Jessica Meuse

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Jessica Meuse
Jessica Meuse.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJessica Rose Meuse[1]
Born (1990-10-19) October 19, 1990 (age 29)
Round Rock, Texas, United States
OriginSlapout, Alabama
GenresSouthern rock, blues rock, folk rock, country rock, alternative rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active2011–present
LabelsWarrior Records
Websitejessicameuse.com

Jessica Rose Meuse (born October 19, 1990), also known as Jess Meuse, is an American singer from Slapout, Alabama. After spending several years as an unsigned musician, she finished in fourth place on the thirteenth season of American Idol. Her debut album, What's So Hard About Bein' a Man, was self-released in 2011, three years before she gained national exposure on reality television. While competing on American Idol, she became the first person in the history of the series to perform an original song during the finals. Her second album, Halfhearted, was released on August 3, 2018, through Warrior Records.

Early life and education[edit]

Meuse was born in Round Rock, Texas, on October 19, 1990 to Charles Edward and Sheila Arlene (Strobel) Meuse.[1][2] Her mother's government job led to the family moving several times when Meuse was a child. As a way to be more outgoing as a pre-teen, she recorded CDs and gave them to friends. While living in Zephyrhills, Florida in 2002, she attended St. Anthony Catholic School in nearby San Antonio, Florida. It was there, at the school's talent show, that she acknowledges performing publicly for the first time.[3] When she was in the seventh grade, she moved to Slapout, Alabama, where she joined the Montgomery Youth Orchestra, eventually becoming principal second violin. She also played shows of her own at various festivals, fundraisers, schools, and public events. In addition to the violin, she plays both guitar and piano.[4]

She attended Auburn University at Montgomery, where she majored in liberal arts.[5]

Musical influences[edit]

Meuse states she is, "influenced by virtually every genre of music."[4] More specifically though, she has called her style "a blend of southern rock with alternative and rock n’ roll."[4] Mary Colurso of AL.com has described it as "rock...infused with country and metal."[6] Meuse's musical influences include Coldplay, Miranda Lambert, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Stevie Nicks, Death Cab for Cutie, Bruno Mars, and Shinedown.[4]

Music career[edit]

Career beginnings and What's So Hard About Bein' a Man (2008-2014)[edit]

Meuse began writing music at age eighteen. Her first song was called "What's So Hard About Bein' a Man".[7] She went on to self-release a CD by the same name in 2011 and had already written around sixty original songs by the time of her American Idol audition.[4][6]

In October 2010, Meuse won the Stars of Alabama Artist Showcase, a statewide music competition that was judged by professionals from Montgomery, Atlanta and Nashville.[7] In October 2013, Meuse was featured by the Alabama Media Group in the Birmingham Sessions, an online showcase for musicians around the Birmingham, Alabama area.[6] She auditioned for The Voice before her American Idol run, but did not pass the judging rounds of the mentors.[8]

American Idol (2014)[edit]

While participating as a musical act in Vans Warped Tour, Meuse was encouraged by friends to audition for the thirteenth season of American Idol in Atlanta, Georgia.[9][10] She performed an original song called "Blue-Eyed Lie" and was accepted by all three judges.[9] For her final Hollywood week performance, Meuse chose another original song called "Done."[11] The judges were initially undecided between putting Meuse or Jesse Roach through to the top 30. To decide, the judges had Meuse and Roach do an impromptu sing-off. Meuse's performance of "Simple Man" (by Lynyrd Skynyrd) advanced her to the Top 30.[12]

All of the contestants reprised their audition songs for top 8 week, giving Meuse the opportunity to sing "Blue Eyed Lie" again. This made her the first contestant in the history of American Idol to sing an original song during the finals.[13] For top 4 week, Meuse was originally going to sing another original song, called "The Hell You Put Me Through" - all of the contestants were going to sing originals for one of their performances that week. However, the producers changed their minds late in the week and gave the contestants a short amount of time to choose a replacement from a very limited list of songs. Meuse chose Pinks's "So What."[14][15]

