Anyone who moves anywhere with a suitcase and a dream, I immediately am in awe of. It’s not just something that happens in the movies. It’s the reality many face as they make their way to the likes of Los Angeles, Austin, and in regards to America Jayne, New York City. Originally there for theatre, she found herself dipping her toe in music and since then has hustled her way through both career paths. We talked about that, her latest singles, and what all this time at home has given her.
For more music from America Jayne, check out her new single, “Survive,” out Friday, October 16, 2020.
Kendra: When you originally packed your bags and headed to New York City, it was for theatre. Having been there as both an aspiring theatre actor as well as a musician, what path would you say takes more hustle?
America Jayne: They both take the utmost amount of hustle! My experience trying to market myself as an actor only helped me transition to music. Both are incredible art forms that require a massive level of business knowledge. While having talent is important, you also need to be business savvy to succeed. Both theatre and music have taught me a lot about how to represent myself and my work.
Kendra: Perhaps one day you’ll be like Alanis and have a whole play based around your music? Maybe they’ll call it “Boy” based on this single that tears at the heart. Does the level of catharsis with this song remain the same every time you play it?
America Jayne: Oh, absolutely! I feel that way about all my music, honestly. Chalk it up to my theatre training, but I always find myself stepping back into the version of Erica who wrote the song when performing. I put myself back into the mindset I had when writing the song, even if those feelings are no longer present in my life. I’m a very nostalgic person to the core, so I experience a lot of catharsis hashing out old feelings and memories on stage. Also, so funny you mention ‘Jagged Little Pill’ because I would kill to be in the Broadway production!
Kendra: In the grand scheme of songwriting, do you feel that writing about relationships, both the good and bad aspects, eventually leads one to grow better for their next partner?
America Jayne: I think that a lot of songwriting, including songs about love, heartbreak, etc. force the writer to face their relationship with these topics. Whether it be good, bad, or ugly, writing a song can make you see your action as objectively as possible. When you can see your actions and intentions at their most pure form, that’s when you can learn about why you act a certain way or how this affects your relationships. I think this self-reflection provides a place to grow and learn that can only make you more aware and open for a new partner.
Kendra: You also just released your second single this year, “Pretend.” What do you feel that highlights most about who you are as an artist?
America Jayne: I think that “Pretend” really shows an inside look in my mind. The song explores a relationship that I lived out in my head because I couldn’t act on it in real life. I was in this place for a year and a half; closing myself off to any other relationship because I was so infatuated with the idea of this person and I was terrified to give up this make-believe world I had crafted. But eventually, I had to realize that “pretty words are pretty words nothing more” and force myself to move on. I want to continue with this level of honesty in my music and as an artist.
Kendra: With all that has transpired this year, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
America Jayne: In some crazy way, I feel like I needed quarantine to focus on pushing my career forward. In the beginning, I found it hard to be creative, but after a month or two something unlocked in me and I felt like I was writing more than I ever had. I focused on learning more about songwriting and put that at the forefront of my growth. I was also working a lot behind the scenes to promote, brand, etc. Pre-quarantine I was working a lot at the bar and honestly started getting a little caught up in my world. I think slowing down and pressing reset during this quarantine has been amazing for my career.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
America Jayne: I am heading back into the studio in late September to record two new songs! I’ll be at Studio G with the incredible, Ronnie DiSimone. Ronnie, myself, and artist/producer Tiger Darrow worked together to co-write these songs and I couldn’t be more excited to produce them! The two songs show my growth as an artist, as they progress my career in a more indie-rock style that I’ve wanted to explore for years.
A song that always gets me through is “22 (OVER SooN)” by Bon Iver. There’s this belief that you can make it through anything for ten seconds. And then it all restarts. That is how this song feels. It constantly reminds the listener “it’ll all be over soon”. The pain, the confusion, it’s all temporary. You can make it through the next ten seconds. And you’ll make it through the ten after that. And so on.