Jess Godwin

Jess Godwin is a Chicago based songwriter, actor, teacher, and artist. She consistently sings what other people are afraid to say - but not because she's being brave, or anything - it's because she has to. No matter what, she always feels better after she finishes a song. She writes about her personal experiences in hopes that you'll be inspired to create, too!

Quirky candid pic of Jess Godwin
Sad People Album

Sad People

For most of her life Jess struggled because she tended to be more transparent and emotional than most - at least, that's what people told her. In our society, we like to label other people to make ourselves more comfortable. When others started to label her as exclusively "sad", she did it, too. Writing Sad People was a breakthrough for Jess. She shares her story through this song, because she wants you to see how beautifully undefined and resilient you are, too. Stay tuned for the release of Sad People May 6!

DIY Music Videos

Over the past decade, Jess has been creating message-based DIY music videos in her apartment! At first, she started DIY-ing out of necessity - she got to a point where she wanted to create music and videos, but she couldn’t afford to pay anyone. She took to YouTube University and learned about live-looping, production, filming, lighting, set dressing, and editing, thinking that she would just create on her own until she didn’t have to anymore. Now, she realizes that being a DIY artist is who she is! Every piece is a puzzle, and the confidence, joy, and sense of self she has gained from putting each one together is always worth it in the end. Check out the stories behind some of her favorite videos here. Maybe you’ll be inspired to make something of your own!

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    I wrote this for my friend, Kat! I met her early on in my music career, and she has never stopped believing in me, booking me, supporting me, and loving me for me. Because of Kat, I’ve been able to perform at dozens of LGBTQIA+ events. She taught me about being an ally. Around the same time, I was performing at three different Catholic Churches, and struggling to find middle ground between a church that I grew up in and loved, and what I know deep in my heart to be true: love is love is love.

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    I’ll never stop being proud of this. I wrote this song after enduring 10 years of objectification, assault, and body dysmorphia in the music industry, playing character after character in a desperate attempt to be the person everybody wanted me to be. I never talked about what was going on inside. I suffered in silence until I learned about Brene Brown and her incredible research around shame and vulnerability. Her books and Ted talks changed my life. So THAT’S what I had? Shame??

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    That's my boyfriend, Gabe! His brother, Felipe, was the inspiration for this song. I interviewed him for an installment called “Muses” - I write songs about other people based on a series of interviews. Peep talked a lot about how amazing it was that his wife, Andrea, never gave up on him. I connected to this very deeply, because it’s exactly how I feel about Gabe. Andrea ended up walking down the aisle to this song! I asked Gabe to write a bridge, learn a harmony, help me build a set, put on a suit, and film “Amazed” with me.

Contact Info

The Major Lift

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The Major Lift is a non-profit that invites people of all ages to reclaim the story of their lives through songwriting. Created by Chicagoan Jess Godwin, the program has reached more than 40,000 students, inspiring people of all ages to promote mental wellbeing by candidly sharing about the "hard-stuff": depression, anxiety, shame, vulnerability through songwriting, a cathartic and powerful experience.

With This Song

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With This Song is Jess Godwin and Gabriel Ruiz, two Chicago-based songwriters and performers dedicating their talents to creating tailor-made love songs for your special day! In about a month after we interview the happy couple, you will receive a distinctive, professionally mastered recording of a song inspired by touchstones unique to your relationship for you to revisit for the rest of your lives.