Local singer makes it to finals of Talent Quest
Local hairstylist and burgeoning performer Jessica Jones recently returned from Laughlin, Nev., where she competed in the national finals of Talent Quest, a singing and performance competition.
"I always wanted to be a singer, ever since I was a little bitty kid," said Jones, who has previously released two homemade records of original material on which she sang and played guitar.
She won entry to the national finals after competing in both local and regional contests.
Talent Quest paid her way to the final competition, as they did with all other regional winners.
The competition had separate categories for male and female singers of pop and country, as well as separate categories for men and women over 50 and one category for duets of a male and a female.
Those competing came from all over the world, including Brazil, Jamaica and New Zealand.
Only two contestants from Missouri made it to the national level, one male country singer and Jones, who also sang country songs. Jones performed songs including Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead."
"I was really proud to be able to represent Missouri," said Jones.
At the regional competition, Jones was pregnant and due to deliver her son, Brecken Jones, two weeks later. By the time she went to Nevada, he was only seven weeks old.
But being a new mother wasn't the only difficulty Jones had to deal with.
"When I got off the plane, my throat was really hurting, and it turned out I had strep throat. So, I had to call my doctor back here and he called a prescription in to the nearest Walgreens, which was in Bullhead, Arizona."
The drive was only 20 minutes, she said, and she found herself able to perform as scheduled.
The most impressive thing to Jones at the competition was the costuming.
"I took my best stage clothes, I mean my best of my best of my best, and I probably spent $300 for each outfit, and these other women were coming out in ballroom gowns."
She said that one woman claimed to have spent over $3,000 on her stage clothing.
Though she did not make it to the final competition, Jones has automatically qualified for the 2009 national competition.
This time, however, she will have to pay her own way, unless she decides to try to again win the local and regional competitions.
Jones made friends with three other women who were competing against her, with whom she says she has kept in contact.
Each of those three will also be going back for next year's national competition.
"When you got on stage, it was cutthroat," said Jones. "Backstage, we just hung out. You knew that everyone else there was good. Only one girl was snotty. Everyone (else) was very supportive. The talent there was amazing."
While in Laughlin, a documentary film crew interviewed Jones.
She was recently told that the crew will come to Marshall to further document her status as an aspiring country singer. The documentary is tentatively scheduled to be aired in 2010 on either A&E or HBO.
Prizes for the top three competitors were trophies and cash prizes, with the first-place contestant winning $3,000, the second-place contestant, $1,000, and the third-place contestant, $500.
Jones won a recording session in Nashville; she plans to take advantage of the opportunity some time after the first of the year.
"I need some time to get my material together," said Jones. She hopes to make this outing into her third full-length record.
In Nevada for nine days, Jones did some sightseeing, going to the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which she described as very expensive, but "worth the experience."
"I had a great time," she said of the competition, and says she is looking forward to competing again next year.