In 2013, singer-songwriter Courtney Jaye and Rogue Wave frontman Zach Schwartz came together for a songwriting session that soon developed into a full-fledged project that brought out the best of their individual sounds. Though the record was completed in 2015, Jaye and Schwartz’s main projects took precedent for a few years. The duo’s debut record, Pent Up, will be released on Friday, May 5th.
Rogue + Jaye will be performing a small number of dates promoting the record, including a stop in Birmingham on Friday, April 28th.
Weld: How did Rogue + Jaye get started?
Courtney Jaye: In 2013, our publishing company put us together for a songwriting session, just to see if we could write a song. We met and wrote a song. We were singing on this song together and both realized that it sounded pretty good. Then, we both went about our ways and forgot about it.
Then a couple of months later, [Schwartz] was coming through Nashville and he called, so we got together and wrote another song. It was on that day that we both looked at one another and realized that we had to write a record. We proceeded to finish during 2014. I went to San Francisco a bunch and we did some long-term songwriting sessions and wrote the record. We finished writing in 2014 and recorded in early 2015.
Weld: Why did the album take so long to come out?
Jaye: It was just rough in scheduling our schedules. He has his band Rogue Wave, and he had two records that he was working on with them. I also moved from Nashville to California, so I took a little bit of a break at the end of 2015. Once we coordinated our schedules and put it on the calendars, so it looked like Spring 2017 would be the best time to release the record. Come hell or high water, we need we had to put this record out!
Weld: What was the inspiration for some of the songs written during those initial sessions?
Jaye: The first song we wrote together was called “Til It Fades,” which is on the album. It was stemming from a relationship that I was struggling to get out of, where I knew it wasn’t the best thing for me, but I was still hanging around. I met Zach and just instantaneously had this rapport with him. I felt comfortable talking to him about my life, which is not the necessarily what happens when you’re meeting someone at a songwriting session for the first time. I really paid attention to that, because he’s a really kind person and is almost big-brotherly to me.
The second song we wrote was a song called “Waves of Joy.” That song will actually be on our next record, but we will be playing it live on this tour. That was another song written about that same relationship that I did get out of. It’s funny. [Schwartz] really pushed me to talk about things that I would not have otherwise really talked about. I think most of the songs on this record are moments of my life that he persuaded me to help bring them out.
Weld: Is that where the title Pent Up comes from, as sort of an allusion to the emotions you were feeling during that time?
Jaye: Absolutely. At that time, it was a lot of stuff happening in my life at one time. As they say, when it rains, it pours. Everything had just come to a head. It was a really intense couple of years of just learning and life. That’s definitely where the title came from.
Weld: You mentioned that you two are already working on the second record, which makes sense considering how long this first one has been around. What’s the timeline on the new album?
Jaye: We’re hoping to have it finished — in terms of being written — by the end of this year. We’re hoping to start recording it next spring.
Weld: What’s the setup going to be like for the live shows on this tour? Just you two, or will there be a band as well?
Jaye: Just us two for these dates. It’ll be just the most raw form, which seems to be how things are working best for us. We’re opening for Jack Johnson in July at Fidlar’s Green in Denver so we’ll have a full band for that show. We’re going to give that a shot then.
Weld: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about the record?
Jaye: It’s been interesting to see how people have been categorizing it. I think the best thing about the record is it doesn’t sound like either of our regular projects. It just seems to be all its own. That’s what excites me about it, and that makes me want to continue to explore writing with him and working with him. It’s taken us both down a path that we didn’t think we’d go down, but we’re enjoying it so far.
Rogue + Jaye will make their Birmingham debut at Seasick Records on Friday, April 28. The show begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are $5 at the door. For more information, click here.