A melancholy yet exuberant reflection on a love left behind, “Paper Trail,” the title track to Jesse Palter’s debut EP, is the perfect metaphor for the journey the multi-talented singer-songwriter has been on these past few years. As serendipity would have it, just as she was transitioning from being an accomplished jazz singer, Aristry Music, a division of Mack Avenue Records, was looking to expand from its jazz foundations into other genres. She is now the label’s first signed developing singer-songwriter.
After moving from her native Detroit to Los Angeles, Palter raised $30,000 in 10 days via Kickstarter to record an album. Just as an interested indie label was about to sign her, it changed ownership and all signings were put to a halt. On one of those “feeling down on my luck days,” she had a small but jarring accident pulling into her garage––which sparked a sudden urge to take action. She had the number of Mack Avenue’s A&R rep Al Pryor stored in her phone and decided to call; the label had shown passing interest in her years earlier when she was a rising jazz singer in Detroit.
Though she quickly hung up, Pryor immediately called back and she filled him in on the last several years of her life, the Kickstarter album and her goals. She sent him her latest music and her pop-oriented song “Hold My Hand” immediately captured the interest of Pryor and label President Denny Stilwell. “The label saw themselves going in the singer-songwriter direction and they asked if I could deliver an album of songs in line with that genre,” she says.
They offered no guarantee of signing, but Palter was encouraged that she had their ears. “Around that time,” she says, “I got a lucky break when a few friends connected me with my manager David Passick, who also encouraged me to focus on being a singer-songwriter and write honest music. I put my nose to the grindstone and the songs started pouring out of me. I was self-funding the demos at first, but when that got too costly, I started asking for favors, doing trades and exchanging publishing credit––honestly, whatever I needed to do to get them recorded. Once we felt we had honed in on a direction and had enough songs, David went back to Artistry and they were so blown away by the music, the deal was offered not too long after.”
Date Signed: Dec. 8, 2016
Label: Mack Avenue Records/Artistry Music
Type of Music: Pop
Management: David Passick Entertainment
Legal: Charley Londono
Publicity: Karen Sundell, KSundell@rogersandcowan.com
A&R: Denny Stilwell