Sometimes real life truly can be the best teacher. That’s how 19-year-old singer/songwriter Jayme Dee sees things. Although she tried her hand at formal schooling, enrolling at the University of Southern California to study music, she dropped out after just one semester in order to pursue her dreams first-hand.
“I was a vocal major, and I was taking songwriting classes and things like that,” says Dee, who was born and raised in Redondo Beach. “But there’s nothing that compares to being in the music industry. Right now I’m immersed in all sorts of things you can’t learn through text books.”
Thanks in large measure to a series of ear-catching cover songs she posted on YouTube, Dee was signed to Universal Republic within weeks of leaving USC. Since then, she’s been busy writing and recording original songs that, in her words, put a contemporary twist on old-school ideas. A variety of producers, including the Matrix production team and Toby Gad, have been helping shape the material.
“I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra and Patsy Cline and Aretha Franklin – people like that,” explains Dee, whose mother was a music teacher. “I wasn’t into top 40 music, or contemporary pop. My songwriting is contemporary as far as the lyrics go, but musically it has a retro vibe.”
With her debut album set for release in early 2012, Dee playfully says her goals include making an appearance on The Tonight Show, and having a no. 1 single. “Another dream is to collaborate with John Mayer,” she adds, with a laugh. “Seeing him in concert was one thing that inspired me to pick up the guitar.”
Mostly, however, she simply wants to continue to write songs that listeners recognize as authentic. “I find it hard to write about something that hasn’t actually happened to me,” she says. “I try to live my life as fully as I can, or else I’ll have nothing to write about. I want my music to be genuine. I’m always striving to sing about things I’m passionate about.”
Listen to and learn more about Jayme Dee at www.jaymedee.com.