In a world where artistic expression knows no bounds, there exists a rare gem who effortlessly weaves melodies and words into a tapestry of emotions. Meet Jessica Willis Fisher, a captivating artist who possesses the uncanny ability to transport listeners to a realm where music and literature coalesce in perfect harmony. With a voice that resonates with raw passion and lyrics that delve into the depths of the human experience, Jessica Willis Fisher stands as a testament to the transformative power of art.
Tell me a little bit about yourself
“I’m a singer-songwriter who grew up playing fiddle and singing in my family band, The Willis Clan, until my early twenties. This past year I released my first solo record, Brand New Day, and also released my first memoir, Unspeakable: Surviving My Childhood and Finding My Voice. I am really passionate about advocating for survivors of sexual abuse as that is unfortunately part of my background and the main topic of my book.”
How did you first get into music?
“I was homeschooled and my parents got me into traditional Irish dance and music at a young age. I traveled to Ireland to compete as a teenager and eventually got into other forms of dance and music as well. I was drawn to reading and then writing from as early as I can remember and ultimately that drive for storytelling is the core of my love for making art of all kinds.”
What inspired you to start writing?
Both my parents knew how to play instruments and my Dad in particular wrote his own pieces, so composition was normal to me. I was told Mozart had written his first symphony as a kid, so I was trying my hand at making up piano ditties by the age of 7. I started writing poetry and even little fantasy novels and such as a pre-teen. My first songs came around age 16. Looking back, I can see there was a lot of curiosity and drive to find the words to express myself and probably the abusive, hidden experiences I didn’t understand and was always trying to articulate in particular.”
Are your music and writings intertwined or do you use them as different forms of expression?
“I very much see them as coming from the same source, just finding different, complimentary outlets. Making my memoir’s audiobook was surreal and deeply healing as I had the opportunity to narrate my own lived experiences through the book, and then pair pieces of my songs next to the events that actually inspired them. Lately, I’ve been dipping my toe into speaking engagements where I can share my story and incorporate my art in a live setting, usually raising funds and/or awareness to end abuse in its many forms. I recently started The Brand New Day Fund to give back to the many organizations who were there for me in my darkest hour.”
What does your music mean to you?
“I realize now that music was an essential therapy to me through many years of abuse. It also was tangled up in the toxic and confusing dynamics of my family since my father pushed me into performing and he was my abuser. When I finally left my childhood home and got into professional therapy, I stepped away from music, knowing I needed better tools for connection, truth-telling, and emotional processing. It wasn’t until I felt the pull and inspiration of writing come back in a more authentic way that I could reintegrate music back into my new, healthier life. I’m really so grateful to have that beautiful gift back.”
What does your book mean to you?
“My book was born from my ongoing personal process of making sense of my trauma and healing recovery. It’s a way of becoming the adult that I needed as a child, being a witness to the truth and ending the power of silence that allowed my younger self to be hurt for so long. Because my family was on tv and in the public eye sharing a story that was heavily controlled by my father, Unspeakable, is also a reclaiming of my story and my voice for myself going forward.”
Any fun facts about yourself?
“I love doing 1,000 piece puzzles, I’m a relatively new dog-momma (it’s the best!), I love traveling, exploring the outdoors, and libraries full of rare books – the older the better!”