Jessica McLean
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Jessica McLean

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, United States

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, United States
Band Christian Singer/Songwriter

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"Jessica McLean: Designed To Dream"

I had no idea when I woke up today that I would stumble upon an eclectic and moving album that would surprise and inspire me. Jessica McLean really snuck up on me.
Jessica McLean is from the Outer Banks area and you can hear that windblown openness in the nine tracks of her debut album, “Designed to Dream.” She’s been writing since she picked up the guitar at age 13. These songs are culled from those early years to the present, but they all contain mature insights beyond her years. She’s old enough to be married now (her husband is the surf-film maker Nic McLean of “Noah’s Arc” fame), and is living the dream she was designed for, writing and playing, with a special heart for young girls struggling with societal pressures to conform.
That passion shines clearly through standout track “Beautiful,” a cry for the peace of God in the face of the world’s beauty standards. An achingly tender violin underscores McLean’s poignant lyrics. McLean has gathered a dream team of players for “Designed to Dream”; the presence of Tom Jones’ lead guitar is strong throughout, but especially luminous on “In the Light” and the solid up-tempo rocker “Run.” His textured playing contrasts nicely with McLean’s earthy vocals on the encouraging title track.
Her intense vocals pour through the slow-burning “Ocean Song,” with its old-school chord movements. This same progression shows up on the moving “All I Need,” with equally emotive effect, aided nicely by the rock solid bass line and more shimmering guitar.
A quietly acoustic rendition of “How Great Thou Art” closes the album out warmly. Jessica McLean brings intelligence and passion to the nine tracks of “Designed to Dream,” and she has every reason to dream big.
- Kevan Breitinger Christian Suite 101


"Jessica McLean"

“I've worked with thousands of independent Christian artists since 1997, and it is rare to find an artist so dedicated to passion and excellence in their music mission.
Jessica understands Matthew 25:13-40. She has invested her talent to the best of her ability. We applaud Jessica and know God has big things in store for her!”
Keith Mohr
President
www.indieheaven.com - Keith Mohr-President of Indieheaven


"Jessica McLean"

“Jessica's acoustic sound and truth-filled lyrics are as refreshing and soulful as she is. Never in my life have I been so moved and encouraged by a musician! She's a secret soon to be discovered! “
-Allie Berthold
Founder Wonderfully Made - Allie Berthold-Founder Wonderfully Made


"Local Songwriter Gets National Attention"

Kitty Hawk, NC native Jessica McLean recently received the honor of being named Winner by the Song of the Year ( http://www.songoftheyear.com/ ) songwriting contest. Song of the Year is an international songwriting contest supporting VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation. The Song of the Year judges are some of the biggest names in music including many Grammy Award winners.

Song of the Year is excited to recognize Jessica for her exceptional songwriting ability for the song “Again.” Jessica competed against songwriters from all over the world for this honor. When asked what inspired the song Jessica commented that, “This world exudes an emptiness leaving people without hope. The song “Again” is a reflection of the hope that I have found in my own life, a hope that is daily renewed through my relationship with Christ.”

Currently Jessica is concentrating on her music career while continuing to perform the songs from her debut record “Designed To Dream.” The album is quickly catching attention and will hopefully continue to capture the hearts of her listeners.
You can find more information about Jessica McLean by logging on to (www.jessicamclean.com)
- Song of the Year- VH-1


"Christianity Today"

CHRISTIANITY TODAY REVIEW:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/reviews/2007/designedtodream.html
Jessica McLean
Designed to Dream
Released October 2006
reviewed by Christa Banister

Sounds like … earthy folk/pop that recalls Jewel's early work, Leigh Nash, Jonatha Brook, and Bethany Dillon.

At a glance … with confessional lyrics and a sweet but distinctive voice, Designed to Dream is a delightful listening experience.

Although she barely looks out of high school in her press photos, Jessica McLean is a married 24-year-old singer/songwriter who has been expressing her heart through music since she was 14. Now with her debut album, Designed to Dream, her musings of past and present have been seamlessly brought together on a project that's introspective, encouraging and artful.
A native of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, McLean counts Indigo Girls, Fleetwood Mac, Edie Brickell, Jewel and Alanis Morissette among her many musical influences. Although her soft, pixie-like voice isn't a dead ringer for any of these acts vocally, their knack for expressive lyrics and an earthy musical approach is definitely present in McLean's work.
On the lilting "Beautiful," one of the album's best tracks, there's a genuine sense that McLean has lived through the self-esteem struggle when she sings, "It's hard to see the real me, but I just long to praise you." The same goes for "Good Comes Come," which richly and vividly expresses the loneliness that many singles feel when praying for the "right one" to come along.
But more than merely being therapeutic, the album also has its celebratory moments, too, particularly on "Ocean Song" which raves about creation and "the very God who hung the stars and made the sea," while "Designed to Dream" was the musical result of seeing her husband Nic's directoral film debut come to pass with an evangelical surfing documentary titled Noah's Arc. Also noteworthy is the closing track, a cover of "How Great Thou Art." While the song has been covered ad nauseum with the recent resurgence of hymns in Christian music, it's a fitting—and beautiful—tribute to her roots as McLean grew up singing hymns in church.
And while she may not be a household name just yet, she's quickly making waves, not only with this CD, but as a songwriter. Recently, she was a finalist in VH1's "Song of the Year" contest, and two songs from Designed to Dream, the title track and "Again" are now garnering radio airplay. - Christa Banister


