Since the release of her debut album in 2000, Jamie O’Neal has been impacting country music with her soulful voice and the immense amount of passion behind every word she sings.O’Neal became a household name with her single, “There Is No Arizona,” which set her path to stardom on fire with multiple No. 1 hits and 2 top 5 records as well as and many career accolades to follow, including four Grammy nominations, ACM top new artist and Billboard top new artist.
As she enters into another year in her illustrious career, O’Neal finds herself venturing into new territory as she launches her new independent record label, Momentum Label Group. While O’Neal will serve as producer/mentor at Momentum, she has a strong team surrounding her, including her father – veteran music industry great Jimmy Murphy, who has been hands on with his daughter from age eight when she began singing with her family.
“Today, there are more advantages to what a small independent label can do for the artist, like allowing them to have more creative input and to retain ownership of their recordings, unlike the majors, where you just sign everything over. This is a real partnership for us. We’re all involved as a team.”
While she humbly says she is learning as she goes, O’Neal leans on her own career and businesswoman expertise to guide her along in this new chapter. “Things have changed so much since I moved to Nashville in ’98 and got my record deal,” says the singer-songwriter. “Things have changed in the face of music with the Internet. It’s so easy now to discover new music and new artists on the web. That’s exciting because you can build a fan base, not just based on whether radio plays you or not. You can build a real fan base and connect with your fans so much easier now.”
The label’s flagship artist, Rachele Lynae, will release her debut single this spring. O’Neal has plans to expand her roster at Momentum Label Group in the future and also has intentions of releasing new music of her own in the coming years.
“It’s inspiring when I see other artists in the music business like Usher and Toby Keith who are still very much so involved with playing music and writing their own songs and recording, but they’re also working with other artists to further their careers and dreams,” says O’Neal, who literally grew up with a microphone in her hand, singing in her family’s band. "I love writing and producing young artists with big dreams. I remember just what it's like to be wide eyed and new to town and I love being able to help and mentor them. Writing music for other artists and getting to produce the tracks is so fulfilling to me."
“From a young age, I had a bird’s eye view as entertainers like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Crystal Gayle performed,” she says. “I watched from the side of the stage at the way they connected with a crowd, and that’s what made me want to be a performer."
Soon after she realized her heart would forever be in music, the young girl from Sydney, Australia, stumbled into the world of songwriting, which only made her thirsty for more. “I kept writing the songs I wanted to write about – who I was, and what I wanted to talk about,” O’Neal explains. “Performing was so exciting for me, but ultimately I knew as an artist that if I didn't write and record my own music, I would regret it, and I didn’t want to have any regrets.”
Nashville certainly had no regrets when O’Neal came to town with her powerhouse vocals and unique flare for the craft of songwriting, which opened many doors and created countless contacts throughout Music City. After crossing paths with Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Clay Walker), the famed producerhelped the young rising star land her first record deal with Mercury Nashville, which resulted with the release of her critically acclaimed album Shiver.
O’Neal went on to earn the title of the ACM's Top New Female Vocalist award and was named the Top New Country Artist by Billboard. Two of her four Grammy nominations came as a songwriter, for Best Country Song for “There Is No Arizona” and its chart-topping follow-up, “When I Think About Angels.”
In addition to headlining her own shows, O’Neal has toured with Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Alan Jackson and more. She has also landed songs on the soundtracks of Bridget Jones’ Diary and When We Were Soldiers, as well as on the ABC smash Desperate Housewives.
It is a measure of the respect she has earned that after Celine Dion was unable to sing “All By Myself” for Bridget Jones, the producers searched country music for its most powerful vocalist and chose O’Neal. When Carrie Underwood won American Idol, a search for a top-flight duet partner led once again to O’Neal.
O’Neal has appeared on numerous national television programs, including multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and many others.
With the beginnings of this new chapter in her career, O’Neal looks forward to continuing to make an impact on the world of country music through many musical faucets.
“I love touring and playing my shows where I get to reach the fans,” says O’Neal. “Being on stage is one of my main passions. With the new label, I know there may be challenges ahead, but I think anything worth having requires hard work and most of all passion."