Jessica Rhaye
Gig Seeker Pro

Jessica Rhaye

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Band Pop Adult Contemporary


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Short Stories CD Review"

Jessica Rhaye - Short Stories - CD Review
Maverick Magazine
Issue 65, December 2007
****4 Stars

Mature vocal sound, with floating dynamics that leave you with a fresh organic mixture.
This is a proposal, a strong enigmatic proposal of vocal abilities and musical talent beyond competition. Rhaye's in a category of her own - the one that says you can make music just how you want to make it with or without a category to fit into at all.

She's got her own sound, raw and organic and yet altogether astounding. Her voice is on the verge of having classical capabilities and yet has the grainy undertones and honest, humble intensities that make it so lovely to listen to. It's untameable and this also fits as an overall view of just how far this album reaches out, all very well and successfully.

Wild Flowers, the opening song of the album introduces on a strong powerful note, with sensibilities rushing like grape vines, you end up twisted umongst a song that's deep and wandering. But following this is possibly my favourite song on the album, Running for the Door which is more than a little uplifting, with a great sond and vocals that leave a somewhat sweeter taste in your mouth. And the album continues like this - one moment leaving you floating with curiosity and the next twisted amongst feeling and emotion that always bears a serious note. However the chorus' all echo Rhaye's sweetened voice, the harmonious ways of her music and the lyrical content she should be acclaimed for.

In the song Crazy Jayne there is a much more raw feel to the instrumentals that prove to be somewhat electrifying. Rhaye seems to hold back vocally until the midst of a song and this really creates an atmosphere in her music, and leaves you just hanging on for the next portrayal, however her voice is high impact even those quiet times when she seems to take her time to introduce you to the Jessica Rhaye way.

I'd definately rush out to buy SHORT STORIES - it's the perfect feel-good album, especially for those dreary English nights.

- Maverick Magazine

"A Blast of Canadian Frost"

A Blast Of Canadian Frost
The London Times
November 12, 2007
By David Sinclair

Performance at The Half Moon, Putney, UK

They made odd bedfellows, Matt Andersen, Jessica Rhaye and Dave Gunning, as they set off on a package tour of Britain under the rather forbidding banner A Blast of Canadian Frost. The three are from Canada, the sprawling landscape that exported such originators of the singer-songwriter genre as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. But to begin with, this trio of fresh talents followed their own ruggedly separate paths as they each performed a short solo set.

Gunning took the classic storyteller route, singing songs from his fifth album, House for Sale, that were freighted with the folklore of his native Nova Scotia. A gifted guitarist and a witty raconteur, he prompted much merriment as he spun the story of a young boy’s Christmas Day, blighted by the mysterious fact that Santa had drunk all his dad’s beer the night before.

Rhaye, whose second album, Short Stories, has been nominated for various awards, was a more introspective performer. Her songs, which hinged on emotional dramas and relationship issues, were delicate constructs that came across as perhaps more brittle than she intended.

There was nothing fragile about Andersen, who was introduced by Rhaye as “Canada’s greatest guitarist”. A man mountain with fingers to match (his website is he made one acoustic guitar sound like a fully staffed band as he played and sang a string of his own country blues songs, including the autobiographical mission statement One Size Never Fits, with outrageous skill and contagious joy.

The three of them took the stage together for the second half of the show to play a mixture of their own songs and standards, including I Don’t Want to Talk About It and Long Black Veil. But despite the friendly banter and deft harmony vocals, the whole was somehow less than the sum of these three, highly individual parts.

- The London Times

"For the Love of Music"

March 8, 2007
By: Amanda Terfloth

After an unusually quick trek across Queen to the Gladstone’s Art Bar, I found a primo seat next to a pile of instrument cases in the back. Anyone familiar with the size of the venue knows that it is both an acoustic blessing and a seating curse.

