Jessica Reedy, the Sunday Best Season 2 runner-up can attest to the fact that you don’t have to always win first place to be number one.

In less than two years after her blistering vocals were showcased to America, Reedy’s debut CD “From the Heart” became the top gospel album on the Billboards chart just one week after its debut. That’s especially impressive for a young woman who was at one point so fed up with failure she forgot she had a voice.

The singing competition was just the about face the 23-year-old single mother (who’d dropped out of college while on a music scholarship, got a job as a technician and was a welfare recipient) needed to get back on track to pursue what she was born to do. recently interviewed the woman behind the voice about some of her past challenges and promising future.

ESSENCE.COM: Who do you desire to reach as a performer?
JESSICA REEDY: Not the church, I think we preach to the church too much. The Bible says, it is not the healthy that need a physician, but the sick. I really want to reach the people who think church is just “blah” who say, ‘I’m not going to church.’ I wanna reach them.  I don’t want to just preach to the choir anymore. I wanna be authentic and show them that you don’t have to put on a full robe and be a monk.

ESSENCE.COM: Who are some of your mainstream musical influences?
REEDY: I love country music. When it comes to R&B it’s always been Faith Evans and Brandy because they paint pictures with their voices. I always enjoyed both of them because they could tell a good story.

ESSENCE.COM: You have an incredible vocal range on the lower register.
REEDY: It came from God. Before I got saved I wanted to be an R&B singer and I sung completely different than how I sing now. My voice was a high soprano. When I got pregnant I didn’t want to sing anymore. I just got tired of chasing a dream and I was on welfare and embarrassed. I said ‘you know what, ain’t no singing.’ I’m gonna get a job and get off these stamps, ‘cus I’m not gon’ be that person; I’m not go’ live that l. So that’s when I was a technician making good money. I forgot I knew how to sing. One day in my tech truck I was listening to the radio and said, don’t I know how to sing. . .when I opened my mouth it sounded so horrible I just bust out crying.

ESSENCE: You thought you lost your gift?
REEDY: Yes ma’am.  But God was doing something different.  When I finally got it under control all my notes was low.  My talking voice was low and I have to start all over.  Why my voice does what it does when I sing comes from God.  This is all brand new to me.

ESSENCE.COM: Tell us something about Jessica Reedy that people would, be surprised to know.
REEDY: I fix cars.  I was a technician for AT&T and I sold cable for a while.

Jessica’s “From the Heart” is available on iTunes.