Jessie Chris Talks Performing On ‘Today Show’ & Billy Ray Cyrus [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
Rising country music star Jessie Chris has recently been making several of her childhood dreams come true. In July she performed her new single “Burn” on the Today Show and she also recently worked with Billy Ray Cyrus, one of her childhood idols.
Chris recently sat down with uInterview to discuss her Today Show performance, her new music and working with Cyrus.
As a child, Chris’ mother brought her up to New York City to see the Big Apple. One of their stops included waiting outside in the freezing cold to see the Today Show, something Chris will always remember. Now, almost a decade later, she made it onto the stage of the show.
“When I was ten years old, my mom took me here to New York City. We went to the American Girl Doll Store, saw Wicked on Broadway, and we stood outside the Today Show in the freezing cold, waving and hoping we’d get seen for half of a second on camera,” Chris told uInterview exclusively.
“Fast forward ten years, I got … to perform on the Today Show. So there were a lot of nerves running through my mind before that but the performance was so much fun. As soon as it was over I felt so relieved that I hadn’t fallen over or something awful. But it was really fun, and I’m really glad that I had that experience.”
The performance came after Chris was named Elvis Duran’s New Artist of the Month. Most impressive about that honor is that she was the first unsigned artist to be given the award in a very long time.
Chris also recently worked with Billy Ray Cyrus, whom she idolized while watching Hannah Montana as a kid.
“I grew up watching [Cyrus] on Hannah Montana every day as a little girl,” said Chris. “So I felt like I knew him but I didn’t at all and I was so nervous to find out what he’d be like in person because I didn’t want it to ruin my Hannah Montana obsession. But he was such a sweet and genuine guy.”
Cyrus also gave the young country-pop musician some advice – the same advice he almost certainly gave to his daughter, Miley Cyrus.
“He asked me if I act,” said Chris, who did some acting as a child but hasn’t in a long time. “And so I didn’t know how to answer when he asked me if I act, so I was stuttering and he said, ‘The answer is always yes. If anybody asks you if you can do something you always say yes.’ So I thought that was pretty cool advice, you know, ‘don’t let any opportunity pass you by.'”
While Chris isn’t set to appear in any movies or TV shows right away – “you can only focus on one thing at a time,” she said – she has done just about everything she can do to get her music career off to a lightning fast start. And everything she has done is certainly starting to pay off.
Jessie Chris’ “Burn” is available for purchase and streaming on all major music platforms.
Watch the video for the single below.
I'll start from the beginning. When I was ten years old, my mom took me here to New York City. We went to the American Girl Doll Store, saw ‘Wicked’ on Broadway, and we stood outside the Today Show in the freezing cold, waving and hoping we'd get seen for half of a second on camera. Fast forward ten years, I got to be Elvis Duran's New Artist of the Month – I think I'm the first country artist to be his New Artist of the Month and I think I'm the first unsigned artist, in a very long time, to have performed on the 'Today Show.' So there were a lot of nerves running through my mind before that but the performance was so much fun. As soon as it was over I felt so relieved that I hadn't fallen over or something awful. But it was really fun, and I'm really glad that I had that experience.
I co-wrote 'Burn' with the producer of the song David Spencer and the inspiration behind 'Burn' is a relationship – it wasn't necessarily one relationship. It had been several that had inspired it and it wasn't just a boyfriend. It was friends, or people you work with, or a relationship, or whatever it is, who come into your life and then they leave you when you need them the most and you don't really see it coming. It's about dealing with all the emotions that come along with that.
The most interesting celebrity collaboration I got to do was with Billy Ray Cyrus because I grew up watching him on Hannah Montana every day as a little girl. So I felt like I knew him but I didn't at all and I was so nervous to find out what he'd be like in person because I didn't want it to ruin my 'Hannah Montana' obsession. But he was such a sweet and genuine guy. We got to sing "Achy Breaky Heart" together which was really fun and such a surreal moment. Again, another childhood thing that I never thought would happen as I grew up.
He did! He asked me if I act and I used to act as a little girl but it has been a while. I still would love to experiment with that down the road but you can only focus on one thing at a time. And so I didn't know how to answer when he asked me if I act, so I was stuttering and he said, 'The answer is always yes. If anybody asks you if you can do something you always say yes.' So I thought that was pretty cool advice, you know, 'don't let any opportunity pass you by.'
I would describe my music as country pop. It’s definitely got those pop elements in there. I hear a lot from listeners that they aren't necessarily country music fans but they enjoy my music so that’s really cool to hear that it's crossing over to other genres as well.
My advice to someone who is being bullied would be not to change for anyone. I grew up in Massachusetts where listening to country music wasn't cool when I was little girl, let alone trying to be a country artist. So that was really hard, people gave me a hard time about something that was so passionate for me. It really took a toll on my self-confidence but I'm so happy that I didn't change for anyone to be cool because I wake up every day and it's a new adventure and I love what I do. I'm so happy and I'm so glad that I didn't listen to those bullies because who knows where I would be and I know I wouldn't be nearly as happy.