The tiny wood-floored room provided just the right amount of reverb for Ms. Rhaye’s soulful vocals—at least it would have if it didn’t have to compete with the cacophony of the Melody Bar’s infamous karaoke night next door. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Gladstone, but the adjoining wall needs more soundproofing. It was painful to hear the attentive silence of the audience punctured by drunken wails of “Here I go again on my OWNNN” from next door.
In spite of the noisy distraction, the audience did its best to focus, and in the moments when the din quieted, Rhaye’s melodic voice entranced everyone in the room. It was the same stripped-down voice that seduced me upon listening to 80 EPKs in a row—not the work of a clever sound engineer. Rhaye’s storytelling approach to songwriting and affable personality meshed well in a live setting, as she connected the dots and personal inspirations behind her lyrics, including the tale of haunted east-coast dwelling she once inhabited.

It takes more than a great voice to charm an audience; a little sincerity and soul like Rhaye’s go a long way.
It’s possible to love karaoke and professional vocals—just not simultaneously, unless you’re one of the few eagerly anticipating a William Hung / Robert Plant collaboration.

Ooooo and it makes me wonder…

"Jessica Rhaye - Short Stories CD Review"

January 25, 2007
By Tara Thorne

Six years is a long time to go between albums, but New Brunswick’s Jessica Rhaye made the most of her musical sabbatical. Short Stories is a marked improvement over Rhaye’s self-titled debut, with a poise and polish that holds its own against the folk-pop heavyweights on the radio today. Producer Ed Woodsworth pulls the best elements out of each song, mixing Rhaye’s lush vocals against an ambitious musical backdrop that includes some of the east coast’s biggest players (Gordie Sampson, J.P. Cormier, Craig Mercer to name a few). If this disc ever finds its way to mainstream radio, Short Stories could be the beginning of a long, illustrious career.
- The Coast

"Jessica Rhaye Has Designs On Music"

November 8, 2006
By Shannon Webb-Campbell

Entrepreneur by day, chanteuse by night, New Brunswick's virtual Venus Jessica Rhaye holds down her own graphic design company and recently released her sophomore disc Short Stories.

"I've been playing music since I was a kid," says Rhaye, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. "It was about 6 years ago when I first started recording my own music. It was more of a hobby then. It's been awhile since my last record, but I've been busy with graphic design."

Rhaye self-titled debut hit record stores in 2000, her highly anticipated follow-up Short Stories is a collection of fleeting glimpses of pensive reflection, love, mystery, sisterhood and adventure.

The track Beautiful is a gentle reminder to her sister of her inner and outer beauty, Where It All Begins wanders down the winding path of spirituality, Wildflowers is an ode to countryside living, Running for the Door mirrors the suspicious nature of an unsecured romance. Often inspired by fiction, her moody, piano-ballad driven Crazy Jane honours one woman's descent into madness.

"The melody and first verse came to be me when I was reading the book Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwartz. The story really hit me when I was reading it. It's a completely fictional song. I'm very inspired by literature, movies and music."

Rhaye recently graduated from New Brunswick's College of Art and Design with a degree in Graphic Design. Initially her interest in academia was more in the traditional realm of art, as she was drawn to pottery, until she found her true calling in design.

At 29-years of age, this pop-fairy is a force of vivacity, authenticity and portrays a strong sense of self within her lyrics and pretty melodies.

"I thought I was going to study pottery but then realized I was terrible at it. It's much harder than it looks. Graphic design was something I kind of explored. I've always been an artist, as I love to knit, draw and paint but I wasn't very computer savvy. At first I was reluctant to dive in but the professors insisted I would do fine."

It seems these educational visionaries' assumptions were spot-on, as Rhaye takes full design credits for her eye-catching website and the artwork design for her album. Her storybook-like style features subtle shades of simplicity blended with an old-fashioned aesthetic. At 29-years of age, this pop-fairy is a force of vivacity, authenticity and portrays a strong sense of self within her lyrics and pretty melodies.

"The writing process is a bit of a struggle for me," she explains. "It's not something I do every day. Writing is a challenge at time. Sometimes I just want to draw, paint or create. Other times songwriting becomes the outlet."

