*Exclusive* Meet Songwriter Jamie Floyd, Co-Writer of Ashley Monroe’s “The Blade”

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Jamie Floyd isn’t your average songwriter. While she, like many others, began realizing her dream for music at a very young age, Jamie has been actually living the dream since her pre-teen years.

Jamie was born into a musical family, so she was only two years old when she began performing in her hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida along side her parents. Being molded by professional musicians led to Jamie signing a publishing deal with a division of Warner/Chappell and a record/production deal with Epic Records (New York) at the ripe old age of eleven.

However, things took a turn on September 11, 2001 when Jamie had a showcase scheduled with Epic Records’ Nashville office. As the world around us fell apart, Jamie’s record deal became incidental debris on the most horrific day in United States history.

Jamie then returned to the life of a normal teenager, graduating high school a year early and working full time in a small cafe in West Palm Beach, hoping to save enough money to make the move to Nashville on her own.

I combined what I made that year with what I had left from my advance with Epic and together it funded my move. I then worked out as many scholarships as I could and got accepted to Belmont University for the Fall of 2003. I was eighteen years old and essentially had nothing — no car, no job, and I didn’t even have a guitar at that point! I had my parents drop me off at my dorm on August 23, 2003, and I’ve been here ever since.

Though Jamie had to take many steps backward to make her ultimate transition to Nashville to pursue a career in music, the years of exposure and introductions fared well for her upon her move. When she arrived in Nashville on a permanent basis, Jamie was able to tap into her Rolodex of former co-writes, including Greg Barnhill and Jim Daddario. Jamie was also immediately introduced to a new wave of aspiring artists and writers.

When I moved to Nashville I began writing at Belmont with other songwriters on campus, including fellow freshman Chris Young, and that led to networking and writing with writers in the Music Row scene, off campus. After a year and a half, I couldn’t afford Belmont anymore, so I dropped out to start writing full time in 2004. The musicians and writers I met and worked with while in school — John & TJ Osborne, Jeanie Davis, Charlie Worsham, Brad Hill, and Josh Matheny, among others, are some of my dearest friends to this day and are incredibly successful. They deserve every second of it! It has been a thrill to watch.

Jamie is incredibly supportive of those around her, and has found that those around her are equally supportive of her. As a songwriter, especially, she has discovered solace in co-writing, as well as inspiration from the people she is with on this journey. Identifying the importance of networking in the industry, Jamie cites co-writing as a critical part of meeting others, diversifying her creativity, and broadening her spectrum in regard to publishers. Yet, Jamie has also realized the necessity of occasionally putting pen to paper on an individual basis.

Most, but not all, of my songs that have been used in film and TV are songs I have written by myself. When I am on hard deadlines for a specific film or project, I do find I prefer to write by myself.

And when she sits down for those writes, it is simply a matter of digging within herself to find the inspiration she needs to complete the project.

I always say “I am a nonfiction writer,” so whatever is happening with me in my life, emotionally, weasels its way into my songs one way or another, for better or for worse! I am also extremely inspired by my co-writers — their voices or playing styles or sometimes even just their presence in the room.

One song, in particular, that emerged from the inspiration Jamie obtained from those around her is Ashley Monroe‘s title track off her forthcoming album, The Blade. While Jamie had previously written with Marc Beeson and Allen Shamblin one-on-one, the three writers had never combined efforts as a team before the fateful day they sat down and penned “The Blade.”

We had been working on something that wasn’t quite where we wanted it and as a result we started going in another direction. Allen had heard a sermon that touched on life’s struggles, and it mentioned something about catching things generally by the handle or the blade. He shared that with us because that concept had stayed with him and moved him and it moved us too — so we began to work on it. We went around and around about how to make “a handle and a blade” work in a song. As we hashed it out, we started to think of it less in terms of a broad life’s lesson and think of it more in terms of love, specifically. That’s when the hook of it started to come together. When we finally came to the interpretation and wording that said “you caught it by the handle and I caught it by the blade” the rest flowed out. For me, the emotion I was able to contribute came from the breaking off of a specific past relationship and also from my ups and downs in the music business through my life. I am an extremely sensitive soul and I don’t catch handles, I only catch blades, believe me! I think everyone in their life or in love at some point has felt that feeling of “I gave this the best of everything I had and you didn’t, how could you?” There were points where I remember both Allen and I having tears in our eyes. I’ve written with Marc and Allen for a few years now and me crying in our co-writes is not uncommon! It was truly a moving and unforgettable moment when we finished it and sang the work tape. Marc and Allen are two of the best people I have in my life. I am dumbfounded that they are willing to share their talent with me — I will forever be thankful that we came together that day and found “The Blade.” I remember going to work to wait tables that night immediately after our co-write and showing the lyric to my fellow servers because I was so excited!

