Belk Southern Musician Showcase Winner Jackie Venson: Why The Summer Tour Was ‘Like a Fantasy’

Jackie Venson may be young, but she’s already got years of music experience behind her. The up-and-coming multi-instrumentalist started her musical career as a classically trained pianist, then moved onto guitar and songwriting. Venson’s soulful, bluesy sensibilities recently received some well-deserved attention. She won the Belk Southern Musician Showcase and earned a spot on the Belk Summer Tour.

Music journalist Schuyler Rooth asked Jackie a few questions about the experience of winning such an honorable performance opportunity. Fresh from the excitement of the Belk Summer Tour and from releasing her latest album, “The Light In Me,” Jackie expressed her gratitude about winning, her fans’ reactions, and the jumping off point this win has afforded her career.

So how has this experience with Belk affected your career?

Winning this opportunity has really flipped everything on its back. I’ve been exposed to different Artists’ careers and what different aspects of the music industry look and feel like. I’ve been able to add big names to my resume, which has landed me a ton of other opportunities. I have also partnered with Belk, and they continue to give me new opportunities. It has been life and career changing.

How has the prize money help your career?

Pretty much the only way money helps anyone’s career — I’ve been able to stay afloat while chasing a goal that sometimes requires a ton of investment for little return.

What about your fans? Were they excited about this latest success?

They totally freaked out! Some of them think I’m famous and have made it, which is hilarious because that’s not true. I’m only at the beginning.

Was this your first competition? 

I’ve tried out for others, but this is the first one I’ve won.

Was the Belk Summer Tour your first experience touring?

Yes, The Belk Summer Tour was indeed my first experience touring. Honestly, it was just unreal. Everything I’ve heard about breakdowns and being broke, crashing on couches, etc., I have still yet to experience. It was extraordinarily out of my range of expectations, almost like some kind of fantasy. It’s been great and I am too grateful for words.

Five other ReverbNation Artists were also chosen as finalists. Check out their profiles below, and catch their performances at the Belk Bowl Battle of the Bands and Belk Bowl FanFest in December:

Emily Hackett (Nashville, TN — Americana)

Surviving Allison (Corinth, MS — Pop)

Christian Lopez Band (Martinsburg, WV — Folk)

Laney Jones (Mount Dora, FL — Folk)

Gabbie McGee (Riverdale, GA — Jazz)


Schuyler Rooth is a Brooklyn-based music journalist and curator. She appreciates brave music, both new and old. In New York City, she writes reviews, interviews artists and reports on new music. Her work has been featured on tastemaker blogs, mainly The Wild Honey Pie. You can find her live concert reviews over at The Bowery Presents, one of New York’s biggest live music promoters. Among the artists Schuyler has interviewed and reviewed are Chvrches, Lorde, James Blake, The Hives, St. Lucia, Kishi Bashi, and Sylvan Esso. By night, you can find her at any number of live music venues in New York reviewing her favorite bands and spreading the word about new talent.


Submit to the 2015 Belk Southern Musician Showcase:


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