By Kaye Bennett
Southwest Michigan music fans may be familiar with Dani Jamerson and her band, who will be playing from 6 till 8 p.m. at this year’s Taste of Vicksburg, but even the most ardent among them might not know that:
• Jamerson’s first public performance was as a fourth-grader, playing the Tin Man in the school’s “Wizard of Oz.” She says she “forced” the school to list her in the program as the “Tin Woman.” “I was such a little diva,” she said.
• If Jamerson hadn’t chosen music as her career, she might be playing a sport at a lucky college somewhere. “I was an athlete in school,” she said. Jamerson played basketball, volleyball and softball while in high school. But the now-21-year-old, a graduate of Athens High School, knew from an early age that music was what she was meant to do, and she’s devoting her time now to being a full-time musician.
• Jamerson taught herself to play the guitar; the only musical instruction she ever received was a brief foray into piano lessons when she was 10 years old.
• Jamerson’s mother, Melissa, is a second grade teacher at Vicksburg’s Indian Lake Elementary School.
Today, the Dani Jamerson Band, founded in 2011, consists of Jamerson on vocals and acoustic guitar, Scott Dana on lead guitar, Rob Parsons on bass, and Dani’s brother Garrett Jamerson on drums. Her fellow band members are on board with the country rock sound that Jamerson says comes so naturally to her.
Her career aspirations are two-fold.
“I’d love to be a national signed touring musician with a record label and, on the other side, I love song writing, so I’m actively pursuing a publishing deal,” she said,
To reach her first goal, Jamerson plays gigs, mostly in southwest Michigan, two to four times a week.
Jamerson began working toward goal number two when she was just 16. With wholehearted support from her family, she started going to Nashville twice a year back then, joined the National Songwriters Association International, and began meeting a lot of people in the business she already loved.
“It’s a big web you create,” she said. “The cool thing about Nashville is that it’s a big family. I hardly ever have to stay in a hotel when I go there.”
People in the music community take care of each other.
Now she’s in Nashville every month or so, working with big names and often recording demo works for other writers who are drawn by the distinctive nature of Jamerson’s voice.
Last fall, her hard work and her song-writing connections paid off. She co-wrote “I Listen to My Bad Girl,” with Erica Nicole, who recorded the song, which rose to number 21 on Billboard’s Music Row Breakout chart and number 1 on Renegade radio.
Jamerson’s first CD, “Dirty Boys,” was released in 2012 and is available on iTunes. She is now working on CD number two.
Jamerson said she never misses a chance to “give a shout-out to the people who come to our shows and support us.”
Many of her fans, she said, have become friends of both herself and her parents.