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Jamie Mcdell Biography

Last updated: 10/27/2013 07:39:11 PM

Hailing from the northern surf town of Mangawhai, Jamie McDell has always surrounded herself with the simpler things in life, like music, and the ocean. From surfing to diving to living on a sailboat in the Mediterranean for a number of years as a child, the shark-obsessed, dolphin-possessed water baby never strays too far from the beach, or her guitar.

In early 2012 the 19-year-old singer-songwriter appeared out of the ether as her popularity grew from a rapidly expanding YouTube and social network fan base.

A constant video blogger, Jamie's collection of songs she had written began to cause a stir on YouTube as she entered a phase of penning new songs almost as furiously as she was uploading them. Also with her unique cover versions of songs from The Black Keys, Six60 and U2 and various mash-ups of contemporary pop hits, she was twice picked up by popular US based tween website Disney Dreaming. Her cover of One Direction's One Thing for influential US based blog website Perez Hilton's Can You Sing? competition was recognised as an honourable mention and Perez made a positive comparison to successful singer/songwriter, Jewel.

With a voice and lyrics that display an emotive, earnest nature similar to Taylor Swift and a songwriting style reminiscent of Hawaiian acoustic guitar folk-man Jack Johnson, Jamie McDell's songs showcase a talent of one of the country's most promising, up-and-coming songwriters.

As her repertoire grows so does her online popularity and the success of her debut single You'll Never Take That Away was a revelation and confirmed the NZ public's approval of her summery, honest pop songs.

After its release in February 2012 the song swiftly climbed to #9 on NZ's overall airplay chart and spent 4 weeks at #1 on the NZ Singles chart. It was subsequently certified as a Gold single and has had over 170,000 views on YouTube. As of August 2012 her collective YouTube views are at over 550,000 while her current Facebook following is over 11,000 likes.

Influenced by listening to her father's John Denver, James Taylor and Jimmy Buffet records growing up, Jamie wrote her own first song at the age of 7. It was around the time her and her family were living as nautical nomads on a boat in the Mediterranean, so it was no great surprise then that her 7-year-old masterpiece was an ode written about something dear to her young heart: dolphins.

As she grew up she continued to write and expanded on her lyrical content so the subject of dolphins was joined by more pressing matters such as annoying teachers, best friends and papercuts, and eventually at the age of 15 Jamie began to teach herself to play guitar.

"As more interesting things seemed to happen in my life throughout my teenage years, I found songwriting a really great outlet and way to express more easily what I was thinking and feeling," says Jamie.

Now that I'm getting older and experiencing different things I'm writing songs about relationships, dealing with loss, but of course still the beach and the ocean. My whole family is musical and either sings or plays guitar so for me it was the natural thing to do."

After sending in a demo to EMI at the age of 16, Head of EMI NZ Matt Headland immediately met with Jamie and her parents and signed her for a development deal with the plan to release her music after she had finished high school and continued to develop as a songwriter.

Three years later in April 2012, with You'll Never Take That Away certified Gold and in the top ten most played songs in the country, Jamie followed up with the release of her debut EP All That I Wanted. A digital only release of 5 of her acoustic songs that debuted at #8 on the NZ album chart, it featured an acoustic version of You'll Never Take That Away as well as her current #2 NZ single Rewind and 5 music videos were shot to coincide with the release of the EP. The EP showcases Jamie's songs in their purest form and gives a sneak peek into the content of her debut album due for release in November 2012.