Entertainment

Country songstress flying high with opening slot for Alan Jackson

Under The Radar is the title of her last album but don’t expect Livy Jeanne to fly below that for much longer.

“It’s the dark horse, no one knew about her and then all of sudden here she is. I really loved that title,” said Jeanne.

The Albertan songstress is opening for Alan Jackson when he comes to Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Aug. 3, just another move that is propelling the career of this fast-rising star.

“It’s the craziest thing. When my agent told me it didn’t even kick in until after a week that he told me. It is insane. I am a huge fan and so excited,” said Jeanne about the opening slot.

At just 18, Jeanne is a regular teen. She recently got her wisdom teeth pulled, has a part-time job as a waitress and will be graduating this year. Her parents didn’t even realize she could even sing until she invited them to a school fundraising concert she performed at when she was 12.

“I think they thought a huge monkey hook was going to come and pull me off the stage. My mom bought me a little outfit to give me some confidence probably thinking that if I don’t sound good at least I will look good,” joked Jeanne.

What they saw was a jaw-dropping performance of a Sheryl Crow song. Now she is hanging with the best writers in country music, and it all goes back to a karaoke machine she got as a Christmas gift.

“My parents didn’t know what to get me for Christmas one year and got me a karaoke machine because I was too young for cell phone or all those other electronic gadgets. They didn’t even know that I liked to sing and that catapulted my love for music because I realized this is fun. It’s kind of funny how a little karaoke machine can get you going,” said Jeanne.

Oddly enough her first guitar came from the store the karaoke machine did.

“Costco starts everything apparently. It is the place of dreams,” she joked.

The songstress learned as much as she could online and proved to her parents she was ready to apply herself to this newly found craft and graduated to voice and guitar lessons. Her budding music career has included numerous talent competitions and showcases but a career changer came when she met Tom McKillip, producer of Lisa Brokop and One More Girl.

“I spent a lot of time with Tom and One More Girl and they were great mentors. I spent so much time with them that after awhile I was known as the other girl or the one more girl,” said Jeanne.

Two of the songs she co-wrote with them ended up on her EP. It was another song, Invisible, that Jeanne co-wrote that has touched many and led to a tour by the same name. It addresses the theme of teenage bullying, something Jeanne is familiar with.

“I was bullied from Grade 5 to Grade 8. I had moved from Calgary to Edmonton and it was a new experience for me because I never had problems like that before. I thought being myself, like I had been in Calgary, would make me friends. But it was a small school and it wasn’t easy. That song came from the fact that I didn’t deserve that. I know who I am, I am smart, I am beautiful and I don’t have to be that victim anymore,” said Jeanne.

That song resulted in her lending support to Kids Help Phone where she toured about 60 schools playing her music and speaking to students about the experience.

With a stack of journals in her room documenting her ideas, thoughts and her life so far, Jeanne has caught the songwriting bug and cracks those open when she is inspired. When she isn’t doodling in her journals she probably is working on a new YouTube video. She recently covered Canadian hip hop artist Classified’s hit Inner Ninja in her own country way that he acknowledged on Twitter. She now is working towards releasing a new co-written song called Any Other Way.

“I love writing and the whole experience. This one is mid-tempo with a driving beat and based around the people you love and even if they end up breaking your heart, the whole thing was worth it. I’m really excited to see how people react to it,” said Jeanne.

But for the moment Jeanne is still in the clouds about opening for country star Alan Jackson, the music that she was raised on, and like every teenager counting down the days to summer.

“I feel like I’m just getting started in this and excited to see what will come,” she said.

Tickets for Alan Jackson with special guest Livy Jeanne are on sale now and can be purchased at www.ValleyFirstTix.com by phone at 1-877-763-2849 or in person at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC) and the Wine Country Visitor Centre.

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