By the time Chester Springs native Jillian Jacqueline headed to college at Philadelphia University (now Thomas Jefferson University East Falls Campus), she’d already recorded an album, performed on Broadway in Kenny Rogers’ Christmas From the Heart holiday revue, and toured the country with her sisters in the Little Women Band. These days, she’s living in Nashville, Tenn., traveling the world as an acclaimed country artist and singing duets with the likes of Vince Gill and Keith Urban.
MLT: So you’re a product of Chester County schools.
JJ: Yeah. I actually played a show recently in New Jersey opening for Little Big Town and it just so happened that one of my elementary school teachers was there, so we got to reconnect. I went to Pickering Valley Elementary School. I was home schooled from fourth to 10th grade and then went to Downingtown East High School.
MLT: Did you like growing up here?
JJ: It was so idyllic. Chester Springs is just such a special place—this little hidden gem—and we had this supportive community around us from day one. It really felt like everyone was cheering me and my sisters on through the early part of our professional careers.
MLT: Why country music?
JJ: My mom is from Charleston, S.C. She only listens to country, and she passed that on to her kids. For me, it was country music on the radio and Country Music Television on TV. It was all I knew. The first things I heard were Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood and Vince Gill. I became obsessed with the storytelling aspect of it. When I auditioned for the Kenny Rogers show at 8 years old, I didn’t really know him that well. But, over the years, he became a really big foundation for me. I got introduced to so many people in the country world through him.
Related Article: Q&A: Rylan Brooks’ Chris Brooks and Nate Rylan
MLT: So Nashville was an obvious destination.
JJ: I’m a pretty focused tunnel-vision-type person. I knew from a very young age that it’s where I needed to be. For those four years in college, I sort of stepped back and removed myself from it, but then I immediately came back to it.
MLT: Still, your music embraces other styles, like rock and pop.
JJ: I’ve always considered myself a little bit of an individualist. I try to take what I know and make it unique.
MLT: You’ve put out a pair of EPs—Side A and Side B. Why not release a full album?
JJ: Because of the way streaming services work and the attention span of the current listener, I really wanted to make sure that I didn’t dump 14 songs onto people who weren’t necessarily ready to take it all in. You have to earn that relationship with listeners and slowly let people see who you are. I am, however, just about to go into the studio to write and record my full-length album—and I’m really excited to create a complete body of work.