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A Dirty Dozen with MADISON and JORDAN SKINNER from JAYE MADISON – March 2023

| 11 March 2023 | Reply

Photo credit: Libby Danforth Photography

According to a recent press release: “Honey poured over a gravel road, gritty and smooth, sweet and rough, that’s the dichotomy you get when you combine the emotional vocals, beautiful harmonies, and emotive storytelling that defines  Jaye Madison’s sound.  The Nashville-based, Texas-born twins, Jordan Skinner and Madison Skinner, are set to release the first of three EPs this year with their debut, MIRЯOR: Framework out March 31, 2023.  The four-song collection, which features “Catch 22,” is about embracing the in-betweens in life and love and the darkness in yourself that you must overcome. It captures the uncomfortable feelings of waiting, hoping, and questioning yourself along the journey of turning a dream into reality.” We get twins Madison and Jordan Davey to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Madison: I love this question. Yes, we do love to leave little Easter eggs for people especially in our lyrics. One that I love is in the fourth track “Devil I Know.” It’s a song about overcoming the darkness within and deciding that it’s not going to define you or your life. The lyric, “Then you come and kiss my cheek. Tell me lies I wanna believe” puts depression in a different light. For me, I struggle with hormonal imbalance & mood regulation because of my Hashimoto’s disease. Despite the cards being stacked against me when it comes to mental health, I still must choose every day to not sink into brokenness. I was attached to that label for a while, and it gave me a pretty twisted identity crisis that I eventually had to recognize as a lie. Seeing myself as broken gave me an “out” not to pursue my dreams. I could avoid making mistakes by not trying at all and I think staying in that place is a tragic way to live. I do want people to know that it’s possible to crawl your way out you just have to lean on those who love you & recognize that the negative thoughts in your head are often lies that misguide you on your path. When I get like that now, I go on a little walk, or I’ll play some piano and it helps make those thoughts go away. Seek joy and you’ll find it.

Jordan: For sure. One of my favorite Easter eggs is in our track, “Shadow Man.” The lyrics state, “He lives in the news, he lives in our minds, he lives in the dark and even broad daylight.” Those words sum up the main idea of the song which is that Shadow Man is not one person. He is the personification of women’s reality. We don’t like to use the word fear, because it can seem to be far-fetched, like a nightmare that could never be real. Shadow Man is a reality that women face, and we are writing about it.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Madison: I always knew I wanted to sing but I don’t think I ever considered doing it for a career until Jordan said “Hey, let’s move to Nashville.” Being her twin, I was like “Alright well I’m not doing the adult thing without her, so I’ll figure it out.” But the love for music was always there. I loved the feeling of making others feel peaceful, seen, or validated in some way. It started with performing for our family on holidays and then we ended up doing musical theatre & choir. I never really thought of it as a career choice until college, but I knew that I felt fulfilled when I sang- that was enough for me to keep exploring music.

Jordan: The minute I stepped onto stage at age six for a summer kid’s community theatre production of Ei-Ei-Oops I was hooked. There was something about the stage I was always drawn to and always felt very natural to me. The feeling of standing there looking into the empty seats of the audience in silence gave me a feeling I can only describe now as, “Home.” I was always focused on wanting to have a serious career as a performer, initially focusing on a musical theatre career. It wasn’t until around age 16 that I realized although I loved the expression of theatre, I didn’t want to be a character on stage for my career and follow a script. I wanted to create my own songs and be myself. That’s not to say I still don’t love musical theatre, but that was the main reason I decided to pave my own creative path in a different direction. But I knew from the time I was six, I had to sing to people forever. I didn’t know I would singing my own songs back then, but life surprises you.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Madison: Absolutely! I listened to so much 80’s rock growing up, Don Henley always being my favorite voice of them all. I loved how expressive he was when telling stories & even though it took me a few listens to understand the meaning of every lyric (honestly some I didn’t understand until I was more experienced and in my 20’s), I appreciated the artistry and the passion that he sang & wrote with. I also have a soft spot for all the female rockers I grew up listening to like Ann & Nancy Wilson, Joan Jett, Janis Joplin, Pat Benatar, and Stevie Nicks.

