Jessie Chris Dishes On The Boston Music Awards And Being Nominated Country Artist Of The Year

Jessie ChrisPhoto Credit: Jessie Chris

The Boston Music Awards are coming to the House of Blues tomorrow night with a full lineup of talented musicians vying for titles like New Artist, Song and Album of the Year, but there is one local musician who is up for Country Artist of the Year, who already has a collection of her own titles to her credit. Massachusetts’ own Jessie Chris was the youngest performer at the 2015 CMA Festival at just 18 years old and has since become the first country artist to be named Elvis Duran’s Artist of The Month. She has opened for artists like Luke Bryan, Chris Young, John Rich, Trace Adkins and Billy Ray Cyrus and has performed at The Country Music Hall of Fame.

Jessie ChrisPhoto Credit: Jessie Chris

We caught up recently with the country superstar to find out who has inspired her along the way and what it feels like to be a country music singer from Boston.

How does it feel to be nominated for Country Artist of the Year at this year’s Boston Music Awards?

It feels great to be nominated because Boston is my home. I still split my time between Massachusetts and Nashville, so it definitely means a lot to me.

When you tell people you’re a country musician from Boston, how is that received?

The response from folks has certainly changed. Just a few years ago, I would get an odd and confused look from folks when I would tell them and I would jokingly look at them and say “Isn’t Boston the birthplace of country music?” Now, while they are often still confused as I don’t have a strong Boston accent, they know Boston is a great country music city given the recent growth to include two major country radio stations and sold-out country concerts throughout the year.

Who has inspired or influenced you along the way?

Musically, my influences have been Rascal Flats and Keith Urban, both whom I’ve been able to meet and spend time with during this last year. When I was 10 and received my first guitar, their music is the first music my guitar instructor had me learn, so when I now get to spend time with them as peers, it’s absolutely amazing and surreal at the same time.  And my parents have influenced me throughout my life and without their support, I would not be where I am today.

How do you think country music has changed in recent years?

Country music has become more mainstream. It’s evident when you look at the number of major artists that now tour regularly through a place like Massachusetts. Country music is like a giant family, which is different than other music formats.

What has been your most special performance to date?

My performance as Elvis Duran’s Artist of The Month on The TODAY Show. As a kid, I once stood outside in the cold with my mom just hoping to be in the background on TV and fast forward to be able to perform and be the first country artist to receive that title was absolutely amazing.

You’re a big proponent of anti-bullying campaigns. Can you tell us why you decided to get involved?

I dealt with a lot of bullying as a kid and I’ve made it a central focus of my career to visit as many schools as possible to speak with kids throughout the country.

What’s up next for you?

New music coming out in January, and a nationwide radio and anti-bullying tour.