18-year-old local singer’s debut single picked up by Radio Disney
It was Sept. 22, her mother’s birthday, when 18-year-old Jazara Hutton (known professionally as Jazara) found out that her debut single “Friends” had been accepted for airplay by Radio Disney.
When the Santa Barbara native emailed her song to the radio station, she figured it’d be a long shot since many of the songs that get accepted for its Top Songs list are from the world’s biggest artists.
However, the day after her mom’s birthday, Radio Disney notified Jazara by email that her song was accepted.
Radio Disney placed the song at No. 1 on its Top Songs list.
Jazara called the station to request the song be played, and right at that very moment, her tune arrived over the airwaves.
“It ended up getting played right when I requested it, and it was unbelievable,” she recalled.
As of Tuesday, the song is still on the Top Songs list at No. 17.
Jazara wrote “Friends” in collaboration with her friend and producer Richello, who she met while going through LIMPI, a year-long intensive music course in Norway.
She started out with a skeletal version of the song that already included its infectious chorus, “I don’t wanna be friends, cuz I love you just a little too much,” and the song underwent eight different drafts until Jazara felt it was as perfect as it could be.
Growing up in Santa Barbara, Jazara always knew that she wanted to become a singer.
Her exposure to singers who also write their own material like Alicia Keys instilled in her that she would have to come up with her own songs if she wanted to be an artist.
As she tried to figure out what she wanted to say with her songs, her mom Tracy encouraged her to just look out the window and just sing whatever came to mind. At the age of 8, she wrote her first song “By My Side.”
Now that she’s older, Jazara’s songwriting is inspired by her own personal experiences or experiences that her friends and family have gone through. The singer-songwriter told the News-Press that “Friends” is inspired by the former.
“It’s based off real experiences in my life so it’s very personal, but I thought it would be a good way to let people into my life and start my career,” she said.
Jazara left her senior year at San Marcos High School to do the LIMPI music program in Norway and through it, learned a very important lesson about songwriting.
“You have to figure out how to stand out with your songs by being personal, but also being generic in a way so people can relate to you,” she said.
During the year-long program, she was mentored by singers and songwriters such as Sarah Hudson, Emily Warren, and Stargate.
Today, Jazara, who just finished the LIMPI program, lives in Oslo.
Though COVID-19 restrictions limit the amount of live performing musicians can do these days, Jazara has already racked up an impressive performance history by playing with well-known artists such as Gavin DeGraw, Elle King and Montecito singer Kenny Loggins, who she has been performing with since 2018.
Mr. DeGraw was the first of these artists she played with at the age of 15 at a gala for San Marcos High School’s Kids Helping Kids program, after she won her school’s talent show Royals Got Talent.
Jazara described performing with Mr. DeGraw as “surreal” and said the notable artists she’s played with since have inspired her own stage performance.
Since she started performing with Mr. Loggins in 2018, Jazara has become friends with the “Footloose” singer to the point that she will call him and ask for his feedback if she’s struggling with a new song that she’s writing.
Though she kept most of the details of music she’s working on under wraps, Jazara said her next singles will have a “dance type vibe” and will be “very Caribbean,” inspired by the music of her Jamaican heritage.
She intends on staying in Norway for another year or two, during which she’ll keep collaborating with Richello to put out more music, promote herself on social media, and give her listeners some positive energy as a respite from all the negativity of current world troubles.