The excitement regarding “The Blade” continued when Jamie, Marc, and Allen found out that Miranda Lambert loved the song that her best friend, Ashley Monroe, had claimed as her own for her new album. Justin Niebank, the co-producer on the track with Vince Gill, invited the three songwriters to Blackbird Studios to listen to the production and shared a very special piece of information with them upon their arrival.

A couple seconds before he pressed play he said “oh by the way Miranda came in and sang on it the other day.” The three of us were already slap happy at the thought of hearing our cut with the stellar Ashley Monroe, and then when that was said, I don’t think we even heard it when it was played for us. Justin knew that and actually played it for us a second time so we could actually listen!

If you are keeping score, that is now 1) a beautiful song that touched Jamie to the core; 2) Ashley Monroe nabbing the song for her upcoming project; 3) Justin Niebank and Vince Gill producing the track; and 4) Miranda Lambert adding her vocals to the song. Just when Jamie thought it couldn’t get any better, she was surprised when she awoke to a text message from Marc Beeson.

I was playing a gig in Chicago and woke up there to a text from Marc Beeson saying that we had the title track. I shot out of bed and proceeded to text for about two hours! From what I understand, they went in and cut our song when Ashley was basically already done with her record. On top of everything, to find out she was also going to represent the whole record with our song as the title? That was so beautifully unexpected and surreal. I feel like my life the past few months has been one dream sequence after another.

Jamie continues to pinch herself as she realizes the enormity of what is going on in her career at this time. She lives a humble and simple life in Nashville, waiting tables at night and doing whatever she has to in order to survive until her next song is cut.

My team is made up of my family, boyfriend, friends, co-writers, my family of employers and fellow coworkers at Lockeland Table in East Nashville and everyone I’m lucky enough to closely surround myself with. As you can imagine, everything going on with “The Blade” has only encouraged me to keep going, despite all the hardships and obstacles. I am convinced I am right where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I was meant to do. I am so grateful to Ashley for taking a chance on our song and singing it with all her heart. “The Blade” has truly been the greatest blessing to come out of the greatest pain.

As Jamie continues to push forward and work as an independent songwriter (as she is not currently signed to a publishing company or record label), she will celebrate each victory she experiences, including a song she wrote that will be on the Fall season premiere of ABC’s Nashville. Jamie is also currently finishing her own EP, Sunshine and Rainbows, which aptly describes the positive, optimistic, and internally and externally beautiful singer-songwriter.

We are previewing a little taste of it at my live band show on July 23rd at 8:30PM at Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville if anyone out there wants to come check it out! Brad Hill (Brothers Osborne) produced the EP and we just brought on Richie Biggs (The Civil Wars) to mix it. Lots of exciting forward movement around it. It will include six songs. There is something I wrote with a songwriting hero of mine, Lori McKenna, that we recorded. It’s called “The People You Knew.” It will also include my own version of “The Blade.” Shannon Wright, Josiah Rosen, Jeff Cohen, Chad Wolfe, Lucie Silvas, and Jennifer Hanson also wrote some incredible songs with me and for this project and I am dying to share it with anyone willing to listen!

We most certainly cannot wait to share in Jamie’s project and experience six songs that teach us more about the exceptional and hardworking artist who is making Nashville an even more special place than it was before her arrival.

To stay up-to-date on Jamie Floyd, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

Join NashvilleGab and AT&T U-verse Country Deep TV for a special Insider Access Twitter Chat with Ashley Monroe tomorrow, Thursday July 16th at 4:00pm CT, and see what Ashley has to say about her forthcoming album “The Blade” and its title track.

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