Jessa Rew’s confidence and grace comes across right away—whether talking to her over a cup of coffee or watching her share her songs from the stage. Jessa grew up on a 4,000 acre ranch in Pendleton, Oregon. Most of her early childhood was spent in the outdoors with her horses, enjoying the family’s beautiful piece of the Pacific Northwest.
“I remember my first time wanting to pick up a guitar, I was 9 or 10. I was usually riding horses, and would come back to the house and my dad always had cool music playing.” That’s when she first remembers hearing Sheryl Crow, and something about her sound grabbed her in a special way. Music began to be more than just something nice to listen to; she realized it actually conveyed emotion that touched her in ways that it hadn’t before.
“My dad had a guitar in the closet, and he never really played it. So one day, I took it out, and started to pretend like I was playing. We only had a couple of channels growing up on the farm in Oregon, and my parents weren’t into spending time watching TV. We did have PBS, though, which played Austin City Limits. I saw Jewel on there, and that’s when I knew. I just thought she was a goddess. I said to myself, ‘I want to be like that one day.’ But…I didn’t know how to play guitar or how to sing. I just remember thinking, ‘That’s it right there.’”
Over the next handful of years, Jessa’s love of good music deepened. She played piano growing up, to which she attributes a real degree of her understanding and appreciation of music. But, like the women that she found influencing and inspiring her musically, it was the guitar with which she really wanted to become acquainted.
As life seems to be for many of us, change would come. “My parents separated, and I went from a 4,000 acre ranch in Oregon to living in an apartment here in Texas.” She no longer had her horse or the family ranch to roam anymore. “My hobbies were sort of dissolved, so that’s the time when I really started to take learning the guitar seriously. We moved to Boerne, and I really only knew three or four chords, so I started taking lessons from Cy Torgerson in town at The Bohemian Guitar Player.”
In her lessons, Jessa began to learn to play real songs and understand more of the components of music and theory. Cy asked her if she sang; she laughs as she recalls telling him that shower singing was the extent of her vocal performance. “I was about 16 at this point, but just wasn’t ready to sing in front of people yet. He did get me thinking in that direction, though. I was here now, in a new place with my mom. She was a working, single mother, and I had my guitar and music.”
Music again would serve to be an anchor during a major time of transition in her life. Jessa attended her freshman year at TCU, and couldn’t quite figure out what she wanted to do. “I realize now, that music really became an oasis for me. That was around the time that I started to write songs, as well. It became really important to me.” In the way music is for so many, Jessa found a true friend. It was a friend that was with her in the midst of life’s uncertainties, and that also helped inspire her to spread her wings and broaden her horizons.
“I decided to do a program in New Zealand for a music and worship school with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). We’d go to school during the week, and on the weekends we would put on a worship service and breakfast clubs for local kids and write together. I wanted to go somewhere cool and far away, and it was really an incredible experience.”
Amidst this group of young songwriters, Jessa began to hone her own personal brand of creating music, and is also where she first recorded one of her own songs. In this experience of getting her toe in the water, she found a sense of confidence as those around her affirmed her heartfelt, Americana breed of song and voice.
“Writing now, the best thing to hear when you write a song, and someone comes up to you and says that it helped them get through something in their life—that they can relate to what it’s talking about, or what it means to them. Because, then you’re giving that gift back that you’ve gotten from other artists. To be able to share that with somebody, and they can relate to it, to that experience…that’s just one of the best things ever.”
Jessa is currently working on recording a couple of new singles locally with Lucas Hughes, a member of Boerne-based band, Wild Party. Plans to release those songs by the beginning of summer 2019 are in store. She continues to perform around the Hill Country, while juggling a full schedule as a business owner of Rewby Boutique & Salon. Jessa enjoys traveling as much as she is able. Keep an eye out for the release of her new music and performances in the area. www.facebook.com/jessarewmusic/