"Jessica McLean"



When Jessica McLean’s Designed to Dream CD arrived in the mail, I saw a CD with a pretty blonde singer with her acoustic guitar with lots of pink in the cover art, and bits of light blue to boot. It looked like I was in for more of the sticky-sweet easy-listening stuff so stereotypical of Christian music. The music very pleasantly surprised me! (Well, OK, I’d heard song clips on MySpace, so I wasn’t totally caught unaware.)

My daughter heard her and said she sounds like all the rest, but I considered that statement. Jessica McLean, in my opinion, doesn’t sound anything like Rachel Lampa, Out of Eden, Staci Orrico, Nicole C. Mullin, Point of Grace, Amy Grant, Crystal Lewis, Avalon, nor any of those from what I call the stereotypical end of the Christian music spectrum. Jessica doesn’t sound like the hard-edged Evanescence, Eowyn, Gretchen or Flyleaf. She’s not like Benjamin Gate, Joy Williams, Nicole Nordemann, Jaci Velasquez, Ashley Cleveland, Everlife, Superchick, Barlow Girl, nor like Jennifer Knapp, Sixpence None the Richer, Over the Rhine, Rebecca St. James, nor a multitude of others who fall well within the styles of music I listen to for pleasure. I had to admit, however, Jessica McLean had a familiar sound. Then it hit me, The female artists I listen to most are ones I like! Those are the ones my daughter normally hears me listening to. Jessica’s got a sound quite similar to a Sarah Brendel, Ginny Owens and Sarah Masen blend. If you’ve read my reviews on them, you’ll know, in my opinion, Jessica McLean is another must-have for your music collection!

What you’ll get is beautiful, no-gimmicks, clear, almost hypnotic vocals that are perfectly matched to the acoustic instrumentals. And don’t curl your nose at “acoustic”. She uses real cello and violin to enhance the guitar, bass and drums. You won’t hear those fake keyboardy strings effects. The music is relaxing, yet doesn’t fall into the don’t-operate-heavy-machinery-while-under-its-influence category. It’s interesting and draws you into the strongly spiritual and open lyrics. It’s not often I repeat albums without putting a change in between, but I catch myself listening to Designed to Dream over and over.

The title track expresses the theme that we are “designed to live our dreams”. The song is nicely upbeat, and could make for a decent crossover into the mainstream. I did note a stress on “designed”, which can only mean a Creator. Track two sings that in the light, we’re at peace, we can see and we are free. A thought that struck me while listening is how easy it is for too many to be able to see the light without being in it. Track three is about God’s infinitely huge love and how pondering that can make one “feel brand new again”.

The fourth track is one of my favorites, and is the one featured in a music video I got to see in the DVD Jessica’s husband helped produce. That DVD was impressive enough that I ordered a block of them to pass out to friends and passers-by. That’s another story. The song is about how God can’t possibly be unreal. Just ponder creation, and the facts that His presence can be felt, and that he’s changed so many people. The next song expresses the falsity of the popular notion that all the answers can be found within oneself. Jessica goes on to sing that God loves us as we are, but that’s no reason to resist being made “beautiful from inside out”. Track six has a countryish flavor and sings that we shouldn’t run from Jesus when He offers His love so freely.

Track seven says good things come to those who wait on the Lord. Track eight reminds us that nothing in this world is certain: friends, family, possessions, even the world itself. God is truly all we need. Track nine is a re-make of the old classic, “How Great Thou Art”. Too often singers modernize and distort familiar songs as to frustrate, and with me, even irritate, folks who might like to sing along. Jessica McLean’s version is clear and with only slight variations from the old familiar tune. She didn’t know it, but I sang a duet with her in my library delivery van –twice, today!

Jessica McLean’s Designed to Dream is pure ear candy with a message. The DVD, Noah’s Arc is also a don’t miss. Check ‘em both out! I really think you’ll be happy you did! And Jessica, thank you for your sharing the talent God gave you!

Always let your music help keep your focus on Jesus!





- Paul Landkamer-Faithwriters


Discography

Creation Melody
August 2009
1.Creation Melody
2. Brand New Day
3. Enjoy the Ride
4. Psalm 42

Designed To Dream album
October 2006
1.Designed To Dream
2.In The Light
3.Again
4.Ocean Song
5.Beautiful
6.Run
7.Good Things Come
8.All I Need
9.How Great Thou Art

Photos

Bio

McLean’s debut album Designed to Dream (2006) successfully launched her into the Christian music industry, allowing her to share the stage with bands such as the Newsboys, David Crowder Band and Sanctus Real. She has been featured in publications including Christianity Today and Today’s Christian Woman. Jessica has garnered much attention in the media breaking barriers as an independent artist. She is married to cinematographer, Nic McLean, director of the Noah’s Arc and Walking on Water Films.