Meuse's fan base is known as "The Meuse Mafia." She has jokingly referred to her experience on the show as being like the Hunger Games, and in one episode, she braided her hair in the same style as Katniss Everdeen.[15][16] Several reviewers and journalists felt that Meuse was unfairly treated by the show, such as Annie Barrett, who wrote for TVLine that the judges were "just blatantly not rooting for her at all.[17] Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo! Music concurred, writing that "it seemed like the judges and producers were doing their best" to get Meuse eliminated from the competition.[18] Parker further wrote that Meuse received "harsh critique" for praise-worthy performances,[19] even as the judges overlooked significant flaws in other contestants.[20] BuddyTV writer Jeff Dodge also felt that Meuse was being held to an unfair "double standard."[21] Writing for TV Guide, Liz Raftery assessed fan opinion as being "frustrat[ed]" with the judges, over their poor treatment of Meuse.[22]

Meuse was never among the "Bottom 3", until top 7 week, when the "Bottom 2" was composed of her and the eliminated contestant, Dexter Roberts.[19] The following week, Meuse was again in the "Bottom 2", but CJ Harris was eliminated.[23] There was no bottom 2 for top 5 week. The contestants were offered a choice - if they agreed unanimously, that week's results would be discarded and all five of them would move on to perform again. Two of them would then be eliminated the following week. Although Meuse voted in favor of this idea, the vote was not unanimous, and Sam Woolf was eliminated.[20] Meuse herself was eliminated the following week.[24] She came in fourth place and reprised "Blue Eyed Lie" as her exit song.[25]

Episode Theme Song choice Original artist Order Result
Audition Auditioner's Choice "Blue-Eyed Lie" Jessica Meuse N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 1 A Capella Not aired Not aired N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 2 Group Performance "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
with Stephanie Hanvey, Nica Nashae, and Cara Watson
Beyoncé N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 3 Solo "Done" Jessica Meuse N/A Advanced
Top 31 (10 Women) Personal Choice "Drink a Beer" Luke Bryan 7 Advanced
Top 13 This is Me "The Crow & the Butterfly" Shinedown 10 Safe
Top 12 Home "White Flag" Dido 3 Safe
Top 11 Songs from the Cinema "The Sound of Silence" Simon & Garfunkel 2 Safe
Top 10 Billboard Top 10 "Pumped Up Kicks" Foster the People 8 Safe
Top 9 I'm with the Band! "Rhiannon" Fleetwood Mac 6 Safe
Top 8 Back to the Start Solo "Blue-Eyed Lie" Jessica Meuse 1 Safe
Duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
with Caleb Johnson
Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty 5
Top 8[a] Songs from the 1980s Solo "Call Me" Blondie 6 Safe
Duet "Islands in the Stream"
with Dexter Roberts
Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton 10
Top 7 Competitors' Choice Solo "Gunpowder & Lead" Miranda Lambert 2 Bottom 2[b]
Trio "Compass"
with CJ Harris and Dexter Roberts
Lady Antebellum 9
Top 6 Rock 'n' Roll "Somebody to Love" The Great Society 6 Bottom 2[c]
Country "Jolene" Dolly Parton 12
Top 5 America's Requests Solo "Human" Christina Perri 4 Safe
Duet "Beast of Burden"
with Caleb Johnson
The Rolling Stones 7
Solo "Summertime Sadness" Lana Del Rey 11
Top 4 Love Songs "Since U Been Gone" Kelly Clarkson 2 Eliminated
"So What" Pink 6
"You and I" Lady Gaga 10
  1. ^ Due to the judges using their one save on Sam Woolf, the top 8 remained intact for another week.
  2. ^ When Ryan Seacrest announced the results in this particular night, Meuse was among the bottom 2, but was declared safe, as Dexter Roberts was eliminated.
  3. ^ When Ryan Seacrest announced the results in this particular night, Meuse was among the bottom 2, but was declared safe, as CJ Harris was eliminated.

Post-Idol and Halfhearted (2014-present)[edit]

Meuse returned to the American Idol stage for the season 13 finale, where she performed with Jennifer Nettles.[26] She then performed in the American Idol summer tour, which began on June 24, 2014 and went through August 23.[27] Following the tour, Meuse went back to performing shows mostly in Alabama and Georgia,[28] although she also played occasionally in California and Tennessee.[29] In early 2015, she told The Hollywood Reporter that she had intentions of moving to Los Angeles.[28] Her debut single, "Done," was released independently on April 21, 2015,[30] and her second single, "Rio Grande", was released on January 5, 2016.[31]

Although Meuse expressed on Twitter in late 2016 that she considered Los Angeles to be her "second home",[32] she continued to reside primarily in Slapout until the end of that year, when she moved to Houston, Texas for a position with the Lone Survivor Foundation. Around that same time, she announced that she had an EP in production.[33] Within a few months, the EP had been expanded into a full album.[34] Titled Halfhearted, Meuse's first post-Idol album was released through Warrior Records on August 3, 2018.

