Jessie Ritter
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Jessie Ritter

Pensacola, FL | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Pensacola, FL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Country Americana

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"Jessie Ritter Bests More Than 800 Artists To Win Nash Next 2018 Competition"

After a four-month-long competition that featured more than 800 artists from around the country, Jessie Ritter has been named the 2018 Nash Next champion.

Jessie, a Fort Walton Beach, Fla., native, bested nine other finalists during the Nash Next finale at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon on Oct. 11. As winner of the fourth annual competition, Jessie will receive a recording contract with Nash Next Records under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella and substantial radio exposure on Cumulus radio stations nationwide.

“I’m very excited and blessed for this opportunity,” said Jessie. “God has given me patience and strength throughout this entire process and I’m humbled to be crowned the Nash Next winner. This is where I’m meant to be, and I can’t wait for the adventure that lies ahead.” - Nash Country Daily


"Gulf Breeze musician Jessie Ritter wins NASH Next competition"

A week ago, Jessie Ritter was a country singer based in Gulf Breeze, hustling to book her own gigs across the Florida Panhandle and promote her independently recorded album.

Today — after winning the NASH Next country music competition — she’s a signed artist with Big Machine Records, the same record label that represents Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line and Rascal Flatts.

Ritter sang “Meet Your Mother” to beat nine other finalists at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville on Oct. 11.

“Everyone was super talented,” Ritter said. “When they called my name, I was just shocked and ecstatic. I think I’m still on this surreal plane.

“Is this really real?”

Ritter signed a one-year contract with Big Machine Records and will begin work with the label this month.

‘SOMETHING DIFFERENT’

Country isn’t just Ritter’s genre. It’s the way she was raised.

LEARN MORE

Learn more about Jessie Ritter and her upcoming performances at Facebook.com/JessieLynnRitter, JessieRitter.com or Instagram @jessie.l.ritter.

Ritter grew up on more than 100 acres of soybean fields in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Her father, who died when she was 12, was a physician who allowed farmers to use their property.

She fondly remembers running around in overalls with her sister, Abby. The two would fish after school and feed sugar cubes to their uncle’s horses everyday.

A smile spreads across Ritter’s face when she recalls the “dinner gong” her mother would ring with a mallet.

“Anywhere on the farm, you could hear this big gong going off,” Ritter said. “That was the call it was time to come in for dinner. Abby and I would come running across the field. It was the best way to grow up.”

Ritter is the outlier in a family of physicians. Her parents, grandparents and uncles are doctors, and her sister started medical school this year.

“I wanted to do something different,” Ritter said.

Ritter studied music at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and sang with Carnival Cruise Line for several years after. She moved to Gulf Breeze to be with her husband, Brian, a fantasy novel author who sings more than Ritter — although definitely not professionally, she said in a fit of laughter.

“He understands the creative process, but there is no competition between our creative things,” Ritter said. “There is still a level of awe. I understand creating things, but I could never write a novel.”

The only thing Ritter doesn’t like about Florida is being 10 hours away from her mom.

‘COFFEE EVERY MORNING’

Ritter has a knack for writing lyrics.

She came up with the name of her debut album, “Coffee Every Morning,” practically by accident. She wrote it about a short period in which her band performed frequently and went out every night after.

“We were at the coffee shop every morning,” Ritter said. “I was like, ‘Guys, we are drinking coffee every morning and whiskey every night.’ We need to do something different. Someone said, ‘Hey, that sounds like a song.’”

Ritter clung to the title for six months. It made the ideal album title because it’s memorable. It also redeems the only sad song on the record, she said.

Ritter released her first EP, “Stories Told,” three years ago, so she was eager for the project. “Coffee Every Morning” released in July.

She recorded the record in Nashville with producer and engineer Jim Lill. She met Lill her first week of college, and the two bonded over a shared love for Miranda Lambert.

“Who doesn’t love Miranda Lambert?” Ritter said with a laugh.

“I called him first, and I was like, ‘I know you’re not doing this a ton these days, but I would love to work with you if you want to get back into that scene,’” Ritter said. “He was like, ‘OK, for you I will.’”

“Coffee Every Morning” is an album full of love songs. The subject matter is appropriate because Ritter wrote the songs while she dated Brian, recorded them while they were engaged and released them after the wedding.

She surmises her next batch of songs might be about marriage and building a home.

Ritter wanted to create happy love songs that are a love worth listening to, she said.

“I did not want to record, ‘You don’t have to be lonely tonight. Come home with me,’” Ritter said with a laugh. “There is none of that. I really wanted to build up love to what it should be and what it’s not often portrayed like now.

