Country music star Jessie Chris, 21, was born and raised in Boston and still resides here despite a busy touring schedule. At the age of 18, she became one of the youngest artists to perform at the 2015 Country Music Association Festival. Her debut album, Wildfire, was released in 2016 to wide acclaim, and she has opened for artists such as Luke Bryan, Chris Young and John Rich, and performed with Billy Ray Cyrus and 98 Degrees’ Jeff Timmons. She released her second album, In It For You, in January. Named a 2018 Billboard Artist to Watch, Chris was selected by the Ad Council as one of the faces of its national Anti-Bullying & Harassment Campaign, #BeMore.
Jonathan Soroff: Song you most often sing in the shower?
Jessie Chris: Good question! I sing every Keith Urban song. It’s like a Keith Urban concert.
Ever been singing in the shower and thought, “Damn! I wish I’d recorded that because it was so good.” Yes! The acoustics in the shower are amazing. There was one song where I actually recorded the background vocals in a bathroom—the acoustics were so good.
If you weren’t a singer, what would you want to be? I would probably be doing hair and makeup. I do my own. It’s a rare but exciting day when somebody else gets to do my hair and makeup.
Person who you met who had you completely starstruck? Keith Urban, Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts are my top three starstruck moments.
I want to be Taylor Swift’s best friend. Doesn’t everyone?
Have you hung out with her? We were at the same after-party, so I got to talk to her for a little bit and it was very cool.
Pop star you most admire? This might sound random, but Selena Gomez, because I think she’s really inspiring and I grew up watching her on the Disney Channel. I think she’s cool.
So you’re a lot country—but are you a little bit rock ’n’ roll? Absolutely!
Nashville or Boston? In the summer, I’d choose Boston. In the winter, I’d pick Nashville.
Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn? Patsy Cline.
Reality show you’d most like to be on? Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings. It’s a new one, and it looks awesome. I don’t even know if it would be considered reality, but I’m going with that. It’s about real people who get surprise engaged or married at Disney. [Laughs.]
If you were a car, what kind would it be? A pink convertible, kinda like a Barbie car. [Laughs.]
The place you most want to visit on the planet? This is going to sound so random, but Colorado. I’ve never been there, and I’ve heard it’s really pretty. [Laughs.] I’ve been wanting to go to Colorado for the longest time.
Spirit animal? Dog. I think I’m a puppy sometimes. I get really sad when I have to say goodbye to people, so I think in a past life I was a puppy.
Person you admire most? I admire my family a lot, and they inspire me, so I’m going to go with them.
Top three songs in heavy rotation on your devices? I really like the song “Tequila” by Dan + Shay. I love the song “Wasted Time” by Keith Urban—had to work him in there. And also, my whole family is really big U2 fans, so I would say “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
Did you see them last time they were here? No, and I’m so mad. But I had a good reason. I was at the Radio Disney Awards.
Last thing that made you cry? I cry about everything, but I saw that movie I Can Only Imagine, and I cried through the entire thing.
Person you’d most like to do a duet with? If it wasn’t obvious enough already, Keith Urban.
Tattoos—yes or no? No. I’m terrified of needles and I cannot stick to one decision for the rest of my life.
Worst venue you ever played? Well, just because it’s not meant to be a venue, a zoo, when I was just starting out. I was right next to the animals. It was weird. But we all have to pay our dues.
Best venue or one you couldn’t believe you got to play? For me, when I sang the national anthem at Fenway Park, just because growing up in Boston, that’s like the ultimate in cool.
Person you’d most like to sing “Happy Birthday” to? Taylor Swift, because like you said, we all want to be in her posse.
Tips for keeping your voice in good form? Not screaming when you go to a concert.
Any superstitions or rituals you do before going onstage? I always do my vocal warmups on my phone, whether it’s in an Uber or backstage, and sometimes it has to be in front of strangers, so they’re looking at me like I’m a little odd. But I have to do them. It’s my ritual to do my vocals before going onstage. I’ll just break out into “Me, me, me, me, me, me, me!”
Biggest indulgence or extravagance? Probably going shopping for shoes, clothes, anything. I’m a girly girl, and that’s one of the things I do the most. But I’m a bargain shopper, so it’s not the worst thing ever.
Is Boston a good country music town? You know what? It is now. It’s pretty cool. All of these country music venues are popping up, and you’re starting to see more local country artists. I didn’t see that when I first started out, but it’s very cool to see that change.
Place you’d most like to tour? Other than Colorado, Hawaii. That’s another place I’ve never been to, and I’d love to tour there.
If you had a theme song, what would it be? The theme song from Friends. My band and I break into that song at any time and place.
Would you rather get a Grammy or a Country Music Award? Oh, that’s so hard. As much as I love country music, I think there’s nothing that beats a Grammy. It’s a really, really big deal. They both are, but I think every artist in every genre dreams of a Grammy.
TV show you’d most like to have one of your songs on? That’s a great question. Any TV show would be cool.
Dream endorsement deal? There are several, but definitely all the expensive makeup I use from Sephora. That would be very helpful. Ideal.
Instrument you wish you could play? I wish I could play the ukulele. I know it’s not that hard to pick up. I just need to give myself a few days to really commit to learning it. ◆