Today’s Jammerzine Exclusive is a special event because, in this case, we get to talk to a truly rising young star in the form of Jamie-Lee Smit as well as an established juggernaut in the form of multi award-winning songwriter Jud Friedman.
In this multi-faceted interview, we get to talk to both Jamie and Jud about their journey through the music business and how both of them have seamlessly hopped from genre to genre with little effort and about their new collaboration with the song ‘Tu n’es Plus Mon Probleme’. I say multi-faceted interview because we talk with both J&J via skype and get some extra incites from Jamie via email below.
The symbiotic partnership that Jamie and Jud share and how well their creativity blends together is truly a benefit to us all!
‘Tu n’es Plus Mon Probleme’ is out now via Epictronic!
Click HERE to get Jamie on The Voice in Belgium!
Jammerzine: How did your collaboration with Jud Friedman come to be?
Jamie-Lee Smit: My label Epictronic and Carlo Bellotti worked for this collaboration to take place. Jud Friedman offered three songs to the label, three songs that I worked on and recorded in English at the Titans Lab an Italian studio. The songs sent to Jud, he validated one of the songs “You’re not my problem anymore”. However, being Belgian French, my English accent was not perfect for Jud. Carlo proposed that I sing the song in French as I did for my first album released by Epictronic. So I have re-recorded in Italy this beautiful song in French.
I was so surprised and so honored to receive a song from Jud Friedman. I never thought I could work with such an artist. I thank him wholeheartedly and I also thank Carlo Bellotti for taking all the steps to get me such a collaboration. I also thank all the musicians and the studio who accompanied me and recorded the music. It’s a dream that has come true.
What was the inspiration for ‘Tu n’es Plus Mon Probleme’?
The music was composed and the lyrics were written yet. So I tried to translate the lyrics into French as faithfully as possible. The story of the song tells a break between a woman in love and a man difficult to grasp and difficult to understand. She leaves this man she loves but is no longer able to help. It’s a cry of love but also a cry of helplessness.
To sing this text, it was enough to put myself in the shoes of this woman and feel her painful emotions.
What is the music scene like in Belgium?
I come from the melodic metal planet since at the age of 15 I created my own group AZYLYA. Metal is very present in Belgium with many festivals. I’m also a rock fan, which is why I accepted Epictronic’s proposal to get into soft rock. There are also rock scenes in Belgium but, as is the case in all countries, you have to be well known to be able to play. At the end of my first album, I had the chance to tread the Francofolies de Spa scene but there is still a long way to go to integrate the closed world of rock music.
Do you think that it is easier for an artist like yourself to get your music heard with social media and the internet versus the way it used to be with major labels being the main way to get heard?
I think first of all that I have a great chance to be signed at Epictronic and that this label does a lot for its bands. I think it is necessary, to be known, to be signed in a label because it is a lot of publicity worldwide especially via radios, the web, the critics … Now, in terms of social networks, it is an additional tool that I can use to make myself known. The world of music has changed I think and we must use all the means at our disposal. Signing with a big label is the desire of all bands or singers, surely the advances would go faster but it is not obvious. To make oneself known passes by the stage and to make the scene it would be necessary to have an agent who prospects to find good dates. Unfortunately, these agents are very expensive and we do not have the means to deal with such costs.
What are your next plans in regards to your music career?
I put the music a little bit in parentheses this year because I resumed studies that I will finish in December. I plan to do acoustic scenes in September with one or two musicians (keyboards/guitars) to defend the new single and songs from my first album but also cover rock and pop rock. I hope the release of a second single that has already been recorded in Italy but also the release of a second album … wait and see. I registered for The Voice Belgium and we will see if I am selected for the playoffs. I would also like to go back to writing texts as I did for AZYLYA and for my first rock album, and therefore work with good composers.
About Jamie-Lee Smit
Jamie-Lee was born April 26, 1993 in Anderlecht (Municipality of Brussels / Belgium). At the age of 4, she went for the first time on stage for a classical dance show but this discipline does not unduly fascinate. A year later, she started swimming. Over time, she will become a top athlete and wins almost every race she will participate for five years.
Enrolled in a school of singing and dancing, she is in 2002 on stage for several representations of The History of Musicals.
From 2002 to 2006, through various schools and troops, she will connect the performances combining singing and dancing to the musical Big Bang Blues, where she landed a leading role, which will lead to the realization of a CD. In the process, she became the singer’s of her first rock band: Band in the Blue Box.
It was at this time that everything shakes: discover the genre Rock Metal, participation at Noella Love Concert where she sang with the cast of Big Bang Blues, and her rock band, duo with a young American singer. It is also at this concert she was noticed by the band Skeptical Minds.
