Jess Kellner is the singing hairdresser we met on the first blind audition episode of The Voice.
That means doing hair by day and performing at night, a tiring routine the 21-year-old from Austin, Texas, says she’d like to take a break if she does well enough on the show.
The group also includes Cole Gramling, Ryan Parker and Casey Savage, according to the Jess & The Echoes Facebook page, where Jess’ appearance on The Voice is being promoted.
Last spring, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a debut album. While the campaign came up short, I’ve embedded the fundraising appeal below because Jess & The Echoes treat us to one of their originals — “Time Traveler Song” — at the end.
Jess told DFW.com (Dallas-Fort Worth) that she discovered her vocal talent while performing in the choir at the First Baptist Church of Hurst. She said the director noticed her ability and started giving her solos, allowing her to get comfortable performing in front of a crowd.
On The Voice, she also explained that her mother, while now sober, struggled with alcoholism when Jess was growing up. She said her dad and step-mom encouraged her to pour her energy into her love of music, which has “gotten me through so much.”
For her blind audition, Jess performed the old Elvis Presley hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” displaying a unique vocal tone that got Usher and Shakira to spin their chairs in a heartbeat.
Turns out the song had a special meaning to Jess, according to her interview with DFW.com. Not only has she been performing the song for a long time, but Jess is getting married in November.
“We were very quick to fall in love and rush in,” she told DRW.com. “People have said it’s crazy that we’re getting married so soon, but it’s true love. So that song meant a lot to me.”
And why did she decide to join Team Usher when Shakira was vying so hard for her services?
“Usher said something that really struck home with me,” she told The Voice in a post-audition interview. “He said, if you want to do this forever, you need to come on my team. And I thought, ‘Weird, I do want to do this forever.'”
Check out the video below to hear that original song. You can hear snippets of a couple of other tunes on the Jess & The Echoes Facebook page. The band also had a website. Here’s Jess’ Facebook page. On Twitter, Jess is @jessicakellner3.
Update: She defeated Taylor Beckham on their version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love;” Taylor was saved and joined Team Blake. She sang “You Give Me Something” in the knockout round and lost to Josiah Hawley, who performed “Back to Black.”
Fundraiser appeal and “Time Traveler Song” (original)