I’ve decided to start calling myself Jess Justice from now on and I’d like to talk about it. I’ve been wanting to change my name since I was a child. I’ve tried out being Jessca, Jessa, Jess Berry, Jessa Berry, Cassandra Berry, Just Jess, Jessalyn, and Jayla Davis. I couldn’t commit to any of those because they didn’t resonate for long. They all felt like I was lying.
I have always felt that I was way too unique to be a Jessica. I know that that is an egotistical thing to say. I even resented my mother’s lack of creativity in that choice. I felt I should have been a Juniper or an Esmerelda or Jo. As a kid I read baby name books for fun. I felt so terminally unique I could not understand why everything on the outside of me was so normal. Why was I not at least left handed? I knew that I SHOULD be left handed, I SHOULD be from a foreign country and not Buffalo, NY, I should be something more interesting, more exotic, more worthy of attention than I am.
Ok, so I have always felt this way but when I started releasing music I felt like I had to be as honest as possible. I didn’t feel right releasing it under a name that wasn’t 100% true. because my music was revealing and honest. I really didn’t like my last name either. Just the whole thing. I identified with it because I have been called it since birth but i never felt like it fully embodied me. Every time I’d go to call myself something different I felt foolish.
Finally this summer in Nashville I had a psychic reading that went extremely well. By extremely well I mean she told me everything that I wanted to hear EXCEPT that one of the things she told me was that I was going to change my name. I said “Please don’t tell me that because if I’m going to do it I really need to do it now. I’ve thought about doing it my entire life but I’ve still never come up with something that I like.” The psychic insisted that’s what she saw.
Fast forward 4 months later to when i get ANOTHER psychic reading with a different psychic in Nashville and she says the same thing. I decide to take this into consideration. I put it out into the universe and I say “Universe, if you want me to have a stage name please tell me what you want it to be.” Whenever you ask the Universe for something you have to know in your heart that it’s done and you’ll receive the answer you asked for. Pretty much very book says that. SO!
I took a trip to the homeland for Thanksgiving. Buffalo, NY. I sat in Spot Coffee, the best coffee shop in America definitely, working on my website, writing blogs, reading sad politcal news that makes your mouth drop open in astonishment and this guy comes and sits across from me and asks if he can plug his phone into the outlet below my table. I tell him yes and then he starts talking to me. He’s older and he looks like someone that sort of bops around, like traveller person. He’s energetic but aged and rugged.
I don’t remember what he started talking to me about but I tell him that I need to think of a band name for myself because every psychic keeps telling me I do and I’ve always wanted to change my name. He comes up with a few things and then he says ‘how about Jess Justice?’
“Oh my God. This summer I did a tarot reading about what’s coming up in my career and I got the Justice card. THAT’S IT.” He kept talking to me but I still don’t remember anything else he said. I just kept saying Jess Justice. Jess Justice. Jess Justice.
“Oh my God, I AM Jess Justice. I think I”ve always been Jess Justice and I didn’t even know it. Like it’s always been there waiting for me to find it.” I checked and saw that jessjustice.com was available. It was. I looked on Spotify, no Jess Justice. I REALLY AM JESS JUSTICE! I took about 3 days and ran it by my family a few friends. Something I've learned over the past few years is if something feels right to you, don't go asking too many people what they think about your choice. People and their opinions - it's a quick way to get down about something if people tell you they don't like it for whatever reason and if they DO like it, well you don't want to like something just because other people tell you it's cool. That's not cool.
So I changed my name to Jess Justice. Sometimes I still drive around and suddenly exclaim I’M JESS JUSTICE! I AM JESS JUSTICE. It feels honest, it feels like me. I like that it makes me feel like I’m performing as an idea rather than just as myself. Jess Justice feels so much bigger than myself. It’s symbolic of what I stand for and my music and the community exists around it. Everyone likes "justice" but it's different for everyone.
To me justice means truth. I feel that my responsibility as a singer, as a songwriter and as an artist is to be a shameless truth teller. I stand for a celebration of emotional openness and living in your truth. My purpose on earth is to be someone that tells their truth and encourages and emboldens others to live in the freedom of doing the same.