Jaydee Bixby

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Jaydee Bixby

Family is the cornerstone of a true artist’s success. While the concept of struggling, independent musicians has been romanticized and glorified by many, the true longevity of an artist relies on the support, encouragement and loyalty of kin. It breeds conviction, motivation and confidence in one’s own ambition and ability.

It also breeds success as country music’s greatest prospect Jaydee Bixby proves with his upcoming debut effort Cowboys and Cadillacs, in stores nationally on July 8 via HRM Records/Fontana North.

Bixby lives by this methodology, ingrained in the Drumheller-cum-Red Deer, Alberta crooner since childhood. Raised in a home of dedicated musicians, it’s Bixby’s family that initially encouraged him to participate in local competitions as a young boy and to follow his dream of becoming a recording artist.

The dream led 17 year-old Bixby to grab life by the horns and try his hand at the discerning Canadian Idol where he would eventually become the fifth season’s runner-up, gaining millions of adoring fans in the process thanks to both his impeccable voice and hip-swaggering Presley-esque stage manner that left more than a few ladies swooning. Even Idol guest star Paul Anka was compelled to endorse Bixby, noting that he “has the type of talent that will keep him around for decades to come.”

“As a singer, I started out around the campfire having a good time listening to my parents,” reflects Bixby with an endearingly casual drawl. “But it wasn’t until hearing Elvis’ ‘Hound Dog’ for the first time that I fell in love with music, particularly country. That led to performing at rodeos and eventually I thought, ‘Well, you only live once. You might as well try out for Canadian Idol.’ I never thought I’d make it as far as I did but I set out goals the whole way and I reached them. It was hard work but the outcome was great. Now I can see where I can take it.”

After the success of Canadian Idol, Bixby refused to rest on his laurels. The determined and enthusiastic vocalist utilized that same work ethic he applied to Canadian Idol to realize another dream: releasing his debut album Cowboys and Cadillacs. Bixby celebrates his inaugural step into a lifetime career of recording and touring with the release.

Recorded at Vancouver’s Mushroom Studios, Cowboys and Cadillacs finds the sure-footed teen intensifying and broadening the same velvety voice that prompted throngs of Canadians to instantly adore him. Working with renowned producers Bill Buckingham (Rita McNeil, Amber Nicholson and the Cuzeros) and John Webster (Bon Jovi, Aerosmith), Cowboys and Cadillacs intertwines Bixby’s inherent down home, twangy roots with a rock edge to create enduring country anthems including the infectious lead single “Old Fashioned Girl,” in which Bixby relates his dream partner to be a little bit like mom and a little bit like Minnie Pearl: a good, clean, wholesome girl.

“Cowboys and Cadillacs is straight-up country with a newer twist,” notes Bixby. “In order for an album to be strong, the songs have to reflect your personality; be believable. The only way to do that is to get a lot of yourself in there. It’s a learning process and as you grow your fans should grow with you. I kept it a family affair in order to stay true to myself. I had my parents in to do back-up vocals because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have this opportunity. I learned to sing from them. That’s how they met, playing in a band. Music is in the Bixby blood.”

In keeping with Jaydee’s personal outlook, the vocalist admits that while it was Bixby blood that instigated Cowboys and Cadillacs, once again, it is the encouragement of loved ones that ensures this is only the first step in a long, prosperous career. Bixby asserts that in order to accomplish more, he must keep close ties to his roots.

“My family is vital to me. My father taught me guitar, my mother played bass, I’ve got five sisters and they’re my biggest fans. Without them, life would be awfully lonely. I grew up in a town of less than 10,000. When you get thrown into the national eye, you realize how big the world is. It’s comforting to have your family behind you and supporting you. Your career is based on the people you surround yourself with. If you have positive people surrounding you, you’ll have a positive vibe. Family and friends, the people I’ve always known and care for are vital to that.”

Despite his obvious talents and the anticipation surrounding the release of Cowboys and Cadillacs, Bixby remains steadfastly humble. Drawing on his own life experience, he is level-headed about the future, tempering his exuberance with wisdom.

“People can live to be 80 or live to be 18. The 18 year-old can have more experience in their life though, depending on how they choose to live it. I’ve had a lifetime of experiences in the past year, which have kept me grounded and career-driven. Now I am ready for another lifetime of experience. If you can wake up in the morning and you’re excited to go to work, you’re lucky. That’s the kind of job you want to have. But I’m still learning the ropes, enjoying polishing my art and performing around the country. The way I see it now, Cowboys and Cadillacs is the kick-start of my life.”