A Geek at Heart

Jaclyn Godwin, Staff Reporter

Walking into her bedroom, singer/songwriter Jess Godwin pulled shirts, skirts, and dresses out of her closet and arranged outfits that evoked the “correct” image.  Stressed and confused as to what the “correct” image actually meant, she spent hours primping just to walk out of the house.  With a curling iron in hand, she volumized her hair and penciled in a mole on her left cheek.  Hours later, she walked out the room finally ready to perform.

Godwin, a “Misfit with Soul,” who once worried about her image, is now a successful and happy music artist.  She recently visited Mercy High School and spoke to the girls in the choral and orchestra classes.  The students were in intrigued with her career, and the genuine message she had to offer.

Godwin began her career as an actress in Chicago performing several shows a year including The Wild Party, her personal favorite, Gypsy, and A Wonderful Life.  Although she had a desire to perform, she did not have the enthusiasm for theater that most “theater geeks” possess. 

“I really missed being myself on stage,” said Godwin. “It was like God was telling me I needed to slow down and try something different.”

Instead, she chose to pursue a path of her own.  Godwin always enjoyed writing her own music, but in the past focused so much of her time on theater, that it was always an afterthought.  At the age of 25, she began her career as a singer/songwriter.

She wrote several songs, and in 2009 released her first CD, To the Heart of It.  It was hit.  She had a lot of good feedback and all her fans seemed to enjoy the edgy style and tongue and cheek lyrics.  In the following years Godwin released two other CDs, Quiet the Room and Klutz

Desperate to find a break in the industry, Godwin began seeing an image consultant after a record company expressed interest in signing her.  New shoes, new clothes, and a new hairdo were all a must. Before long, Godwin spent hours planning her outfits and doing her hair in order to embody this image.

“I hated it,” said Godwin.   “It made me vain, unhappy, and insecure.  The more I focused on my outward appearance, the less I focused on improving myself as a person.”

Falling into a slump, Godwin realized that who you are on the inside is what really counts.  In May of 2011, she released her first music video “Katy’s Side,” and her fans gave raving reviews.  Known to be somewhat of a geek, she adopted pigtails and was now able to style her hair in no more than 20 minutes.

“I just wanted to do something silly and fun,” said Godwin.  “Because image is supposed to be an outside representation of who you are on the inside, I thought doing something goofy would encourage me to have a lighter heart. I was right! It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re wearing pigtails.”

Her latest music video, Out with the Old, was released this January, and featured her own adoptive brother Jake Godwin.  She has learned to have fun with her music and as a result has become a happier person.

Godwin has also found a love for teaching.  She taught private vocal lessons in the past, but especially enjoys visiting high schools and talking to the students.   In the future, she wants to connect more with girls and reach out to them so they don’t make the same mistakes she did.

“I want to be a big sister to teens,” said Godwin.  “If I can do that through my music and my interactions with teens online and in their schools, it would make me the happiest!

Check out this “Misfit with Soul” at www.jessgodwin.com.