With her melodious, expressive voice, eloquent lyrics, and dynamic arrangements (she plays the violin throughout the album), every track on her debut solo album is stunning, before the listener even knows her story.
They are songs of hope, strength, renewal, overcoming and finding love. And they help document the personal and triumphant journey of Jessica Willis Fisher. From the catchy ‘Fire Song’ to the inspiring title track ‘Brand New Day’ to his soulful cover of ‘You Move Me’.
“I really lived every word on this album,” she says.
Fisher grew up one of 12 siblings, singing and playing music in his family’s touring band, The Willis Clan. The group was featured on “America’s Got Talent” and later on TLC’s “The Willis Clan,” performing on stages across the country, until Fisher’s father was arrested and sent to prison for sexually abused his own daughters.
Fisher, who left her family’s band dramatically, stayed away from the public eye for years and even put music aside until now. There was a time when she thought she had lost music forever.
“I didn’t write or do much musically after I left my family band and got out of that situation,” she explains. “And the family band and the music was never the bad part. It got to the point where I went straight into trauma therapy, took a break from everything I had known, and it was the best thing I could have done for myself.
But as she worked on her own healing, she began to write. In 2018 she resurfaced, first with a blog detailing some of the traumatic events of her abuse, then music followed.
“I finally had to come back and re-examine everything in my life,” she says. “I finally had the chance and the freedom to say, is this good for me? And it didn’t take long for the music to return.
One of the first songs she wrote, featured on new day is “My story”.
“It was like, this is something that I’m going to pick up and star, while integrating my past and that’s what you hear in ‘My Story,'” she says. “It was a way of kind of marking the closure that I felt and the progress that I was making, and then it was like a whole new world.”
Fisher wrote eight of the album’s 10 songs, each telling a different part of his story. “Fire Song,” co-written with Jon Randall, goes back to what she was going through when she was still living with her family, but knowing she needed to break free.
“Right before I left, I was having these nightmares that the house was on fire and I was the only one who could tell and everyone was living a normal life, she recalls. “I was screaming, ‘Wake up! Wake up! We gotta get out!’ And I realize now that was me, trying to say to myself, “We have to get out of here.”
Her song “Gone” shares her sense of finding freedom, “Brand New Day” embraces the new life ahead, and “Hopelessly, Madly,” along with her cover of “You Move Me,” shares her feelings for her husband from five children. years, Sean.
For Fisher, creating and releasing the new album is a reclamation of both her voice and her music, but she also found that by coming out and sharing her own story, she was able to encourage, and perhaps help, other trauma survivors.
“I’ve come to realize that many of the toughest things I’ve been through aren’t unique to me,” she says. “Many, many other people have been through some of the same struggles, I also recognize that my story is pretty crazy in some ways, so I’m so glad people don’t have to have the exact same experiences to sympathize. the ones with the others .”
She knows that music can reach and connect with people in ways that nothing else can.
“I think the magic is that someone can put their individual feelings and experiences into a song, but it can be a universal, unifying thing. Someone to listen to a song, find their own meaning and make it resonate in their life, even in circumstances totally different from mine. It’s very vulnerable, it’s very risky, but the rewards are also very high because when people resonate with one of these songs, they basically say “Me too” and “I understand” and “Yeah, you that’s right, that’s exactly what it does.
The album, since its release two weeks ago, has been incredibly well received. She hopes to start touring soon and has already been announced as a performer at Nashville’s five-day annual Americana Music Festival and Conference in September. She is excited about her future and ready to embrace it with the same hope and optimism that she shares in her songs.
“I had certain things that held me back and hurt me,” she says, “and if I had the chance, I would have chosen not to go through them, but that’s not an option. . So, I’m going to take the best option I have which is to make the most of the circumstances beyond my control, watch what I CAN control, and do the best I can with it, I can.
And she’s so grateful, the music will be part of that.