2009 Artist Lineup

Jessie Baylin

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It was after arriving in L.A. that Baylin stumbled upon her gift for songwriting. “A friend came to visit from New York,” she recalls, “and he brought his little baby Taylor guitar. We were sitting around singing some of our favorite songs, and then he started playing this melody and I picked up my journal and I knew the words that needed to go with that music. I started singing them and it all just connected. That was the first song I wrote. “I knew right away that this was what I was meant to be doing,” she continues. “I had been searching for my purpose, and it smacked me in the face. It was scary, because I didn’t know anyone in the music business. But I knew that it was what I was supposed to do, so I just went with it.” After an extended period honing her budding songwriting skills in solitude, Baylin recruited a band and booked her first show at the L.A. club the Mint. Almost immediately, she developed a local buzz and an enthusiastic following. “When I started playing out in L.A. and finding myself as an artist, it was the first time in my life that I actually felt like me,” she says. “I could walk into a place and feel like all of me was there.” She soon became a fixture at the Hotel Café, emerging as a pillar of a vibrant grass-roots scene of young singer/songwriters. Before long, she was receiving offers of record deals, but passed on them because she didn’t feel she was ready yet. “The Hotel Café was a really amazing scene,” Baylin states, “and it’s great that it sprung up in L.A. yet had very little to do with the music business. Everyone was being offered record deals and turning them down. We were just trying to figure out a way we could just have it be our own thing.” In 2007, a co-writing session with songwriter/producer/recording artist Jesse Harris (best-known for his Grammy-winning work with Norah Jones) organically grew into a recording project that became Baylin’s first album, You, which received a low-key independent release. In addition to demonstrating her evolving songwriting and performing abilities, the project also saw Baylin recording with such legendary veteran musicians as Jim Keltner, Van Dyke Parks and Leland Sklar. Baylin continued to win new fans on national tours with James Morrison, Brett Dennen and Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan. She was also a featured performer on the 2006 Hotel Café tour and its 2008 sequel, alongside such Hotel Café alumni as Cary Brothers, Ingrid Michaelson and Greg Laswell. With Firesight establishing her as one of the year’s most exciting new creative forces, Jessie Baylin is eager to share her songs with rapidly expanding fan base.

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