Thanks to GSC reporter, Dan Reifsnyder
Dan Reifsnyder: So what brought you to Nashville?
Jessica Mack: I guess ultimately the Lord – I was just praying like “Lord, where do You want me to go?” and He made it pretty clear that it was Nashville. He even kinda redirected me to music after I gave up on that dream.
DR: You gave up?
JM: Yeah, I kinda did. In college, I started out as a music major and you know you have to take classical theory and stuff. It just wasn’t my jam. I was falling asleep in class and worried it would destroy my love for music. So I switched majors and got a job in the corporate world – I got a job as a receptionist. What was cool about this job was that they had a company band! They had auditions for a lead singer because the old one got a deal or something, and I got the gig! It reintroduced me to my love of music! Then I felt like the Lord was calling me to pursue music on a full time basis. So I returned to Arkansas for a year before moving to Nashville.
DR: So you’ve also been to Honduras and Haiti?
JM: Yes! And that was another cool thing. I remember hearing from the Lord in Haiti about what genre of music to do. This guy we were on the trip with – a pastor – was always singing. And someone on the trip was like “You’re always singing songs to the Lord!” and he said “If you’re going to sing about something, sing about the truth!” And that reinforced that I should do Christian music.
DR: So who are your musical influences?
JM: I’m very much a Pop girl. I love the Top 40. I love me some 90’s Pop…Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey. “Always Be My Baby” was my jam. And riding with my mom we’d always listen to Country or Christian – Reba, Jo Dee Messina, Shania Twain. I’ve always leaned more towards the females. For Christian music Natalie Grant, Nichole Nordeman, Stacie Orrico, Jaci Velasquez…a new influence I’ve discovered recently is Hollyn. She’s brought something different to the genre.
DR: What are some songs you wish you’d written?
JM: There’s so many good songs…I’m a sucker for worship songs like “Good, Good Father”. It’s simple and true. Songs that are glorifying to God and speaks to people and are transformative, you know? Pop songs, like just fun songs, this is totally opposite but like “…Baby, One More Time”. It’s a fun song that everybody knows. Or even like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – songs that bring joy, you know?
DR: How did you get hooked up with GSC?
JM: I think it was through Tanya Sue!
DR: She’s great, I love her!
JM: Me too! We had met on the street actually. So random. We were walking out of a concert or a hockey game and her and I just started talking and she’s just a little ball of joy. We wrote together and she told me about Sheree. I talked to my manager Paul, and he said “I know Sheree! She goes to my church!” So I introduced myself and showed her my music and the rest is history. I know God orchestrated it. She’s been a huge blessing.
DR: I mentioned this recently, but she is the most supportive person I know for songwriters – she is 100% in their corner.
JM: It’s such an amazing thing. I relate it back to the Gospel because it almost doesn’t make sense how supportive and sacrificial she can be of herself. She’s the embodiment of Christ.
DR: Do you have a project coming up that you want to talk about?
JM: Sure! I released my first EP in December, that was my Country EP. But I felt led to change tracks and do Christian. So I’ve been writing a lot and trying to build a catalog. I’m excited! I’ve written some songs with some really great writers. I’m hoping it’ll be out by the end of the year, maybe October. I might have a single this summer too.
DR: So aside from releasing an EP, what are your goals for this year?
JM: Good question. Have you ever heard how we’ve got 7 or 8 different spokes in our lives? Like, family, spiritual, financial, etc. So I’ve set goals for each of them but I guess in the forefront is finishing that EP, and another is going deeper into relationships with teen moms that I’ve been working with. The Lord has also called me to start a non profit home for teen moms.
DR: Tell me about that!
JM: Sure! When I got involved in Young Life, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. But the Lord just broke my heart wide open. I came to realize there are so many young mothers who are in abusive relationships, who are homeless. And there’s no place that will take teenage mothers and their children. A lot of places won’t take both of them, they will separate them. It’s definitely one of the biggest calls I’ve had on my life.
DR: Well, very cool. Thanks for talking today!
JM: You’re welcome!