At 28, Milwaukee native Jayme Dawicki has already accomplished more than most. She was Miss Wisconsin in 2002 and she she opened for the pop-rock band The Fray at The Rave.
And still, her ambition seems to have no boundaries. This March, Dawicki released her first full-length album, "Shatter Queen," as she attempts to carve a musical niche.
On the piano-fueled pop / rock disc, Dawicki leads with vocals and piano and is accompanied by musicians on the drums, bass, percussion and guitar. The album is a blend of upbeat, catchy refrains, vivid ballads and incredible piano work.
Her style recalls Sarah McLachlan or Natalie Merchant as lyrical tones of heartache are mixed into strong notes of hope. Dawicki says the album's lyrics deal with issues of failed relationships and unrequited love.
"For the recording, we brought in a slew of amazingly talented musicians who truly brought these songs to life," Dawicki says.
In hopes of expanding and inspiring her musical career, Dawicki travelled to Austin for the South by Southwest Music Festival where met Daniel Mendez, a producer for Imperative Studios where he engineered and mixed the album. Dawicki spent 35 days in Seattle working with Mendez to record "Shatter Queen."
"We literally ripped my songs apart and re-built them -- lyrics, chords, melodies," she says of her time in Seattle. "Not an easy task but I couldn't be more proud of these tunes. Each piece on this CD came from me -- my struggles and those around me, my voice, and my hands at the piano. I have grown as a musician, a songwriter, and as a person because of this experience."
Her efforts clearly paid off. Dawicki released "Shatter Queen" earlier this month with a performance at the Miramar Theater on Milwaukee's East Side.
Locally born and raised, Dawicki performs throughout the Milwaukee area with yearly performances at both Summerfest and the Wisconsin State Fair.
In 2006, Dawicki was named Wisconsin Area Music Industry's (WAMI) female vocalist of the year and was nominated for best new song for her 2005 solo debut, "Standing on a Bridge."
"I am proud of the work on this CD because it was my first venture; it assisted in getting me bigger gigs and helped garner some awards," Dawicki says.
Dawicki spent two years studying piano performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but moved to the UWM where she received a degree in Inter-arts -- piano and theater.
Aside from recording and releasing "Shatter Queen," Dawicki works as a private music teacher, accompanies vocal majors at UWM and performs throughout the region.