Iâ€™m ready to give this music thing a try.â€
Leslie states, “There were three song files attached. I opened the tracks and after listening to them took them to my husband Dennis. I told him to take a listen. When I asked who it sounded like, neither of us could think of anyone. That’s a good thing.”
“We were very interested in talking with her. Her sound was very unique and pure and not like anyone else that we had ever heard,” Dennis McKay of M.A.C. Records says. A meeting was set up at Studio 115A to talk about Jessica’s vision and how she wanted to pursue her musical dream. Â
Dennis states, “Initially, she was interested in pursuing secular music with an old country sound. We began talking about recording cover songs, but we encouraged her to think about writing her own songs. Jessica had never written any original songs, but she started trying her hand at songwriting. It wasnâ€™t long before she had â€˜Love Wins,â€™ and another song called â€˜Motown Song.’ The songs just started flowing and she was on her way to writing and recording a secular project.”
However, there was another plan in the works; a divine plan.
After some prayer and a series of events, Jessica decided that performing secular music was not the way she wanted to go. She decided that Christian music was what she was being called to do. Â
The focus shifted and Jessica’s efforts moved toward writing gospel music with a country, bluegrass, and Americana feel. Â
Dennis says, “It was at that point that we began discussions about her joining M.A.C. Records which is a label with all Christian music and artists. She signed and became a M.A.C. Records artist in August of 2018.”
Jessica would go on to write eight of the 10 songs on her debut album, â€œBoth Feet In.â€ She shares that â€œRight Outsideâ€ was her favorite song from the album. She states, ” I wrote that song to describe the frustration and angst of depression and anxiety, which I have struggled with.”
Jessica hopes with her music, she can bridge a gap between some of the younger fans of country music, giving them a viable alternative with Christian country. Â She keeps a variety of songs in her shows, from older classics, to her own newer original songs, to provide appeal for fans of all ages.
Jessica loves various music genres from jazz to blues, country, and gospel. Her love of music is obvious as she sings with conviction and heartfelt emotion in her songs. She shares, “I love songs that tell our stories of humanity, and I love songs that tell about the Lord and our relationship with him.” Â
Jessica is moving forward in her music ministry with excitement, stating, “God loves me the way I am – with all my flaws and selfish ways, but he doesnâ€™t expect me to stay that way. He expects us to pursue holiness as he is holy. And if I want to please him and look more like him so that others can see him more clearly, I have to put away my selfish desires and love others as extravagantly as he has loved me.”
Jessica’s current radio single, â€œPicturesâ€, debuts on the charts at number 59 for the month of May and she’s been nominated for a 2019 Diamond Award for Sunrise Artist of the year.
As doors have begun to open for Jessica Horton, she’s decided to follow God’s calling and spread the message that’s been placed on her heart. She does so, remembering the special times spent those years ago with her grandparents, performing for opry and school houses to the present opportunities she has sharing her own songs with audiences.
She’s doing all this with an amazing God-given talent, and with both feet in.
Jessica Horton will be appearing at Christian Country at the Creek, Oct. 30 – 31, 2019, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Find out more about Jessica Horton HERE.
By Jimmy Reno
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in May 2019.
Jimmy Reno is a regular writer for SGNScoops Magazine and is also a member of popular Christian Country music group Mark209.
Mark209 will be appearing at the 2019 Creekside Gospel Music Convention, Smoky Mountain Convention Center, Pigeon Forge,Tenn., Oct. 28 – 31, 2019.
For more information on the Christian Country at the Creek and the 2019 Creekside Gospel Music Convention, accommodations, VIP seating, and tickets, contact Rob Patz at 360-933-0741.
Read the June SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE