An “American Idol” Top 4 finalist will be participating in the Grayson County Relay For Life this year. Season 13 participant Jessica Meuse will also be performing May 19 at Grayson College in Denison.
Relay for Life is a fundraiser for cancer research. Donors give a pre-determined amount for each lap individuals complete around a certain area. As many as 600 people have attended past Relays for Life in Grayson County.
“Being involved in the Relay for Life is important to me because cancer affects all of us in some way,” Meuse said. “Whether it is a friend, family member, or ourselves, cancer has touched all of us at some point — or will.”
Meuse said that Relay for Life also brings people together.
“It’s a great support system for the fighters and survivors and the family members who have been affected by cancer in some way,” she said. “I have always loved to use my music as a tool to work for something bigger than myself, and Relay for Life is that perfect something.”
Meuse said she likes for all of her music to be for a purpose. Relay for Life is just one of its purposes.
“I want people to know that they can approach me before or after a show,” she said. “I’m on their level, and I definitely don’t see myself above them. The connection I have with my fans is why I do what I do, and I definitely want to meet my fans up in Grayson County. It would make my night. I understand there are people fighting battles that they may not openly talk about, so I want to be that ‘celebrity’ who gives them the time of day and makes them smile.”
Others should help generate funds for Relay for Life, Meuse said, because it is a disease that does not yet have a cure.
“Even if cancer hasn’t affected an individual yet in some way, Relay for Life is a great way to bring in both those affected and unaffected and rally up a support system for those who have,” she said. “People everywhere should contribute to cancer research in some way, because it’s a horrible sickness that needs a cure so no more precious lives are stolen, and I think that through programs like Relay for Life that could very well happen.”
Meuse said she hopes that those who have been affected by cancer know they are not alone and that they are strong.
“I think that’s my biggest message,” she said. “Life can throw so many curve balls and hurt like hell, but you’re definitely not alone. In the context of cancer, I just want to be able to play some songs that everyone will have fun with and connect with them on a soul-to-soul level so they can forget about whatever life is handing them for just a little while.”
Meuse also wants to celebrate the lives of those that have died of cancer.
“If you’re someone battling cancer, I want them to take the message that they are fierce, powerful and strong,” she said. “If you’re someone who came to support a friend, I want you to take the message that we can defeat cancer together through support and love.”
Meuse is taking a break from working on her debut album to make the trip to Grayson County on May 19.
“I’m in Los Angeles, California about to go into Capitol Records and record my debut album,” she said. “I’ve been performing all over the United States and working on management and representation in the background. I finally landed a deal with LA Entertainment, and that’s who I’m recording with now. I’m beyond ecstatic.”
At Grayson County Relay for Life, Meuse will perform some of the new things she has been working on.
“I will be performing a ton of originals,” she said. “Some are brand spankin’ new. Of course, I’ll also be playing some of people’s favorite covers of mine from my time on ‘American Idol.’”
After leaving Grayson County, Meuse will be performing at another benefit.
“Aside from being in the midst of recording out in Los Angeles, I also am performing down in Crystal Beach, Texas on May 28 for Frog Fest, benefiting the Lone Survivor Foundation,” she said. “On June 3, I’ll be back home in Alabama to perform for the first time at Alabaster CityFest to open for Maddie and Tae. On June 9, I’ll be at the Green Frog in Bellingham, Washington, and June 10 I’ll be performing an extra-long set at the Hard Rock in Anchorage, Alaska.”