Welcome to the latest edition of our Virginian of the Week series. This week, we interviewed Jack Hess, a singer from Clifton with over 260,000 followers on Instagram.

Thanks for talking, Jack. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a musician.

I’ve always had a passion for making music! Since I was young, I loved to sing & explore new instruments. Then, in middle school, I started making covers of myself singing on the internet, which rapidly started growing my fan base. From there, I started making and releasing original music and my name as an artist.

What town/city are from originally? What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

I am originally from Clifton, Virginia and grew up there throughout my childhood. My favorite thing about my hometown was having a great supportive bubble around me.

Tell us a little bit about how your professional career started.

Ever since I was young, I’d always dream of being a singer. From that point on, music has been the most influential thing in my life. I started my career with the release of my single ‘Chasing Dreams’, which built up over 50,000 plays in the first weekend. After the release of that song is when things started to take off.

What’s your favorite thing about performing?

My favorite thing about performing is being able to perform unreleased music and see what the crowd thinks of it, but also meeting all of my amazing supporters!

What’s something people wouldn’t expect about your day-to-day?

At the moment, I am attending college at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, so I am currently balancing a career in music and getting my degree. In between homework and tests, I spend my time writing new music and advancing my career.

Do you have a personal or professional accomplishment you’re particularly proud of?

An accomplishment that I am particularly proud of is getting into college and being able to balance both high school and music to get there. Never feel like you have to give up school just because you wanna pursue a career in music while you are younger! 

Do you have any current favorite musicians? What do you like about them?

Currently, my favorite artist is Miguel. His music is amazing, along with his live performance presence. You should really check him out if you have not heard of him already.

What do you do when you’re not working?

When I am not working, which is close to never, I am spending time with my friends or going out to get some delicious food.

Do you have any charitable causes that you’re particularly passionate about?

I always look for ways to give back through the platform that I have been given. For example, immediately after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting, I made my way to Florida for the benefit concert. I was moved by what my peers were going through and saw performing as a way to lift their spirits. I’ll continue to work with charities that I’m passionate about in order to bring greatness to the world.

This interview has been lightly edited.