Short Stories was produced by Ed Woodsworth and features an illustrious cast of East Coast musicians including Ken Tobias, Jamie Robinson, Jimmy Swift Band's Craig Mercer, Maritime bluegrass banjo player J.P. Cormier and Gordie Sampson. In addition to some guitar and piano work, Sampson lent a hand in parts of the recording process.

"I've received a lot of positive feedback since the record's been released. I was in Halifax for my CD release at Ginger's Tavern on Oct. 26. It was a really great night, it's was very nice and intimate."

Rhaye seems pretty comfortable with her position on the planet, as she looks forward to touring this album, playing festivals and sporting her new boots.

"I found these fantastic boots while I was in Halifax. I had to buy them; I just knew I'd never find them in New Brunswick. I love them!"

"Jessica Rhaye - Short Stories - CD Review"

November 15, 2006
By Ray Violette

Based in Saint John, this mature and tasteful release from Rhaye is a cut above anything in the genre. Recorded in Nova Scotia, the album is perfectly produced and veers from the lush simplicity of the Jewel-like "Running for the Door" to the awesome and rocky "Holding Out" with JP Cormier on banjo and the Jimmy Swift Band's Craig Mercer on guitar. This second album was five years in the making, and it's stellar. The stark "Wonderful to Me" is worth the price alone, and Rhaye shines as a songwriter on all tracks (with help from legend Ken Tobias) and Gordie Sampson drops by as well. A recent CD release party in Riverview was well attended, and the CD is available at her website.
- BOOM Magazine

"What the Critics are Saying..."

"Jessica has a very mature, sophisticated sound, but still sounds fresh & young. Even though she has a
powerhouse voice, she holds back just enough to really knock you out when she lets it go."
Abby White - Music Editor, Performing Songwriter Magazine

Jessica Rhaye evokes the dreaminess of former Vercua Salt bombshell Nina Gordon’s solo works and Beth Orton’s fragile yet wistful style while paying tribute to Jewel’s vocal sensuality. - Shannon Webb-Campbell, The Coast

A special nod to "Running for the Door" for it's sophisticated pop production and lyrics that should put Jessica Rhaye near the A-League in the Atlantic scene. – Bob Mersereau, CBC New Brunswick

This second album [Short Stories] was five years in the making, and it's stellar. The stark "Wonderful to Me" is worth the price alone, and Rhaye shines as a songwriter on all tracks. – BOOM Magazine

Rhaye is back with her long-awaited sophomore effort, Short Stories. It's more mature, assured, sexier even. – Grant Kerr, Telegraph Journal

The songs [on Short Stories] themselves are all quite good — some are great — but the real strength here is Jessica’s wonderful voice. – Eric Lewis, Times & Transcript

Her storybook-like style features subtle shades of simplicity blended with an old-fashioned aesthetic. This pop-fairy is a force of vivacity, authenticity and portrays a strong sense of self within her lyrics and pretty melodies. –

“Jessica has a beautiful voice & gave a moving performance. She was inside the music & that comes across in the performance.”
Jack Bond - Executive Producer for CBC Great Canadian Music Dream Contest

“We are talking power here. Small person, huge voice. She sent shivers down my spine.”
Cynthia Dunsford - ECMA Host

“Rhaye can ignite any crowd with her pop/folk songs, accompanied by a funky fashion sense. Rhaye is anything but a One Hit Wonder.”
Lisa Hrabluk - New Brunswick Reader

“Her song, I Breathe Your Light, is a beautifully crafted pop ballad.”
Richard Kidd - Times Globe NB

“….crystal clear voice & extremely strong writing New Brunswick singer.”
Peter Heckbert - Halifax Harold NS

“I haven’t heard a Canadian single debut THIS good since Amanda Marshall & I think that was 1997.”
Gord Bailey - EZ Rock 104.9, Edmonton AB