Four songs from Halfhearted were released as singles leading up to the album's release: "Love Her Better" on June 1; "High" on June 15; "California Dream" on June 29; and "Thank God It Didn't Work" on July 13.[35][36] "Thank God It Didn't Work" was released to country radio,[37] and Taste of Country praised the song, calling it, "a full-throated vocal showcase that demands your attention."[38]

Personal life[edit]

Meuse has called herself a "very spiritual person" and has said that she is driven by her faith.[39] She has over eight tattoos and designed at least seven of them herself.[40] She has two on her right arm - one of a phoenix and one of a dove surrounded by three stars. She has said that these represent spiritual rebirth and the Holy Trinity. On her left arm, she has a tattoo of the word "Faith".[41] After she and Jena Irene Asciutto participated in American Idol's thirteenth season together, they got matching tattoos of the Roman numeral XIII.[42]

Meuse loves animals and has many pets that were rescued from shelters, as well as several that she found abandoned.[43]

Meuse's mother, Sheila, worked as the assistant director of the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, where in 2014, she became a whistleblower exposing mismanagement in the VA.[33] Her efforts, and the VA's subsequent retaliation against her, have been detailed by the Montgomery Advertiser and NPR.[44][45]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Details
What's So Hard About Bein' a Man
  • Release date: 2011
  • Label: Independent
  • Formats: CD
  • Recorded and mixed by Tony Buenger at Guest House Studios - Eclectic, Alabama
  • Mastered by John Scrip at MASSIVE Mastering - Schaumburg, IL
Halfhearted
  • Release date: August 3, 2018
  • Label: Warrior Records

Singles[edit]

Year Song Album
2015 "Done" Non-album single
2016 "Rio Grande"
2018 "Love Her Better" Halfhearted
"High"
"California Dream"
"Thank God It Didn't Work"

American Idol digital singles[edit]

