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Erika Jayne Interview - Pretty, But Not a Mess

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Dance-Pop songstress Erika Jayne is capitalizing on a big buzz and taking the club dance music scene to new heights.   With five #1 singles on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play Chart, Ms. Jayne has rocketed into the   club scene and all she wants to do is dance! 

Musicpix had the opportunity to sit with Erika before she opened EDEN, (a new San Diego hot-spot) in   prep for her new LP that’s in the pipeline for release this Spring.  Not only is Erika a beauty, she’s   intelligent,  driven and grateful to be living her dream.   She’s after ‘it’…

Read on…

Musicpix:             Let’s talk about style…is that something that comes natural to you, something that you casually work at, or something that’s evolved?

Erika:                     I think the most important thing for me is the whole.  The music, the performance, the costumes, the style…they’re very reflective of one another.  And it’s something that you do think about and you do plan.  It’s a head to toe concept…the staging, chorography, costumes, the music, they all roll into one.

Musicpix:             How do you work that balance?  Oftentimes, artists are too stylized and there’s no substance and sometimes there’s substance with no style…

Erika:                     I try to make the best records that I possibly can.  I try to have a great stage show and I try to give people something to look at.  Hopefully, they all mesh into one memorable experience.  It’s important to treat every part as equally important.  There’s a common thread that weaves through all of them…the music, the stage show and how they relate.

Musicpix:             You’re celebrating 5 consecutive #1 singles on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play Chart which is huge.  Is that added pressure to continue to improve or does it give you a sense of additional confidence that you have what it takes?

Erika:                      #1 records definitely feel good…I don’t set out to make another number one record but of course, that’s great if it happens.  I set out to have a good time and make music that I like and music that I think other people will like and want to dance to.  I want to create a show that other people will enjoy.  It’s really all about what appeals to you and what feels good and what feels right.

Musicpix:             What would you consider the most important ingredient of Erika Jayne…all the little nuances, traits and talents that have contributed to your success?

Erika:                     Work ethic.  You want to work hard and you have to work smart.  You have to assemble a great team around you which I think I have.  I‘ve assembled a great team of stylists, producers and dancers.  You really need to know who you are and what you’re all about.  I think our over top sexuality,  our provocative-ness or whatever you want to call it, is fun.  It’s meant to be fun.  It’s meant to be glitzy.  It’s meant to have a good time and bring a smile to your face.  That’s really what the product is all about.

Musicpix:             It takes a lot of confidence in order to do that.  It’s putting yourself out there for people to accept or reject.   Is that something you were born with?

Erika:                     Yeah, I was always the one who wanted to perform and put on shows for my family.  It’s tough to put yourself out there though.  I think that a lot of people stand on the sidelines and point and yell and criticize but that’s okay.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Nothing risked nothing gained.  It’s all good.  Even your < are good. Even your critics are good.

Musicpix:             Have you always had that perspective or has it evolved?

Erika:                     Some days, you feel bullet proof and some days you feel a little less bullet proof.  It requires a little bit of getting used to.  All attention requires getting used to whether it’s good or bad.  I don’t know of any entertainer, politician, leader, business person who hasn’t had great things and negative things said about them.   It doesn’t really matter in the end.   What matters is that you’re doing what you like.  That’s all that matters.  You’re not going to please 100% of the people 100% of the time.

Musicpix:             Do you ever miss anonymity…being able to just walk through life and not be noticed?

Erika:                     I am able to exist without being noticed…

Musicpix:             As you continue to grow professionally and with you new EP coming out, do you plan on increasing your live performance exposure?

Erika:                     We have a pretty busy schedule now but sure we’re going to do everything that we can to support the new release.

Musicpix:             What inspired you to choose the techno-dance genre instead of pop-rock?

Erika:                     I prefer to call what I do ‘Dance-Pop’…I was always one of those people who really enjoyed dance music as well as pop music.  I was constantly the one standing by the DJ booth jumping all around.  I want people to dance when they hear my songs.  I hope they put their drink down and run out and have a good time.

Musicpix:             As an artist, does it ever strike you that some of the music you make may stick into the 22 year old psyche and still be important to them when they’re 55?

Erika:                     I would hope that I could make music that sticks for a life time.   I’ll tell you a quick story.  I was in New York and went out with some friends.   This group of girls came up to me and asked if I was Erika Jayne.  One of them said, “your song ‘Pretty Mess’  means so much to me.  I’m a pretty mess.  Sometimes I feel like princess and sometimes I feel like a temptress…(keep in mind she’s standing there in her underwear because this was a pretty wild club).   And then she said ‘I’m a school teacher.”  I don’t know if this will last but for right now, wow… she was feeling it.

