Introducing Jaida Dreyer: “My Story is a Blessing in a Blender”

Pierce Greenberg | April 12th, 2010

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On the surface, Jaida Dreyer isn’t unlike the other 20-something female artists that are so often found at the top of the country music charts: She’s blonde, pretty and very personable. (She prefers hugs over handshakes.)

But the difference comes when she opens her mouth—whether it’s to use her soul-filled nothing-but-country voice to give treatment to a self-written heartbreaker or to fire out quick-witted comments and jabs. At 21, Jaida is, indeed, a different breed.

She has used that uniqueness to her advantage. After just three years in Nashville, Jaida is well on her way.

“Shoveling Shit and Throwing Hay Bales”

jaida-dreyer-02Jaida was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, but grew up in Iowa–eventually living in seven different states before she turned 18. Her first passion was showing horses. She won her first world championship at age five, and turned pro at 13—a year after her parents divorced.

“It was a very important time of my life,” Jaida says. “I was riding when I was in her belly. That’s what we did. I wasn’t one of the rich kids that did it as hobby, we did it to make money.”

To make a living, her mother would buy cheap ponies and transform them into prized show horses. Then, she’d sell them for a profit.

“I grew up shoveling shit and throwing hay bales,” Jaida says.

Jaida and her mom traveled the country showing horses—an experience that ultimately hardened Jaida.

“It was very physically demanding, but it taught me a lot. It taught me how to work hard and forced me to grow up real quickly,” Jaida says. “I was the 17-year-old kid hanging out with the 30-year-old cocaine cowboys.”

But life on the road gave Jaida something to write about—an experience that would ultimately pay off.

Change in Route

When she was 18, Jaida hurt her back badly. The doctor said that if she kept riding horses, she’d be in a wheelchair by 25.

“That completely rocked my world, because that was all I ever knew,” Jaida says. “That was where my life was going. I had to totally re-evaluate my life plan.”

She looked back on her writings from the road, and decided to take a shot at Nashville.

“I wanted to move to town and I wanted to write songs… I really had no aspirations to be an artist, not because I didn’t’ want to do it, just because I’m very much a realist,” Jaida says.

Ironically, in a city full of dreamers, the realist got a break. Within weeks of moving to Nashville, she posted a no-budget work tape recording on her MySpace page. Almost immediately she heard from singer-songwriter Robin Lee Bruce who helped her plug in.

“Next thing I know, I was being offered publishing deals,” Jaida says. “At that time, I was so naïve, I didn’t know you could get paid to write songs.”

She eventually signed with award-winning producer Byron Gallimore’s Song Garden Publishing—a unique two-for-one deal.

“Being a producer and all, I’m looking for great songwriters for one thing, but I’m also looking for artist writers,” Gallimore said. “With Jaida, I was attracted to her because of her writing, but also because of her amazing artist ability. She’s just an amazing artist in my opinion—and a really unique singer.”

From there, the snowball started to roll.

Friends In All Places

jaida-dreyer-03In the past three years, Jaida has firmly planted herself in the Nashville scene. She’s written songs with Guy Clark, done a couple shows with Eric Church, dined with Hayes Carll and describes Carolyn Dawn Johnson as her “surrogate mother.”

“She kind of took me under her wing as her little baby,” Jaida says with a smile.

Her Nashville friends aren’t limited to the country spectrum. Eighty percent of the material for her debut album was co-written with Kings of Leon producer Angelo Petraglia. She’s also friends with Jaren Johnston from the rock band American Bang (who just broke the Top 40 with “Wild and Young”).

“I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of great people,” Jaida says. “I credit a lot of what I’ve been fortunate to do to being around them.”

But Jaida has a special mention for her best friend in Nashville: Universal Republic recording artist Sunny Sweeney.

“If we’re not attached at the hip, we’re attached at the heart,” Jaida says. “Friends like that are hard to find, especially for me because I’m so much a guy’s girl…We’re just balls-to-the-walls kinda girls.”

Sweeney recorded one of Jaida’s songs, “Fall For Me,” which is expected to be a single on her Republic debut.

