by Greg Prebble

Fresh Talent: Jamie McDell

by Greg Prebble

Fresh Talent: Jamie McDell

With her first single, You’ll Never Take That Away, Jamie McDell‘s acoustic blend of folk and pop, along with a fair bit of country, has started making appearances on our TVs and commercial radio stations.

You may have seen the video which makes it look like the summer of 2012 was as idyllic as the great 2008, with plenty of beach shots, surfing and jumping off the wharf – general summer fun in Mangawhai where her family reside. As inspirations go, the beach has been a good one, says Jamie.

“I started singing when I was really little, I was seven when I wrote my first proper song about dolphins, and started teaching myself to play guitar when I was 15.””

Only a year later she was garnering record company attention.

“I’ve been talking to EMI since I was 16, so they’ve been watching over me for a few years to see how my songwriting developed and let me finish school.”” 

Now at university in Auckland, her influences are changing.

“I write songs about a lot of different things depending on what’s happening in my life at the time. Lately my songs have been about relationships, dealing with loss, and wanting to go back to the beach! I can really get inspired by anything – I once got a paper cut and ended up writing this really emotional song about it – so I guess it just depends what happens that day!””

Her first single shows a vocal similarity to Taylor Swift.

“I do listen to Taylor Swift a lot and I think the way she writes her songs is similar to my methods of songwriting, but I think I’m influenced by a lot of other country music also. I’ve always been a big fan of John Denver, the first song I learnt to play was Country Roads, so I think he has definitely inspired a lot of my songwriting. Also Jimmy Buffett is one of my favourite musicians. In particular I love his lyrics, the way he tells great stories and never takes him self to seriously have always been an attribute I’ve admired.”

And closer to home?

Brooke Fraser is one of my favourite New Zealand artists. Her voice is incredible and so is her songwriting, but in particular I’m inspired by the way she uses her position to help others and her involvement with charities.”

Could Jamie McDell be the next big thing?

“Of course it would be great to someday make a name for myself overseas but at the moment I’m happy writing songs and seeing where that gets me in New Zealand.””

Photo by Michael Braid