Jordan: Everyone Madison said for sure. Also just women songwriters in general. Alanis Morissette, Taylor Swift, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow, Colbie Caillat and too many more to mention. I grew up very focused on the lyricism and storytelling of songs. I was fascinated not just by the sound of the vocals, but the story the song was conveying. I would spend hours closing my eyes and putting myself in the shoes of the person singing the song. It always felt closer to home for me when the voice was that of a woman. It was this feeling of knowing that could be me one day sharing my stories. My biggest dream is to be that voice for a little girl one day.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Madison: Oh, absolutely Don Henley! I’m not ashamed to name him twice in a row. I feel like my writing style was especially influenced by him and I’d be so honored to collaborate with such a legend.

Jordan: Yeah, for sure Don Henley. His music was the backtrack to our childhood.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Madison: You know, I like to dabble in a lot of areas. I unwind by doing yoga, I’m getting into gardening, I teach voice lessons and I’ve just started a “frenaissance” group that helps me get out of the house and explore new hobbies with friends. I enjoy good food & going to artistic places for inspiration. I’m finally allowing myself time to unwind when I need to and I’m just loving the journey right now.

Jordan: Honestly? If I want to veg out, I love a good bubble bath, some reality TV like The Bachelor, sour candy and hot Cheetos. If I want to be present, I love going for walks in nature, sitting in coffee shops and writing, and hanging with friends with good food and conversation.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe, or you disagreed with?

Madison: Our music is a safe place for everyone, especially women, to feel like they are validated in their feelings of anger, sadness, warmth, love, fear, etc. Sometimes our stuff has a rock edge other times it’s a soaring folk ballad with a lighter touch. But at the heart, it’s beautiful harmonies & soulful vulnerability that defines our sound. I usually feel like people are right on the money when it comes to who they compare us to, but my voice was described as “creamy” by a creepy follower that I blocked later that day. I don’t think I ever felt so uncomfortable by a word in my life, haha.

Jordan: Honey poured over a gravel road. Gritty & smooth, sweet and rough. We combine lyrical storytelling with emotional vocals and harmonies that soar over expansive instrumentals. We strive to be something like the female Eagles. I would say the biggest feedback I’ve disagreed with when hearing opinions of our music is essentially that southern folk “won’t get it.” That it’s “too poetic and inaccessible.” I beg to differ. Firstly, we are from the south. We grew up there, surrounded by southern people in small town Texas for 18 years. I think it’s an unfair stereotype to assume all southern people want to hear about is trucks and beer. The human experience is diverse. We write music for everyone, but especially for the outsiders and dreamers like us in rural communities. We understand what it feels like to have big dreams not many people understand. People like to try and shrink your aspirations to better suit their comfort level. We want to give the kids who are like us a little wink in our music. Whatever you’re dreaming of doing… if no one else believes in you, believe in yourself. Where you come from doesn’t define who you are or the trajectory of where you are going. That’s up to you. We are all in charge of our own destiny.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Madison: Well, none of us cook a lot I can tell you that right now, but Jordan definitely is the most likely. She loves playing hostess when people come over its adorable. I’d bring the drinks and probably would be the first to turn on my keyboard and start playing. When we hang with Gentry Blue (our go-to backing band here in Nash), I feel like DeBo would definitely break out his electric guitar and start jamming first. Lydia Gentry would be pouring the wine!

Jordan: I’m not sure who would be first to crack out the acoustic guitar, but I would be first to crack an awkward joke.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Madison: I was so starstruck when I met Thomas Rhett at my day job! I work in marketing over at the Disney Immersive exhibit in Nashville and it was surreal meeting him in person. I definitely had to play it cooler than I felt on the inside but he was a true gentleman and was so gracious to our team when he visited.

Jordan: Oh my gosh! John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting came into our studio session at Revolver Recordings and it was so surreal! We have always loved his songwriting. “100 Years” and “Superman” are just iconic, and he was such a kind human. He took the time to listen to our music and give feedback. I’ll never forget when Madison told him “100 Years” inspired her to keep going during a difficult time. John said something along the lines of, “The music didn’t do that, YOU did that, and you should be proud.” We were definitely tearing up. It was such a full circle moment, and we hope to cross paths again.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Madison: Oh, the freedom for sure. We all have day jobs when we first start in music but it’s cool to clock out and almost become a totally different persona. An outlet like that has always appealed to me as a somewhat introverted person. If I couldn’t do music anymore, I probably would love being an actress or writer.

