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Get To Know: Jayms Madison

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Artist: Jayms Madison Location: New York, NY Influences: Prince, Tina Turner, Nikka Costa, Imogen Heap, Dakota Staten Why You Should Know Jayms Madison: Within in her 20 years of existence, Jayms Madison is experiencing first-hand what many singer/songwriters strive to accomplish with an award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame at age 19, studio time with rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and a sexy debut single “Room Service” attracting fans in anticipation for her forthcoming album. And while some credit a who’s who of artists for starting them on the road to music stardom, Madison cites iconic characters like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty for providing the motivation to develop her singing talent. “I just had these Disney cassettes that my grandmother would send me, and I would just sing a long and learn the lyrics,” said the vocalist, who spent a portion of her childhood in Jamaica and admitted to preferring Disney tunes over the hard beats and sounds of dancehall reggae. “Like I knew. This is beautiful to me. Forget all the dancehall. I don’t dig it. I’m not some dancehall queen. I don’t want to do that. I want to do this. Whatever this is on these Disney tapes is what I want to do.” Fast forward a few years and “the girl with the pretty voice that sings the Disney songs about birds and princes” discovers Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and 702 as she came stateside to live after residing in Venezuela. Although she was unable to hit notes on the level of Houston and Carey, Madison found solace among softer voiced singers like Brandy, Destiny’s Child and Tracie Spencer. “I basically learned through all the music that I bought. So if I bought a 702 CD, I’d learn how to sing just like the lead singer of 702. I’d learned how to sing like Beyonce. I’d learn how to sing like Lauryn Hill. I just practiced everything. That’s just pretty much how I trained myself, to sing and act. That’s how I got into other genres of music,” the former Choir Academy of Harlem student said. “The powerhouse singers were hard for me, but they taught me breath control. [laughs] I may not be able to pull it off as well as they do, but I learned something from each artist that I studied.” Madison’s hard work paid off as she was featured on two Diddy-produced songs off Jay-Z’s American Gangster album “Pray” and “No Hook.” The experience proved to be a memorable one, as the songbird described the atmosphere as “a party.” “It felt so comfortable and everyone was kicking it. There was all sorts of snacks available and it was so cool…it was just a really good feeling in the room. I didn’t meet everyone, but everyone’s face just looked friendly,” said Madison, who labeled Diddy as “just the nicest person.” “It was a really great night. That went down in Jayms’ history in my book, and it’s one of the best nights of my life.” Despite Diddy’s presence and guidance, Madison’s session came without an encounter with Jay-Z. The two share a common thread, as the songbird is known for her ability to freestyle song lyrics in a way similar to the Roc-a-Fella rhymesayer’s process of creating hits. Many of the songs featured on Madison’s album and MySpace page resulted from freestyle sessions in the studio. “That would have been amazing. That’s my dream. I would love that to happen, to kick it and do a freestyle with him,” Madison said about the possibility of working with Jay-Z. “I think it would be brilliant. I mean the experience alone would be brilliant. There have been comparisons, and I’m hoping one day we do get to work together because he’s amazing and I’d love that.” Freestyle ability aside, Madison has utilized her other gift, as she penned songs for other artists over the last six years. The Abe Olman award winner, who as written songs for R&B crooner Case, is currently working with up and comers Brandon Hines and Making the Band solo artist Donnie as well as established veterans like Stacie Orrico and Brandy. Madison’s song, “She Don’t Love You,” is featured on ‘80s singer Taylor Dayne’s latest album Satisfied. As for her debut album, Madison didn’t reveal a specific date, but urged fans to keep an eye out for its imminent release. “I have a few more producers and writers I want to collaborate and do some off the wall things [with]. I’m still working,” the singer said. “I can definitely put something out now, but I’d much rather give everyone that optimum best that I got.” For this reason, Madison is adamant about staying true to herself while composing material that will allow her “admirers” to enjoy the melody of the music as well as discover the meaning behind the lyrics. “I don’t write in a predictable way,” the vocalist revealed.” I’ve often been told that “I don’t think people are gonna get that lyric” or “Maybe we should change it up and make it a little more common.” I’m just like, “No. If people get it, they get it. If not, then they don’t. I don’t like dumbing down my music. And the fact that a lot people think that you have to make singing common and just plain for people…They [the fans] like thinking about stuff. They like clever lines.” While fans always show love to their artists of choice for whom they know, accomplishments and catchy tunes only give so much away. Which is why Madison stands as the best candidate to break down who exactly the woman is behind the voice. “Jayms Madison is the available shoulder to cry on where there is none, the one person that can relate to any and everything your going through, the home-girl, the subtle seductress, the little wild child in all of us that’s just dying to break free, that’s me,” said the singer who is humbled by the buzz and support she has generated. “I don’t want anyone ever thinking that I don’t appreciate their support because it means the world to me.” Madison continued. “This all a dream to me. It’s amazing. I can’t even believe what’s happening in my life. And I just want everyone to know that I love you for it. I love everyone who supports what I’m doing. It’s crazy.” To learn more about Jayms Madison, visit http://www.myspace.com/jaymsmadison.

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