She’s been in the music business her entire life, experiencing its many peaks and valleys along the way, and in 2015 singer-songwriter Jamie Floyd has finally broken through as a co-writer of what will surely be remembered as the most heartbreaking country song of the year, “The Blade.” The devastating title track of the widely praised new Ashley Monroe album, “The Blade” is the only song on the LP Monroe didn’t have a hand in writing. That task went instead to Floyd and industry veterans Marc Beeson (Billy Currington’s “We Are Tonight”) and Allen Shamblin (Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”).
Floyd says she based her own contributions to “The Blade” not only on past personal heartbreak but also on the countless ups and downs one tends to experience in the music business. Previously recorded by the duo Love & Theft for the unreleased follow-up to their RCA debut, “The Blade” actually started off as a different song.
“Marc, Allen and I were just working on a song idea, going through our normal process,” Floyd tells Rolling Stone Country. “Allen brought up that he had heard a sermon with this saying in it about how in life ‘sometimes you catch it by the handle and sometimes you catch it by the blade.’ It’s how you deal with it and how you persevere through all of it. He told us this quote and we were very intrigued by it, of course. We went around and around trying to figure out how to use that. At first, we weren’t discussing it in terms of love; we were just talking about life. Then when we came around to the actual ‘you caught it by the handle and I caught it by the blade.’ That’s when it unlocked the whole thing. It was a really emotional write and it took us a few writes to finish the song. But I had tears in my eyes at the end and Allen did, too. It was exhausting… in the most beautiful way.”
Monroe, who recently performed the song on Grand Ole Opry, told Rolling Stone Country of the ballad, “I think it will go down in history as being one of the best-written songs. I’m just shocked at how good it is every time I sing it.”
A Florida native, Floyd comes from a long line of musicians. The daughter of two performers who played the West Palm Beach society circuit for the past 30 years, her grandfather was a Navy drummer and her uncle toured with Michael Jackson and Taylor Dayne. Floyd first joined her parents on stage at just two years old, and at 11 was signed to a production deal with Epic Records and a publishing deal with Warner Brothers. But after 9/11, when the music business was among the industries in a state of flux, Floyd decided instead to move to Nashville, starting over at the ripe old age of 17. Although she’s had various publishing deals in 12 years since arriving in Music City, she has charted the same course of countless music-industry hopefuls: studying at Belmont University, taking server jobs in restaurants, playing writers’ nights and making appointments to collaborate with other songwriters.
In 2011, she garnered her first cut as a co-writer of “Once,” from Ronnie Dunn’s self-titled solo debut. While working as a bartender in 2013, the same year “The Blade” was written, a producer friend in Hollywood contacted Floyd to request that she quickly (as in overnight) pen a song to be used in the Dolly Parton TV movie, A Country Christmas Story. Two of Floyd’s songs ended up in the film.
Writing for the small screen is quickly becoming Floyd’s forte. But her next TV project couldn’t be more different: She is now writing songs for Manson’s Lost Girls, the movie about the circle of teenage girls who helped Charles Manson carry out seven brutal murders in 1969. The film is set to air on Lifetime in early 2016.
Floyd is also working on her own self-funded recording project with Brothers Osborne producer Brad Hill. She also has no plans to shy away from certain subjects, even if the stories may be challenging to share.
“I always tell people I’m a non-fiction writer,” she says. “No matter how sad or hard to hear or emotional something is, if it needs to be said I’m going to say it.”