Waaia singer Jessica Lorraine hits the right note

By John Lewis

Waaia singer-songwriter Jessica Lorraine has made it to the semi-finals of a nationwide songwriting competition with a focus on mental health issues.

Jessica's song Find Your Truth, released in May, is in the Top 50 of Listen Up's 2019 Songwriting Prize competition, which has a theme of 'songs that heal'.

The first prize includes a day in recording studio Studios 301, a prize pack of audio equipment and professional mentoring sessions.

She now is set to perform the song among 12 other semi-finalists at Melbourne's The Toff In Town on September 14.

Jessica said she was "beyond excited" to perform the song at the semi-final.

"I'm even more excited to be sharing the stage with so many talented songwriters and getting to listen to their stories and songs that heal," she said.

Jessica has developed a unique sound using loop pedals with her acoustic guitar accompanied by soaring vocals on her original songs and cover versions of well-known hits such as Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark and Fleetwood Mac's Dreams.

Now 22, she said her interest in music started early when she used to play an old guitar that belonged to her mother.

"I did attempt to learn when I was about 11, playing Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and other nursery rhymes," she said.

Then, as a teenager she discovered Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.

"I obsessed over Ed Sheeran — he used lots of loop pedals. I taught myself from YouTube videos and found it's all about getting the timing right," she said.

She said the first song she learned to play all the way through was Taylor Swift's Fifteen.

For three years, the St Mary of the Angels student perfected her musical skills in her bedroom, before playing her first gig at Brereton’s Bakery and Coffee Lounge in Nathalia.

Today, Jessica and her loop pedals, guitar, ukelele and mesmerising vocals can be heard regularly across regional Victoria from Mildura to Bright and Echuca and at Shepparton's Winter Sessions.

This Thursday, she is support act at Amity Dry's 39 Forever show at Shepparton's Riverlinks Eastbank.

She said she is really lucky to have the support of her large family.

"My mum and dad are my biggest supporters," she said.

 Jessica's music can be heard on Spotify, YouTube, iTunes and on social media channels.