Toronto alternative-pop artist Jayde has been attracting industry attention from key players since she just entered her teens. She even caught the attention of Jessie Reyez and Bishop Briggs when she covered their songs on her weekly New Music Friday cover series. Now finished high school, she is preparing to release her new EP this fall, featuring sultry original offerings “Give Me A Minute,” “Lines” and “Perfect Strangers.” Think Lorde meets LIGHTS and Dua Lipa.
Produced by Montreal’s Brody Gillman, the first single “Lines” — available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube et al — is “about not getting the whole story from someone. You’re asking questions and they’re not telling you everything so you’re forced to figure it out yourself,” Jayde explains.
Brody also produced the follow-up single, “Give Me A Minute,” while “Perfect Strangers,” due out in July,” was produced by Noah Barer, also in Montreal.
“’Perfect Strangers’ is about my old best friend. The way that I show people a song is really subtle and devious — I’ll be with that person and say, ‘Hey, I wrote this song; check it out; let me know what you think,’” she laughs. “Even though it’s about that person, they’ll probably never know, but it’s also a sense of satisfaction for me that they heard it. ‘Give Me A Minute’ is about me, in a fight with someone, being like, “Give me a minute so I can think of all these clever witty things to say to you while I’m angry.”
Jayde is continuing to work with both producers on additional material.
Born in Cobourg, Ontario, about 100 kilometres east of Toronto, Jayde was strongly influenced by Canadian artist LIGHTS and started teaching herself to play piano and guitar around the age of nine solely to play LIGHTS’ songs. “I was just creeping through YouTube like every 8-year-old kid does and I stumbled upon one of her music videos, for ‘Saviour,” and then found out she had a whole album out.”
She was a great virtual role model. For two or three years, Jayde immersed herself in music, learning songs, and then, at age 12, one of her supposed friends had crossed her out of a photo for National Best Friend’s Day (yes, there is such a thing). “I was really offended, but I didn’t want to confront them about it, so I wrote a song and I posted it on the internet. It was nice to be able to tell them how I was feeling without actually saying it.”
That traumatic teen incident kicked off her songwriting pursuit, and she quickly received encouragement and accolades — and not just from friends and family. The summer Jayde was heading into grade 9, she played a backyard party, complete with a stage, and one of the attendees knew Three Days Grace drummer Neil Sanderson and his business partner, songwriter Casey Marshall. “I started a development deal with them and that lasted about four years,” she says. “I was just working on the art of writing a song.”
Throughout her high school years, she won local singing competitions Snofest Idol and Kawartha Idol in 2015, at age 14, and performed at Toronto’s Youth Day at Yonge-Dundas Square that summer. In 2016, she wrote and recorded her first EP with songwriter Shobha and producer Rob Wells at Sony ATV Music Publishing. “We released one song off of it, but because I was really young, I was still trying to chase a mainstream dream,” Jayde says of the “bubblegum-pop” sound. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t what I really wanted to make.”
The following year Jayde was a semi-finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition; a finalist in the international Unsigned Only competition; and top 10 in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario’s The Shot vocal competition. To top it off, CBC included her in its Searchlight 10 young artists you need to hear. Jayde also worked with the musical directors and producers of Family Channel’s The Next Step on “Believe” for the show.
While her friends all went on to college and university — and Jayde did apply too — she decided instead to get a retail job so she could pay not just for her music production, but for music business books too. “I’ve been treating it as if I’m in school,” she says. “I took the job so I could put more money towards music — my dream job.”
Jayde is resolute now. She knows what she wants, how she wants to sound, and move her career forward. She’s had all of her teen years to figure it out.
“As I was getting into music, a lot of people told me that I had to do mainstream because that’s what was going to sell,” she says. “I was always so stubborn with it. But I remember one time when I was recording, they said that I was in between Demi Lovato and Lana Del Rey. Is it mainstream pop? Is it underground pop? The way that I see it is in between. That’s the type of person I am too. I don’t fall into either one of those categories because I’m in the middle.”
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