“Blessing In a Blender”

jaida-dreyer-04Jaida’s music is a mix of thoughtful lyrics sung by an unmistakably country voice, backed by semi-traditional production. It leans slightly Americana, slightly country-pop, and slightly classic country—similar to the format used on Holly Williams’ album Here With Me. But Jaida doesn’t like comparing and categorizing.

“Once you’ve boxed something in, it is what it is. I don’t want to be that kind of girl,” Jaida says. “For me, I just love good music and it’s important to me. More than anything, my songs and my music are just real.”

While some artists rush into an initial record deal and spit out a debut album as fast as they can, Jaida is taking her time. Right now, she and Gallimore are shopping her album around for a deal, but she isn’t in a rush.

“In this industry, timing is everything. Patience is a virtue and fortunately it’s somewhat one of mine,” Jaida says. “I’m young, so I’m not in that big of a hurry. I want to be around a long time, so I want to do it right.”

Gallimore believes that because of her distinctiveness, she might encounter a little resistance finding a deal right away.

“Unique vocalists usually have a small love/hate thing and it can take them a little while to click in, but when they do, you have a real defined artist,” said Gallimore, referencing Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. “And to me, that’s what true artistry is about—it’s about having that unique voice.”

Jaida shouldn’t have trouble eventually finding a place in the business, Gallimore said.

“I would put her up with any new artist, period. The quality of the songs that she writes…she has some amazing songs. I could sit down and play you a dozen songs that if you would sit down and listen to the lyric, you would be just stunned.”

And all those songs come from a unique life experience that has included both broken hearts and lucky breaks.

“My life hasn’t been between the lines all the time. My story definitely has been a blessing in a blender,” Jaida says. “But that’s created the person that I am.”

“I’m still a work in progress.”

For more information on Jaida Dreyer, visit: Jaida’s MySpace | Twitter

  1. James
    April 12, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Way to go Jaida, I saw Jaida last year on her Birthday and she was Great.

  2. Craig
    April 12, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Nice to see a real artist like Jaida getting recognition. I’ve been a fan for a long time and look forward to the day she is a household name.

  3. Tommy
    April 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I’ve been following Jaida’s music for about 6 months now and have always felt that she is going to make it big. She is a very talented singer/songwriter. She’s the real deal.

  4. Pete
    April 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Jaida is an amazing songwriter. It’s hard to believe she’s so young. Puts on a really compelling live show as well.

  5. Amber Nicole
    April 12, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I saw her play with Luke Bryan at USI this past weekend! She was badass! Oh and if you dont read her Twitter, you have to check it out because shes really funny!

  6. Rick
    April 12, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I first came across Jaida and her music a couple of years back and was shocked at how much she sounded like Catherine Britt at times. I was impressed with the songs on her MySpace page back then but haven’t really followed her since. It’s nice to see her songwriting and singing career is progressing nicely at this point.

    Hopefully Miranda Lambert’s current acceptance at Top 40 country radio will open the door for Jaida and her finely crafted songs. Normally having real talent and a unique vocal style is the kiss of death at AirHead Country Radio, so hopefully Jaida can outsmart the dimwitted programmers who dominate the mainstream country radio landscape. Think of what might have happened if her family had invested a lot of money in the Big Machine label a couple of years ago….

  7. Joshua
    April 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Honestly, I’m amazed to find out that Byron Gallimore (who is known for producing such acts as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Sugarland, etc.) found the balls to work with such a cool, authentic artist like Jaida. She’s A+ in my book. Hats off to Mr. Gallimore.

  8. Lyn Hallenius
    April 12, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I have been watching this young lady for a while now, and keep wondering, when will we get to SEE her. I listen to music with an ear tuned into #1) WORDS, (#2) uniqueness,talent, and if pictures or videos are available, (#3) looks. Jaida has all of them rolled into the one beautiful person she is. I look for this girl to go sky-high in the music industry. Look out, you “established” artists, there is a new definite star on the horizon!

  9. Lyn Hallenius
    April 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    This is a great article, written about a rising star, who will skyrocket into the heavens, once her music is unleashed on the world of country music.

