North Texas Daily

From Iowa to Texas, UNT student pursues passion for music

From Iowa to Texas, UNT student pursues passion for music

From Iowa to Texas, UNT student pursues passion for music
December 07
12:00 2019

As a young girl, jazz studies senior Jessica Fuller would get up on tables and dance on top of them, singing along to Britney Spears. Despite having anxiety, she never had a fear of performing.

Originally from Dubuque, Iowa, Fuller has continued to pursue her passion for music. She goes by the stage name Jessi Alice and describes her sound as “Joni Mitchell meets Allen Stone.” She came to UNT for the jazz program, and this is her second year at UNT. Though she misses home, she said she feels she has grown in her short time here.

“I’ve learned so much from [being at UNT] in such a shorter amount of time, which is crazy,” Fuller said. ” Sometimes you think there’s not anything to learn. You can never learn enough. It’s really monumental, I wouldn’t be writing music if it weren’t for this school. I wouldn’t have confidence in my sound or my voice without this school. It has given me a lot more knowledge of chords and things.”

Fuller went to the School for Music Vocations at Southwestern Community College. She said she enjoyed her time there and credits the experience with the path she is on now. She was in choir in high school. It was a choir director introduced her to jazz music and she found her path.

“Performing is definitely my first love, 100 percent,” Jessi Alice said. “I started just doing covers. I think my first love is interpreting that story and telling it. I really enjoy writing, but its only on a paper if I don’t tell my story.”

Fuller is currently taking a songwriting class. Principal lecturer of jazz studies Rosana Eckert teaches the class and encourages the use of different ways to write music.

“Jessica has a huge future ahead of her,” Eckert said. “She is taking advantage of all her new surroundings have to offer her and growing deeply as a musician and performer. I look forward to see where her music takes her.”

One of the things Fuller has had to learn recently is how to write for a band. The songwriting class has helped, she said, though she still struggles with figuring out how to record. Fuller had written music prior to taking the class but said she had previously pigeonholed herself to a particular sound.

“I used to put myself in a box and I used to be like my music has to sound this way and that was really stifling my writing,” Fuller said. “Letting go of all that and just writing whatever comes in has been really helpful and I didn’t realize that it all does sound pretty similar even though I think it sounds really different. That’s helped my creativity for sure.”

Fuller said she has struggled with adjusting to Texas. She is close to her family and left home at a time when her mom’s health was critical. Her mom is doing better now, though, and they talk everyday and she doesn’t worry about her daughter because she knows Fuller is strong and independent.

“I think she’s incredibly talented, of course, I’m a little biased as her mom,” said Dubuque resident Lisa Delaney, Fuller’s mother. “She’s self-taught, other then when she started school for this specific [degree], everything up to that point, she taught herself and I thought that was just amazing.”

Her mom said she is proud of her accomplishments and recalls Fuller doing multiple competitions when she was younger. She won first place in Dubuque Idol. She’s entered talent shows in school and won first place. Her first paid gig was a wedding when she was 13.

Fuller continues to work on her songwriting and performance skills. Her main goal is to release an album in 2020.

“I just want to take my music as seriously as I can,” Fuller said. “It’s easy to be like I have this random track on Soundcloud go listen to it. And that’s all you ever do. That’s what I used to do and if you want to make it your job, if you want to make it your business, it takes a lot, behind the scenes. [It takes] a lot of preparation, a loooooot of money. A lot of money. My goal is to not doubt myself and just run with[it]- take what I know and run with it.”

Featured Image: Jessica Fuller is a senior majoring Jazz Studies. Fuller’s stage name is “Jessi Alice” when she performs on stage. Image by Theophilus Bowie

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Raquel Villatoro

Raquel Villatoro

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