News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Metro RTA

Levin Furniture

Hospice of the Western Reserve


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment


Jessica Lea Mayfield returns to Kent
Kent Stage hosts one of our own. Young singer shares where inspiration comes from.
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
With a new LP, "Tell Me" getting raves, Jessica Lea Mayfield is the Great Platinum Blonde Hope of Kent.
Courtesy of Dawn Einsel
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Jessica Lea Mayfield is the latest Northeast Ohio musician to land in the national spotlight. This week, The New York Times made her newest CD a critic’s choice. Associated Press calls “Tell Me” enchanting and mesmerizing. And “Rolling Stone” gave it three-and-a-half of five stars. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia talked to Mayfield this week about Kent, the Black Keys and her cat...

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (6:47)


(Click image for larger view.)


Welcome to unpromising interview starts, with Jessica Lea Mayfield.

“(MAYFIELD)…I’m tired of telling people, just, you know, answering all those questions I guess…”

The Ohio-born, Tennessee-bred Mayfield seems bemused by all the attention coming her way. A product of the Buckeye slingshot which brings people back to the state, she’s touring heavily with the release of her second LP, and major label debut, “Tell Me.” But Kent is still home.

“(MAYFIELD)…I got to see my cat, Doyle, and I named him after Doyle Lawson. I didn’t get to see my dog, who’s named after Elliot Smith. I like touring, and I enjoy the routine, and it becomes harder when you get older and become less of a gypsy and you start to develop a home life and you have a home to take care of. I own a house here in Kent, Ohio…”

Mayfield’s big break came in 2007, when she dueted with fellow Ohioan and Black Keys’ guitarist Dan Auerbach on their LP, “Attack and Release.” She’s clearly tired of re-telling the story of Auerbach's discovering her first EP on MySpace and the whirlwind career that ensued. He's produced both her full-length albums, which have been described as everything from emo synth-pop to alt-country ballads. The New York Times has settled on “sort of Gothic Country.”
To the public-at-large, Mayfield seemingly popped out of nowhere, fully formed. Yet the 21-year-old started singing and touring with her family at age 8.

“(MAYFIELD)…We toured around on the bus, going to festivals and things. I learned how to play guitar by watching other people and accepting the environment around me. I’m a home school, high school dropout…”

That bus belonged to bluegrass legend Bill Monroe at one time, and with awards and glowing reviews, this is the point at which most "wise-beyond-their-years" artists meet a tragic end. Yet her appearance at the Kent Stage on Tuesday the day “Tell Me” was released, was far from a farewell show.

“(MAYFIELD)…It’s not technically a farewell show, because I’m on tour right now, but it’s definitely a return home gathering of family and friends for the release of my new record…”

Though Mayfield looks like Debbie Harry's cool daughter, she channels Frances Farmer with her sad songs, sadly played, and sung with, well, sadness. Yet she says…

“(MAYFIELD)…I’m a happy person, I think I get all my sadness and all my crazy out in my music, and it kind of helps me purge myself of that, and then I can be fun and happy and approachable. I think if I was sad all the time then I’d have happy songs. People who sing about dancing in a field of flowers and being happy all the time probably want to slit their wrists…”

The delight peaks out from the depression when she talks about what’s next in her bustling career.

“(MAYFIELD)…Definitely busier than I was last year, the year before. I’m excited that the record is getting good reviews. I just hope the fans like it as much as they like the last one…”

Those fans include Garrison Keillor, who invited Mayfield onto "A Prairie Home Companion" last summer when the show visited Blossom Music Center.

"(KEILLOR)…You wrote your first song at 11? What do you have to write about when you're 11?"
"(MAYFIELD)…Stuff you don't learn about till you're 20…"

Mayfield is now 21, and despite her recent visit to Kent, she's back on the road with Justin Towne Earle and the Avett Brothers till the end of the month.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University