By now we know Jessica Reedy as Season 2’s runner up of Sunday Best with that bottom range that seems…well bottomless. But the shy, demure girl we saw on TV that was sold out for Christ had an uphill battle to get to where she is now.
As she prepares for the debut of her first solo CD, “From The Heart” in stores September 27th, during our recent sit-down, Jessica was candidly transparent, unapologetic and excited about this new lease on life, courtesy of none other than Jesus Christ her Lord and Savior!
What was the most difficult part about being a teenage mom?
Definitely the mental part was the hardest thing about being a teen mom. That was the first hump I had to get over. Then I had to deal with my son’s father not being in the picture. He didn’t want to be involved. That was the second hump. The other was I dropped out of school. I was a kid myself, so how was I going to provide for a baby?
How old were you when you got pregnant?
I got pregnant at eighteen and had Justin at nineteen. This was not what I had a planned for myself. I wanted to break the generational curse.
So your son’s father, were you guys planning to start a family?
No! So, this is how it went down. I came home for spring break and got pregnant. I am a very, very, very, safe person and I got caught up. And his motives for me were very different. At the time, I was pursuing a career in R&B and I was singing background for an artist that was being managed by Usher’s mom. He saw things picking up for me and that was his cue to lock me down.
Do you feel like he trapped you?
In a way…yes. Initially when we started having sex we used protection. But he had a goal in mind. So I went back to school after spring break and I started getting bigger and getting sick. But pregnancy nevvvvvver crossed my mind. I wasn’t the girl who just loved sex and was doing it a lot. He was just a guy that I had known for years and it was like why not? So that’s why if somebody said maybe you’re pregnant, I would’ve laughed…like shut up, please. I was definitely not having sex enough to be in that category. And THEN, I ended up pregnant.
How did you react when you found out?
I fainted! I mean I went all the way out there! (lol) I had a panic attack. They had to put me on oxygen and everything. It was crazy. And when I called to tell him, he said very calmly, “I know.” He told me to just keep singing, keep working. When he said that I was done. I quit everything. I was distraught. I stopped going to college because I didn’t want my professors to see me pregnant because I had a great reputation. I just couldn’t bear having people looking at me and judging me.
Do you ever look back and wish you had stayed in school?
Actually no. I wanted to go back to school because I was on a music scholarship and I didn’t want everything I had worked so hard for to go to waist. But, what happened to me I needed to go through. I learned some major lessons. It made me sensitive to other girls who were going through what I was dealing with. It made me sensitive to people who felt abandoned, ignored and not loved. I was suicidal and God rescued me. He saved my life. I’m here today so I know for MYSELF that God is real.
MTV has a huge hit show called “Teen Mom.” Do you feel like they really show what it’s like to be a teen mom?
I don’t think it shows how severe it is at all. It waters it down. You have no idea how it feels to be young and have a baby. There are no instructions. They don’t show the restless nights, when you get no sleep for months because your baby is laying on its face and you don’t know if they are breathing. You’re constantly worried about S.I.D.S. Then, you have to deal with being a statistic and dropping out of school or walking in school with a belly. Being a teen mom means you’re broke. You’re in the welfare line and signing up for WIC, that is the truth. They don’t show all that.
So where is the father now?
He was completely out of the picture until I decided I didn’t want to go to hell for him. My pastor said something to me that I REALLY didn’t want to hear, but I needed it! He said, “What if you live all your life and you thought you served your purpose. Then when you got to heaven God said the only reason I created you was to get your baby’s father saved. And you didn’t do that.” I wanted to kill my pastor for saying that to me! (Lol) Then it dawned on me. What if that was my only mission? Out of all of this, what if that was the only reason I was created was to see him saved? So I started letting Justin talk to him. So then he started calling more. When he would call I would just give Justin the phone. I didn’t need to talk to him. And then God started to work on me and we became cordial. And then cordial turned into God bless you and I’m praying for you. I had to change my mindset and stop thinking that he owed me something. So now he calls to speak to Justin, but he still doesn’t see him that often. He says he’s busy with work and stuff. I just shut my mouth and say God bless you!
Did Sunday Best come right on time? Do you feel like the show saved you?
It was perfect timing! If I had auditioned a year before or a year after, it wouldn’t have been right for me. God set it up perfectly.
The show didn’t save me, God did. He just used it as a vessel. I would be in my room saying, “God I can’t do this, I’m so unworthy, I’m not good enough for this.” But God had a different plan and had I not been listening, I would have missed everything.
Do you feel the public pits the contestants against each other after the show is over? Specifically, the winners and runners up?
Oh of course! That is the mentality in Gospel music. Everybody is competing. Well I don’t want to say everybody, but a whole lot! Everybody wants to be on the charts and everybody wants to be #1. And for a minute I secretly caught myself thinking that. I was like what if my album doesn’t chart and what if they sell more units than me? God checked me and said who are you doing this for and why? When you do R&B, you can glorify yourself. But, when you choose to do gospel, you choose to make yourself unseen so that people can see God. The mission is to save souls and compel people to want to change. So yeah, they want us to compete, but I’m not going to do it.
How do you handle the criticism and critiques? And how are you going to handle it when your CD is released?
You know what I did to prepare myself after the show? I read every last Sunday Best comment and I was in tears. They dogged me out. I mean some of things people said about me were crazy. At times, I would go back and I would read them over and over again. Every blog, every FaceBook post, every twitter comment, I read everything! And now when I read a critique and it’s constructive, then I fix it. It was really hard to do, but it has made me so much stronger.
What are you most nervous about as a new artist? Or are you nervous at all?
Of course I’m nervous, but I’ve convinced myself not to be. It’s my first album and I love it, but I know everyone won’t. So I have to prepare myself. I actually called up my team and said tell me every bad thing that anyone could possibly say about the CD, so I’ll be prepared for it. And they went down the line and held nothing back. So I’m going on a fast because I want that vanity in me gone. I don’t want to be typical. A lot of times I come across as if I’m being deep, but for some reason, it’s in me to finally try and do it Biblically this time around. I want to be ready for the bigger picture, which is God and spreading the Gospel. The album is not the big picture. What happens after the album is the bigger picture.
What is your favorite song on the project?
I would have to say “Always.” “Always” is my favorite!
What was the most difficult part about recording this album?
The most difficult part of this recording was that God made me live every last one of my songs. I prayed to be authentic and boy did he grant my request! (Lol) It was rough and I went through a lot of turmoil and crazy mishaps, but God brought me through.
JESSICA’S 10 RANDOM TRUTHS
1. Favorite animated movie? Lion King.
2. One thing you’re afraid of? The dark.
3. Heels or flats? Heels.
4. Favorite city to visit? Los Angeles.
5. Pick your favorite: The Cosby Show, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or A Different World? The Cosby Show.
6. Pick your favorite: Smokie Norful, Deitrick Haddon, J. Moss or Tye Tribbett? Tye Tribbett.
7. MAC or PC? MAC!
8. Favorite store to shop at? Forever 21.
9. Favorite fast food restaurant? Five Guys.
10. First car? 2008 Lincoln Zephyr.