A native of Dallas, Jessica first developed her vocal skills in the local Baptist church where her father, a psychologist, also worked as a youth minister. When Jessica was 12 she auditioned for the Mickey Mouse Club, where Jessica's talents took her all the way to the finals. The following year while attending religious camp, Jessica delivered an acappella version of "Amazing Grace" for one of the camp's guest speakers, of whom was launching a new gospel music label. Jessica signed up. Three years later after the small label folded, Jessica took the material she had worked on and began to hit the Christian Youth Conference circuit. News of the teenage Texan with the grown-up voice soon began to filter out of the religious world and into the pop music realm and it was only a matter of time before the major labels expressed interest.