Jessica Snyder knew she loved an audience from a very early age. In fact, she thought it was normal for everyone to be on stage! Throughout her pre-school and elementary years, she and her family attended many local carnivals where country music artists were performing. Jessica would often sit upon the lap of Connie Smith while Connie signed autographs at her shows. Spending time with “Aunt Connie” was very special to Jessica! Many trips were taken to Nashville, Tennessee where she visited with Lane Brody or “Auntie Lane”. Jessica often sang songs with Lane when she visited and loved playing with her animals. Many years later Jessica was very disappointed to find out that she was not truly related to either Connie or Lane.
Jessica began acting at age 6 and began singing professionally at her first gospel concert at age 12. Jessica never grew out of that love of performing. She honed her skills by performing in local churches and coffee shops and by participating in many karaoke events.
At the age of 14, she began recording the first songs that would be included on her debut gospel music CD entitled “Simply Singin’ Praise” which she completed and released in 2010. At age 15, her dream of having her own CD had come to life! Jessica has also been involved in theatrical presentations for over 18 years, playing the role of Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol” at age 6, performing in high school plays and most recently working eight years in the Antietam Recreation Dinner Theatre productions in Hagerstown, MD. After graduating in 2012, Jessica picked up a guitar and learned to play which also allowed her to begin to write songs. In 2016, she completed her second CD “I’m Gonna Go” which contains five original songs written by her. She is now 23 years old and is pursuing her passion of singing via a career that is beginning to expand into larger venues with her gospel and classic country concerts. In 2018, she founded the duo group “Cross-N-Country. She and her duet partner, Dave Powers, specialize in bringing back the classic old country hits allowing folks to travel back in time and be filled with wonderful memories of times past. They also do gospel shows as well. They are currently in the studio working on a new CD that will contain classic country music and duets.
Jessica has always strived to be a high-achiever. While most teens and young adults tend to be followers, she was always willing to be a leader. Throughout high school, while her friends were listening to the latest group to hit the charts or following the newest teen pop star, Jessica was paving her own path and making her own decisions about what music she wanted to spend her time listening to. The Barbara Mandrell song “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” very much fits the path she took. While she enjoys performing Southern Gospel and Country Music, she finds herself dabbling in many styles of music such as Bluegrass Gospel, Pop and Contemporary Christian. She follows the message of the song and allows it to take her to whatever genre it resides–more so than labeling herself with one genre. Jessica enjoys songs that can help others relate and deal with life’s hardships as well as songs that contain an uplifting message and can move you into a better way of thinking. She is often told that it is difficult and rare to be able to navigate so many genres and styles of song. Her musical theater background may also help with that ability. She was exposed to many genres including Broadway musicals where she learned to adapt to the character and portray each differently thus allowing her to experiment with the delivery of a song. When all this experience comes together on the stage, it makes for a very personal performance that allows you to feel and connect with a song.
At her gospel concerts, she is often told that they “could see that she was connecting with God while she sang the song” or that she was “singing with conviction”. Maybe the nicest comment to date was given recently when she was called “Multi-Generational”. The gentleman giving the comment was amazed at how she was able to hold the interest of a room full of senior citizens and middle aged adults and yet change up her music at a rate that kept even a five year old entertained. Jessica enjoys singing old hymns that are so often overlooked these days but can also shake the building with some toe-tapping, hand-clapping southern gospel songs as well.
People who come to see her often leave wanting more. A fan recently said, “I just felt like I wanted to get closer to her and know more about her but I can’t explain why”. Many have expressed similar thoughts and as they get to know her they are amazed that she is just as down to earth as they guessed she would be. Describe Jessica in one word….genuine! With or without the spotlight, she always cares deeply, gives freely and remains true to her beliefs by choosing to walk the path she believes is the one God is calling her to. The secret to it all….keeping God first and knowing that the gift of song was a gift chosen by Him, and then going forward and using that special talent to tell others about His love for them.