NATURAL BORN STAR Jessica Lea Mayfield

The girl can’t help it
(and homeschooling didn’t hurt her none, either…).

 

 

BY AARON KAYCE

 

 

Hitting the lesson books on Bill Monroe’s old tour bus while
gigging with the family band, singer-songwriter-guitarist Jessica Lea
Mayfield’s entire life thus far has been leading up to her stunning debut With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt (Polymer
Sounds).

 

 

A dark, emotionally-saturated album that pulls from rock,
indie and folk music to create some mutant blend of alt-Americana, her vision
and haunting voice belie her youth. Maybe it’s because she was homeschooled and
never went to high school and all her friends are in their 20s and 30s, or
maybe it’s because she was going through more than one serious breakup while
making it; whatever the reason, this is a heavy, sophisticated album for a
teenager. Speaking to BLURT just one day after her 19th birthday,
Mayfield says, “I always look at things from a dark point of view. I’m an
upbeat person when you meet me, but for some reason I cannot write a happy song.”

 

 

Produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach (who also plays guitar,
piano, organ and drums on the record), With
Blasphemy
also features Scott McMicken and Frank McElroy of Dr. Dog. Scott
Avett from the Avett Brothers (who she’s toured with and will again) calls
Mayfield “the most exciting artist in the scene today.”

 

 

So how did such a young gal find herself working with all
these rising stars? It takes one to know one, and when you’re this gifted dreams
become reality. “When I was seven years old I knew I wanted to be a musician,” she
says. “I always wanted to be a rock star.” Looks like Jessica is getting what
she wants.

 

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