Whatever Makes Your Soul Sing

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Long before “American Idol” hit the airwaves, Jayne Olderman was figuring out – and sometimes running away from – what it takes to make it as a musician.

by Christopher Lancette

Whatever makes your soul sing,
Whatever makes your freedom ring,
Whatever makes your heart beat… strong,
Whatever makes your days bright,
Whatever gets you through the night.
It may take some time … but you will find

Whatever makes your soul sing
Is the passion to begin again
To pick yourself up even when … you fail
Wherever there's a bridge to build
Whenever there”s a void to fill
Use your power to make dreams come true

Strike the hammer to the nail …
Push the wind into the sails
Put your shoulder to the plow …
Starting right now
Today is the beginning
Can”t you hear your soul singing

– from “Whatever Makes Your Soul Sing,” by Jayne Olderman and Diane Durrett

Bopping around in her Duluth basement studio, her hands flying across an array of keyboards, controllers and computers and tapping a beat on her designer jeans, Jayne Olderman could easily be mistaken for a musician just having a good time … like she makes a living simply by letting her innate talents do the work for her.

That would be a false impression.

The youthful 54-year-old”s face doesn”t reveal the decades of toil that have taken her from a Connecticut commune to successful performance tours with her own band – and to a now-burgeoning career as a singer, songwriter and producer. It doesn”t show the personal badges of courage that come with overcoming fear and self doubt, taking chances, learning new skills, and running a business.

It doesn”t convey “the journey” – the name of her label”s first CD and, if she ever decides to write one, a perfect title for an autobiography.

“You don”t know who you really are until you face adversity,” the founder of Red Warrior Records says. “That”s where you find your greatness.”

She opened the record company several years ago so that she could create music for herself and her clients her way, without the restrictions that come from an industry that she sees as built on the dual mantras of homogeny and playing it safe.

“I know the potential of the rewards of pushing through the hard times,” she says. “It”s being able to get paid for what I love to do – writing and producing music that goes out and wows people … that makes them feel what I”m feeling. It gives me a connection to humanity.”

The connections take many forms. Her musical styles range from pop to alternative and from R&B to neo-folk. Throughout the course of her career, she has written for renowned artists such as Patti LaBelle and corporate clients, including Primerica Financial Services. She has also created scores for film and TV. Through Red Warrior Records, she”s currently devoting a lot of time to producing for new artists, including Gwinnett”s own budding sensation, 16-year-old Tiffany Milagro. (Her single, “Why Can”t It Just Be Christmas?” debuted at No. 12 on

Billboard”s Hot 100 single sales chart within four weeks of release.) Olderman is also focused on selling more of her songs to major artists.

“I”m standing at a precipice right now,” she says. “I”m ready to fly. Everything is about to take off. I can feel it.”

While she radiates confidence about what”s ahead, she admits she clipped her own wings a number of times over the years.

Olderman discovered her interest in music at an early age. As a self-professed “little tomboy” with a love of climbing trees, she heard “Til I Kissed You” by the Everly Brothers.