Jessica Jolia

Jessica Jolia is an American singer, songwriter, producer and humanitarian. Her debut single "Sometimes" (Rhythm Section Entertainment) was independently released and featured in the 2015 film Sister Code starring Amber Rose, Eva Marcille and Drew Sidora. She has performed on The Ellen Show and The Late Late Show, and has been featured in The Source, This Is RnB, The A&R Report, Rolling Soul Brazil and many other publications around the world. Jessica is also a member of The Recording Academy and an advocate of the MusiCares Foundation.

Jessica has had the pleasure of recording, performing and touring with many award-winning artists including Dr. Dre; T.I.; Rita Ora; Meghan Trainor; Iggy Azalea; The Chainsmokers; Bryce Vine; Goapele; Eric Benet; Faith Evans; Earth, Wind & Fire; Teddy Riley; Karyn White; Chico DeBarge; Alexander O'Neal; Smokey Robinson; Lyle Lovett; Kenny Lattimore; Johnny Gill; New Edition; Kelly Price; Jordan McGraw; Bebe Rexha and The Jonas Brothers. Her music is a reflection of her experiences and travels, unified by an underlying theme of vulnerability, strength and love.

  • Awards and Nominations
    • SAMMIES 2020 Winner★ Singer-Songwriter ★1st Place
    • SAMMIES 2020 Nominee★ Artist of the Year ★
    • SAMMIES 2020 Nominee★ Live Performer ★
    • SAMMIES 2020 Nominee★ Singer/Songwriter ★
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Q & A

All-time favorite song?


My all-time favorite song is “These Three Words” by Stevie Wonder. The lyrics are so simple and beautiful, reminding us just how important it is to tell the people we love and care about how much they mean to us.

As a child growing up, music surrounds us. What type of music did you hear the most back then? How does it differ from what you listen to now?


I listened to a bit of everything when I was a kid: Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, 2Pac, Parliament, Journey and the list goes on and on. I’m still a fan of a lot of the same artists today, but there are newer artists like Mali Music, Kehlani, Anderson.Paak, Bruno Mars and BJ the Chicago Kid who I also really enjoy.

Can you describe a moment in your musical career, where you felt like you truly reached somebody or made a difference?


Last year while on the Happiness Begins tour, I met a young lady who was carrying a sign that said she needed a kidney transplant. I took a picture with her and posted it on my Instagram page, hoping that someone somewhere might see it and be able to help her. That same night, another young lady who attended the same show sent me a message letting me know that she was a universal donor and would be happy to see if she could help. It brought tears to my eyes and made me so happy to know that, through music, I was able to connect two people who may have otherwise never crossed paths and could possibly become lifelong friends.

Favorite colors?


Truthfully, my favorite color is black. But when you think about it, it takes every color mixed together to create the color black so ... do I really have a favorite then?

Favorite guitar player?


Michael “Big Mike” Hart will always be my favorite guitarist. He’s a very versatile musician and producer, and an excellent artist in his own right.

How do you describe your music to people?


From a business standpoint, I understand the necessity of categories and genres. However, when it comes to my music, the most important thing I want listeners to take away is that everything I create is genuine and authentic to who I am as a person. By no means am I saying that every song I write is about me personally, but each song I create will always reflect and represent the subject matters and emotions I think are necessary to be shared: happy, sad, thought-provoking, inspiring and everything in between.

How do you feel about musical award competitions?


In my opinion, the best thing about musical award competitions is that they give voters, listeners and even casual passersby an opportunity to be exposed to new art. The SAMMIES provide a wonderful platform for artists/musicians in the Sacramento area and I am personally enjoying listening to lots of great music, most of which my ears are experiencing for the first time. Very refreshing!

Name a pet peeve.


This one is pretty bizarre, but I have a huge problem with socks made with seams that go across the tips of your toes instead of straight across the joints. Legitimately, this has been a major issue for me since I was a kid and still causes me so much grief. So if you ever hear me say, “Hang on, my sock’s not right,” you can refer back to this story and ... yeah.

