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An Interview with Jessi Alexander
By CSO European Contributing Journalist, Christian Lamitschka.

Jessi Alexander was born in Jackson, TN. Her father, a painter and musician, named her after singer-songwriter Jessi Colter. Alexanderís parents divorced when she was 3, so she divided her time between her mother's new home in Georgia and her fatherís in Memphis.

C. L: Jessi, tell us about your musical roots. What inspired you to follow the path youíve chosen?

J. A: I guess it all starts at an early age as you mentioned my parents were split up but my dad and I had a great connection with music he was a huge music lover still is at an early age he gave me a stack of these vinyl records he collected at college and as Iím sure you can imagine that in the 60ís he had some great music back then but it was everything from Bill Monroe to Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix so I got a lot of information early on from him a lot of roots music like The Band, The Eagles and Little Feet then also a lot of country music like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline thatís when my musical journey started.

C. L: What was the first album you bought for yourself and why?

J. A: I donít remember my first actual purchase but I do remember the most significant time I went to go and buy a record and that was when, I think I was nine, my Grandmother had taken me to the Ms. Tennessee contest uhÖbeauty pageant, which I did not want to go to I was kinda a tomboy but she wanted to take me to this and I heard a girl that day in the talent competition sing a Patsy Cline song it wasnít necessarily the girl I was interested in, it was the song and the voice so I asked my Grandmother who it was and she said thatís Patsy Cline and I said ohhhh Iíve got to have that we drove straight to the Walmart and I bought my first Patsy Cline greatest hits and I think that was the most pivotal album bought.

C. L: Tell us about your life after graduating from high school.

J. A: Well I was kind of a typical teenager in high school I tried to keep my life very normal to most kids I was a teenager and then I went straight onto college as a social work major I thought thatís what I wanted to do in the mean time I started getting into bands playing with as many bands as I could some rock, some country Öeverything and during that process I learned at my college they had a music program, I tried to do that for a while but I wasnít too good at it, my eye was on Nashville I started driving here a lot soon my professors just encouraged me to quit school and move here, which I did.

C. L: You signed your first deal with MCA Records but ended up with Sony. How did that happen?

J. A: I recorded my record at MCA and they luckily let me make the record I wanted to make but I was under a certain regime a guy named Mark Wright, Bruce Hinton and Tony Brown well as you know in this business thereís a lot of merging that can take place and through that process Mark Wright and the people that believed in me moved over to Sony luckily when I finished my record and all the merging happened I go to go with him.

C. L: What are you bringing to country music as an artist?

J. A: Oh gosh I hope that I am bringing some truth and reality and some rawness to the music I think the influences I bring to the table like Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash even Steve Earle a lot of the roots music that I love hopefully Iím bringing some edge back thereís a lot of women that can do more polished sound a lot better but for me I think that country hasnít been cool for a very long time I hope that I bring some elements of that.

C. L: It seems from reading your bio that you were destined to come to where you are today, but itís been a very twisted road. Could you tell about some of the turns which have brought you to this place?

J. A: Every artist has twists and turns getting here, people think that we automatically show up to town and get a deal and you know there are always lots of twists and turns I came from kind of a dysfunctional family thatís the first twist and turn but I think that made me the writer and artist that I am then quitting school after I got my publishing deal I went through a merger there, finally got a record deal, another merger and then my mother got sick and I had to care for her I spent a year of my record deal caring for my mother who had cancer. Merging and then the business end of it is always a twist and turn I think what Iíve gone through isnít any different than a lot of artists here but hopefully it makes us better.

C. L: Tell the fans who donít know you yet where they can connect and find out more about you.

J. A: Please check out my website at www.jessialexander.com thatís really the best it tells you were Iím gonna be what Iím up to who Iím playing with everything about whatís going on with me also you can check out www.sonynashville.com I guess the web is really the best way to get a hold of me right now but please just check out my record when it gets into stores and youíll learn a lot about me.

C. L: Jessi I know you have some interesting news can you please tell your fans about this news?

J. A: Thereís lots of great things going on all the time I just got a call to go out on the road with Ronnie Crowel I went to London and had a wonderful show there with him then right when I got back I got to go sing on Trisha Yearwoodís new record, she recorded a song of mine that was very exciting goshÖ.Iím about to go to NY were Iíve never been to play and also Los Angeles so Iím at this place were Iím gonna get to start playing to people which is the most exciting.

Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )

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