Jessica Lea Mayfield
Mayfield’s music might be sonically enthralling on its surface, but the 24-year-old’s effort comes from some place far deeper.
“You have to have an outlet for all the terrible things inside you in order live and not kill yourself,” the Ohio native assures. “I find ways to express myself. Without music, I don’t know where I’d be. I use songwriting to express things that I can’t talk about.”
Mayfield’s last record, 2011’s Tell Me, featured production from Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach, but it only hinted at the tempestuous direction she’s taken. This time, she and her husband, bassist Jesse Newport, were on their own.
“If I was working with Dan, or anybody under the same circumstances, there was always a time cramp on your creativity,” she says. “I never felt like I could do things for as long as I wanted. I’d say ‘I can do that vocal better,’ and be told ‘Yeah, but I don’t have time.’ This time it was all day and all night. I could stay in the studio for 20 hours if I wanted to. I just felt that this was the record that I always wanted to make, hear every sound I wanted to hear, and try every idea that I had and say yes to one.”
Her music may come across haunted and raw, but that’s the way the songs sound in her head.
“For the first time. I felt: ‘I have the canvas to myself, I don’t want to share.’” – Jim Caligiuri