Jerrica Alyssa: From Vancouver to Nashville (and Everywhere Else)

As the daughter of Filipino immigrants, Jerrica Alyssa grew up in a warm, welcoming household where the arts were ever-present. The Vancouver, BC native had the chance to nurture her natural gift for artistry from a young age as a dancer, singer, and classically trained pianist.

Knowing that, it may surprise you to know, at one point, Jerrica once appeared to be on a far different professional path.

“Growing up in a Filipino family, there was a lot of pressure for me to go into medicine,” she explained. “Music has been a part of my life, and my parents had the influence of putting that as secondary for me. But, I’ve always known where my heart was.”

After getting a degree in Genetics from the University of British Columbia, Jerrica was preparing to ship off to Boston, where she was accepted into the Doctorate of Optometry program in the New England College of Optometry.

Then, during the interview, she found clarity.

“One thing that really stuck was that they asked, ‘You have this amazing thing going on with music, traveling, and dance. Are you ready to put that aside and step into what’s going to be your career with optometry?’” she said. “It really hit me there. ‘No. That’s not the direction I want to go.’

From there, she returned to Vancouver, resolving to find opportunities to build her dreams in music.

First, she had to break the news to her family.

“For me, it was a big decision, but it wasn’t really a hard decision,” Jerrica recalls. “The hardest part for me was letting my parents know. I had to find my way into it.”

Jerrica’s dedication helped her to see growth and success in her corner of the world. In addition to songwriting, she began producing her own music, and picked up photo and video editing skills along the way. All the while, she began to yearn for even bigger opportunities outside of Vancouver.

That’s when Nashville came calling.

“I was singing on a movie in Vancouver, and that’s where I met my production partner. We started talking more about my career, and I started traveling back and forth from Nashville,” Jerrica said. “This whole world exploded once I came to Nashville. That was another step, where I was like, ‘Vancouver is only giving me so much. I need to make this move.’”

Traveling the world
Before coming to Nashville, Jerrica found comfort in performing far from home. As a Polynesian dancer, Jerrica traveled at a young age to Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Polynesia, performing as a dual threat as one of the only singers in her dance troupe.

From there, Jerrica would later venture to different countries around the globe, setting out on her own to explore, while incorporating music along the journey. Her adventures would lead her back to the Philippines, where she appeared on Season 2 of ABS-CBN’s The Voice of the Philippines.

“It was an awesome experience, and I met so many people there in music,” she recalls.

That experience – and Filipino culture as a whole – has influenced her music. This is clear on her latest single, “Love Me,” which was released to the world on March 3. An authentic love song, “Love Me” is a nod to the Phillippines’ appreciation for heartfelt balladry, while incorporating a atmospheric, Nashville-influenced modern pop soundscape.

“Every time I’m authentic and sharing my heart, people can connect with that,” Jerrica said. “Even though it’s in a different language (from theirs), I get a certain feedback from bringing that energy and honesty.”

Back in the States
Through her affinity for traveling, Jerrica has developed a huge heart for Music City and the people in it.

“This community has been amazing, meeting like-minded individuals that have gone whole-heartedly into their creative endeavors,” she said. “People are here from all over, with the same kind of story as me.”

Jerrica has found numerous exciting opportunities since arriving in Nashville, including the Top Writer Series at True Music Room. Jerrica was named the Series #4 winner of the competition on January 31, putting her pop and soul originals up against a talented and diverse field of Nashville’s brightest up-and-coming stars.

“At first, I didn’t even realize it was a competition,” she remembers. “I just wanted the opportunity to perform my own songs and get onstage.”

After winning her preliminary round, Jerrica advanced to the finals, where she performed “Love Me” alongside two additional selections, taking home the contest’s top honors.

Certainly, it was a hard-earned victory among a group of top-flight storytellers.

“So many of the performers knew who they were onstage. They all had their own stories,” she said. “That’s what made it unique; we all had different backgrounds and styles, and we were all just pouring our hearts out on the stage.”

Continuing to create
Following her Top Writer Series #4 victory, Jerrica has remained hard at work. In addition to preparing her own material, she has continued producing for artists in a number of locales, including New York, Los Angeles, and back home in Vancouver.

“I like when other artists trust in me to see their vision through. It’s a playground,” she notes. “I’ve been encouraging them to come out and experience this community, and to create here and meet like-minded individuals.”

As for her own music, “Love Me” serves as just the tip of the iceberg in 2020. Jerrica has plans to release an EP this spring, striving to uncover new ways to create all the while.

“I like locking myself up in the studio, producing music, and finding new synths and things. That makes me excited about the creative side of it,” she said. “Being hard-working and dedicated, and enjoying the journey as it goes, is so rewarding at every turn.”

Stream “Love Me,” the newest single from Jerrica Alyssa, below!

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