Music defines Jacye's identity: Local singer/songwriter recently released debut CD


While she’s been a professional musician for just the past 10 years of her life, 30-something Jacye has been singing since childhood.

My whole life I’ve been singing and fiddling with different instruments,” she said. “I was probably singing before I could walk.”

Jacye also started writing songs at an early age, 15, but it was just a passing phase for the teenager who switched to writing poetry instead. That lasted until she learned how to play guitar. 

I switched back to writing music once I learned how to play an instrument,” she said. “It just came easy.”

It would be several years before the single-named recording artist would begin to truly feel like a songwriter. 

By 2015, I realized I was really writing,” she said. “I felt like I’m really writing something and it sounds okay. That’s when I got serious about it.”

So serious that Jacye recently released her debut album, “That Was Then,” a 13-song compilation of original music. 

While musicians don’t care to have their music pigeonholed into a particular genre, she was willing to offer a description, but still her music doesn’t fit a single genre. 

Jacye describes her sound as “soul, feel-good kind of music,” comparing it to “a love child” borne from the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Janis Joplin and Etta James – a broad spectrum of styles by any definition. 

The sounds of those icons of the music industry meld in the Plaquemine native’s first album. 

Jacye said three tracks from the disc were recorded at Nutthouse Recording Studio in Sheffield, Ala., practically a suburb of the music hub of Muscle Shoals, where many of the country’s greatest music legends have recorded.

Helping to guide her through the recording process were studio owner Jimmy Nutt with heavy influences from Joe Funderburk and Andreas Werner, who would also be on board to work with Jacye on the final 10 songs in Nashville. 

There, at Buzz Cason’s historic Creative Workshop Studio, Jacye and Werner continued working together. Jacye credit’s Werner’s talent for “putting everything together for me (and) putting a spirt to the music I had.”

He brought it to the next level,” she said, continuing the collaboration between the two of them and “some of the best studio players…came out to be a pretty phenomenal little project.” 

The album was still untitled when Jacye began recording in Muscle Shoals until late one night when her fiancée Mindee Haydel had an epiphany – and a fitting title. 

It’s a phenomenal name,” Jacye said. “All of the photos in the album were from 2015, 2016,” an unhappy time for her. 

It was the heartbreak of the time that all mashed up into this hot mess that this music came from,” she continued. “It was like ‘that was then,’ because that was my life then. Now I’m happy and getting married so everything is great in my life.”

Jacye hopes the album will propel her into a career in music. 

I’m doing everything I can to make music my career,” she said. “I hope that’s the path God wants me to take.”

I feel like, as a human, music is the only thing I’m good at, so I hope it works out that way.”