SOLANA BEACH — Local artist Jess Wright found a new home in the North County music scene after moving to California two years ago.
She was born and raised in Maine until moving to Tennessee at 18 to attend Vanderbilt University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, a minor in Human Organizational Leadership and a minor in General Music.
After graduating, Jess Wright was looking for employment when her grandfather passed away. She decided to take a job in the San Diego area moving in with her grandmother who resides in Solana Beach.
Jess Wright said Tennessee spoiled her with musicians playing on every corner. It was not until she had to go out and find the music that she discovered her passion.
“I didn’t actually figure out I wanted to be a musician until I moved out here,” she said. “I found out working to do music only made me want to work harder to do music. It grew organically.”
Jess Wright’s childhood was filled with music. Her family made music a part of everything, she said. Her mother, Candice Wright, said summer vacations included picking an album anywhere from The Spinners to Broadway’s Rent to learn and sing together.
“Somewhere along the line I made the rule that if you were going to ride in my car you had to sing,” Candice Wright said. “Jess always sounded great, so often times we would just let Jess sing a little bit louder than us.”
Candice Wright said she could not recall a time when her daughter did not sing. Now at age 23, Jess Wright has built a repertoire from local theater to talent shows to open mic nights and recently her first benefit concert.
Jess Wright said that music has always been her way to connect with herself and the world around her.
“Music has always been a language I can understand,” she said. “It’s been a source of peace and connection … it’s my favorite way to share the world with people.”
Aside from singing, Jess Wright also plays guitar, piano and writes her own songs. She keeps a list of places across the country she aspires to play at one day, this includes Belly Up located in Solana Beach.
Jess Wright first performed her own music at an open mic night hosted by Jay Cain at Mr. Peabody’s in February 2019. Cain said that he was in awe of her talent from the first time he saw her perform.
“When she started singing, I couldn’t move,” Cain said. “My jaw just dropped and I was in love from there.”
“Acoustic and stripped” are the two words Jess Wright used to describe her style of music. She said that she is heavily influenced by jazz, Sting, Chris Stapleton, Norah Jones and many of the local artists she has met over the last two years.
“I have learned so much from musicians,” Jess Wright said. “I honestly think that has been one of the biggest influences on me.”
When it comes to writing her own music, Jess Wright finds her songs in a feeling.
“I’ll take a feeling I have about a situation and I will construct a story around that feeling,” she said.
The North County music community is filled with lots of supportive, encouraging people Jess Wright said. It has been a group of people who have pushed her to move forward in pursuing a career in the music industry.
“When I found the music community, that is when this started to feel like home,” she said.