  10. Thereasa
    April 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I knew Jaida from when I took horseback riding lessons with her mom. I am so happy and proud to see Jaida making it in the music world, and can’t wait for her album to come out.

  11. Ron
    April 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve seen Jaida 3 times: 12th & Porter, Wagon Wheel and 3rd & Lindsley. If you think she has a golden voice, wait ’til you meet her. You’ll soon find out that she has a heart of gold to boot. I can vouch for her preferring hugs to handshakes. I think she hugged me a half dozen times at 3rd & Lindsley. She’s real, she’s down-to-earth and she’s everything you’d expect from a COUNTRY ARTIST!

  12. Mike in Florida
    April 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve known Jaida since she was 12 showing horses with her Mom when they lived in GA and TX. Never have I seen a kid with such a work ethic and a talented horseman to boot. I’m thrilled to see her doing great things in Nashville. I knew whatever path she took in life she would be successful. She didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in her mouth like a lot of these girls that move to Nashville. I know talent and hard work will prevail and Jaida will make it BIG!

  13. Mick
    April 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Jaida is the real deal! Super talented, super creative, and unique. One of my favorite songwriters in Nashville today. A very down to earth person, and funny as hell! She is the triple threat that country music needs.

  14. Rob Australia
    April 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Wow amazing story on an amazing artist… looking FW to hearing the Album

  15. Sunny Sweeney
    April 13, 2010 at 2:05 am

    JAIDA BOO. LOVE ME SOME YOU! GREAT ARTICLE, 9513!! Thie site rocks.

  16. Bryan
    April 13, 2010 at 8:41 am

    I have been following Jaida’s career since she came to Nashville. It’s been great to see her evolve as both an artist and songwriter. It would be impossible to compare her to any current artist, she is simply so unique. The songs she has on myspace really don’t reflect what she does in her live shows. I have seen her perform several times, most recently on the Jagermeister tour with Eric Church. Her shows are very rock driven with a definite classic country edge….nothing pop country about this girl. A couple times during her set she breaks it down and does a wonderfully written ballad. One of my favorites is a song she wrote with Miranda Lambert called Shouldn’t I. You can’t help but love this girl upon meeting. Her quick, witty humor and personality are as real as the songs she both writes and sings.

  17. Great Uncle/Aunt Don & Mo
    April 13, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Jaida, we wish you continued success, your work ethics comes from both sides of the family and we all wish you well in the future. Remember if you are in the Phoenix area, please let us know.

    D & M

  18. Sarah
    April 13, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Finally a cool chick singer that writes real songs. Thanks for the free download!

  19. Bob R.
    April 14, 2010 at 8:01 am

    After reading this blog, I downloaded the song and then went on to check out Jaida further on myspace. She definitely has a new fan. Great songs and a unique sound, just what country music is lacking today.

  20. Thom
    April 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Country music seems to be in great hands when you hear about kids like this that are carrying the torch. Thumbs up to the folks at The 9513 for shining the light on such an all around talent.

  21. Michael
    April 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Love her voice.

  22. Kaylee
    April 17, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Heard Jaida on a radio show yesterday. Really seems like a sweet and very genuine young woman. Nice to finally hear a unique artist not afraid to step out of the box.

  23. Paul / NashvilleHype!
    June 13, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    WTG guys in finding Jaida. I would’ve LOVED it if you started finding artist like Jaida 2 years ago and went ahead and had them on site instead of waiting for a label or someone to pick them up to make them important enough to even mention – cause I’ve known about 9 so far who could’ve used the attention and help … but then I’d have nothing to do.

  24. Jeremy
    July 14, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Jaida has an amazing way of making a tree frog sound good. Is she in pain? Please help her by telling her the truth.

  25. KEVIN B
    August 27, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    JAIDA IS AN AMAZING SONGWRITER AND VOCALIST! LOVE HER SONG THAT SUNNY SWEENEY CUT ON HER NEW RECORD! CANT WAIT FOR HER CD TO FINALLY BE RELEASED!

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