At 16, CCM artist Jessie Daniels is living proof that dreams do come true. This Long Island, N.Y., nativeÕs career began when she was 13, modeling and acting in independent films and commercials. At age 15, within six short months of JessieÕs self-titled indie release, the booming teen market was taking notice. She had the opportunity to share Christ in more than 60 teen magazines and online entertainment sites.
Despite her newfound success, Jessie is still a normal teenage girl. She loves her momÕs Italian food, bowling with friends and her youth group at Bethlehem Assembly of God in Valley Stream, N.Y. She is following her calling — from Seattle coffee shops to the stages of Radio Disney — and is well on her way to fulfilling her God-given dreams.
Fourteen-year-old Elise Mooney interviewed Jessie during her job shadow assignment as editor for the day at On Course magazine in National Youth Ministries.
PE: At 16, how do you know you are achieving GodÕs call for your life to reach out to people through music?
DANIELS: Regardless of how ÒbigÓ you get, if your face is on a magazine or not, you just have to realize that success is doing what God calls you to do. Recently I sang at a student evangelism conference and spoke about sharing Christ through music. I want to encourage students to reach out to their friends, because itÕs so important.
PE: Do you feel people treat you differently now that youÕre in the music biz?
DANIELS: Even when I started recording in Nashville, when I came home to my friends I was Òthe same old Jess.Ó I sing on the worship team and I hang out on Friday nights just like everybody else.
PE: What do you like best about your youth group at Bethlehem AG?
DANIELS: I love doing fund-raisers for Speed the Light. One of my friends rocked in a rocking chair for 12 hours and raised $800. My youth group is like home — we learn there, we grow there and we have a lot of fun.
PE: Tell us about the special relationships in your life.
DANIELS: All my friends are really important to me right now. When you do music and are away a lot, you find out who your true friends are. The friends that stuck by me are my friends who have a relationship with Christ. TheyÕre great and I have an awesome time with them. Fortunately, my family is also absolutely supportive. As far as special relationships, my relationship with God is one thing IÕm focusing on now.
PE: Was there ever a time when you struggled with peer pressure?
DANIELS: I feel like I have a closer relationship with Christ now that IÕm not in school. I can see how hard it is for teens to go to high school and be surrounded by unsaved kids every day. ItÕs hard to have your daily time with God and not struggle with people who frustrate you at some point. I still have to make room during the day to have time with God. I want Him to use me exceedingly abundantly more than I ever thought.
PE: What are your favorite school subjects?
DANIELS: I do online schooling. Believe it or not, IÕm more of a math-science girl, which is surprising since I write music. Working with numbers is easy for me.
PE: What is one thing that you want our readers to know about you?
DANIELS: I donÕt have anything special to offer except myself. I want to show people me É who I am. IÕm not totally dysfunctional and IÕm not perfect. IÕm a normal teenage girl, as any other, struggling with faith, trust and love. I want to touch hearts. I want to show people who I am. Because to me, whether I sell 1 million records or just one record, it doesnÕt matter as long as I touch one heart.
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