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Jayme Dee and the YouTube Effect

Jayme Dee was born in 1991, which means she grew up in a world where you could turn on your webcam, sing a song, post it to YouTube and find out pretty quickly if there was any demand for your product. Jayme's acoustic covers of songs like "Creep," "Firework" and "Rolling In The Deep" quickly got 6-figure view counts and earned her a deal with Universal Republic.

Growing up in Redondo Beach, California, she started singing in the church where her father was the pastor. Her mom, a vocal coach and violin instructor, introduced her to the standards and helped develop her sound.

Moving beyond covers, Jayme released the joyful, self-written singles "Love Whiplash" and "Tip Toes," and her song "Rules" made its way to the Hunger Games soundtrack.

Carl Wiser (Songfacts): How do you typically write a song?

Jayme Dee: It's different every time I write a song. Sometimes I start with a title, other times it's a melody. It all depends on my mood and inspiration behind everything. I'll finish one song in an hour or two, then another will take 5 months before it's 100% finished.

Songfacts: What's the story behind your song "Tip Toes" - what inspired it and how you recorded it?

Jayme: "Tip Toes" was one of those songs I wrote in a few hours. It just felt right and was so easy and organic to write and record. I went in the studio a few days later to cut the song, and it turned out awesome.

Songfacts: You come from a musical family. What was the most important thing you learned from your parents about music?

Jayme: I love the outlet to expression that comes along with being a musician. I've always been taught by my parents to do whatever I love and what inspires me, and it's so great that I get to call music my job.

Songfacts: You've done some very popular covers - "Toxic," "Pumped Up Kicks," "Fix You" among them. Please tell us about the one that you most connected with, and how you re-worked it.

Jayme: I think the one I'm most proud of is "Toxic," by Britney Spears, just because it's so different than the original version. I wanted to make the song a little more sultry and less obtrusive, so I pulled out my acoustic and went for a more bluesy vibe. It was fun!

Songfacts: When you record your cover songs, do you get them right on the first try, or do they take a while?

Jayme: Most of my covers are either the first or second take, partly cause I'm kinda lazy and partly cause I've found they usually just go downhill after the second try! It starts to get a little contrived after too many takes.

Songfacts: What is your philosophy on music videos, and how involved are you in the process?

Jayme: Music videos are super fun to make. One of my best friends is an amazing filmmaker, so we work on a lot of creative projects together involving my music. It's always awesome to have another medium to share music with, and create another layer to the dimension of a story you're trying to tell with a song.

Songfacts: What was the inspiration for the song "Rules," and how did it end up on the Hunger Games soundtrack?

Jayme: T-Bone Burnett, the producer of the album, got sent the demo by my label and decided to have me on the soundtrack. It was an amazing experience getting to work with such talented musicians and be on a track list next to such big names.

Songfacts: Richard Marx told us that he has melodies floating around in his head, but struggles to find lyrics that aren't clichéd. What's the hardest part about songwriting for you?

Jayme: I have the same problem sometimes! I have a friend, Adam Stidham, who I take certain melodies and ideas to and he always seems to find less cliché ways of saying what I want to say. We write tons of songs together. Sometimes I get really stuck and don't know how to finish certain songs. That's when I call up a friend and ask to collaborate, cause two is usually better than one!

November 15, 2012. Get more at jaymedee.com.
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