It takes more than talent to make it as a successful artist (or anything for that matter). You have to be strong, ambitious, determined and undeterred by everyone else’s doubt or else you won’t make it. More than anything, you’ve got to believe that what you’re doing is something truly great, and that you yourself are great, otherwise no one else will believe it either. I can think of no better example than San Diego’s own rising star Alyssa Jacey.
Jacey, 28, a San Diego native and aspiring singer/songwriter, is a double threat because she is as determined and as talented as they come. Her story got its unusual start several years ago when Jacey moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in professional dancing, and was encouraged one night to sing karaoke in a club. Although it was her first time singing in front of a crowd, once she finished, people came up to her complimenting her voice and asking where they could buy her CD. It wasn’t long after that Jacey found herself with an overwhelming desire to sing and write songs, and in 2005 she moved back to San Diego, enrolled in college and began pursuing music.
“October 2005 was actually the first time I picked up a guitar,” said Jacey. However this guitar was a gift from the classical guitar virtuoso Pepe Ramero, who also happens to be a good friend of her father’s. Jacey wasted no time teaching herself how to play and immediately began writing songs.
Today Jacey has more than 200 songs and more than 400 shows under her belt. In the less than five years since she started singing and writing, she has accomplished more than most musicians do in twice as long. She’s self-released four recordings including her first full-length album “Here’s to Change,” which just dropped Jan 2. One of the first gigs she got was an eight show/two-hour set for the Del Mar Fair back in 2005, and she even sang the National Anthem during a Padres game.
2009 however proved to be Jacey’s most accomplished year so far when she set some 60 goals for herself and reached nearly all of them. “I am so proud of 2009!” gushed a bubbly Jacey. “It was such a gigantic leap for me from ‘05, ‘06, ‘07 and ‘08.” Indeed, one of the singer/songwriter’s main goals last year was to open for some bigger acts. She ended up opening up for artists like Bushwalla, Paula Cole, Scott Russo (of Unwritten Law) and many others.
It’s not surprising to hear how successful she’s been in such a short amount of time once you realize how determined and professional she really is. She’s always subscribed to a DIY policy, acting as her own promoter, publicist, booking agent and manager. And once you hear Jacey’s songs you’re instantly pulled into them; each one offering another story and sincere emotion. And even though she has more than 200 of them, each one is like a little piece of her, each significant in its own way, yet still very different from another.
“I try to touch on as many subjects as I can because I like to diversify and not be held to just one genre,” she said. Her new album, “Here’s to Change,” is a great example of her genre-defying sound. Her major female influences still shine through clearly (she lists Colbie Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson, and Sarah McLachlan as her favorites) on the tracks, although her own personal twist and style makes it all her own.
The album’s first single “Fall Out of Love” is already getting airplay on local radio stations although she confesses her personal favorite off the album is an emotional song called “Feel Like This.”
“I wrote that song when I was up crying one night and that emotion really comes through in the song,” she said. “I still get choked up when I play it live even now.”
Her top priority right now is to find a manager, someone who can use their connections to take her to the next level she wants to reach. And with her fearless and unrelenting attitude combined with her natural ability, she is no doubt bound for a major breakthrough.
Although she’s had her share of hard lessons and bad experiences along the way, Jacey still insists it’s all worth it. “It’s not something that’s easier said that done. You have to work for it and believe in yourself and no matter how hard it gets, you can’t let it stop you. You have to have a take-no-prisoners attitude but most importantly, don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t.“
Watch her open with a solo acoustic set for Shawn Colvin at the Coachouse Feb. 13 and on March 25 at Lestat’s (both are all-age sshows). Tickets, tour info, CDs and more can be purchased on her Web site at www.alyssajacey.com. You can also find her on Facebook, MySpace, and iTunes.
Filed Under: Scene and Heard