“ ….another guest was the young & beautiful east coast singer, Jessica Rhaye, who was dressed in an artfully arranged selection of filmy scarves and gave a breathy reading of the Rolling Stone’s Wild Horses.”
Lynn Saxberg - Ottawa Citizen
Mir Supershow @ The Arts Centre in Ottawa ON during The Atlantic Scene Festival 2003

“ This debut album by Jessica Rhaye is really impressive. Rhaye has a strong, clear & versatile voice, which is supported by her talents as a songwriter & a knack for good melodies.”
Cheryl Turner - Rambles

- Various Sources

"Rhaye our new Jewel"

New Brunswick's darling Jessica Rhaye could be the next Jewel. With catchy hooks and pop sensibility, her latest album, Good Things, is an ode to what could be. "Shining Star" reminds listeners to look up and take in the night sky, though it's Rhaye who shines on "Rose Coloured Glasses." Fans of Nina Gordon's solo material will swoon for "Wild Horses." A slower, piano rendition of "Holding Out," originally found on her 2nd release - Short Stories, alludes to a broken affair and what it means to leave someone behind. "Everything For Love" highlights Rhaye's eternal romantic, while closing track "Where's An Angel," is almost holy in its beauty. Rhaye plays September 2 at The Carleton.
- The Coast

"A More Intimate Rhaye"

GOOD THINGS really do come in threes for Saint John singer-songwriter Jessica Rhaye this month. Not only is she celebrating the release of her third CD - titled, appropriately enough, Good Things - she also just marked her third anniversary with high school sweetheart (and current manager) Mark Marshall.

Mind you, the three years of wedded bliss followed nearly 14 years of dating, before Rhaye decided sheíd better pop the question.

"It wasn't like I got down on one knee and proposed or anything," explains Rhaye, who performs her tender and personal compositions on Wednesday night at The Carleton in Halifax.

"I think we were just sitting around the living room one day and I just mentioned that we should probably get married; it had been long enough and we should probably tie the knot.

"His response was, 'Yeah, OK.' I know it's not terribly romantic."

Rhaye laughs that she can't even get a good song out of such an important moment, but adds that she's been able to mine her life for enough compositional gold on Good Things, which takes a much more intimate and revealing approach than her sophomore 2006 release Short Stories.

"I think I've matured. Every artist that puts out a new record grows and has different experiences in life. I just find them and write about them," says Rhaye.

"I'm very happy with where I am in my life, in my marriage and in my relationship with my family, in my work as a graphic designer, and the record comes across as a really positive one. The title Good Things really reflects that.

"The recordís also geared more towards how I perform on stage, and how the songs come across live. I wanted to be able to have something I could sell off the stage to people that wasnít too different from what they just heard."

Rhaye's voice and guitar are front and centre on Good Things, but it's far from sparse-sounding. Recorded at Soundark Studios in Sydney with Ed Woodsworth and Jamie Foulds, the CD boasts a roster of guest musicians like multi-instrumentalist J.P. Cormier, keyboardist Kim Dunn, and Dave Gunning on acoustic guitar and backing vocals. Gunning is also one of Rhaye's many songwriting collaborators on the project, joining Saint John composer Ken Tobias, MIR's Asif Illyas and even her own mother Cynthia Grimmer, who assisted on the atmospheric Shadow Man.

One special collaboration involved revered Canadian song scribe Ron Sexsmith, who helped sculpt Good Things' title track.

"I just absolutely love his music and who he is as a person, so when I first met him it was first as a fan," enthuses Rhaye.

"I wondered if he'd even like what I'd sing or what I'd play, but once I got in the room with him - and it's the same with J.P. or Dave Gunning or Ken Tobias - we're just people talking about music.

"Usually when I co-write, they're songs that I started to write and couldn't finish for whatever reason. I've learned a lot about song structure. They'll act like a song doctor and point out a chorus that I might not have thought of. It's really just having a second pair of ears hearing your ideas. Co-writing has turned out to be a very good experience, and one I thought I wouldnít be able to do because songwriting is so personal for me."

