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LA competitor from 'The Voice' goes to SXSW

LA singer Jessica Childress competed on
LA singer Jessica Childress competed on "The Voice" and recently performed at SXSW.
Courtesy of Jessica Childress

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South by Southwest - the music, tech and film event in Austin - wrapped up on Monday.

And if you caught our coverage last week, you might have heard the story of Jessica Childress.

RELATED: SXSW: LA songstress Jessica Childress looks for her next big break

She's an LA native who competed on the NBC singing show "The Voice" last year.

While she didn't get too far in the competition she hoped to parlay that experience into a career boost at South by Southwest.


We talked about how you were driving in a junky, stereotypical band driving to the event from LA. Did you make it to SXSW okay?

We actually didn’t even use that van because when we tried to turn it on it said, ‘No, thank you, we will not be going to Austin in this van,’ so we ended up having to rent another van. So now we’re even more in debt, yay!

On other crazy things that happened on the road:

We were in Albuquerque, we had just finished playing and I was sitting in the backstage just trying to chill out after the show. And this very drunk fan came back to the green room where he was not supposed to be and at first … I was trying to be friendly and then he wanted a picture, so we took a picture. Then he was like, ‘Can you give me a kiss on the cheek?’ and I was like ‘No, you can give me a kiss on the cheek.’

I’m 5’1" and this dude had to be 6’5” [or] 6’6” and 300 pounds, like a huge dude. And he picked me up and walked around the bar with me, then he sets me down on the bar. ... I went to the ladies room and waited and hoped he would forget and I came out of the bathroom, and he was fully waiting for me and was very aggressive, like “Why did you leave me?”

On dealing with uncomfortable situations as a woman in this stage of her career:

It was definitely a learning experience. I have to keep some people at arm’s length; I can’t be my normal 'let’s get to know each other and be best friends' personality for my own safety. I need to figure out how to turn it off or have someone come with me to run interference with the crazies. 

How many SXSW shows did you play?

Seven shows in five days. It was intense but it was amazing. Before we left I realized I’d only played for groups of my family and friends. And for the first time I was going to be playing for strangers and jaded strangers who had heard 75 bands that day and to see these people react so positively to my music and these songs was incredible.

What did you get out of it?

Exactly what I wanted to. I introduced myself to this brand new group of people in a way I’m really proud of. We put on a great show every single time. I exceeded my expectations.

Anyone approach you with any deals or things like that?

There are a couple of things in the mix already. We have a lot of meetings set up. I am trying to manage my expectations because I will believe it when I see ink on paper.

What’s next?

A show at the 57 downtown on April 2. We’re going to be throwing some more jazz in there but we’ll still have our big band, knock-you-out sound.