A frequent performer at Gallery Night, Hemingways, and even notable locations in Nashville, Faith Jess is a buoyant 16-year-old songstress who sings her diary and her heart out with all the wit and charm you would expect from someone twice her age. She began writing songs in the fourth grade and picked up her first six-string in the sixth grade in order to, in her words, “avoid PE class.”
Writing and playing music went quickly from a fleeting distraction to a full-blown obsession when her teacher inspired her to stick with her lessons and fine-tune her talent.
It wasn’t long before Jess, a Pensacola-native, was boldly asking a manager at Al Fresco if she could play her songs in front of untold numbers of strangers. Since then, she has been in demand at various hot spots Downtown and on the beach, and has even performed at the Maritime Park for the Blue Wahoos. The Blue Wahoos’ owner, Quint Studer, even follows Jess on Twitter and Instagram and is an avowed fan of the singer.
“I just love sharing my music,” said Jess. “I love playing at Gallery Night and gauging what people like, but I’m also in a place where I’m exploring a wide range of genres. I think it’s important for an artist to explore. Right now, I’m really into the pop scene. I love to dance.”
Her audience loves to dance, too. On multiple occasions, young and old alike can be seen dancing to her sometimes sad, sometimes upbeat strums on Gallery Night, bathed in the warm glow of the string lights that Jess and her mother, Bonnie, spend over an hour setting up before each performance.
“I originally wanted her to be a teacher,” said Bonnie, half-jokingly. “But this is what she loves and she’s so great at it.”
Jess’s performances, style and confessional songwriting all take notes from pantheons of pop whose ranks she will surely one day join. She boasts Taylor Swift’s fierce optimism, Vance Joy’s and Ed Sheeran’s acoustic inclinations, and Passion Pit’s indietronica pulsing danceability.
Right now, Jess is working on an album with her brother, a sound engineer who also helped on her single, “He Won’t Even Say,” which is currently available on the artist’s SoundCloud.
Until then, it’s weekend performances at Hemingways (you can catch her Aug. 1, 7, 15, 21 and 29 from 6 to 10 pm) and soulful productions at Gallery Night. You can find out more about Jess at faithjess.com.