A New Zealand singer/songwriter who found mainstream national success with her 2012 debut, Jamie McDell initially made warm-toned confessional folk-pop.
After two high-charting albums with major-label EMI, she went independent and adopted a more organic, country-inspired tone on her self-released 2019 album, Extraordinary Girl.
The Auckland native spent part of her youth living aboard her family's yacht where she first learned to play guitar, singing John Denver and Jimmy Buffett songs alongside her parents. In her early teens, McDell began to uploading her music to YouTube, and gaining a fan base through social media. At the age of 16, she earned a deal with EMI Music New Zealand after sending them a demo tape. Released in early 2012, her debut single, a reggae-tinged folk-pop song called "You'll Never Take That Away from Me," was an immediate success, reaching number 11 on the New Zealand Top 40 and going gold. An acoustic EP, All That I Wanted, arrived shortly afterward and was followed in November of that year by her full-length debut, Six Strings and a Sailboat, which peaked at number eight on New Zealand's pop chart. She followed in in 2015 with Ask Me Anything, which added a bit of an edge to her confessional folk-pop style and performed similarly well on the charts, reaching number seven. A year later, McDell's deal with EMI ended and she abandoned the commercial pop world, opting instead to go independent. For her next album, she traveled to the U.S. and recorded in Nashville with Australian producer Nash Chambers. Entirely self-written and more personal than prior outings, 2019's Extraordinary Girl featured a more organic, Americana-driven approach. ~ Timothy Monger, Rovi