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Checking In: SAMMIES 2020 Winners and Nominees

Jessica Jolia: Winner, Singer-Songwriter;

Nominee, Artist of the Year and Live Performer

How did you feel about being nominated last year?

Being recognized for the work that I do is always appreciated, but it’s really an honor when that recognition comes from my hometown. I wasn’t born in Sacramento, but my family and I moved here from Michigan when I was in elementary school, so the city will always have my heart. That said, I’ve worked with a number of artists, songwriters, musicians, and producers from Sacramento and I’m very familiar with the level of talent I’d be up against in any music competition. At the top of 2020, I’d just returned from the Jonas Brothers Happiness Begins tour as part of the opening act (Jordan McGraw) and was also in the process of recovering from surgery due to complications of Endometriosis. As a person who is always on the go, it was challenging for me to have to sit out on performances and recording sessions, but I knew it was necessary to ensure complete healing. So, as you can imagine, learning that I’d been nominated in three categories (Live Performer, Singer-Songwriter, and Artist of the Year) for the SAMMIES was such a pleasant surprise during a time when I felt so removed from something that I loved so much. I am very grateful to have won Best Singer-Songwriter, and congratulate all of the 2020 winners and nominees.

How have you stayed active/creative during the pandemic?

Funny enough, I didn’t initially think that things would escalate to the degree that they now have. I remember sitting in my room in SoCal last February, thinking things would probably ease up within a month or two. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we’d still be dealing with a global pandemic in 2021. But, I strive to remain positive and grateful for the things that I’ve gained rather than the things I’ve temporarily gone without. I’ve been able to spend more time with my family than I have in many, many years, due to the demands of my schedule; and have enjoyed watching my now almost 2-year-old nephew grow up right before my eyes. The quality time spent with them has kept me encouraged and inspired. I’ve also been able to do a lot of remote production, writing and recording. and I’m so thankful that I made it a priority to learn the necessary skills to be able to do so much from home (though I was certainly never preparing for a pandemic). A lot of my late nights were also spent on Voisey, a music app that I grew very fond of, capturing ideas and uploading mini songs for and with others in the app community. Collectively, I recorded about 65 songs last year and began releasing singles in October through my label, Dekada Records, which was something I hadn’t been able to do since the beginning of 2019. My first single of 2020, “On A Break”, premiered on KSFM 102.5 FM, and my most recent single, “Hold Me Close”, premiered on 103.5 Fuego FM and Sirius XM’s Heart & Soul. Now, I’m [excited about] the release of my [newest] single, “No Question”, which [is available on all digital streaming platforms]. I’ll continue to release music monthly, while also working on my debut album. In spite of all that has changed over the past year, I can honestly say that, for me, the music never skipped a beat.

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