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Jessie Frye makes “Fantasy” a reality with dream pop and dedication

Jessie Frye makes “Fantasy” a reality with dream pop and dedication

Jessie Frye makes “Fantasy” a reality with dream pop and dedication
January 17
18:00 2019

When Denton-bred singer Jessie Frye shot the music video for her single “Faded Memory” ft. Timecop 1983 last summer, there was an air of spontaneity. The video, shot on a June night in Dallas, signaled a foray into new wave of music for the singer. A new door opened for Frye, who said she is entering the new year with full force, which will culminate in a tour and her new single, “Fantasy,” releasing Jan. 25.

Frye, now living in Dallas, blends pop and rock to create songs that carry feel-good energy. “Fantasy” will have the same essence that fans of Frye are accustomed to, paired with the sound “Faded Memory” was inspired by.

“I had such a great response from that song,” Frye said. “’Faded Memory’ was kind of a happy accident. I didn’t mean to dive into the world of new retro wave, but what ended up happening was that audience just kind of demanded that I make more material like that, so I thought ‘Wow, it would be kind of stupid not to.’ ‘Fantasy’ is essentially me pulling a little bit more from new retro wave, ’80s synth inspired pop sounds, but also keeping that Jessie Frye sound.”

Frye knows of the changes happening in the music industry and feels that artists have the creative freedom to try new things, especially in the realm of visuals and music videos.

“It’s pretty safe to say you can do whatever you want as an artist, as long as you are honest and as long as you feel like you’re growing a fanbase the way that you want,” Frye said. “When I first started several years ago, I was kind of doing the ‘rock chick’ thing and was a little less calculated about my image. I was a lot more natural. I think when [the video for] ‘Honey’ came out was when I started to feel more visually motivated.”

While Frye enjoys the artistic outlet of making music videos, she believes they should complement the music rather than be the main attraction.

“The music always has to come first,” Frye said. “I think when you start to care more about your looks or care more about visuals than you do about the song, that is where things get a little hairy because the song is the emotion, the song is what is coming out of you, so the visual should respond to that. My brand is my voice. That’s my main passion. I just want any kind of visual to be an additional fun part. I don’t want it to be the entire package.”

Jessie Frye is a local singer that tries to make music in different genres that range from rock to ’80s pop. She is currently writing the next two singles from her upcoming album. Courtesy Jessie Frye. 

A little help from friends

Frye has been with her band members for a number of years and built a close bond with each of them through the music they play together. The ensemble includes drummer Chad Ford, guitarist Michael Garcia and bassist Androo O’Hearn.

“There is a really cool line of understanding where they know it is my project, and obviously their input is important, but they just kind of know that if the parts are written beforehand, they don’t get upset about it,” Frye said. “Even when it is a solo artist thing, everybody wants to have a say, so I have this rule. There’s two things we are: we are professional and we’re positive. As long as we’re those two things, we’re not really going to run into a whole lot of problems.”

Producer Matt Aslanian is one of Frye’s closest friends and most frequent collaborators.

“He is essentially the other half of Jessie Frye that nobody sees, and by that I mean he as a producer, engineer and songwriter helped me craft my sound,” Frye said. “I take a song idea to him, I play it on guitar, play it on piano and I say, ‘Hey, these are my ideas,’ and basically he helps me build it in the studio and helps me write the rest of the song. It’s at the point where he’s not just somebody that I work with. He is actually permanently a part of Jessie Frye.”

Aslanian, who owns Aslan Audio recording studio in Dallas, met Frye about five years ago and worked with her on her 2014 album “Obsidian.” Now, Aslanian is more involved in the songwriting process in addition to producing. Aslanian said he feels that Frye’s talent extends to the stage, too.

“On the performance side, just about anybody that goes to see her can see there’s sort of a star quality about her. I think that is what has helped her so much at a local level and [with] some smaller national attention,” Aslanian said. “She just commands the stage. I’ve seen her play probably a dozen times now. It will be maybe a couple months between a show, but then I go see her again and I’m like ‘Wow, she’s got it. She definitely has something special.’” 

O’Hearn estimates that he has been with Frye for about five years as well and part of what he loves about being in the band is the genre diversity that Frye’s music has. One set could feature songs with totally different sounds.

“It is a lot of fun to perform like that,” O’Hearn said. “It keeps things fresh when she’s going between a rock thing or kind of a softer vibe. She sometimes likes to do some acoustic shows that are sometimes just her and a guitar player, but every once in a while I will join in to play piano or something like that with her. Then she will go into a synth wave kind of vibe.”

Walk the walk

In addition to writing pop-rock songs, directing artistic videos and playing live shows, Frye is also a music teacher, acting as a Yoda figure to her students who want to improve their crafts.

“I have been teaching for 10 years,” Frye said. “I am a vocal coach, I am a piano teacher— primarily classical piano. I [also] teach beginner guitar and songwriting classes. It comes in phases. Sometimes it will be a season where I just released a bunch of new material and kind of pull back the reins a little bit and focus on teaching, but I’m always teaching. That is basically my day job.”

Teaching allows Frye the flexibility to pursue her career and be a “rockstar at night,” as well as help others achieve their own personal goals.

“I like teaching a lot because it keeps my chops up,” Frye said. “I have to maintain a certain level of proficiency with vocals and piano and guitar. I’m always learning from students. You learn a lot from teaching, that is just how it is.”

In the next few months, Frye will embark on her Misfits and Moviestars tour and continue working on the next two singles for her upcoming album. The surge of music activity means that Frye will focus less on acting, another interest of hers that she started pursuing after filming the video for her song “Honey.”

“Music will always be my number one passion, and I want acting to supplement that,” Frye said. “If I get on a TV show, awesome. I would give that my all. I would love to be able to do that, but at the moment, very specifically the next two, three months, I am taking it easy on the acting because I am about to be on tour.”

Between acting classes from coach Nancy Chartier, writing and recording music and teaching, Frye admits that it can sometimes be difficult to manage her time. However, she pushes through to deliver for her fans and herself.

“You still have to have that passion and that zest,” Frye said. “You still have to pursue it even if you are rejected. You still have to keep going. On an energy level, I do struggle, but I think that is just a test of how much you believe in yourself.”

Featured Image: Jessie Frye performed for Senator Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign at a rally in Dallas and has been a piano and voice teacher for 10 years. Courtesy Jessie Frye. 

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Nikki Johnson-Bolden

Nikki Johnson-Bolden

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