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  • Writer's pictureSheree Hoddinett

Narangba Musical Prodigy

At just 13-years-old JayBird Byrne from Narangba will hit the stage at Thirsty Chiefs Brewing Co on July 7 to perform and release her next single Pups at Work.

For JayBird Byrne there’s no denying music is a big part of who she is as a person. Combining her musical talent with her love for her furry legged sidekick Eddie and dogs in general, Narangba-based JayBird is already well on her way to success in the music world. JayBird’s upcoming single Pups at Work will be released on July 7 and is just one of many dog inspired tracks on her new EP titled Dog Tales. But as with many musicians, there is certainly more to this up-and-coming young star than meets the eye.


“I actually have perfect pitch, I can hear a song and if I have my guitar I could figure out how to play it. I do it all by ear.

When you first meet JayBird, it’s hard to imagine she’s just 13-years-old. She oozes confidence and maturity well past her young age. But you can feel her passion for what she does and how much her music means to her. The defining moment that saw this youngster cement her thoughts on a path into the world of music came about during a concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.


“For me, the bit that sealed the deal and I knew I was going to be a guitarist, I was seeing Fleetwood Mac in concert and I was looking at the guitar tech,” JayBird says. “So he started throwing guitar strings at me and then what ended up happening is I got to walk up on stage in front of maybe 10,000 people to hand Mike Campbell, who plays in Fleetwood Mac now, the guitar.

“I saw the crowd and I knew what I wanted to do, I knew it was going to be in music. That was the moment of a lifetime and I'd like to experience that again and again and again.”


JayBird released her first single Convergence in October 2022. Now she is busy working on the next line up of songs for Dog Tales. So, where did the idea come from to have a dog-themed list of songs?


“My first song called Pups at Work, it’s about dog training and my pets, which includes my dog Eddie,” JayBird says. “My inspiration stems from Eddie and a bunch of other dogs I have in my life.

“There’s one track I’ve just finished recording the guitar for and the bass for another song called The Wolf. It’s about a giant German Shepherd and that song, I feel, is going to be the premier song of the EP.

“So all the songs are dog related of course and some of the titles may seem a bit different to the underlying dog idea because I have one that I’m writing called Golden Knees. It’s about our dog that literally has golden knees after an operation, so it’s still dog related but in a different way of thinking.”


While she has a great love for playing guitar, JayBird’s musical abilities don’t end there.

“I can play all sorts of different instruments,” she says. “I can play drums, bass, I’ve got an organ at home which we found for free on the side of the road one day and it actually worked! And I love playing that. I’ve used it to write the chord progressions I’m using at the moment.

“When I'm writing my music, I find it's easier if I jump from different instruments because then you get a different outlook. I feel like every song needs balance, so I try to shift it as well by adding a key section or adding a bass section or other different things.”


Music is definitely in JayBird’s bloodline with her dad also dabbling in guitar. But believe it or not, JayBird’s amazing guitar skills have not come from reading music.


“I cannot read a single note of sheet music,” she says. “If someone puts sheet music in front of me it's time to pack up and go away. I can see how it would mean something to other people and I can see what it would mean, but to me, to my brain, it just makes no sense. It just sort of makes my head spin.


“I actually have perfect pitch, I can hear a song and if I have my guitar I could figure out how to play it. I do it all by ear.”


With influences including the likes of Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Randy Rhoads and Steve Vai, JayBird certainly enjoys the old school music. But she admits that she tries to listen to all different genres, even today’s mainstream music.


“Currently there's a band called Polyphia and they're a really new band,” JayBird says. “They were recommended to me and so I had a listen and didn’t really like them at first because I listened to the wrong songs.


“I find every band that I listen to, there's songs I like and songs I really love. And then there's songs I don't really like. Even with Van Halen, some of their songs, I just find a bit off-putting to my ear. When I then gave Polyphia another chance after seeing an interview with the guitarist, I actually thought, this is amazing, this is the best guitar song that’s been produced in the 2000’s.”


We all have mentors and those who inspire us to do great things in the world. If JayBird could grace the stage with anyone musically inclined, she’d choose Eddie Van Halen.


“Well my dog Eddie is named after him and he has done so much in the industry,” she says. “There’s also Jimi Hendrix, that would be an amazing experience.

“I really, really look up to Joe Satriani. He has done what he wanted to do with the guitar and he didn't worry about people's expectations. He just went with it and he is a very, very successful, very amazing guitar player.

“If I was to choose a female guitarist, I would go with Nita Strauss, in my opinion, she is the best female guitarist, if not one of the top 10 guitarists in this world. Her style and what she brings to the guitar is like no one else.”


With music that inspires her and many musicians that she looks up to, are there any that JayBird doesn’t like?


“I appreciate every musical genre and I appreciate every person's music,” she says. “But there are some certain bands or songs that I cannot tolerate and that's usually when my brain goes into finding a piece and a section of the song, because recently after doing a lot more music production, I've been able to turn the bass up in my brain or turn the guitar down and I can just isolate the tracks. And I've found if I don't like a song, what I usually try to do unless something is really bad, I just try to isolate one track in my mind and I find that usually works.

“I think everyone has their own style and own opinion of what makes good music.”


Along with influential musicians, JayBird can also thank Simon Gardner for his invaluable teaching and mentoring with the guitar and Musicare’s director Dan Nebe, who has helped steer her in the direction of getting out and performing to a greater audience.


“Dan is my management and he’s become a good friend too,” JayBird says. “I have my shows at North Lakes and the Sunshine Coast which I’m very happy with and Dan is very valuable because he can get these gigs for me.

“And he's able to guide me into what I can do in the music industry. He’s also offered insight of what else I need to do to put myself out with social media, interviews and everything else.”

Although music is a big part of her life, JayBird also enjoys Speedcubing and 3-D modelling. Without knowing what the future holds, she hopes to “release a bit of music and make a living off doing what I love”. With that in mind, she also has some imparting wisdom for any families looking to walk down the music path.


“To any parents out there who want to get their kids into music, the best thing is try not to punish them if they don't practice their instrument because the thing they need more than anything is encouragement,” JayBird says. “If wanting to do it doesn't come from the child, it’s only going make them hate it more.”


JayBird will be performing and releasing Pups at Work at Thirsty Chiefs Brewing Co at North Lakes on July 7. To find out more about JayBird and her music, visit www.jaybirdbyrne.com

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