At the age of 10, Jessica Meuse sang in front of a live audience for the first time at a school talent show. It was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of her life.
“I had sung a lot up to that point, but never in front of a live audience,’ Meuse said. “I remember it because it was traumatic. I had so much stage fright that my hands went numb. I wanted to sing and I wanted to perform, but I almost didn’t do it because I was scared.”
Now, the 27-year-old Meuse is hardly scared of the big stage. She’s singing in front of large crowds all over the country and will make a stop at the Blue Springs Fall Fun Festival and will perform from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.
“I have been traveling non-stop lately, and dealing with weather situations,” Meuse said with a laugh about touring the country.
The native of Round Rock, Texas made a name for herself in the country music world through her appearances on the 13th season of “American Idol”. She placed fourth and was the first contestant in the show’s history who sang an original song, “Blue-Eyed Lie.”
She also earned a spot on Season 3 of “The Voice,” where she made it to the blind auditions.
“It was very, very educational,” Meuse said of her time on “American Idol.”
“You learn about the industry and you learn about yourself. I tried to learn and absorb as much information as possible,” she said.
“I was excited. Getting into the top four with thousands and thousands of people having auditioned to me is not a small feat. I was so thankful to be there.”
The path to her singing career started early when she listened to songs on the radio and record them onto cassette tapes so she could memorize the lyrics. She also sang on a karaoke machine at home and often vocalized some of Faith HIll’s classic songs.
“I would listen to the radio all day and record my favorite songs,” she said. “My whole goal was to memorize all the words. I don’t know why. I’ve always loved music. Moving around so much as a kid, it became the one thing that was constant. I always loved listening to (songs) and singing. You couldn’t get me to shut up as a kid.”
Then came the talent show that changed her life.
“It took me a long time to get used to” performing for audiences, said Meuse, who had eight singles released by “American Idol.”
“I was a kid up there singing my heart out, and I got so nervous that I started to cry. It was so embarrassing. And then I started laughing. I looked like a crazy person.”
But she didn’t quit. She’s become a popular artist who has more than 1 million streams of her new album “Halfhearted,” which was released Aug. 3 and is an iTunes top 11 country album. That album is highlighted by the song “Thank God It Didn’t Work,” which country radio stations across the country are playing.
“That’s the one people are going to naturally gravitate to,” Muese said. “It’s a song most people can relate to.”
In addition to taking fourth on “American Idol,” Meuse was named the 2018 Best Female Vocalist at the 14th Annual International Acoustic Music Awards and earned a Female Vocalist of the Year nomination from the Texas Country Music Association.
She’ll bring those accolades with her to Blue Springs next month as the most notable name at the Fall Fun Festival. She said she’s looking forward to meeting some of her fans in the area.
“Part of the reason I make music is to meet my fans,” Meuse said. “I am very big on meeting my fans who have supported the album. It’s very critical to me. That’s what life is about, building relationships and following your dream.”
Fans can follow Meuse on Twitter @JessMeuse or visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jessica.meuse.
MUSIC ON TAP
Entertainment schedule for the main stage in the Budweiser Beer and Side Pockets wine garden:
Friday, Sept. 14:
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jessica Meuse
• 7:30-9:30 p.m., Stone Senate (a five-piece contemporary Southern rock band from Nashville)
• 9:30-11:30 p.m., Turn of the Century (a six-piece rock ’n’ roll band from Kansas City)
Saturday, Sept. 15:
• 5:30-7:30 p.m., The Plott Hounds (a band from Minneapolis that plays a mix of Southern rock n’ roll and funky blues)
• 7:30-9:30 p.m., The Wesley Pruitt Band (a band from Canton, Texas that plays songs from its favorite blues artists)
• 9:30-11:30 p.m., The M80s (1980s tribute band that plays pop and rock from Kansas City)