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Podcast: A Conversation with Country Singer/Songwriter Jessica Campbell

A Conversation with Jessica Campbell

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This is an edited version of responses to questions The Daily Music Break posed to Jessica Campbell, a young Nashville-based singer songwriter. Her third album, appropriately entitled III, recently was released:

Give me some details about you and your musical background?

I grew up in a small town in NC called Catawba. We don’t have music venues there, per se, but I was still exposed to music growing up. The concerts I remember attending were at our church, my aunt & uncle took me to a local supper club that had Southern Gospel artists, and on very special occasions we’d make the drive to Charlotte to see mainstream country artists.

When I was 8 years old I entered a dance competition and my parents noticed that I couldn’t resist the urge to sing the song while I was dancing in this competition. (There was no microphone b/c this was purely a dance competition!) So, my love for Whitney Houston and Gloria Estefan took root. I then auditioned for a musical to be Annie in “Annie” and got the part at 9 years old. It was then that I started taking voice lessons and my love for the stage was apparent.

Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

I don’t remember us having a record player in our house, but we did listen to tapes and the radio. Specifically, riding in the car, I loved to hear Paul Harvey tell stories. Tapes I loved: Whitney Houston, Gloria Estefan, Randy Travis, Boyz II Men, Reba McIntyre and of course we loved recording our own mix tapes off the radio.

Whatโ€™s happening now?

My third album “III” just released a few weeks ago, so I’m excited to be touring with new music and performing these new songs.

What else should listeners be aware of?

I believe in using our gifts to give back to others, so I’m proud to be an artist partner with Mocha Club. Mocha Club is a non-profit organization that focuses on five project areas in Africa: Clean Water, Education, Orphan Care, Heath care, and Economic Freedom. The community of supporters commit to giving up the cost of a few mochas a month to help fund these projects and restore underprivileged communities in Africa. With our small donations we can bring a lot of change to Africa. I bring along scarves made by women in the Economic Freedom program to sell at my shows.

Above is “Falling Falling” and below is “Time.” The song at the beginning and end of the podcast is “Better Than This.”

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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