“I think it does showcase this higher level of love.”

“Meet Your Mother” accomplished this goal for one middle-aged man, she said.

“He was like, ‘I love this song. I don’t know why I love this song so much. I’m old and married. But I feel like this is the way love should be,’” Ritter said.

Ritter wrote the song before she visited or moved to Florida.

“I was just hearing stories about how awesome it was down here,” Ritter said. “My husband grew up down here. I was on the phone and I was like, ‘I really need to see where you’re from. I want to meet your family.’ Now here I am.”

People sang the lyrics of that song with her at the Pensacola Songwriters Festival in early October. It was amazing, Ritter said.

“I heard it on the radio the other day on the way to Walmart and I flipped out,” Ritter said. “That’s the whole goal for so long. People are actually hearing this.”

‘DREAM COME TRUE’

Ritter wasn’t even sure she won.

When the judges announced a winner, Ritter couldn’t distinguish her name from Jessica Rose and Justin Rivers — the names of other finalists in the NASH Next competition,

“We were backstage, but the speakers were toward the house,” Ritter said. “I knew it was someone’s name that started with a ‘J’ and there was an ‘R’ in there. I wasn’t about to walk out until I heard it three more times, just to make sure.”

She submitted “Meet Your Mother” online in the Cumulus Radio competition in August. The first round she surpassed was fan voting.

Then she beat four other contestants in the live round at Baytowne Wharf on Sept. 8. From there, Cumulus Radio narrowed down the competition from 52 contestants across the country to 10 finalists.

Before Ritter competed in the finals, a live performance of one song in Nashville, she shared her perspective.

“I’m singing my song, with my friends — What’s there to be nervous about?” Ritter said. “If we do end up winning, what an adventure.”

Four judges — Scott Borchetta, the owner of Big Machine Records; “Kix” Brooks, one half of the country duo Brooks & Dunn; Terri Clark, a country musician; and a reporter from The Tennessean — chose Ritter as the winner. Ritter thinks they most latched onto her personality.

“The judges said, ‘You have this joy and it seems like a goodness about you, and the world needs a piece of that,’” Ritter said. “I was so honored that they would say something so nice.”

Ritter knows her life is about to change. But, for now, she’s unpacking, doing laundry and fulfilling pre-scheduled performances, starting with one in Navarre. It’s a weird feeling, she said.

“It’s a dream come true,” Ritter said. “Your whole life you think, ‘Maybe I’ll get a record deal someday and get a song on the radio.’ Overnight, that’s what it is.

“I have a record deal and my song will be played on Cumulus stations across the country.” - Northwest Florida Daily News


Discography

Jessie Ritter- Coffee Every Morning

Release date: July 27, 2018 -- All songs written by Jessie Ritter except: "Coffee Every Morning" by Jessie Ritter and Maggie Thorn. "My Life With You" by Jessie Ritter and Dr. Raymond Ritter Jr. And "Jolene" by Dolly Parton. -- Recorded in Nashville TN. -- Produced by Jim Lill. -- Engineered by Jim Lill. -- Artwork by James Toups, Jubbish.com


Jessie Ritter- Stories Told EP

Jessie's debut EP "Stories Told." Released April 14, 2015. Recorded at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville TN. All songs written by Jessie Ritter. Produced by Sam Martinez. Engineered by Brian Pafford. Artwork by Molly Peach.

Photos

Bio

ABOUT JESSIE RITTER: Southeast Missouri native Jessie Ritter grew up on her family’s farm listening to Country radio, where her love of story and song began. The singer/songwriter’s passion for the genre brought her to Nashville after high school, where she spent years honing her craft while studying music at Belmont University. Upon graduation, Jessie was offered a job with Carnival Cruise Line® that took her across Australia, Europe and the Bahamas, performing four hours a day, six days a week for two years. Now based in Northwest Florida, Jessie hustles as her own manager, booker, publisher and promoter, traveling along the coast to share her music with fans. She has previously joined the bill with chart-topper Easton Corbin and will perform at the 30A Songwriters Festival in January 2019. Jessie released her first full-length album COFFEE EVERY MORNING in July, which she co-produced alongside Jim Lill and penned nine out of the ten tracks, featuring the introspective title track and upbeat “Meet Your Mother.” Her pure vocals recently earned her the reigning Champion title of the NASH Next Challenge and she will release her debut single in 2019 on Nash Next Records under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella. Visit JessieRitter.com for the latest updates and follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

Band Members