Name a recent personal food trend.


Lately, I’ve been on an avocado toast kick. I actually think I’ve eaten it for breakfast for two weeks straight! My homemade creation consists of spicy avocado spread, peppercorn bacon, a sunny side up egg, mozzarella cheese and a few other special ingredients that have kept me hooked since the first bite.

Tell us about your best gig in Sac.


I’ve really enjoyed so many shows in Sacramento, from performing at Harlow’s with Goapele to singing and dancing with Jordan McGraw at the Golden 1 Center, but my favorite show to date was at the Crest Theatre with Eric Benet. Eric has been one of my favorite artists and songwriters for a very long time, and it was a special treat to be able to perform his famous duet “Spend My Life With You” at home and in front of the people I care about most.

Tell us about yourself.


I am a daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. I’m also a coffee connoisseur, lover of sparkly things and I prefer roller-skating over walking any day. I love the sunshine, particularly when there are no clouds in the sky, and recently binge watched five seasons of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix (so worth it). I’m also actively involved with the Endometriosis Foundation of America, as I was diagnosed with Endometriosis last year. This extremely painful condition, which affects over 200,000 women in America annually, currently has no cure. But, with the help of men and women everywhere, we will find a solution. You can catch me this October running in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, representing the Foundation to heighten awareness and raise funds for research.

What do you sing in the shower? (Be honest.)


I do love a good shower concert, most often featuring me singing “Think of Me” from The Phantom of the Opera, because we all know there’s no better acoustics in the house than in the bathroom.

What was the first song you learned to play?


When I was in third grade, I taught myself how to play the theme song from Free Willy one day while riding in the car with my Dad. He was playing the soundtrack and I just grabbed my recorder and started playing by ear. I remember he was so shocked and impressed that he turned the music down really low just to make sure he wasn’t hearing things. Ha!

What's a big musical inspiration that would most surprise your fans?


All in all, I think Whitney Houston is my biggest musical inspiration. I’ve studied her for many years and I admire her work ethic and the legacy she worked so hard to leave behind. She was so much more than a phenomenal singer. She was a daughter, wife, mother and friend to many, charismatic, classy and was not afraid to take risks. She was an advocate and an ally, and truly left her mark. Those are the characteristics of the kind of woman I aspire to be.

What's the story behind your stage name?


Honestly, I stole my cousin’s first name, changed the spelling (her name is Joleah), and boom—Jessica Jolia was born. So glad she liked the idea, too.

What's your favorite jam from the '90s?


I love so much music from the ‘90s, but I’d say “Candy Rain” by Soul for Real is definitely one of my favorites. Every time the intro comes on, it’s go time!

What’s your favorite song to perform live right now?


I think my favorite song to perform live, outside of my originals, will always be “Sweet Thing” by Rufus ft. Chaka Khan. It’s been one of my favorite songs for as long as I can remember, and is full of such emotion and dynamics.

Who are your biggest influences?


My parents and grandmother always encouraged me to listen to, play and create music and exposed me to so much good stuff. I think my biggest musical influence, though, is Mr. James Mazzaferro. Mr. Mazzaferro was my instructor of all things “music” at Sheldon High School: jazz band, pep band, concert band, symphonic band and music theory. He had the pleasure of seeing my bright, shining face from 6:50 a.m. up until the last second of every football or basketball game for four years (bless his heart) and I, in turn, graduated as a multi-instrumentalist (tenor sax, contrabass clarinet, bass drum and anything else he asked me to learn to play) with a music scholarship to Oklahoma Christian University. “Mazz” will always be my “Music Dad” (thanks for sharing him with all of us Cherylyn, Joe and Jeanette), and I will forever be grateful for the amount of time and effort he put into pushing me to always be and do my very best.

Words to live by?


“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Thanks, Dad.

You're given a magic wand. What do you do with it?


Let’s start with making more magic wands. I’m really good at misplacing things ...

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