Jess Taylor

Jess Taylor, 16, is a junior at Pompano Beach High. (Darnell Ellis/Courtesy / September 23, 2012)

Is there room in country music for another blond singer named Taylor?

Jess Taylor hopes so. The 16-year-old Pompano Beach High junior has signed with the indie label Midwest Star, released a single and booked a slate of upcoming performances, including one this Sunday at the Boca Raton Fine Art Show in Boca Raton.

"It's exciting," she says. "There's a lot of things going on for me, and it's a chance to do what I love to do."

Taylor began singing at age 4 at Abundant Life Christian Centre in Margate, and occasionally performed with her father, Daniel Powell. Her dad's day job is in construction, but he's a noted trumpet player who also has a DJ business on the side.


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"I performed anywhere I could," Taylor says.

After attending Highlands Christian Academy through eighth grade, she was accepted at Pompano Beach High, a magnet school. She has a 4.0 weighted grade-point average and plans to enroll at Florida State, the University of North Florida or a school near Nashville, such as Vanderbilt or the University of Tennessee. She's also fishing for a vocal coach.

After school, she practices her music and writes songs. She says she has written "pieces" of 100 songs, but only 20 have been completed.

"I love writing. I write every day," Taylor says. "Some of them are just bits and parts, but I keep them, because sometimes they'll mesh with another partial song to make a complete one."

Her single, the folky, Joni Mitchell-esque "Do You Feel It Too?" concerns young love. Taylor says it's not autobiographical. (There's no Taylor Swift-ness going on here.)

"It's not about a specific person," she says. "It's about falling in love. Even though I've never been in love, it's easy to write because that's how I'd be in a relationship."

Taylor insists the single isn't representative of her overall work, which bears more of a rock influence.

"I'm definitely more of a rocker country girl," she says. "I'll sing any kind of country, because I love the entire genre, but I'd say I'm more soulful rock country. This one is more like 'sweet country.' "

Taylor will perform on and off from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at the Boca Raton Fine Art Show, 308 S. Federal Highway. She's also booked Jan. 26-27 at the St. Andrew Family Carnival in Coral Springs; Feb. 2 at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach; and March 3 at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City March 3. Go to ReverbNation.com/JessTaylorMusic.

NSortal@SouthFlorida.com