Jordan: My favorite part of being a musician is the creative process itself. The marketing and paperwork and nitty gritty stuff is necessary, but it’s not my favorite part. There’s nothing better than lighting a candle, getting cozy with your thoughts and a pen. It’s so cathartic to just write. And then edit. Write. Edit. There’s a rhythm to it. It makes you feel so alive to create something new. That’s when it’s at its most protected, when you haven’t shown it to anyone yet. It’s a sacred little secret all your own, and you imagine the huge impact you hope it will have. It’s the moment when possibilities are endless. You must be careful not to keep it safe there, because songs are meant to be heard. If I weren’t a musician, I would still have a day job working within the industry somehow and I’m working on finding that next thing for myself as a day job currently. You know, until that dream of being musicians full time happens, the bills still gotta get paid! I absolutely love how no day is the same in the music business and it’s kind of chaotic at times. It’s a hustle and flow of creative energy and I just love the process of all of it. Booking shows, marketing, managing, pitching. It’s a blast. It’s work, but it’s a blast if you believe in the project. Maybe even like a studio manager or studio assistant so I’m just around the creative process all the time. I just want to immerse myself in the industry and be surrounded by like-minded people.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Madison: Dang, y’all have the good questions! I guess I’ve always wanted to be asked about what I’d spend my time doing if we did end up “making it in music” and the answer is simple for me. I’d prioritize my friends and family, I’d tour & write, and I would spearhead and fund a women’s health initiative that actively researched how to cure and or treat autoimmune disease more effectively in women. I’m very passionate about the topic and I think it’s a shame that our healthcare system is so corrupt that lower class and middle-class women do not have access to resources that can help them. New research is not being explored the way it should be, and doctors have outdated philosophies about what works. It’s time we change that. As far as a question I could hold off on for a while, I’d say, “Are y’all identical twins?” has been asked one too many times, haha!

Jordan: This is beyond random, but a question I’ve always wanted someone to ask is what fruit I think I’m most like because I have a very valid reason for thinking pineapple. I’m sweet on the inside but my outside is hardened after too many instances of others cutting me with a knife and then rubbing Tajin salt in the wounds! The older I get the less people I trust, so I try to save my sweetness for those who deserve it. A question I’m tired of answering is probably, “Where do you see your music career in 5 years?” I don’t even know where it’s gonna go in the next 5 minutes because this industry is ever-changing. I have those plans, strategies, and the team to back me up, but at the end of the day I can’t predict how the general public is going to react to our music. Also, it’s kind of a boring question because it’s not real yet. Let’s talk about where my music career is NOW. We can talk about where I’ve been and how I got there when we cross that bridge in 5 years. Everyone wants to hear the big buzzwords. Opry. Grammys. CMA Fest. Those are givens. Maybe I just want to be able to answer with, “I don’t know. Do any of us know where we will be in 5 years? But I know this next step. And the step I’m on. And that step is getting me closer to the life I want, a life filled with music.”

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Madison: Yeah, I wish I would have made more of an effort to be social in college. I tended to overthink and limited myself when it came to new experiences. If I had a do over, I’d let excitement lead the way rather than fear. It would have given me song material and more memories I could look back on a laugh at- but I’m doing that now so that’s what counts!

Jordan: I’m big on living your life with no regrets. The only things I’ve ever regretted are the things I didn’t have the guts to try when I felt led to do them… which have honestly been few and far between. Usually, even if I feel scared, I do the thing despite the fear. Now, after losing my grandmother suddenly a few months ago, if I’m asked a question that involves creating a memory, I’m going to say yes. I said no a lot for a while, so I wonder what memories I missed out on. Now? Even if I’m scared, tired, annoyed, whatever excuse in the book…the answer is yes. I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder what memories I missed.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Madison: Oh, I’d definitely choose Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. I’m obsessed with that album.

Jordan: We answered these questions separately and I was so hoping she would say Rumours. We are on the same page, twin. That album just set the precedent forever. It’s timeless and classic. It just solidifies the idea that good songwriting never dies. The ultimate goal of any songwriter is that their music lives on and keeps them alive in a way even after they’re gone. Fleetwood Mac has totally achieved that feat. It’s so authentic with real instruments and no auto tune. It’s just real. People are craving real music that connects. We want to be that for listeners too.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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