The Ancient City is a tight knit community built for aspiring creatives that comes complete with a homegrown support system. St. Augustine native, Rachael Miller of Sailor Jane Music, is one local musician who is building a successful career on the values of peer support and collaboration.
Her creative seed was planted at a young age and cultivated through a family tree deeply-rooted in faith and gospel music. “My grandfather, Richard Buckner, owned multiple gospel radio stations and my mother, Jill, was a gospel radio DJ,” says Rachael. Having built upon her gospel based upbringing to become one of the Ancient City’s most popular reggae artists, Rachael explains that “Early reggae is rooted in gospel and soul music.” While Rachael’s early musical life is undoubtedly a key element in her artistic composition, perhaps the most noteworthy constituent is her musical journey.
Rachael is a graduate of Douglas Anderson High School in Jacksonville where she studied classical guitar. Almost instantly after graduating Full Sail University in Orlando, Rachael was catapulted into the music industry with a job at the famous Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta. It was during that shotgun initiation that Rachael’s keen sense of personal awareness and self honesty took her life on an unexpected detour. “Everything was happening so fast,” she says. “Being only nineteen years old, I just felt like I wasn’t quite ready for it. I realized quickly that I had a lot to learn before putting myself in that environment.”
So, she stepped away from the music industry, took time to regroup and travel, then came home to St. Augustine where she gave birth to her daughter, Selah. But here Sailor Jane re-entered the workforce in a different capacity as a high school science teacher then a registered nurse. But gradually she made her way back once again into the music scene. “I started ‘Sailor Jane Productions’ and was hired on at Prohibition Kitchen to book live performances,” she says. “Eventually, I started taking more time away from the hospital to start playing music again.”
Once again fully focused on music, her Ancient City music resumé lists bands like ‘Individual United’ and First Coast Reggae powerhouse ‘Pili Pili’. After spending eight years with the band, Sailor Jane attributes much of her success to the influence of Pili Pili’s lead singer and bass player. “I learned how to perform live music and a lot about the roots and culture of reggae from King Eddie and Soy Blanco,” she says.
Driven by her songwriting passion, Sailor Jane urges the community to rally around original music. “Everybody should support original music. Popular cover songs are fun but they don’t require people to really listen to what artists have to say.”
Learn more about Sailor Jane and her music by visiting www.sailorjaneproductions.com. Written by Robert Waldner. Photographer by Mark Cubbedge.