Dear Jayne to release Voice Message
Girl group. With time, the concept has strayed from its origins. Because the signposts along the path of American R&B—The Supremes, The Pointer Sisters, En Vogue, Destiny’s Child—read magical, not mundane. Indeed, listeners reserve a special place for capable girl groups, acts that cook up a spicy brew of aural and visual flavor. With airwaves and video channels clogged by cookie cutter ensembles, Dear Jayne is a return to the very essence of girl power.
Artist: Dear Jayne
Title: Voice Message
Release date: 05/13/08
Label: Capitol Records
Buy at: Amazon
Historically, girl groups have showcased one sparkling talent backed by serviceable, even interchangeable parts. Dear Jayne wags a disapproving finger at that copout. “When I decided to put a girls’ group together, I felt like it had to be the most incredible ever,” asserts group architect and manager Anthony “T.A.” Tate, president of the Music Line production team. “It was important that everyone have her own identity, her own special talent, for nothing to be lacking. I wanted three stars. And these girls deliver for me.” Meanwhile, the effervescent members of this Atlanta-based trio—Ashley, 22, Jasmine, 22, and Lindsey, 19—speak convincingly on their own behalf.
The ladies first opened their mouths on the scorching buzz record “Talkin’ ‘Bout Himself,” a caveat to self-absorbed males produced by Tricky Stewart (Rihanna’s “Umbrella”) and written by The Dream. In describing the song, which features a thudding beat and sizzling high-octave chorus, each girl offers a wonderfully telling, distinct interpretation. Ashley: “If we’re trying to go out to the club, and I’m waiting for you because you’re still looking in the mirror or tilting your hat to the side, this relationship ain’t gonna work!” Jasmine: “If you ask me about my day, then interrupt to start telling me about your own day, I’m not having that!” Ashley: “If you and I go shopping, and you’re my dude, and you buy more stuff for yourself than for me, we’re gonna have a problem!”
With men officially on guard and the public on notice, Dear Jayne is set to storm the charts with lead single “Rain.” Its throbbing, dawdling bass line, retro synth effects, jangling accents and multi-layered hook spring from the gifted head and hands of producer L.O.S Da Maestro (J. Holiday’s sensation “BED”, The Dream’s “Shorty is a Ten”). This surefire smash forms the public face of Dear Jayne, and the backbone of their debut album, Voice Message, due March 11th, 2008. What then of the personalities behind the glittering façade?
Each girl is beautiful. Each has heavenly pipes. Each is also complicated, as paradoxical as they are different from each other. Take the group’s de facto voice of reason, Ashley. Raised by a single mother in Los Angeles’ storied, unforgiving Crenshaw district, she bears the streetwise savvy of someone schooled young in life’s harder lessons. “The hood makes everybody into their own person,” she states. “Some people choose a wrong path. Some people are inspired to get up and out. The hood helped me because I don’t want to go back.” Ashley admits to being the most fashion-conscious, professing a love for “big hair, makeup, and shoes.” Yet at her core beats a hugely sympathetic heart. Lindsay and Jasmine actually look to Ashley as the group’s mother: keeping careful watch, warding off unsavory characters that might approach. She’s prone to introspection, writing poetry, and keeping herself otherwise occupied—traits borne from an unsettled, nomadic childhood. But in the vocal booth, that harder edge returns. Her hooks sear Dear Jayne’s recordings, cauterizing into the group’s signature.
This identity echoes long after the final chords in a 3-minute single. Beyond popularity, Dear Jayne has a higher aim: uplift. “In our music, we have a lot of girl power songs, but everybody can relate to them, even guys,” says Ashley. “The older women can remember what we’re going through now, girls our age are going through the same things, and younger girls can look up to what we’re doing. So our music is addressing our fans in a sincere, personal way. We’re talking directly to you as independent women who speak their minds. We’re not different from anyone else, and even though we do stand out where we go, we’re trying to show a positive image. We’re trying to show girls you can respect yourself, and carry yourself like a lady.”
Jasmine, hailing from tiny Coco Beach, Florida, first surfaced in 2001 as a potential group mate alongside current Music Line superstar, Ciara. Though the group, to be called Hear Say, never materialized, a gem had been unearthed in Jasmine. Her selection stands as high praise, fitting for a girl who honed her craft in the presence of the divine. “My mother is a preacher,” she details. “It was hard for me; I used to get into trouble since my mother was so strict. But the limitations blossomed my creativity; growing up in the church helped my singing. My voice developed power, and the choir helped me to specialize in harmonies. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that experience.” Jasmine reveals her share of heartache along the way, namely her parents’ divorce when she was 15 and the transition between comfort and popularity in small-town Florida to intimidation and anonymity upon moving to Atlanta. And her gleeful self-proclamation as a “wild-child” belies her sensibility and depth. “I’m a genuine person, and I love people wholeheartedly,” she professes. “We all came into the situation wanting to be in a group. We lean on each other, and we share a sisterhood. I know from experience that it’s hard finding the right girls for a group, but we did,” she beams.
The third piece is Lindsey, homegrown talent from the College Park section of Atlanta. Born into a musical family, she bears her telltale countrified sound proudly. Her grandparents owned a nightclub in Macon, Georgia on the original Chitlin’ Circuit: a haven for African-American musicians before integration. Mindful of what he’d seen in his parents’ club, Lindsey’s father attempted to dissuade her from a career in show business, emphasizing instead education. Thankfully for fans, Lindsey was undeterred.
She describes her own talents humbly, matter-of-factly: “I bring a sweet, innocent, singy voice so I’m doing a lot of background, blending things together,” she explains. “I have the deepest voice in the group, so I handle the low notes.” Lindsey’s aural caress smacks of the jazz often heard wafting about the family home during her childhood. And her sentiments, entirely unrehearsed and sincere, speak to the cohesion and direction of Dear Jayne: “I never was interested in being a solo artist because it always seemed really lonely. When I’m in the studio with my girls, we’re laughing and having a good old time. If I had to do it by myself, I wouldn’t be happy like I am now.”
There’s little left to say. Dear Jayne is an open letter to you, the listener. And Voice Message spells out the first chapter in a long, fulfilling tale to come.
"Voice Message" by Dear Jayne - release date: 05/13/08..