Music Monday: A Netflix Discovery – Jessie Payo

We were scrolling through the movies currently playing on Netflix last night, and we finally settled on The Last Laugh.

The movie stars Chevy Chase as a retired talent manager and Richard Dreyfuss as a retired dentist who once had a promising career as a comic. Chase persuades Dreyfuss to resurrect his career, 50 years after his last performance. The movie had its funny moments, but all in all, certainly not one of the best movies I’ve ever watched.

However, there was one highlight for me, and apparently for a lot of other people as well, and it was the following scene:

The singer is Jessie Payo and the song is “Dance Real Close”. Her voice captured my attention immediately, and the next day I went searching to find out who it was and to listen to the full song. When I found a live version of Jessie singing the song, I discovered that I was not the only one drawn to the song because of the movie.

There were 83 comments on the video, and I think every single one referenced the movie scene shown above. Here is the live version of the song:

Jessie has a beautiful voice, and this song does a great job of highlighting her musical talents. Here’s a brief bio from her web site:

Jessie Payo is a singer/songwriter known for her unique sultry voice, dynamic showmanship and brilliant poetic songwriting.  Her eclectic music style blends influences from classic jazz, indie rock, delta blues to alt Americana. Born and raised in Southern California, Payo performs regularly at prominent venues throughout the state from The Troubadour to the El Rey in Los Angeles; The Belly Up! in San Diego; and the Boom Boom Room and Majestic Theatre in San Francisco.  Payo has toured nationally opening for such artists as Eric Hutchinson, Etta James, Lauryn Hill, Minnie Driver, Kate Nash and Jason Mraz, and performed at the Ravinia Festival in Illinois alongside Melissa Etheridge, Joan Osborne and Paula Cole. Most recently, Payo toured in throughout Asia with TUXEDO (Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One.)

In addition to Payo’s solo career, she is involved in the creation and collaboration of the following projects:

  • PRETTY POLLY– formed with Leeann Skoda, an Americana Duo celebrating the great resurgence of Alternative Folk
  • POM POMS– Payo leads this LA garage pop outfit that mixes French new wave with a 60s LA-rock flair

Payo is also involved with several collective music projects that have sprung up prominently on social media and has recorded for the following:

  • Scary Pockets– a creative funk collective created by Jack Conte (co-founder of Patreon and the band Pomplamoose) and Ryan Lerman (musical director for Michale Buble, John Legend and Ben Folds.
  • Flight of Voices– a collective of independent solo artists and musicians that come together to create musical experiences in unique locations.
  • Postmodern Jukebox– a rotating musical collective founded by arranger and pianist Scott Bradlee in 2011. PMJ is known for reworking popular modern music into different vintage genres, especially early 20th century forms such as swing and jazz.

It looks like Payo got started by recording videos of herself singing and posting them to YouTube. Here is one of my favorites that I came across. I’m sure Janis Joplin would approve:

After watching a few more of her early videos, I was reminded of another singer who got started this way, James Dupré.

Dupré was featured in one of my first Music Mondays. Dupréis a country music artist and actor born and raised in Bayou Chicot, Louisiana. While working as a paramedic, he became a YouTube sensation in 2007 after posting cover videos of country songs. He was invited to perform on ‘Ellen’, and released his debut album in 2010. After signing a record deal with Warner Music Nashville in 2011, he began performing and touring full-time. He was released from Warner in 2014, and shortly after appeared on NBC’s ‘The Voice’ Season 9, turning all 4 coaches’ chairs. His latest album, Stoned to Death, was released in 2016.

I went back and watched a couple of Dupré’s videos (here’s one of my favorites):

and I thought that Dupré and Payo should sing some duets together. And I even have a suggestion for their first song together. It’s one of my favorite duets, and could use an update:

I think one change would be having Jessie play her guitar while singing, it seems like it’s such a part of her.

Just remember you heard it here first, Dupré and Payo, or Payo and Dupré. I’ll just take one percent of the royalties…