'The Rise and Rise of Jasy Andrews!'
Jasy began taking classical voice lessons at 16 in Anderson SC, then autioned for Converse College in Spartanburg, SC in 1997. Majoring in voice performance, she recieved a Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance in 2001. Though her principle areas of study were classical music, theory, diction, foreign languages, opera, Jasy began writing pop/folk songs in her freshman year on the acoustic guitar.
She spent the next year performing around campus, before she began transitioning into a focus on the piano in her junior year. In her senior year Jasy founded a writer's night/open jam at a hole in the wall bar called "Dink Stinklemeyers" on campus, where she performed regularly and developed something of a local following.
Confirming that being an artist was her true calling, Jasy made ends meet teaching classical voice lessons and chorus at a local highschool, but continued to focus intently on her real passion, writing music and sharing it with others. In October 2001, she took ambition and talent hand in hand, and moved from small-town South Carolina to Nashville to persue a career as a professional recording artist.
Beginning her rise playing open mics around town, Jasy soon moved up to writers nights, where she was a regular favorite among local audiences. In addition to the 30+ songs she wrote while in Nashville, Jasy also began composing for film as well. During this time, she also joined a band called "Innerjones", where she wrote most of the songs, which were more progressive and heavy than her solo material.
After roughly a year, she returned to the circuit as a solo artist, where she focused on composing music and poetry, in addition to working on a Musical and a Screenplay which she is also scoring. In the spring of 2004, Jasy Andrews recorded a haunting rendition of "Private Dancer" for Versailles Records' "What's Love? A Tribute to Tina Turner." Out of this collaboration, she also has joined Versailles Records' roster for a full-length debut DOUBLE-ALBUM entitled Little Girl out in stores now!
Chatting recently with the Jasy Andrews, I first wanted to hear more about the first song Jasy ever wrote on the piano, and entitled 'Carrie.' "I was living in a dorm at college, where I shared a triple with 2 of my really good friends, so we had a really fun year, but this was an all-girl college, so most of the girls were straight-edged. Anyway, one of my roommates started out the year that way, and as the months went on, she became really promiscuous at a really quick pace."
"So I was sitting down at the Grand piano in Pell Dormitory by myself, and decided I wanted to get out of guitar and more into piano, and this song just came. It was the very first melody I ever wrote on piano, was about her, and I never played it for her directly because I thought it might offend her. She heard it, but she didn't realize it was about her. It will definitely be heard on my next album."
Take us back to those nights spent at 'Dink Stinklemeyers'! "I was asked to do a gig by the bartender, because she knew I was a musician. I was a senior in College, and of course, because I was singing Opera as part of my major, it was banned by the teachers to sing in smoky bar with alcohol, or even to sing anything that wasn't classical because it can affect your opera voice negatively. So in spite of that, the bar tender offered me a show, and I was like 'Yeah, that'd be great.' Even though I only had 5 or 6 songs, and a little Casio keyboard that sounded like a toy piano. So I played that gig, and had a lot of friends come out to see me, and loved it - even though they didn't comment on how bad my keyboard sounded. It was just a tiny, smoky bar where I got my start."
"They had a really nice stage with really nice people, and it was kind of interesting because a lot of the crowd was 'I play pool and I'm missing some teeth', but they loved my music because they stopped and listened. From that show, one element of my performing philosophy that has held over to today is that I love to surprise people. By that I mean I love to go in a place where I really don't think they'll dig it, and I go in thinking 'Let me see if I can get their attention.' And if one of my songs can catch the attention of somebody that's in a really deep game of pool or video game or talking to somebody at the bar, and they actually turn around and look at me while I'm playing, that makes it really worth it."
What was going through your mind that day you made the decision to move from small-town South Carolina to Nashville? "I had graduated college, and was having a really horrible summer. My best friend and I were on the outs, even though we lived together, and it was turning into nights of serious drinking by myself. And I knew that wasn't healthy, and I was writing a lot, but ... So I called my brother one night at one in the morning, and said 'I'm going to move to Nashville', and he said 'Do it.' So the next day my parents were there helping me pack, and as soon as I drove over the state line into Tennessee and saw the 'Wecome' sign, I felt a huge, unbelievable weight lifted off my shoulders."
"And I remember thinking that, I remember looking in the rear view window and seeing my parents behind me with the trailer, thinking 'At last, at last.' I remember being in my apartment the first night I was here, and my mom was staying with me till the next morning, and she was sitting there, and I was looking in 'The Scene', looking for writer's nights at a place called the 'French Quarter Café.' So we went that night, and I spotted a piano on the stage, and I got on the list, and played 3 songs, and met about 20 people that night that to this day I still remain friends with. Then when I was with my band 'Inner Jones', that was the first place my band played, randomly, and now, equally as randomly, on October 15th, it's the first solo show I'll play to promote 'Little Girl'."
Was this new album always to be entitled 'Little Girl'? "Yes, because the song that I enjoy singing the most live is 'Little Girl.' It's because it has so much passion, its one of my songs that the closest to me because its most like me. There are a few others, but I feel that sometimes I write songs about whoever, wherever, however. This is one of the songs that is very dear to me, because I wrote it about a close friend of mine. So it started out about her, now its about me, and probably about every woman at some point in her life."
