Starting at a young age, Waaia’s Jessica Brooks re-branded herself as Jessica Lorraine after mastering the art of playing guitar and discovering a love of performing music.
Now a recognised local star, known for her mesmerising vocals, acoustic sound and flair for unique cover arrangements and original songs, Jessica said her confidence and talent hadn’t come overnight.
‘‘It was always something I was drawn to and I always wanted to play the guitar in particular, but I was nervous for a long time and I played in my bedroom for three years before I performed for family at birthday parties,’’ she said.
Accompanying her guitar playing with singing, Jessica taught herself the skills needed to string a beat together from watching YouTube videos.
‘‘I started when I was 13, I’d had a few attempts at learning and it was my third attempt over a year or two, but as soon as I learned the chords I was singing along with them,’’ she said.
Taking inspiration from singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, the song Fifteen was Jessica’s first song learned from beginning to end.
‘‘I was a pretty big fan and her album Fearless was something that I listened to a lot, especially while milking the cows; I would pretend to rock out instead of milking,’’ Jessica said.
Deciding to finally let her talents be heard in 2012, Jessica started to upload covers to her YouTube page.
‘‘I tested the water to see what people thought, it’s a lot easier to hide behind the computer screen,’’ she said.
Jessica’s first gig was at Brereton’s Bakery and Coffee Lounge in Nathalia for a school function, where she teamed up with St Mary of the Angels Secondary College students Laura Byrnes and Sam Wallace.
‘‘At that point I didn’t have a sound system so we teamed up and Laura and I went on playing music together for more than 12 months after that,’’ Jessica said.
Now performing solo gigs, Jessica said she had a ‘‘go to’’ song she naturally performed first.
‘‘It’s Big Jet Plane by Angus and Julia Stone; it’s a nice chilled song and it warms my voice up so it’s become a bit of a tradition,’’ she said.
Travelling to where the music takes her, Jessica has performed more than 100 gigs this year.
‘‘You definitely have to put yourself out there, and the more you work at it the more you get back — and I definitely enjoy what I do,’’ Jessica said.
‘‘It’s just really cool to be able to play music for people and there is nothing else I’d rather be doing; I’m happy with music in my life.’’
Releasing her self-written song Maybe in 2017 and High IQ in 2018 on Triple J Unearthed, Google Play, Bandcamp, Spotify and iTunes, Jessica said she would like to expand on performing original songs.
Jessica said making the music video for her latest single was a really fun process, working with Night Owl Productions and local actors Ruby Shannon and Brandon Armstrong.
‘‘I worked with local Ben Ennis, we worked on the basic concept together and then Ben did an amazing job of bringing it all to life,’’ she said.
Thinking ahead to 2019 Jessica is looking forward to performing at Festival of Sails in Geelong alongside Australian singer-songwriter Taylor Henderson.
‘‘It will be an original set and they have some great acts on the line-up for the weekend. Nothing beats having a pin-drop audience that are really listening to what you’re performing — so I’m really excited,’’ Jessica said.
For more information follow jessicalorrainemusic on Facebook and Instagram.