We are taught as children, that when you fall down, you brush yourself off and you get back up again. For twins, Jacy and Jana Ayers, that is exactly the way they have lived their lives; and every time they’ve stood back up, they’ve had more strength, hope and faith than the last time. Together, the two make up musical duo, Lavendine and their lyrically driven tunes are a pure representation of who the women are and how they view every day. Their debut album, Feel My Way, is comprised of 10 tracks that somehow manage to find a balance of honesty and strength, darkness in light; an admission that things are not always easy, but filled with enough strength and hope that they know they will be.
Have you ever wondered why it gets the darkest right before the dawn/And the road you’ve been traveling/ Oh it feels like it’s the wrong one/ That’s when you realize this is not where my story ends
Born in Liberal, Kansas, raised mostly in Oklahoma and eventually following their dreams to Nashville (two times), the sisters first fell in love with music and performing at just 4 or 5 years old. Jana recalls, “we were just little bitty’s standing on two bales of hay, singing background vocals in church as a favor for someone.” Their mother knew right away that her girls could carry a tune and it was from then on that singing, recording and dreaming of music became a natural and normal part of their lives. Although they had performed locally, even winning competitions, it wasn’t until they were getting ready to go to college that they shared with their parents their secret conversations of skipping school to move to Nashville to sing. Always supportive, they struck a deal with their mother that if they did two years of school, they could go. Two successful years of college, including making the Dean’s List, were more than enough to fulfill their end of the bargain and the girls were off to Nashville.
Without knowing a soul in the city and lacking the music industry savvy needed to avoid certain pitfalls of the trade, the girls went through a series of experiences with producers and executives who were more concerned with the marketing and creation of the duo rather than allowing them to have a say themselves. Without an opportunity to be heard, Jana and Jacy were never able to truly explore or grow into who they themselves wanted to be when it came to their music. Beginning to question their space in that world, and needing to pay the bills, Jana became an esthetician while Jacy became a hairstylist. Frustrated, the two began to lean more on their backup plan and regretfully decided to move back home to Oklahoma. It was there that they both met two brothers who would eventually become their husbands. They quickly realized meeting the men may have been the real reason they were guided to abandon the music portion of their dreams for that window of time. Despite that happiness and the success they found there, including opening a day spa as well as having their own radio show (with a weekly reach of over 250K listeners), the women were still drawn to Nashville and had never given up hope for their first love of music.
Unfortunately, through all of the ups and downs in their careers, both Jacy and Jana have spent the last ten years dealing with even more intense struggles- their physical health. When Jana began having debilitating migraines, she saw specialists, had test after test done to no avail, until one day when she went to her vocal doctor for a problem with her throat. It wasn’t until he looked in her ear that it was
discovered she was experiencing the effects of trauma to her eardrum from back when she was just eleven years old, diving off a high dive. The incident had caused a tumor to grow over time backwards towards her brain-stem and she was rushed into emergency surgery the following morning. Since then, she has struggled with managing her chronic nerve pain and as well as surprising everyone in the music industry that hears her sing with the fact that she has 80% hearing loss in one ear.
Jacy has spent the last ten years in and out of emergency rooms from her own medical troubles, as well as recovering from ten different surgeries, ranging from kidney stones to gall bladder problems. Especially difficult during this time was having an ectopic pregnancy and the emotional recovery that followed.
When I look around me/ I don’t see the beauty/ The grass is gray the skies not blue/ My future’s blurry/ But I’m looking for my sweet morning/ Tomorrow’s sunrise will see me smile/ And I’ll feel the sunshine touching my face/ I’ll stand here waiting/ Anticipating my new day/ Oh I can’t wait
Regardless of the dark clouds in their lives, the two always had hope and strength in the things they wanted for their lives, which not only included music, but marriage and family as well. After about four years in Oklahoma, Jana and Jacy headed back to Nashville and were blessed to begin working with Danny Duncan (Bruce Springsteen, Usher, Amy Grant), the first person to ever let them truly be and feel like the artists they knew they were. It was working with Danny that helped renew the confidence they had since they were little girls, that somewhere there was a place in the world that they could have a career in music.
And now, Feel My Way, is the sum of all parts, as a first album should be. It is filled with love, hope, faith, struggles and experiences and is sung with harmonies as strong as the two women themselves. They’ve learned from their influences and created their own style from it, most notably, artists that they loved for harmonies, like Diamond Rio and Chicago. Always fans of multiple genres, Lavendine’s music weaves seamlessly between pop, country, and adult contemporary, creating a timeless feeling through the ten songs. It is having this completed album that has made them realize, in hindsight, that music has always been one of life’s best distractions from heartache, for their own as well as the people they perform for. They recall being only six years old and having their Grandmother push for them to perform for the people they were locked in public storm shelters with waiting out tornados. And they realize it’s the music and their dream to share it that has kept them distracted through their hard times as well.
A few years later, standing up, dusting themselves off, Jana and Jacy Ayers have both gotten married, Jacy had a successful second pregnancy that graced her with a little girl, and the sisters live in Nashville just across the lake from one another. They finally feel like their feet are planted firmly on the ground as individuals and as Lavendine. They hope their story, whether it be told through words or through their music, will be an inspiration to any and everyone that no matter what hurdles are in your way, you can have all the things you’ve hoped for in life.