Jamie Floyd is smiling from the cover of her new EP, Sunshine & Rainbows, but there’s a sly wink in the title.
“Most of these songs were songs my publishers kind of wrote off, and didn’t want me to do, and I wasn’t allowed to demo,” the singer-songwriter explained during a visit to MusicRow offices. “So once I got pull of the reins, I was like, ‘This is what we’re doing. We’re calling it Sunshine & Rainbows.’ I came up with that three years ago, so it’s been really special to see it in real life and have all this happen around it.”
Her reference to “all this” covers a lot of ground. As a co-writer she landed the title cut of Ashley Monroe’s Grammy-nominated album, The Blade. Writing solo, she’s credited with the original music for Lifetime’s 2016 movie, Manson’s Lost Girls. And tonight (March 9), she’s throwing a record release party at 12th & Porter with free admission.
Delivered in a strong, expressive alto, Sunshine & Rainbows isn’t brimming with happy songs but you can hear the professional caliber of songwriting that comes from spending more than a decade in Nashville. Co-writers on the project include Jennifer Hanson and Lucie Silvas (“Casino”), Allen Shamblin and Marc Beeson (“The Blade”) and Lori McKenna (“The People You Knew”). She co-wrote the title track with one of her best friends, Shannon Wright. She performed “Casino,” “The Blade” and “Sunshine & Rainbows” for the MusicRow staff accompanied by sister Kellie Floyd and bandmate Tomi Martin.
A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, Floyd grew up singing in a band with her family, opening shows for artists like Rascal Flatts and James Taylor. When she was 11, she signed a record deal with Epic, but it dissolved around 2001. Deciding to pursue music, she relocated to Nashville in 2003 and has been in the trenches ever since.
Like many songwriters, she’s had a lot of high hopes and dashed dreams. As a counterpoint to her music career, she’s a waitress at Lockeland Table in East Nashville. Although there’s hardly enough time in the day to get everything done, she’s made the effort to keep as much of the related publishing paperwork in-house as possible, including licensing and administration. However, she does get a helping hand from CPA Mike Vaden and publicist Jenny Bohler.
“I lost my publishing deal two and a half years ago and I could have pursued things but I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do it myself,’” she said. “I had on-and-off publishing deals for years, tons of them. I was just trying to find my people and I had been lucky to be able to work with a bunch of people, but at that time, I thought, ‘Let’s see what happens if I do this myself because I feel like no one’s gonna work harder for me than me,’ at least at that time.”
She noted that her independent status is part of the reason that Hollywood keeps her busy writing songs for films. Another reason is because she’s fast, and capable of turning around a batch of songs overnight.
Floyd got attention from the film world after writing songs for the 2013 Lifetime movie, A Country Christmas Story, starring Dolly Parton. Floyd has since secured an agent in Los Angeles to rustle up more work. She said she never expected to land a career in writing music for film but she’s been having a lot of fun doing it.
In contrast, Floyd was emotionally shattered after writing “The Blade,” which was inspired by a line in a sermon about how sometimes you catch life by the handle, but sometimes you catch it by the blade, and that it’s up to the individual to decide how deal with it.
“We worked for two or three hours trying to figure out what this song was going to be about,” she recalled. “And we finally narrowed it down to love. And by way of that, we got, ‘You caught it by the handle and I caught it by the blade.’ As soon as that hit the room, we were like, ‘Ahh, oh my God, how do we even do this now? How are we going to write a song that can support that message?’
“When we finished the work tape, we thought, ‘Don’t know if anybody wants to hear anything this sad, but it’s definitely what we were trying to say and it was special. We were all crying and exhausted, and then I had to go wait tables!” she added with a hearty laugh.
Floyd is hoping the momentum from “The Blade” and her Sunshine & Rainbows showcase will trigger some interest in the Nashville music community.
“I’ve had some things come at me after ‘The Blade’ happened, and I walked away from some things that people might think I’m crazy walking away from, but a few of those deals weren’t right,” she said. “It didn’t matter that the carrot was dangled: ‘You can quit work for a year!’ I’m going to wait for the right thing. It’s been very hard to do that but I’m hoping the right thing comes along, and it’s all timing.”
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