Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee

 Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN
BandPop

After winning a contest to sing on stage with Marianas Trench, Jessica Lee took a break from her studies to pursue a career in music. Two years later, Jessica has released her first single "Beautiful," a dance-pop hit that has caught the attention of radio stations, Much Music, and Canadian fans.

Biography

Opportunity didn't come knocking for Jessica Lee, it blew the door in.
"Basically, two years ago, I was at school at Ottawa U and they were having this YouTube contest to sing with Marianas Trench at Massey Hall in Toronto," she explains. Because her roommate dared her to, Lee entered herself, "kind of as a joke." And then she forgot about it. And then she won.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The 21 year-old Ottawa native wasn't an absolute novice when Josh Ramsay winnowed down all those contest entries and invited Jessica Lee to duet "Good to You" on arguably the most venerable stage in Canada. "I used to dress up as a Disney princess and sing at birthday parties," Lee offers, with a giggle. "And I did some singing at church." Still, "Oh gosh, I was so shocked," she recalls. "To go from doing science all the time to, suddenly, 'Oh, I'm going to be singing in front of 3,000 people.' It was a little unexpected. It's one of those things where you've gotta pull yourself together and just do it."

Lee actually surprised herself a little at Massey Hall, discovering that she felt perfectly comfortable on stage. She also realized she was putting a powerful instrument on ice when the night ended and she went back to her studies. "I'd had my 15 seconds of fame," she says. "It was always, 'School first.' My mentality was, 'Okay, I'll never see these people again in my life.'" She was wrong, of course. One month after the revelations of Massey Hall, Lee was in Vancouver recording a fresh version of "Good to You" and flexing her front-of-camera chops in the epic video that went with it. From there, Ramsay and 604 Records honcho Jonathan Simkin proposed a co-management deal for the self-possessed and apparently fearless young talent, telling her, "Go home and think about it."

The rest is history in the making. Cruising on the same ready confidence she brought to Massey Hall, Lee accepted the offer and set about writing and recording a debut album with a small team of collaborators. "I would not feel comfortable singing somebody else's lyrics, or somebody else's songs," Lee says of the subsequent two years she spent commuting between Ottawa and a Vancouver recording studio. Ramsay and Simkin eagerly demonstrated the extent of their confidence by encouraging Lee to follow her own muse, while introducing her to people who would help see the project through; Fake Shark's Kevvy Maher, Tino Zolfo and Marten Trommboth fresh off their work with Adalineplus Carly Rae Jepson's "Tug of War" co-writer Ryan Stewart, and Ramsay himself. "They pretty much believe in everything I do and say," Lee offers, with a touch of incredulity. "I just go in and do my thing."

The thing, as it happens, is the rarest of commoditiespop music with a brain (Lee was in pre-med, after all), although even the management must have been taken aback at the level of sophistication their new charge brings to floor-stompers like "Save Your Breath" (co-written and produced by Ramsay), the ecstatic "Beautiful" (which she put together with Tromm), or the pristine modern pop of "Say Goodbye" or "Twisted Games" (both cooked up with Stewart). "Vocal-wise, I grew up with a lot of Christina Aguilera and that kind of vocal technique," Lee reveals. "Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewisbasically the female powerhouses. I think everything Katy Perry does is amazing. I love any good female singer that isn't afraid to go outside the confines of standard pop and is just willing to wail."

Given the strength of her own personality and drive, Lee's music feels genetically related to the music that inspires her while being very much her own. She notes that "there's definitely a personal aspect" to all of her songs, while the voice itself could only come from one unique place. And that, presumably, is what Ramsay and Simkin saw in 2010 during that three-minute audition-by-fire that Lee didn't even know she was having. She mentions that "even retelling the story makes you realize how lucky you are," but sometimes nature has a way of adjusting itself. It was just a little nudge from the universe (and a couple of highly intuitive guys) that put Jessica Lee exactly where she's meant to be.

Discography

Beautiful (Single) - Released Aug 7 2012
Save Your Breath (Single) - Released February 26 2013
Carried Away (Album) - Released May 28 2013
Twisted Games Remix (Single) - Released February 11 2014