After 8 years in town, I simply don’t find every singer-songwriter to be unforgettable or the lyrics they sing to necessarily be believable. For female artists especially, there is a great deal of playing it safe and remaining within the box. The trouble with remaining in the box is it’s extremely cramped, and it will have to be shared with almost every other aspiring artist in town. Timid, rule-abiding, and “every hair in place” women, singing bubblegum pop don’t exactly stand out in this highly competitive city…..they instead blend in, and get lost in the crowd. Fans want real, and they want the truth.
Every once in a great while, I am fortunate enough to run across a matter of fact, tell it like it is, honest to the core, promising talent that exudes the confidence and individuality required to rise above the normal.
Jamie Burke is a classic example of just that and more.
She lives what she writes and she writes what she lives. Vocally, she is uniquely set apart by combining the sweet country twang with no nonsense grit. With a successful EP entitled “This Ain’t My First Rodeo,” and a professional music video under her belt, Burke’s fan base continues to grow every day.
The accomplished Texas native had her sights set on Nashville, and after her high school graduation in Aurora Colorado, she made the move to Music City five years ago.
Having a diverse array of influences caused Burke to develop her sound into the standout style she has today.
“I loved Shania and Reba growing up, and became a huge fan of Miranda, Gretchen, and Loretta as I got older. I love strong women who have something to say and are just a little rough on the edges, who channel that into their stage presence. I'm also a big punk rock fan-Green Day, Blink182, Bowling for Soup, etc..I love that just rockin attitude,” shared Burke.
My personal observations of Burke seemed to line right up with what she believes personally sets her apart in this large pool of talent.
“I think there’s a lot of cookie cutter Barbie dolls who all sound the same running around Nash, and stylistically alone, I have way more of an attitude and a rock influence. I write my own stuff, I am ridiculous on stage, and most of the subject matters I cover are rarely covered by other females,” said Burke.
“I’m not trying to be anyone else but myself. I consider that the best kind of artist branding,” she continued.
Burke’s EP undoubtedly showcases her sure-footed direction. Her six songs are representative of the fact that she simply didn’t just follow the path of those before her….she instead paves her own way.
“My first EP is a collection of some of my favorite songs I wrote in the first year or two that I lived in Nashville, and my various experiences. Track one is about a guy who never called me back who I decided should be shot (haha). Track 2 is about all the tourists on Broadway looking for a one night rodeo. Track 3 was written after a big meeting with a publisher who told me I had no idea what love was. Track 4 is about being friends with benefits. Track 5 is about a pickle of a love triangle I got in. Track 6 is about a jealous psycho named Haley. I tried to keep it fairly diverse and either fun and rockin or thought provoking and completely honest,” dished Burke.
Upon listening to Burke’s tracks, I would have to say that her mission was accomplished….beautifully.
From the strong heartfelt reality of real “Love,” all the way to the fighting side with “Back On Your Barstool,” Burke knows how to change it up, and keep her fans guessing. She isn’t afraid to express her deepest emotions with “Just Friends”…..or like in “Shotgun,” to shoot the man that messes with her. “This Ain’t My First Rodeo,” and “What She Don’t Know” further express Burke’s transparency as an artist.
“What She Don’t Know” is one of those memorable songs with just the right hook, that will cause a person to sing along…..It will also occupy a place in that person’s head from then on. I’m speaking from personal experience here (I’ve tried to mimic Jamie Burke this week, but I just can’t do it as well as she can)….Check out her video for this tune to see what I mean. You can catch what "She Don't Know" on The Nashville Network and You Tube.
When it comes to the story behind the video, the always honest Burke wanted to be straight up.
“I won’t name names, but I got myself into a situation where I was the “other girl.” You know…the girl you call at 3 am and say you miss and love or whatever but are never Facebook official with, while your girlfriend is asleep in the other room. I hope people see in the midst of the lyrics that I just got caught up with my feelings and am not necessarily the bad guy. This song was actually a last minute addition to the EP,” shared Burke.
“I happened to be Facebook stalking one night and the guy I wrote it about had uploaded a cute pic of him and the GF and I was like...pen. Paper. Guitar. Bam. A week later we recorded it, and I loved how it turned out so much I decided to do a video for it. This video is probably my greatest achievement to date, as it has opened so many doors career wise and I think I'm taken more seriously now. I'm excited that from start to finish it was all completely my vision-from each lyric, to the cool guitar effects, to the red suitcase the girlfriend carries, to the plot line, and it was all funded through Kickstarter – so it feels great that so many people believed in my vision enough to bring it to life,” she continued.
Currently Burke is out entertaining fans across the country. When I spoke with her, she was on her way to Utah, and then to Colorado Springs. Excitedly, she is also working on her second album.
“TEXAS TORNADO” will be out in early 2014. I’m beyond excited about these new songs. They are fun, so fresh and won’t sound like anything you’ve heard before,” promised Burke.
Just in case you’re able to catch Jamie out on tour, what can you expect?
“At a Jamie Burke Show….you are not allowed to sit down. We are all dancing, drinking and singing together….audience and band. Let’s all have fun and forget about our problems outside of the bar, even if it’s for 3-4 minutes on a scuffed up wooden dance floor," said Burke.
If you’re not soaking wet from dancing by the end of one of her high-energy shows, she simply feels as though she didn’t do her job.
Though the confident, successful performer has quite the following as the bold and thick-skinned “Jamie Burke,” she will always humbly remember her school days as “Jamie,” who simply wasn’t accepted by everyone. Then and even now, Burke hasn’t been dealt an easy hand, but she continually grows and bounces back even stronger.
“I was bullied all the time growing up. I still get bullied. There's always someone who has something negative to say, and tries to discourage you from chasing your dreams. In high school I was told I had no stage presence and never made it into any musicals or plays,” she recalled.
“In Nashville I've been made fun of for everything from my hair to my voice, and been told "NO" by plenty of labels and publishers. But ya know what? Those kids who made it in the musicals have all gained weight, had kids, and work at the mall...& how many successful people have been told no, but were persistent? Abe Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Oprah, Lucille Ball..etc. The only thing you can do is be in a race against yourself. Strive to just be the best you, and not worry about negativity. Surround yourself with positive people, and keep on dreamin even if it breaks your heart,” she concluded.
She’ll tell you the truth whether in a song or an interview….and thankfully, honesty is precisely what this business was built upon.
Again, the name is Jamie Burke….if for some strange reason, you haven’t heard of this quick-witted, indisputably talented and remarkably driven woman just yet….you soon will.
"This ain’t her first rodeo"…..nor is it anywhere near her last. The ride is just getting started, so I’d suggest you call "shotgun."
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