Two years ago in December 2011, Rachel Hunziker wrote a feature article about a local Middlefield star, Jayce Hein, who has lived in Nashville since 2007. They had gone to school together back in the day and she was thrilled to be able to catch up with him for an interview. You can read that first story HERE.
So much has changed for Jayce since that time! Let’s take a peek at the updated and upgraded life that Jayce is now leading at the end of 2013.
One of the questions asked on the first feature was, “Do you think you’ll ever record your own album and try to promote it directly, or do you enjoy being a writer more?” At that time, Jayce responded with, “I have been approached a couple of times by some very well known producers about recording an album. To date, I have turned down those offers, but I may do it one day. I really enjoy writing the songs the most.”
Q: …and now you have a release scheduled for next summer, 2014. Can you give us any info about that?
You know, my whole life, for as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a country singer. I got to Nashville in 2007 still holding onto that dream. It didn’t take long being in town to realize that because of my size (424 lbs.) no one would ever sign me to a record deal. It’s probably not right that it works that way, but that’s the way the business works. People would always ask, “Who is this guy singing these demos?” When they’d find out it was me, all interest would disappear. I finally accepted that and decided I was just going to concentrate on writing for other artists, which is what I’ve been doing the last five or six years.
In April of this year I got a call that changed my life. In so many ways. My dear friend Vinny Hickerson (Bigg Vinny from country group Trailer Choir & The Biggest Loser) called me one night and said, “I have a great opportunity for you. The ABC show Extreme Weight Loss got in touch with me and asked if I knew anyone in the industry who needed to lose a bunch of weight. I told them I have the guy. I think you need to do this. I care about you and this will be good for you.”
I wasn’t too thrilled about it, but I went and met with the casting people on a Saturday. I got home, and 20 minutes later they called me to set up a meeting again for the coming Monday. Next thing I knew I was in Denver, CO for finals week, and then eventually cast for the show.
So, long story short, this opportunity has opened up some big doors again. I can’t say how much weight I’ve lost, but people don’t recognize me a lot of times now. I’m nowhere near that 424 lbs. I used to be. There’s interest again. Record labels, producers, etc. Amazing what getting in shape will do for you. I can’t say much, but there will be an album and there will probably be some pretty cool special guests on it. Not sure how many songs I’m recording yet, but I hope to have a hand in writing at least half of them. If not, I’m cool with that. I just want great songs.
Q: How did you get the opportunity to sing with Gretchen Wilson recently? Was it recorded or just spontaneous?
I’ve been a huge Gretchen Wilson fan since the first time I heard her sing. She recorded a song I co-wrote for her latest album, so when I found out about it, I was beyond excited. The show set it up for us to meet. Can’t give too much away, but she is just as sweet as she is talented. She gave me her info and wants to write, wants me to come record out at her studio; just a really cool, down to earth gal.
Q: Singing with Gretchen was the morning of the BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) awards. You mention on your Facebook you were so excited to go but then never said how it went! Can you tell us anything about those awards and how or why it is significant to you – other than just being cool, of course!
Haha, well I was under the impression I was going to the BMI Awards that night. Turns out it was the BMI Songwriter Showcase which was just as cool, I’m sure! It was country group Love & Theft, new country artist Brandy Clark (who I’m a huge fan of), and two of the biggest songwriters in the industry, Brett James and Shane McCanally. It was an amazing night!
Q: Co-writing Indian Summer for Nine Days is another recent accomplishment. Again, how did this come about? Any highlights of that experience you want to share?
I’ve been a fan of Nine Days ever since they came out with their smash #1 hit “Story of a Girl.” I met Brian Desveaux (singer and guitarist for Nine Days) about four years ago and we started writing and became friends. When we got together to write with my buddy Jeremy Bussey about six months back, I knew that they were getting ready to start working on a new album, so I tried honing in on a melody that I felt would fit what they do. “Indian Summer” was born, and soon after, Brian told me that John Hampson (also of Nine Days) had written a bridge on the song and that they were recording it for the new album. I was pumped! When their tour came through Nashville, they invited me out to the show and I got to hear them do it live! It was a really cool experience!
Q: What is your current status with Jason Aldean? Are you still writing for him?
I’m always writing for Jason Aldean! Haha! He’s just not always cutting what I’m writing for him! You know, there are so many incredible songs in this town, many that nobody will ever even hear. I would love to get another song on an Aldean record at some point. Jason is a great guy and cuts great songs. I’m honored that he recorded one, but I sure wouldn’t mind one, two, five, maybe ten more cuts from him!
One of the great things that came out of Jason recording a song I co-wrote is that his dad Barry got in touch with me and hooked me up with a young guy he was working with in Georgia named Jordan Rager. Jordan and I write quite a bit. He was on Blake’s team on The Voice and is now out on tour with Justin Moore and Randy Houser. He’s gonna be a name everyone knows, I have no doubt!
No doubt Jayce will be in town again at some point since his family is still here. Hopefully, we’ll find out when that is so we can see the ‘new guy in town!’
Congratulations on your incredible weight loss feat, Jayce! May your opportunities continue to increase and we look forward to your 2014 release. We’ll be in touch about that, too! A very Merry Christmas to you from all of us back home!
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