NEW YORK — She may still be a teenager, but Jessica Andrews is no novice.
This story first appeared in the June 5, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Nashville-based singer is looking to buy a house, has a serious boyfriend and has three country album releases under her low-slung belt. Her latest album, “Now,” hit stores last month and is holding out on Billboard’s Top 20 Country Chart. Not bad for a 19-year-old.
She released her first and second albums, in 1999 and 2002 respectively, to good reception in the country world, but it’s “Now” that could change everything for her. With its pop and rock elements, it could make the jump to the pop charts any day. This record has already caught the attention of the mainstream and has garnered her attention outside of the country community.
“Now that’s what we call teen music,” wrote People magazine. Andrews also landed a guest spot on the WB series “Greetings from Tucson.”
“I’ve been acting here and there,” she said, citing a small role on “Another World,” where she appeared as herself. “I really like it and when the time is right I would love to pursue it.”
But for now, it’s all about the music. While many artists release one album after another, Andrews prefers to take some time off between each disc.
“It’s important for me to have some time to change and grow,” she said. “It just works for me.”
While she uses her time off to mature and write songs, it’s clear that music comes naturally to her. When Andrews’ mother was pregnant with her, she sang in a local band, and when she was little, Andrews said she would fall asleep to the sound of her mother’s voice.
As a shy child, Andrews took her chances at the age of 10 and sang Dolly Parton’s hit “I Will Always Love You” in a talent contest. She took home the top prize and her confidence has been rising ever since.
“I started out so shy,” she said. “Before I was 10, I didn’t think I was a good singer. I didn’t think I had it.”
But she did have what it takes. Soon after her win, Andrews was a local celebrity, performing regularly for sold-out crowds in Nashville. From there, her youth can be gauged by musical milestones. By the age of 12, she captured the attention of hit-making producer Byron Gallimore, who signed her to DreamWorks. Before she could drive, she launched her first album, “Heart Shaped World.” At 17, she released her sophomore album, “Who I Am,” and shared the stage with the likes of Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Trisha Yearwood and contributed a song to Disney’s “Prince of Egypt” soundtrack.
She’ll be the first to admit it’s been quite a ride — one that isn’t close to being over. Inspired by the music of Elvis Presley, Wynonna Judd and Whitney Houston, Andrews said she has high hopes that one day she will have the chance to sing a duet with Sting, another artist she admires that would also allow her to expand her horizons musically.
“I don’t consider myself a country singer,” she said. “I just make music that I love. I don’t like to think about falling into a particular music category.”
Maybe she doesn’t put herself into a music category, but when it comes to fashion, she knows where she falls.
“I am such a girly girl,” she said. “One of my favorite things about video shoots is when I pick out the clothes.”
But where does she get her style?
“I am a magazine junkie,” she said. “You name it and I read it — Us Weekly, In Style, People, Bazaar — I read it all.”
Among her favorite clothing pieces are her Abercrombie & Fitch, Paper, Denim & Cloth, Juicy and AG jeans.
“I love jeans. You can dress them up or down,” she said. “You can make jeans look good with everything. I have so many. I’m not even sure how many. All I know is the stack of jeans in my closet is really high.”
Andrews said she is sure to hit Fred Segal every time she is in Los Angeles, but it’s in Nashville where she goes to Urban Outfitters.
“I know it’s cliché to shop there, but I go into Urban Outfitters and find something cute every time,” she said.