Sparking A Conversation: An Interview with America Jayne

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Marie Boes

Erica Jayne went by America Jayne far before she began her music career.

As a child, she often found herself telling her classmates that her name was Erica, “like America”, so they would remember to spell her name with a C. The nickname stuck, and it was the perfect moniker to play music under.

She was raised always loving music, from hearing her mom’s stories from her days as a groupie to wanting to listen to whatever her brother was listening to. She began guitar lessons as early as 10 years old, and spent her high school and college years performing in theater productions.

She moved to New York after graduating college and found a job working at Rockwood Music Hall. Between working multiple shows a night and being around her co-workers, who were musicians themselves, it wasn’t long before she was swept up into the world of music. Within just a few months of working there, she was getting booked to play there as well.

“It was a very quick, weird turnaround time, but it was awesome because I knew all these people that were boosting me up and really helping pave that way for me,” she said. “Once I started doing it, I never looked back. I knew this was exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.”

Although she felt like she had finally found her calling, it hasn’t been anywhere near an “overnight success”. Her latest single, “Don’t Worry About Selling Out”, talks about that struggling musician lifestyle of finding a balance between chasing the dream and being able to afford basic necessities. For her specifically, she has spent many nights pouring drinks while seeing national touring acts play to sold out crowds. For others, the scenario is easily interpreted into their own lives whether they are musicians or not.

“Don’t Worry About Selling Out” is relatable to many different artists, but was written with her fellow musicians in mind.

“I wanted to [be an outlet] for other musicians too because I know, especially with social media, you really have to promote yourself and make it seem like everything is always perfect,” she said.

Similar to wanting to be an outlet for the musician community, she found herself doing the same for the pansexual community earlier this year with her single, “My Boyfriend’s Roommate’s Girlfriend”.

She noticed that there wasn’t as much pansexual representation as she would have liked, and as someone who struggled for quite some time to find a label that represented her, she wanted to speak to that next generation.

“I really just wanted to put something out there that made people feel like this is normal,” she said. “They are not alone; other people have gone through this too. I also want to start the conversation - if there's not much out there, let's talk about it.”

America Jayne hopes that her music sparks new conversations. Whatever those conversations may be, however many people have that conversation; it’s a start. Much like her music career, it’s the start of something bigger.