Whether accompanied only by acoustic guitar, or soaring above the horn-heavy background of full Banda instrumentation, Jessica Ballesteros possesses a voice capable of projecting shades of deep emotion and poignant recollection.
While she projects a captivating and assured star power, Jessica is relatively new to this musical universe. After graduating from high school in Long Beach, CA she studied health science at Cal State Fullerton. She first sang in public when her mother persuaded her to join the mariachis in song at a local restaurant. “The reaction I got from the audience was something I had never felt before,” she recalls. Posting videos on social media led to offers from producers to cut studio tracks. And while she could have applied to earn her master’s degree, music became her focus. “I want to dedicate my life to this,” she avows.
As a vocal interpreter, one of Jessica’s trademarks is her recasting of Banda songs into acoustic ballads. “I like songs that have deep lyrics,” she says. “I lean more toward sad songs.” Now crafting her own lyrics and melodies, she draws upon narratives of those around her for inspiration, illustrated by the gorgeous ballad “Frio” that reflects on her parents’ divorce. “I put myself in other people’s shoes, to get the emotion out there.”
Knowledgeable about the perils of the music business, Jessica took an educated approach to her expanding career. The Joyas Musicales community offered an exceptional opportunity for her music to flourish. It helped that she recognized the company’s Creative Director Julie “Jules” Vasquez from her work with legendary Long Beach home girl Jenni Rivera. “I’m a woman, I’m strong, and I’m for women in this industry. Jenni paved the way – now there needs to be more of us up there,” she says.
She believes that being able to do music for a living, especially for women, is a hard road. “But as long as you know in your heart that you have a purpose and play to the strengths God has given you, everything is going to be OK. I believe everybody has a purpose,” she concludes. “My purpose is music.”