About Jessi Alexander
A true daughter of the South, Jessi was born in Jackson, Tennessee. Her father, a painter and musician, is her biggest fan. Music has always been the way we've communicated." The bond with her mother was equally strong, but her parents divorced when Jessi was three. Dividing her time between her mother's new home in Georgia and her father's in Memphis, the young girl sought solace from a difficult home life in music. Her small blonde head sandwiched between stereo speakers, she listened to everything - bluegrass to Led Zeppelin to the Eagles to Motown. Summers with her father were highlights, with the two of them hitting Beale Street and absorbing the sounds: "I remember sitting on B.B. King's lap, and I also remember, when my dad played harmonica, passing the hat at clubs, "she recalls. "Of course, that was a hit, because who could say no to a little kid?"
Intending to major in social work, she headed to Middle Tennessee State University. Still, music beckoned. All throughout college, she sang in bands as Jessi ventured more and more often to neighboring Nashville.
Finally giving up school, "Even my teachers said, 'Go!'", Jessi laughs. "They knew my heart wasn't in it". Jessi hit the road singing backup for a few new artists before landing a gig as a Warner-Chappell staff writer.
And then she hit pay dirt in an improbable way. "I hate contests," she says, "I just don't do them." But, unbeknownst to Jessi, a friend submitted a tape of hers to the 2001 NARAS Grammy Showcase. Jessi showed up for the performance, but didn't see it as a life-and-death matter. Surprise, Jessi won, and soon she was on her way.
Her career then took another giant leap forward when she was signed in 2003 by John Grady, President of Sony Music Nashville, to Columbia Records. "In my mind," Grady said simply, "she is the future of country music." Her debut, Honeysuckle Sweet was released in March 2005.
"I think more than anything, this is the first chapter of a long history. I think success would be to know the songs have touched someone because they've been living in me for so long. Some are four, even six years old. To know the transfer has happened - that I've written songs and someone has heard them. That's success."
By that measure, Jessi is already a success. She spent some time as a Warner-Chappell music writer, and Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless and others on country's A-List have recorded her songs.