Every artist in Nashville comes to town with a story to tell–but Jaida Dreyer has a particularly interesting one of her own. The blond newcomer, who originally came to town to be a songwriter but has since evolved into a seasoned performer, found her way into her career via a thorny road worthy of a ballad in itself.
The Canadian-born Dreyer, whose parents split up when she was 12, found herself leading a nomadic life with her mom–living in seven states by the time she turned 18. Throughout this, she pursued her first love: Showing horses competitively, an interest she’d cultivated since she was a very small child.
Unfortunately, her dreams were halted when a riding injury forced her to permanently retire from the show ring and training circuit at age 17. Dreyer then turned to her other constant in her life–songwriting–which was something she’d been interested in as an outlet for the stories she’d picked up along her gypsy-like young life to date. Taking a hard look at the songs she’d written over the years, Dreyer decided that she might as well take a shot in Music City and see just how talented she actually was in the writing biz.
Dreyer moved to Nashville with the full intent to be a writer only; however, her unique voice caught important ears in town. In 2012, she was signed to famed producer Byron Gallimore’s Streamsound records, with her debut album, I Am Jaida Dreyer, arriving in February of this year.
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We at Our Country had the opportunity to chat with this winsome new talent about her unusual path to success. Enjoy!
OC: You originally moved to Nashville to be a songwriter, not a performer. That’s an odd path for someone so young to decide upon. At what point did you realize you wanted to actually sing as well as write?
Dreyer: Although I’ve always loved to sing, I never really considered myself a “singer”. Knowing my voice was unique, I guess it was a confidence thing early on. It was the songwriters I initially worked with that helped me believe in myself and understand that unique was a good thing.
Do you write primarily on guitar, or do you prefer to use another instrument? How many instruments can you play?
I primarily write on guitar. I also play mandolin. I had piano lessons at an early age, but unfortunately didn’t stick with it.
There has been an increasing number of young female artists making significant waves in Nashville over the past few years. Are you intimidated by this competition? Or has it been easy for you?
Intimidated? No, not at all. I actually feel there’s a great camaraderie between the other female artists that I know. I don’t think any of us are necessarily here to win a popularity contest. Not me, anyway. I just want to play music and hopefully reinstate faith in female country artists.
Nashville is a town filled with extraordinary songwriters. Keeping this in mind, it must be very difficult to distinguish oneself in the field. What do you think is the most unique element or greatest strength of your own songwriting?
I think it’s the nomadic life I’ve lived and the honest way in which I’m comfortable telling my story. I haven’t lived a lot of years, but I’ve lived a lot of life and in turn, that’s given me a lot to write about and a unique perspective.
Are you still involved with horses in any manner?
Not like I was, but I do still have an old show mare of mine who I board at a barn a few miles down the road from my place outside of Nashville. It’s nice to be able to do it for fun instead of making my living at it. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to have a non-pro futurity horse and get back in the show pen.