Plum teenager lands music deal
John Vento vividly remembers the day about two years ago when he met Jess Bitsura.
Vento, 53, of West Deer, a musician and partner in Seven Fields Entertainment, a Pittsburgh-based music, movie and performing arts production company, was performing at a summer music festival at Riverside Park in Oakmont.
Marilyn Wetmore of Plum approached Vento and asked if her granddaughter, Bitsura, an acoustic guitar player and singer who was 15, could perform a few songs.
“It was unusual and gutsy for someone to do that,” Vento said.
Vento said he was eager to hear Bitsura, now 17 and a junior at Plum High School, perform.
Bitsura performed a couple of Taylor Swift songs , Vento said.
Next, Bitsura asked Vento if she could perform a couple of the songs she has written.
“They were fabulous,” Vento said. “She got my attention.”
Vento, a member of bands The Nieds Hotel Band and The Businessmen talked with Bitsura and her family after the show and explained that Seven Fields Entertainment has a production studio in West Deer.
In the past two years, Bitsura has worked with Vento and Seven Fields Entertainment to sign a two-year development contract with the company that is resulting in two songs she wrote and sings scheduled for release on ReverbNation, a promotional site for professional and amateur music, on April 22.
Bitsura said the songs that will be featured on ReverbNation are: “That One Thing” and “That Smile.”
“She (Bitsura) is very mature, and her lyrical content is mature,” Vento said. “She is a fine guitar player. She is really advanced.
“Our goal (at Seven Fields) is to give (young artists) resources to get their music to the world. Our goal is for them to go national.”
Bitsura, who describes herself as a contemporary and pop singer and song writer, said she began playing the violin when she was in third grade.
By sixth grade, Bitsura “nagged” her parents to let her play the guitar, said Karen Bitsura, 47, Jess' mother.
“I knew she was serious because she never nagged us,” Karen Bitsura said.
Jess Bitsura said she admired the style of Avril Lavigne, a popular singer and songwriter who plays the guitar, drums and piano.
Next, Bitsura began taking guitar lessons from Doug Edgell, an Oakmont guitarist who is a member of the Doug Edgell Band.
“He is my mentor,” Bitsura said.
Bitsura has played at various venues in the Pittsburgh area including the Fox Chapel Yacht Club, the Hard Rock Café at Station Square.
Most recently, she performed during a benefit concert at Zanders on Old Frankstown Road in Plum.
She also has performances scheduled in the area this summer.
The young musician also has other talents. She played on the Plum High School softball team and has a 4.1 grade-point average.
She is not playing softball this season so that she can concentrate on her music.
“I would like to go as far as I can,” Bitsura said.