With three albums to her credit over the past decade, Rhaye says she's gained a lot of confidence in her songwriting abilities in the decade since her self-titled debut, and doesn't get flustered or star struck when she sits down with high calibre talents like

"I've always had a good time co-writing, and I've always gotten a good song out of it too."
- The Chronicle Herald

"On a Happy Note"

Music Saint John songstress Jessica Rhaye says she's in a good place

Jessica Rhaye is perfectly capable of writing a song on her own - she's been doing that for years - but it's nice to have some help sometimes." Certain songs, I'll sit down and write them all in one sitting," she says during a recent interview. "I'll have the idea, the thought, the mood, I'm feeling it, and I can finish the whole song completely by myself."And then there are other times where I'll start it and I'll get distracted, so it's those songs that I'll take to my co-writers."

On her latest album, Good Things, released this month, the Saint John singer-songwriter turned to Atlantic Canadian musicians Dave Gunning, Ken Tobias, Ed Woodsworth and Asif Illyas, with whom she has worked in the past, as well as enlisting Canadian songwriting heavyweight Ron Sexsmith to share credits on the title track.She calls her co-writers "song doctors."They operate on songs," she says with a laugh, helping her tighten up what's she's written, developing a second verse or adding a bridge."I usually always have a verse and a chorus, and the verse is usually the idea of what the song is going to be like, and then the chorus is the hook, it's the melody."Rhaye calls co-writing with Sexsmith "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. "They first met about three years ago, at a songwriters' circle in Toronto."I just saw him in the audience and I thought, 'Oh my God, I have to say hello,' so I did."They kept in touch by email; a couple of years ago when he was in Saint John for a gig at the Blue Olive, Rhaye dropped him a line to see if he had time to help her finish a song she had started and tucked away. He had a couple of hours to spare before the show, so she hopped in a cab for his hotel, where she sang what she had for him."He really liked it, and so he helped me finish that song. It was perfect."

The result, Good Things, sets the tone for the album, which is, as the title suggests, upbeat for the most part. The mood is well-suited to Rhaye's sweet, clarion-clear voice. The album's warm, pared-down sound features a more relaxed instrumentation than her previous releases, Short Stories (2006) and Jessica Rhaye (2000), including stand-up bass, acoustic guitars, mandolin and piano. While her band - Matt Grey, Jon Goud, Mike Carroll and Chris Braydon - will accompany her on a three-show New Brunswick tour that kicks off tonight in Saint John, she could easily hit the road with just her guitar and her voice and promote Good Things.

Mark Marshall, her manager and husband, is busy trying to line up other shows. "We've got a lot of other things in the works, it hasn't been solidified so I can't really say, but I hope to do some more extensive touring late summer, early fall."

The album grew out of a series of successful live shows she played in England last year while on tour with New Brunswick bluesman Matt Andersen and Halifax musician Dave Gunning."I guess I was playing a lot of solo acoustic shows and they were going over really well with audiences, and I think they were looking for something that sounded like I sounded live," she says. "My other two records, they were produced so that it really goes over only if you have a band or if you have more people playing with you. For this record, I really just wanted to go back and record something that sounded like how I sound live." She also wanted to make a fun album." I think it's where I am right now in my life. I look at Short Stories and I think I questioned a lot of things," she says." The period in between Short Stories and this album, I got married, I'm really happy with where I am in my life as far as my personal life and my work, as well. I just love being a graphic designer."

Her musical talents and her design skills have not gone unnoticed. Over the last few years she has been nominated for eight East Coast Music Awards, including five for her work as a musician and three industry awards for her work as a graphic designer. Most recently, her website was nominated for website of the year at the 2009 East Coast Music Awards.

"I feel like I'm doing what I've always wanted to do, and that is be an artist," she says. "I think I'm just happy."

- The Telegraph Journal


An organic album that will take you on a trip back to the great singers and songwriters from your parents' record collection, including Joan Baez, John Denver, Melanie Safka and more.

The production elements have been described as hip, modern, adventurous twists on simple folk driven songs, surrounded by Jessica’s magnetizing voice.