The chrysalis becomes a butterfly. In less than a year, she goes from the standard and wide repertoire of French song to metal hard rock in English. Jamie-Lee wrote the story of her first album Azylya a time guard in her drawers and becomes a singer of Skeptical Minds (Rock Indus). At this time she shall singing lessons with an American guy based in Brussels, Gyle Waddy, jazz singer, pop …, dancer and actor with whom she takes great pleasure. Gyle Waddy has rubbed the largest since starred in the film “The Wiz” with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.
Then everything accelerates. After Skeptical Minds, she became the lead singer of Sad Siberia a group with which she starts to run on big stages like Raismesfest (Fr). She later joined the Metal Electro group Aedden of which she is the melodic singer abd finally, in 2009, she creates her own metal band (melodic) Azylya.
2011 – Release of the first EP of the group and personal participation in the Road of Consciousness Project.
The Azylya group is spotted on the Internet by an Italian studio (RealSound) and in 2011 the band signed with the Italian label WormHoledeath. Released in 2013 of the CD Sweet Cerebral Destruction. During this time, Azylya string of concerts in Belgium and abroad FR / UK / GR / CH and holds, among others, the scenes of the Metal Female Voices Fest (BE), PPMFest (BE), Symphony Metal Fest ( CH) or that of the Dames of Darkness ( UK).
In 2014, Jamie-Lee signed with the label Epictronic and records at the Titan Lab Studio (IT) CD (Indie Rock) composed by Ricky Dagga with 7 French titles and 3 English titles. She wrote all the lyrics. They talk about personal concerns and highlight her concerns and struggles of life.
SOURCE: Official Bio
About Jud Friedman
My family still claims I sang and played music before I talked. Well, who knows…but it’s a great story for holiday dinners. But for sure the music has always been in me. I grew up in New York and Connecticut and went to Yale and Harvard Law School (long story…), all the while playing in various bands, performing in musical theater and writing songs. After headlining a show in New York City I had an epiphany – I loved performing, but I didn’t crave it or the limelight the way I think you need to if you want to be a star. What I really craved was….to make music. And I realized I could do it for other people.
So I moved to Los Angeles and started honing my writing and producing craft. After several years, I had my first Number One hit as a writer and arranger: “I Don’t Have The Heart” by James Ingram. And the ball was rolling. Next, Whitney Houston recorded “Run To You” for her film “The Bodyguard”. I made the record with David Foster, worked on producing Whitney’s vocals and even sang backgrounds with her. “Run To You” was nominated for an Oscar and a Grammy. Then I wrote “For The First Time” for the film “One Fine Day” with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. Kenny Loggins performed it and the song garnered another Oscar and Grammy and also a Golden Globe nomination.
Along the way, there were lots more hits and nominations, with amazing artists such as Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Leann Rimes, Chaka Khan, Kristine W., Oleta Adams, Gladys Knight and Dave Koz. And recently, big records with Charice (“The Truth Is”), Toni Braxton (“If I Have To Wait”) and Kimberley Locke of American Idol fame, number one singles on the number one CDs of Italian divas Giorgia and Elisa, and songs recorded by massive pop/classical group The Tenors on their Juno-winning CD, Right Said Fred and many more. Also a couple of things for television: the theme song from the Michael Jackson show “Man In The Mirror” (“Believe In Me”) and the score for the t.v. film “The Prince and The Pizza Boy”, starring Joey Lawrence. (One of my biggest t.v. successes; I still get mobbed by little kids on the street. Haha.)
65 million records sold worldwide. At last count. Nominations for 2 Academy Awards, 2 Grammys, 2 Golden Globes and, for artists singing my songs, nominations for two more Grammys and a Soul Train Award.
In March 2016 The Grammy Museum did a special night celebrating the more than 25-year career of my long-term songwriting partner Allan Rich and me. Check out the opening video.
Recently I have been focusing a lot of energy on qWaqq, an innovative new music streaming service of which I am CEO and Founder, where users can discover and songwriters can post and monetize the unknown “hidden gems” in their catalogs.
And of course, I continue to write songs and instrumental music for both established and new, aspiring artists and for film, television, commercial and corporate usages, in all genres. I play, arrange, engineer and produce in my professional recording studio. I make records and demos for myself and others, from minimalist to maxed out. I help young, aspiring writers and artists with their writing, producing, performing and understanding of “how to make it in the music business.” I also teach, consult and speak on songwriting and the music business and the life lessons I have learned over 30 years of working with some of the greatest recording artists in the world.