"It takes a village to raise an idiot" may not necessarily apply to Paulina Jayne and her musical pursuits – as she's quite the opposite of the old adage in terms of intellect – but the basic premise and sense of community is definitely there.
The bubbly and extremely talented young woman, raised in a very musically supportive environment, has jumped headfirst into the limelight within the past year, showcasing her guitar-playing abilities and vocals – which sound like they belong to someone twice her age. But at the root of an innate ability to produce catchy and genre-bending country tunes lies a young lady who is surrounded by family, management and fellow artists who couldn't be any more in her corner.
Fresh from a trip to Nashville (you know, the Mecca of country music), Jayne describes the trip she's been on like a controlled whirlwind of positivity – and in the way that only a 16-year-old could deliver it. "It's like a second home," she says. "And to be honest, the food is awesome too."
Oh, and then there's that little part about being down there, writing and performing music with industry veterans – never mind that it's the cradle of country-music civilization. "I wrote with Bonnie Baker and Steph Jones, and we finished a song called 'Tidal Waves,'" she says. "Hopefully we'll be going down this summer again. Bonnie was originally supposed to come up here to write with me November of last year."
While writing songs in Nashville might be a dream come true – in addition to her hit song, "Mississippi Girl," catching airplay on WYCD recently – don't think for a minute that Jayne is missing out on anything. "It's what I love, so it's not like I have to give up anything that I want to do to do it," Jayne says.
You see, she's not giving up the life of a teenager in the least – but to be honest, maybe she does blur the lines a little sometimes. "I could be sitting in class, and I've actually been yelled at before for pulling out my phone and recording it," she says. "I write lyrics in class, I write music in class. It just comes to me. It's not something where I really have to sit down and think about it."
That's the true sign of someone coming by talent naturally. And that talent certainly isn't compartmentalized solely to country music, you should know. Her musical tastes and talents exceed those of a one-genre artist. "I just started writing country music," she explains. "I just started running with it. I've continued to write country music, although I do write other kinds of music. I don't think I'm going to pigeon-hole myself into just the country genre."
That goes for the music she listens to, in addition to that which she creates. "I love Pink. I love how exciting and in-your-face her music is and her voice too. I think she's got some great songs out. I also really admire Taylor Swift's route she's taken. She's huge and she's caught the attention of everyone, at least my age. It takes a real talent to write music and say things that people can't necessarily figure out what they're thinking. She sort of sorts it all out for everyone in her songs and her lyrics."
With inspirational artists like Pink and Swift, it's easy to see why Jayne's dance card is filling up quickly. Additionally, she's been working with superproducer Emile Haynie (who's worked with Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, Scissor Sisters, St. Vincent, etc.), which puts her in great company. And with festival performances scheduled in May at the Avenue in Wayne, MI and the Watershed Festival in August in Washington, she's well on her way to a little bit more of that limelight – and deservedly so. | RDW
Paulina Jayne • 21st Annual Detroit Music Awards • 4/27, 7 p.m. • Fillmore Detroit • 2115 Woodward, Detroit • 313.961.5450 • detroitmusicawards.com • $50-$100