TV

Meet Music City’s Jessica Mack

Details Her New Album One Love and Reveals Her First Nashville Gigs

Easygoing and sweet as can be, Music City’s Jessica Mack brings out the best in everyone around her, and she has the old-fashioned southern visit down to a fine art.

When the 30-year-old Arkansas native sat down with CMT.com to talk about the new series, she spoke candidly about her first impressions of the Tennessee capital, making forever friends in a new place, finding “the one,” working at her previous job in radio promotion, how her original song “Still Out There” got her on the docuseries and the details behind her debut album, One Love.

I was 16 when I visited Nashville for the first time. I came to town to record a demo for someone that had a written a song and they needed someone to sing on it, and it was the first time I had ever been in a real studio. I just felt so in my element even though it was brand new to me. I definitely love reliving that moment.

Nashville is such a friendly city. It’s not hard finding forever friends if you put effort into networking and meeting people. You go to a show, you could leave with five new friends and three of them could be potential co-writers. People are willing to engage and work with you. I’ve got a circle of songwriter and musician friends that I consider family. But that family is ever growing as you’re progressing, and we’re all growing together and supporting one another by going to each other’s shows.

Dating in Nashville can be crazy. It took a long time to get to a point in my life where I was protecting my heart better. I’m 30 now and five years ago when I moved here, I had a wide-eyed optimism of, “He could be the one,” because you want that so bad. But the older you get and more experience you have dating different guys, you learn to take it slow. There’s no need to put pressure the situation.

My first show in Nashville was at a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar called Daisy Dukes. I remember being so nervous and practicing for weeks in advance because I wanted it to be perfect. My mom and sister came and surprised me, which was hilarious. After the show was over, my friend showed me a video of the bar owner chasing a rat with one of those grabber things while I was singing. It was top of the line.

My first job in music when I moved to Nashville was working as a secondary radio promoter for an independent firm on Music Row. Right when they were starting to break, Florida Georgia Line and Granger Smith were some of our clients. It was so cool because we would call radio stations and say, “Hey we’ve got Florida Georgia Line with ‘Cruise’ this week.” They were like, “Oh yeah, we’re doing 20 spins on them.” I got an excellent picture of where the rubber meets the road in the music industry and how artists get their music out there. But I knew my heart was more in songwriting and performing.

My new album is called One Love. There’s a lot of different meanings in that title. You look at the news today, and this world needs a lot of love. We need to realize that the differences between us are beautiful, and we don’t need to be so close-minded. And so I wanted to spread the message of loving everybody equally. There are 12 songs on the record, and you get to see a little bit of all of me — some of the love, some of the heartbreak, some of the hope, some of the faith, a little bit of everything.

“Still Out There” is the song I sing on the first episode of Music City, and it’s to my future husband, because as you know, I’m looking for him. I sang that song at my audition, and I really feel like that’s what got me the part. So, that song has done some good for me already.

New episodes of Music City air on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET. Additional videos and full episodes are available at the Music City show page on CMT.com and the CMT app.

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.