Jaida Dreyer Talks Holiday Traditions and her Experience on USA Network’s "Real Country"
You were a true star performing your version of the hit Hank Snow song, “I’ve Been Everywhere” recently for USA Network’s “Real Country.” Can you give us a little insight to why you picked that song? Thank you so much! Honestly, I felt it was a make or break it song and that had a lot to do with why I chose it. I knew if I could nail it, it would more than likely be well received, but I also knew if I missed a syllable or took a breath in the wrong spot, it was all over!
What pushed you to try out for USA Network’s “Real Country?” You know, over the years I’d been approached to do American Idol and The Voice, but it just never made sense for me at those particular moments in my career. With ‘Real Country’, it felt right from the get go. I liked it was a first season and I was going to be able to authentically represent myself as an artist. I trusted my gut and I’m glad I did!
You were Jake Owen’s pick to perform. What did that mean to you and what advice has he given you? It really meant a lot. Jake had been a fan of songs I’ve written over the years and being able to stand on that stage and represent the working songwriters in Nashville, especially the females, was something I couldn’t be more proud of. Knowing how genuinely excited Jake was to showcase me as an artist, not just a songwriter, was a pretty cool feeling and I’m so thankful he invited me.
You are such a talented woman and continue to write hit songs. What motivates you to work hard? Staying relevant and keeping groceries in the fridge!
Having traveled coast-to-coast performing, when you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist? Not as much as I’d like to or wish that I had! I think I’ll make that my New Year’s resolution for 2019.
What are your “must have” albums for the road or what is currently on your playlist? Steve Earle’s “Guitar Town” and any Waylon Jennings playlist.
What is your favorite family holiday tradition? In the past, it’s always been the one time of year when we were all together. I come from a very large family (my mama is the youngest of six kids, they all have kids and now their kids have kids), so having everyone under the same roof and getting to see the little ones has always been my favorite part of the holidays.
What about a favorite Christmas album or song? John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain Christmas”. “Christmas For Cowboys” and “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)” are a couple of my favorites!
What have you asked Santa for this year? A cowboy! Haha!
What is the best gift you have been given? I’d say my sense of humor and my ability to make the best out of whatever hand I’m dealt. Thanks, mama!
Do you have a favorite Christmas food? Do you cook a big Christmas dinner? I always associate cabbage rolls and pierogis with Christmas. They’re a traditional dish in the area I’m from. Along with my Grandmother’s rice pudding with strawberry sauce.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? Tito’s because it’s the perfect combination of vodka and Texas!
Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and raised in Latimer, Iowa, Jaida Dreyer was a “horse-crazy” little girl who grew up showing competitively and won her first of many world championships at 5, getting an early education in the sort of work ethic required to reach success. Before she turned 18, Dreyer had lived in seven states, including Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, with the bulk of her time spent between Texas and Georgia. During those gypsy years, Dreyer says, music and songwriting remained a constant, and when forced to retire from riding at 17, she took the biggest risk of her life: “The only other thing I knew how to do was write songs,” Dreyer says. “Growing up on the road, I learned that life isn’t a fairy tale,” Dreyer says. “It gave me a lot to write about, and a story that most 17-year-old girls don’t have. I look at it as a blessing. My crooked road has given me a career.”
Dreyer didn’t grow up intending to become a country music artist, but to hear the story of her crooked road to Nashville, it’s clear she was meant to be here all along. Her unmistakable voice, bubbly personality, and eclectic, insightful songwriting scored her a publishing deal with Grammy Award-winning producer Byron Gallimore (Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Sugarland) at the precocious age of 19.
Since then, she has achieved success as a singer, songwriter, and performer whose traveled coast-to-coast performing for fans, and opening for artists ranging from Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, to the legendary Merle Haggard. She is also a frequent guest on The Grand Ole Opry.
She credits her eclectic taste in music to her mother, who introduced her to classic artists like Kitty Wells and Hank Williams, Sr., as well as then-current hit makers like Tanya Tucker, Keith Whitley, and Patty Loveless. As a pre-teen, Dreyer also found herself drawn to a variety of singer-songwriters like Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett, and Steve Earle.