"I think hopefully every woman - if they're 98, 52, 35 - deep down there's a little girl in every woman. She was just a little girl, so I wrote it about that, and now every time I perform it, I mention her as well. So I always said if I ever had a first album, I would name it 'Little Girl.' Every time I play that live, I get at least 5 women who come up to me and tell me they related specifically to that song. When I write, stylistically it's the same as if someone took a paint brush, dipped it, and went 'whoosh' onto a blank canvas. Its actually hard for me to write with someone specifically in mind, this was an exception."
Which of the many new tracks do you feel encapsulates Jasy Andrews at her finest? "I like to use my head voice a lot, I think its pretty to use dynamics, and I think its pretty to belt from the chest, and just flip over like that, I love it. 'I'll Do that Much', the album's first single, does that, 'Little Girl' does that. So many of my songs do- every song tracks a different time in my life, so I was honest to that vocally. Little Girl is the product of the last 10 years of my life writing songs."
"I see music in colors when I write, so each song on this album represents a different shade of the female emotional experience, be it pain or happiness, in love and in life. This album is in many ways a soundtrack to the world I see around me. Each of the 18 songs on this record tells a different story that autobiographically speaks for someone, so I believe there's something for everyone to relate to."
And, while we're on the subject of revealing things, why did you choose to record "Private Dancer" for the Versailles Records Tina Turner Tribute album? "I had never heard 'Private Dancer', but Jake (Versailles Records President) suggested it to me and I was like 'Ooo, I'll do that.' I didn't know if its tempo was fast, slow, medium. I thought 'Private Dancer' could mean so many things. So I listened to it one time, cut it off, didn't listen to it again, but just thought about it and then sat down, and the first really that I sat down to play it is when it came out. Then I listened to it a week later, to the actual 'Private Dancer' original, and could barely hear any resemblance, so I knew I'd made it my own."
"Of the other tributes I've done for Versailles, when I heard there was going to be a Bon Jovi Tribute, I grabbed 'I'll Be There for You', because its probably one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time. That's the one I jumped at- the words are beautiful, the melody is beautiful, I just had to do it. I also do 'Patience' for a 2006 Guns N' Roses Tribute."
And, borrowing some 'thoughts' from some of your new song titles, please answer these fun questions:
When was the last time you were 'Wrong' about something? - "The last time I was wrong was about 5 o'clock today when I picked my boyfriend up from work and started nagging at him. I do that quite often, and feel badly about it afterward - I'm talking like a minute afterward, because I know I made a mistake, but it makes me feel better to do it. Its just like writing songs, it makes me feel better no matter what kind of mood I'm in, so its kind of like that. I think this album is about mistakes as much as redemption, it really is kind of a soundtrack for the female emotional experience. But as for today's being wrong, my boyfriend puts up with me, so I love him for that."
If there was a family-made 'Slide Show' of you, what would be the most embarrassing feature of it? - "The one that stands out the most is a picture my friend Loraine took of me in my first play in college - the Opera La Traviata, and we were all dressed in our big, huge Victorian dresses with our boobs pushed up and everything, and everybody looked so beautiful. They'd had a make-up artist there, and did our hair, so when we got the picture back my friend had taken, it was of about 5 of us, and I was in the middle. Well, everybody looked so gorgeous, and then you look at me, right in the middle, and my face was bright red- I'm talking like an apple. It was horrible, and she showed it to everybody, of course."
Just how much 'Patience' do you honestly have? - "I have a good bit of patience, and a good bit of temper sometime. I can be patient with a person or project if I know there's potential. As far as songs, I really don't have much patience. If its not coming to me right away, I will move onto something else, because I have about 20 things going at once, so I just pull one out of the air. Sometimes I think because of that, I may miss a good song idea. That's usually only because when I write a melody at night, I won't write it down or record it. I'll sleep on it, try to dream about it, and if I wake up the next morning, within the next hour and start singing it in my head, then I know its good. And there have been times when I said 'Please let this be in my head in the morning please let it be.' Because I believe it was meant to be that way."
What cheesy '80s song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "There are two: Air Supply's 'Making Love Out of Nothing At All', and 'When I See You Smile' by Bad English. I love those songs. I know the second one is kind of random, I heard it off a Monster Ballads thing, and loved it. If I could help put together any tribute album it would be to Pink Floyd, and a lot of hard core Pink Floyd fans would hate me, but I'd love to cover 'Sheep', as one."
If there were just 3 words that described Jasy Andrews' music, what would they be? "Soulful, true, and colorful."
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other KNOWN musicians to aid you in the project, who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "That's a hard question. Probably first, Dar Williams, she would play guitar. I would also say Tori Amos, she'd play one of the pianos, I'd play the other. Or maybe I'd just make Tori stand up and sing. The third artist would be Patti Griffin, she would definitely be singing, and she, Tori and I would do leads together, switch off on harmonies and see how all the different mixes of voices are. One of my very favorite albums is definitely 10,000 Kisses ... If I had to come up with a name for the song, off my head, assuming I wrote it, would be 'Blends'."
Finally, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I really, really like Dogs. Shout out to my dog Briley!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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