She no longer needs the glittering gown to shine.
Lerner launched her new holiday single, “From This Christmas On,” at a chilly Horton Plaza with a performance that left the audience with warm hearts. Chula Vista’s musical prodigy has grown into a star in her own right.
A piano student at Southwestern College at the tender age of eight, Lerner started showcasing her vocal talents at nine. A year later she performed on tour and sang the national anthem at Petco Park, one of many appearance she has made there. Her talents flourished at the Coronado School of Arts, where she blossomed as a singer/songwriter and guitarist.
Lerner released her first album in February to universal acclaim. It has become a sensation on iTunes. At the VIP event in Horton Plaza’s Westfield mall she released her first Christmas single. Family, friends and loyal supporters enjoyed “From This Christmas On” and two other originals.
Lerner, who usually writes all her own songs, collaborated with producer Steven Wetherbee. For more than 30 years Wetherbee has been a producer and is currently at Golden Track Recording Studio in Escondido. He has worked with artists such as Toni Braxton, P.O.D., Rush, Santana and other big musical names.
George Martin, the transformative producer of The Beatles, said he chose to work with the band because he found John, Paul, George and Ringo very charming people. Wetherbee had a similar feeling about Lerner.
“First and foremost, if I’m going to work with someone, I have to really like the person,” he said. “Jessica is a very compassionate and giving person.”
Lerner’s younger brother, Zev, films and handles the video production for his “Big Sis.”
“I have been her little brother supporting her the whole way,” he said. “I always look up to her.”
Lerner said she is inspired by nearly everything.
“I write songs about things that move me,” she explained. “Whether it’s love or a special person or believing in yourself, anything that grips you and gets you emotional is worthy for song writing.”
At every Lerner performance she takes the time to greet her loyal fans and connect with them. During the cold night at Horton Plaza, she performed a heartwarming tribute called “Hey Mason” about a small boy diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis who recently passed away after years of fighting the dreadful disease. Mason’s parents flew in from Portland, Oregon to surprise Lerner and show their support.
Pamela Lerner, Lerner’s “mom-ager,” has been a big support system for her daughter. She recognizes that her daughter’s talents can affect others.
“One of Jessica’s important goals is to affect and excite modern culture,” she said. “To be the voice of deep thoughts and inspirations for other people.”
Wetherbee said the holiday tune was unique in the genre.
“I thought it was a neat idea,” Wetherbee said. “Most Christmas songs are not necessarily about having a relationship with somebody and remembering that moment in time.”
Wetherbee said he is excited about Lerner’s future.
“In five years I’d like to see her at the Grammys,” he said. “She really loves the people. You can see that. For her it’s not about being famous, it’s about just seeing the love in the people that come to see her.”