Jaime Kyle, singer, songwriter and producer who has had songs covered by various artists, including Faith Hill, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Baton Rouge, Joe Lynn Turner and many more. She is known as ‘The Goddess of Rock & Blues’ and here she expands on her singing career and what the future holds with regard to music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?
My earliest influences were Pat Benatar, Gladys Knight, Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac and Aerosmith. My mother was a huge country music fan. Loretta Lynn was her favourite. I suppose I got some of my spunk from her. I couldn’t stop humming melodies when I was little and I never wanted to do anything else. It just wasn’t an option for me. No plan B.
Have you ever thought of joining a band as their singer?
My first band was at the age of 14. I put the band together. Then I went on the road touring with another cover band. I also sang with a cover band for 3 years, 6 nights a week in Nashville. It was great training. Really, I just wanted and needed to say what I felt. That’s harder to do in a band.
Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands?
I was up for taking Christine McVie’s place after she left Fleetwood Mac because I play keyboards as well as guitar. Their manager who had also worked with Baton Rouge wanted me to audition but that was when Billy Burnette joined the band and his girlfriend Becca Bramlett (amazing blues singer) got the job and they did a different thing with the band. It wasn’t what they had done previously.
You have appeared on a number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?
Yes, I have appeared on quite a few other albums. Circle of friends was special. It was a tribute to Bruce and Chris Mee’s mum. The intent of that album was special. There was a time that I sang with Ozzy Osbourne on his Rasputin project. It was a gang vocal but he was right next to me in the studio when we were singing. That was special! I also sang some gang background vocals on a Ringo Starr album. One close to my heart was a song I sang on with Jon Pousette Dart from the Pousette Dart Band. We performed it in a short documentary film about Alzheimer’s. “Who I Am” is the song. My mum’s symptoms with lung cancer mimicked Alzheimer’s when the cancer got to her brain, so I could relate. I remember my mother saying, “Honey you are so pretty. You remind me of my daughter.” She thought I was her nurse. I never knew which time it would be that she would be completely gone and never recognize me again. It has won multiple film festival awards. It is just an honest heartfelt song. John and I recorded our parts separately. He recorded his verse and chorus at his house in New York and I recorded mine in my studio in Nashville and sent it back to him.
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
I enjoy singing live. The feel you get from an audience gives you a high. It doesn’t get better than that!
Your latest album is called ‘Wild One’, did you do most of the writing yourself?
I co-wrote a lot of it. Two of the songs I wrote myself. I could’ve written the album myself but it was more fun to collaborate with the co-writers that are on there. They are good friends so it was comfortable and exciting. Each brought something different to the writing. A bit like riding a roller coaster with your arms up in the air, willing to go for the ride. This album was about having fun and pleasing myself. It’s a diary of sorts as well. Hopefully others will relate to it and enjoy it.
How did you hook up with Kris Barras?
I became aware of Kris through his manager who got me an acoustic gig at Ramblin’ Man Fair. I was blown away with his guitar playing, voice and songwriting. The attitude in his music resonated with me as well. He loaned me a guitar to rehearse with before I played the show at Ramblin’ Man because I came over to Europe without a guitar. I popped in to a music store in Switzerland and practiced playing and singing in front of everyone. Nobody complained [laughs].
Are you happy with the way the album has turned out and what are your expectations?
I am extremely happy with the way the album turned out. I don’t have any regrets with it. I am hoping to get more bookings in Europe to tour in the coming year. I will show up over there. I want to reach people with the music.
What production work have you been involved in and do you enjoy this part of the musical process?
I enjoy producing. I produce myself and I have produced other people as well. I have always done it. I didn’t know what to call it when I was younger. I just always heard the parts in my head. The hardest part was learning how to communicate or play what I was hearing. I did a Christmas song for a sweet film called “The Least Of These”, a Christmas story. A song that I co-wrote and produced called “That Night Of Nights” is at the very end of the film. I produced it with some children from ages of 5 to 12. I had to be creative because the littlest one started crying because he couldn’t read yet. I had to figure out how to teach him the song. I came up with hand gestures and recorded the group of kids singing. It’s really sweet. They were so young and innocent, their voices were perfect for the song. That was memorable. It will be playing this Christmas.
It’s been quite a number of years since your previous album was released. What have you been doing in the interim?
I have been playing shows, writing, producing, pretty much everything I have always done. I just didn’t want to get back into the business of music because it was so ugly. The process of doing all this work and not getting paid wasn’t attractive to me. I was waiting and hoping that the middle people in the business would get out of the way so you could reach people without gate keepers! It’s weird because now there are more people in the middle. The money passes through more hands than it used to. But… I enjoy making music, I can’t help it.
You sang on the excellent “Take My Love To Heart” from the album Circle Of Friends which was conceived by our editor Bruce Mee. How was the experience for you being involved in that project?
It was a total pleasure working with Bruce Mee and Kahlil Turk. It was an easy process. We just sent tracks back and forth and before I knew it, it was finished. Bruce had some great ideas for the song that I sang. He pushed me to do another verse and make the song longer than I had originally written it. I thought, I’ll try it but if it doesn’t feel comfortable, I won’t want to force it. But I really loved the new lyrics. It was fun to do. So Bruce was right.
What’s the music scene like in the Nashville area?
It’s really exciting to be part of the music scene here. All kinds of music is created here. Opportunities are everywhere. It is the music capital of the world right now. People are coming here in droves. Downtown is like a giant party at all hours! It’s not just country, it’s everything. The genres for music are blurred…It feels like a lot of people found their way out of a genre box.
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?
This is something most people don’t know about me. I have had 5 sinus surgeries! I would get violent headaches. Nashville is the allergy capitol of the world! It was quite a journey to find someone that could help me. I struggled sometimes to sing because my sinuses were driving me crazy. That was a silent struggle that I went through. I am in a good place with that now. I feel like I am singing better than ever. Getting rest before a show is definitely key. It is not always possible when traveling and making sure everything is in place for a show. But the show will go on. I just try to have fun with singing now and not put too much pressure on myself if I can.
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
I came close to working with Neil Geraldo but he had just gotten into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame so the timing was off. Pat Benatar of course. One thing I have wanted to do is to write and do a duet with Nancy Wilson of Heart. She sang the song I co-wrote that Heart recorded called “Stranded”. I had always wanted to work with Howard Leese on a project of mine and that finally happened. I worked on his project and some others that he produced but hadn’t gotten to do mine until now. He is playing on “Dirty Goodbye”. Lindsey Buckingham is someone I want to work with and I would love to write and sing with John Waite. I think we would have an amazing blend vocally. James Morrison is another I’d love to write and perform with and do a duet. My album “Wild One” is full of those kinds of people that I have always wanted to work with and it finally happened. It mostly happened organically. Which was nice.
It’s been nearly 30 years since I saw you playing live at The Gods of AOR festival in Manchester. With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK?
Ah, I was a baby! On my own. I will definitely be coming to perform in the UK. It has been a matter of waiting for the release of the album to book the shows. I have a special place in my heart for the UK and most of Europe.
Interview by Stuart Dryden
To order Jaime's new album in the UK, Europe and the Rest Of The World see - Here
To order in the USA & Canada see - Here