Jaymay's career began nearly a decade ago at an open-mic night in New York City, and for years moved rather slowly — at a rate she pleasantly describes as "excruciating." It has not, however, been without its breaks: performances on The Conan O'Brien Show and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson; attention from the BBC and NPR; and the fandom of How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor, who fell in love with her song "Sea Green See Blue" after it was recommended to him by a friend. "He wanted to use it in the show's season finale," the singer (real name: Jamie Seerman) recalls, "so he wrote me an email and we became pen pals, essentially."
For the singer-songwriter — a long-time staple of the New York anti-folk scene, whose sound is a mix of Bob Dylan¸ Chet Baker and Feist — these love-at-first-listen stories are not unusual. Her fans adore her. She is constantly inundated with loving Facebook messages and polite pleas to play shows in various towns.
"I feel like my fans are rooting for me; they want me to do well," Seerman says. "It's the foundation of my career." She takes a steady, workmanlike approach to making music, and her lyrics are so candid that sometimes she actually names herself in them. She's built her fan base organically, through word of mouth and lots of performing. As for the Internet adoration, "Anyone who's ‘liked' me, I feel like they really like me," she says with a chuckle.
Several years ago, Radnor began working on a movie he had written called happythankyoumoreplease, and asked Jaymay to contribute music. "It takes place in New York and it deals with relationships," she says of the film. "It resonated with me." She wrote two original songs; the music editor ended up using 14 of her songs for the soundtrack. One track, "Never Be Daunted," is currently being considered for an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. She's got some tough competition — basically every song from The Muppets is under consideration, not to mention songs by Mary J. Blige and Jónsi — but whatever happens, Jaymay's days of excruciating slowness may soon be a memory.