"I love putting a song together and composing it to the point where it's done and feels like your baby."
Milk Carton Kids
In a musical career that began at age 10, Jayna’s performed in music theater, dance ensembles, choir, opera, bands, duos and as a solo acoustic act. But performances still stress her out.
What she truly loves about being a musician is the songwriting process. “I love putting a song together and composing it to the point where it’s done and feels like your baby,” she said.
When pressed to put a genre label on her music, she calls it indie folk, though she claims to enjoy crossing lines. Renee, her first single (and her middle name), is a case in point. “Renee is a pop song,” she explains. “It came to be in collaboration with a producer and musician who really believed in the song, understood what I was going for, and invested in it.”
Truth be told, Jayna is on the verge of graduating with a degree in music. But she’s quick to dismiss the book smarts. “I learned a lot studying music theory and got good grades but never used it—not one damn time.”
Jayna’s says she’s guided by her ear. She feels good about a song when, well, it feels good. “I never end up liking the songs that I have to think about too much. The best ones come naturally.” She says she “hears the sign” she has a keeper when a song gets stuck in her head and won’t leave her alone.
As for where the songs come from: “They’re usually about me. I’m pretty self-centered.” When asked what makes a song great, she chooses not to overthink it. “You just have to say something, make the listener feel something.”
Though she’s had a number of opportunities to gig with bands, Jayna’s now focused on getting her songs out there. “I feel it’s something I’m supposed to do, something I have to do.”
Songwriting nourishes her. “It helps me be more thoughtful. I’m always looking for inspiration in different things and being more open to my own sensitivity to write something that’s vulnerable and honest.”