Musicpix:             Some artists take being a role model very seriously and your performances are on the edge.  At what point in your life did you transform from a little girl to a sexually aware person?

Erika:                     It’s interesting…when I think back to when I was a kid.   I liked things that were rather adult.  I always had an affection for the over the top.  Madonna was one of my biggest influences on my performing life and she was really controversial at that time.  I guess when I was in high school, I starting putting my slutty self together [laughing].

Musicpix:             You’ve cited your mother and grandmother as critical to your success. How do they see your success?

Erika:                     It’s heart breaking.  My grandmother is in a home for Alzheimer’s so she really isn’t aware and that’s sad because she really picked up a lot of the slack when my couldn’t.  That part is devastating.  But my Mom has been able to enjoy what’s been happening and we’re very close.  She’s quite proud and that’s wonderful because she gets to see all of her hard work come to fruition too.

Musicpix:             Let’s talk about Pretty Mess Records.  The amount of work it takes to manage a label required is an extremely demanding responsibility.  How do you manage?

Erika:                     I have a great team of people around me who help me do what I’m supposed to do which is stand out front and entertain.  But it’s very exciting to have your own business and label and deliver the music you want.  I’m very fortunate to do that.  But again, I have a great team of people that pick up the ball and run with it.

Musicpix:             Are there some aspects of the whole that you don’t really like?

Erika:                     There’s no one particular thing that I don’t like.  My major flaw is my impatience.  You’re always going to bump heads and things won’t go your way. I think that act of persuading people is possible the worst.  There’s no one thing that I despise though.  There are just some things that are more challenging than others.

Musicpix:             Can you describe how you felt when you first heard your work publically or saw people responding to it?

Erika:                     My first single was “Rollercoaster.” Somebody texted me and said that it was on satellite radio and I put it on and sure enough, it was the first thing that came on.  And I thought wow this is really cool and exciting…it was a great feeling. 

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Musicpix:             At what point in your career did you believe that ‘it’ would happen?

Erika:                     You have to believe that ‘it’ will happen from the beginning because if you go into it with a defeated attitude, there’s no way you’ll be a success.   You’ll be done before you get started.

Musicpix:             But at what point, did you feel that you have achieved your goal?

Erika:                     I haven’t achieved my goal.  I don’t know that anyone achieves their goal.  You make accomplishments,  the bar is set but there’s always more.   That’s what makes you get out of bed and go to the trainer or to voice class, to dance calls, to write new songs, or whatever the case may be.

Musicpix:             It there a danger of insatiability?  It brings to mind lyrics to an old Springsteen song, “Poor man wants to rich, rich man wants to be king,  and a king ain’t satisfied until he rules everything.”

Erika:                     I don’t feel that way.  I feel very fortunate to wake up and do what I do.  To be able to create, to perform and to have my own business… that’s truly satisfying, I’m after it.  I like to work.  I like to stay busy.  I think you have to make the most your own life.  No one has promised tomorrow and I’m going to give it all I got as long as I can.

Musicpix:             You’re obviously a really driven and talented person.  If you have outward beauty and if you don’t have intelligence to back it up, you’re still kind of empty.  When you have the combination, you have the tiger by the tail so to speak…

Erika:                     There are a lot of people who are beautiful.  There are a lot of people who are smart but they don’t get a break.  A lot of this is timing and luck too.  I’ve seen some people get lucky and I’ve seen some of the most deserving artists go totally unrecognized.  There’s a lot of talent everywhere.

Musicpix:             There are a lot of young girls who’d like to be in your shoes.  What advice would you give to aspiring young artists?

Erika:                     You must be very sure.  If you want a career in entertainment, you’ll have to give up a lot to get what you want.   You may give family, a marriage, a boyfriend, or other career opportunities.  This is a real crap shoot.  You better have big balls if this is what you want.  This is something that you don’t try out for.  Nobody gets into this for just 6 months…that’s not going to work.   It’s lifetime work.  You have to be committed to that discipline.  It looks like one thing but it’s a whole different thing.  You have to be really sure that you’re ready to struggle.  You have to be ready to get physically and mentally beat down.   That’s you’re ready to be tiered and that you’re ready to be criticized,  that you’re ready to be celebrated.  If you’re not honest about those things, it’s not going to happen.

Musicpix:             Was there ever a point in your career when you said, ‘I don’t know…’

Erika:                     [Laughing] Yeah, what day are you talking about?  Some days you feel better than others.  It’s not a hopeless feeing, it’s just frustration.  There’s always a way to solve problems but the pace in which you solve them, can be frustrating.

Musicpix:             That transfers over to an entrepreneurism of any type because your business is your business…

Erika:                     Right, the tools that we use are songs and performances.  I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  I have nothing to complain about.

 

Published: January 20, 2011  | By: Steve Mitchell