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From Pocatello to music school to the Grammys: Opera singer celebrates ’special’ win

Jessica E. Jones celebrated her Grammy win in Los Angeles with her husband, sister and sister’s boyfriend, she said.
Jessica E. Jones celebrated her Grammy win in Los Angeles with her husband, sister and sister’s boyfriend, she said. Submitted photo

Jessica E. Jones, a 31-year-old singer who was born and raised in Pocatello, won her first Grammy Award on Sunday.

Her parents — Carl and Shannon Jones — don’t have great reception at their home in Pocatello so they watched the livestream of the awards ceremony in the Lowe’s parking lot.

“They were so, so excited,” Jones said in a phone interview from Miami on Tuesday.

The Santa Fe Opera’s 2017 production of “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” won best opera recording at the 2019 Grammys. It was composed by Mason Bates, and Mark Campbell was the librettist.

Jones, a soprano, played Jobs’ girlfriend, Chrisann Brennan.

“She is an incredible woman who was not treated particularly well by Steve Jobs, so my goal in creating this role was to show the emotional journey of her character,” Jones said.

Jones, a 2005 graduate of Highland High School, said she grew up singing in choirs and musicals. Her vocal teacher encouraged her to try out for a production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” in Idaho Falls, and she got a small part.

But it would be a life-changing experience.

“I went and fell in love with the voices,” she said. “I had never heard anyone sing like that. I thought the whole thing was incredible. Hearing the orchestra, I just fell in love with the art form, and that’s what I decided I wanted to do with my life.”

She studied vocal performance at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Houston, and she participated in many university productions.

Since 2011, she’s been working professionally, most recently with the Florida Grand Opera in Miami. She was in Puccini’s “La boheme” last fall (Musetta) and is now in “Frida,” playing the part of Frida’s sister, Christina Kahlo.

She said she primarily sings in Italian, German, French and English. The Steve Jobs opera was in English.

Jones was at the pre-telecast “Premiere Ceremony” of the Grammys in Los Angeles on Sunday, accompanied by her husband, John McCann; her sister, Lauren Jones; and her sister’s boyfriend, Bryan McMartin.

“So I got to celebrate and share that moment with them, which was very special,” she said.

Like most American opera singers, Jones travels a lot for work — an extended contract in Miami allowed her to stay there for eight months . She and her husband, and their two dogs, travel in an RV when they’re not in Houston.

Jones will receive her engraved Grammy in the mail soon. She’s planning to ask her parents to keep it safe for her while she’s on the road.

“They are my No. 1 fans,” she said.

Katy Moeller has worked at The Idaho Statesman for 13 years. She’s a generalist, an investigative reporter and a feature writer who has been on the breaking news team for a decade. She was Idaho Press Club’s 2016 Print Reporter of the Year.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.
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