With a top 20 debut single, an Academy of Country Music nomination (for top new vocal duo or group) and an opening spot on Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party tour, the JaneDear Girls are poised to be one of country music's
breakthrough acts in 2011.
Also seeking to fill country's girl-group void, the duo will release its self-titled Warner Bros. Records debut album on Feb. 1. Meanwhile, lead single "Wildflower" rises 18-17 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.
Singer/songwriters Danelle Leverett and Susie Brown first met when a friend of Leverett's suggested she check out Brown's performance at a Nashville club. "I was a new songwriter looking for people to write with," recalls
Brown, who grew up in Utah and plays fiddle and mandolin. "After my show, the same friend suggested we get together and write."
Guitarist Leverett met fellow Amarillo, Texas, native John Rich of Big & Rich when she moved to Music City after college. "He's a great one to learn from; he's so honest," Leverett says. "We sent John our first work tapes and
he said, "Those aren't very good. But keep working; keep me posted.'"
Rich later guided the pair to a deal with Warner Music Group and also produced its debut album. After a showcase at Rich's hilltop mansion during last year's Country Radio Seminar, the JaneDear Girls hit the road to set up "Wildflower." Brown says, "We went out and never looked back. We've been gone five days a week since last March."
Both feel that the song's tempo and lyrics made it the perfect lead single. "It's a rocking, high-energy uptempo song that lyrically [represents] who we are: independent females chasing a dream," Leverett says. "It's been a while since a [country] girl group that also plays has come out."
The duo's energetic vibe also serves as a linchpin for the label's branding strategy. "We've identified three focus areas," says Peter Strickland, senior VP of brand management and sales at Warner Music Nashville. "Visual, youthful and high-energy." The label's efforts have already landed the duo an endorsement deal with MAC Cosmetics.
The ladies are also utilizing the Internet to engage fans. Each week, they post a new video on their website's "My Favorite Things" section. The posts range from songwriting sessions and Brown's tips for styling "country pinup-girl bangs" to Leverett helping her dad feed cows on their Texas farm. According to Brown, the JaneDear Girls are simply giving "fans insight into our lives and what we love."