Year Song Album
2014 "Pumped Up Kicks" Non-album single
"Rhiannon"
"Blue-Eyed Lie"
"Call Me"
"Gunpowder & Lead"
"Jolene"
"Summertime Sadness"
"Yoü and I"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ancestry.com. Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
  2. ^ Fred Bronson (March 20, 2014). "'American Idol' Season 13: Jessica Meuse Explains Her Songwriting Strategy". The Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ Brian Michael Smith (April 10, 2014). "Jessica Meuse, American Idol Contestant With Local Ties" (PDF). Dade City News. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 13, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e Jessica Meuse. "Jessica Meuse - About". Facebook. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Buffy Lockette (February 12, 2014). "AUM Idol: Student Jessica Meuse a semi-finalist on American Idol". aum.edu. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Mary Colurso (October 28, 2013). "The Birmingham Sessions: Jess Meuse (video)". AL.com. Alabama Media Group. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Jessica Meuse. "About Jess Meuse". MTV Artists Platform. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  8. ^ Mary Colurso (January 25, 2014). "Next stop, Hollywood: Alabama's Jess Meuse gets golden ticket on 'American Idol' (video)". AL.com. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Mark Franklin (January 24, 2014). "Hear more from American Idol's Jess Meuse". Idol Chatter. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  10. ^ Jessica Meuse (March 4, 2015). "@JessMeuse". Twitter. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  11. ^ Michael Slezak (February 12, 2014). "American Idol Recap: The Cutting Crew". TVLine. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  12. ^ "Hollywood Round, Week #2". American Idol. Season 13. Episode 9. February 12, 2014. Fox. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  13. ^ Lyndsey Parker (April 3, 2014). "'American Idol' Top 8 Recap: Try, Try Out Again". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  14. ^ Meuse, Jessica (May 12, 2014). "Idol's Jessica Meuse: How She Stayed Positive Despite Tough Critiques, Which Mentors She Loved and Why She 'Lost Respect' for J.Lo". TVLine Google Hangout (video). Interviewed by Michael Slezak. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  15. ^ a b Liz Raftery (May 14, 2014). "Jessica Meuse: "American Idol Is Like The Hunger Games"". TV Guide. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  16. ^ Meuse, Jessica (May 9, 2014). "'Idol' Exit Interview: Jessica Meuse on why 'American Idol' is 'The Hunger Games'" (Interview). Interviewed by Jake Perlman. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  17. ^ Annie Barrett (April 16, 2014). "American Idol Top 7 Performance Recap: Filler Queen [Updated]". TVLine. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  18. ^ Lyndsey Parker (April 17, 2014). "'Idol' Top 7 Recap: Competitors' Picks and Picking on Jessica". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  19. ^ a b Lyndsey Parker (April 17, 2014). "'American Idol' Top 7 Results: Not A-Meused". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  20. ^ a b Lyndsey Parker (May 1, 2014). "'American Idol' Top 5 Results: A New Twist Backfires Spectacularly… and Hilariously!". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  21. ^ Jeff Dodge (May 14, 2014). "'American Idol': Jessica Meuse on Hollywood Week Drama, Original Songs and 'Supernatural'". BuddyTV. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  22. ^ Liz Raftery (May 14, 2014). "Jessica Meuse: "American Idol Is Like The Hunger Games"". TV Guide. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  23. ^ Michael Slezak (April 24, 2014). "American Idol Top 6 Results Recap: Maybe I Didn't Vote for You, Quite as Often as I Should Have". TVLine. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  24. ^ Michael Slezak (May 8, 2014). "American Idol Top 4 Results Recap: Guess What? I'm Havin' More Fun, Now That We're Done!". TVLine. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  25. ^ Jeff Dodge (May 14, 2014). "'American Idol': Jessica Meuse on Hollywood Week Drama, Original Songs and 'Supernatural'". BuddyTV. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  26. ^ Mary Colurso (May 16, 2014). "Alabama's Jessica Meuse, C.J. Harris, Dexter Roberts to sing with stars on 'American Idol' finale". AL.com. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  27. ^ Teri Greene (July 24, 2015). "'American Idol' tour brings Jess Meuse to Birmingham". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  28. ^ a b "'American Idol' Alum Jessica Meuse Brings Her 'Blue-Eyed Lie' to Los Angeles". The Hollywood Reporter. February 1, 2015. Archived from the original on April 28, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  29. ^ Shannon Heupel (April 26, 2016). "Jessica Meuse: Life after 'Idol' still unfolding for Slapout singer". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  30. ^ Scott, Jason (2015-04-24). "The Singles Bar—Jessica Meuse Is 'Done'". popdust.com. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  31. ^ "Jessica Meuse on iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  32. ^ Jessica Meuse (October 17, 2016). "@JessMeuse". Twitter. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  33. ^ a b Shannon Heupel (December 13, 2016). "'Idol' star finds new calling helping veterans in Texas". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  34. ^ Jessica Meuse (March 22, 2017). "@JessMeuse". Twitter. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  35. ^ Kim Brandow (May 23, 2018). "'American Idol' Alum, Jessica Meuse, To Release First Full-Length Album 'Halfhearted,' Drops This Summer". Inquisitr. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  36. ^ Mark Franklin (June 1, 2018). "Pre-orders began for Debut Album from Jessica Meuse". Idol Chatter. The York Dispatch. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  37. ^ "Meuse goes deep with 'Thank God it Didn't Work'". Montgomery Advertiser. July 19, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  38. ^ Iesha Mae Thomas (May 3, 2019). "Tenille Townes' Distinctive Voice Elevates Keith Urban's 'Stupid Boy' [Listen]". Taste of Country. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  39. ^ Meuse, Jessica (February 21, 2014). "Jessica Meuse - What You Didn't Know - American Idol XIII Finalists". What You Didn't Know - American Idol XIII Finalists Party (video interview). Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  40. ^ Mary Coluruso (April 17, 2014). "Alabama's Jess Meuse on 'American Idol': Top 7 performance recap, with video and poll". AL.com. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  41. ^ Meuse, Jessica (April 18, 2014). "Jessica Meuse - Tough Reviews & Tattoos - American Idol Season 13 Top 7". Synergistic Productions (video). Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  42. ^ Jessica Meuse (August 23, 2014). "@JessMeuse". Twitter. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  43. ^ Jessica Meuse; Angela Isbell; Steven Atkins (February 18, 2014). #thisisreal: Jessica Meuse (video). americanidol.com. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  44. ^ Kala Kachmar (March 19, 2015). "VA whistleblowers say they've been punished". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  45. ^ Eric Westervelt (June 21, 2018). "For VA Whistleblowers, A Culture Of Fear And Retaliation". NPR. Retrieved May 5, 2020.

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