2009 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee - Contemporary Singer of the Year.

JESSICA RHAYE: Singer/Songwriter/Visual Artist

Jessica Rhaye, a singer/songwriter and visual artist from Saint John, New Brunswick, releases her new album “Good Things”, an organic contemporary folk album that will take you on a trip back to the great singers and songwriters from your parents' record collection. The Chronicle Herald says “Singer-Songwriter Jessica Rhaye strikes gold with collaborations on Good Things”. Jessica, also an accomplished graphic artist, has been nominated for a total of 8 East Coast Music Awards, has received recognition from numerous songwriting awards and has performed all over Canada, in Africa, parts of the United States and toured all over the United Kingdom. For “Good Things”, Jessica has co-written with notable Canadian songwriters Ron Sexsmith and Ken Tobias.


I do not come from a very musical family. My mother can sing and play a few songs on the guitar and I had a great aunt who could play the piano, but that is really the extent of the musical history in my family. Although my parents weren’t musicians, their interest in music exposed me to exceptional songwriters, from Lennon & McCartney, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, John Denver to Anne Murray – these are just some of the songwriters that I remember listening to and being inspired by as a young girl.

After high school, and shortly after recording my self-titled first full-length album, I knew that I needed an alternative creative outlet. I applied and was accepted to New Brunswick’s College of Craft and Design and the moment I sat in front of a computer there was never any question, I was going to be a graphic artist. College was such a wonderful period of growth and evolution for me as an artist. I was surrounded by such a variety of art forms and artists; I had never been so full of inspiration and ideas. I felt like I was bursting so it was an incredibly fruitful period for my creative output.

During my college years, I decided to work on improving my music and song writing skills. I knew I needed to collaborate with other writers but I was quite hesitant. The funny thing was that although I loved to be able to share my experiences through music, I felt conflicted about sharing my unfinished songs with other songwriters, but I put aside my self-consciousness and opened up my song journal. The songs that I work on with others were always songs that for some reason I just couldn’t finish. As I worked with the other writers or “song-doctors,” as some like to refer to themselves, these songs became much stronger and really emphasized the hooks in the melodies and lyrics. It really was one of the best learning experiences and such a boost for my career. I’ve been fortunate and been able to work with some phenomenal songwriters including my producer Ed Woodsworth, Ken Tobias, Dave Gunning, Asif Illyas and Ron Sexsmith. This period of time and my college experiences inspired the production of my sophomore album “Short Stories.”

I started thinking about producing an acoustic album while I was on tour in the United Kingdom with Dave Gunning and Matt Anderson. Each night we played our solo sets, and then we would take the stage together and collaborate on a variety of songs to close the night. My acoustic set was met with such positive feedback, that I started thinking I should revisit my roots - in essence the influences of my parents’ record collection.

The result is my new album “Good Things,” which takes a more organic approach focusing on simple and classic instrumentation such as stand up bass, acoustic guitars, mandolin, and piano. This was a trip back to the positive music that has influenced my life and art; a time when as a child I was experiencing new things, great music and had a very positive outlook on life. I have really enjoyed writing and recording this new collection of songs and taking an acoustic approach to the production. To tie in to the organic nature of the acoustic instrumentation, I really wanted the imagery to be simple and classic. I believe “Good Things” really reflects who I am as a musician at this stage in my life and the skills I’ve developed as a songwriter, musician, graphic artist and person.

I am excited about where all of my albums have taken me and where I can go in the future. To me, it’s not about the paper accomplishments, but more about the experience, the things I have learned and how I can open up and share my stories through my music.

- Jessica.


- East Coast Music Awards 2011: DVD of the Year (Nomination)
- Music New Brunswick Awards 2010: Female Artist, Folk Recording, DVD of the Year and Visual Artist of the Year (WINNER)
- East Coast Music Awards 2010: Solo Female Artist of the Year, Folk Recording of the Year, Visual Artist of the Year (Nominations)
- Canadia