Move over American Idol: Jesse Aaron Skrnich may be Bogota’s next idol. The 16-year-old singer signed a contract with Island Def Jam Digital Distribution in January to release his first single, "Break it Out!", a dance/pop song, to iTunes and Amazon MP3.
Skrnich, who as an artist goes by Jesse Aaron, his first and middle names, described "Break it Out!" as being about "dancing and having fun at a club."
"I came up with beats and mixed the beats on my computer," Skrnich said of writing the single. "I made the beat and then wrote the lyrics that go with the song."
Skrnich said he used Music Maker 16, a computer program for writing music, to compose the song. In total, the writing process took a few weeks, he said.
"I started writing the song on Christmas day. By the second of week of January, I was completely done," Sknrich said.
"I think it’s a whole fun process – writing about your life, the things that are fun," he said.
"I feel really proud of myself that I was able to get the song on iTunes and Amazon MP3. It was a really exciting thing that I did," he added.
Skrnich cited musical influences that run the pop, hip-hop and R&B gamut, including 50 Cent, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey, Ne-Yo, Pink, Trey Songz and Lil’ Wayne, though he said his favorites are Jennifer Lopez and Usher.
A junior at Bogota High School, Skrnich said he had previous experience with music and singing through participating in chorus in grades 7 to 10 and also by playing the saxophone in grade 4.
"I always knew I had a good voice since I was 12," he said. "I always loved music since I was like 5."
With his sister’s encouragement, Skrnich said he submitted a rough version of "Break it Out!" to approximately 10 record labels in early January. Of the various record labels, which included Epic and RCA records, Island Def Jam showed the most interest, he said.
"Some of them showed interest," he said, "but not at the same level as Island Def Jam Distribution Artists."
After submitting "Break it Out!" to Island Def Jam, Skrnich said an interested label representative called him. Skrnich said he then signed an online contract with Island Def Jam Digital Distribution. According to Island Def Jam Digital Distribution’s website, the company makes music available for online purchase in exchange for annual subscription fees.
Skrnich said "Break it Out!" was put on iTunes and Amazon MP3 on Jan. 12.
"I was thrilled!" he said of the deal.
At present, Skrnich said he is focused on publicizing his music and has sent copies of "Break it Out!" to New York radio stations, including Z100, 103.5 KTU and 92.3 NOW, as well as television programs such as "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Mo’Nique Show" and "Good Morning America."
"I’m going to perform on the road and at the high school," Skrnich said. "Anywhere that I can perform I would."
With one single to his name, what’s next for the teen singer?
A second single, a dance/pop song tentatively titled "Be My Baby Now," which Skrnich said should be finished in "a month or two."
"It’s about girlfriends and stuff – people who you really want to be with," he said of the song.
Also on the horizon for Skrnich is an album, which the singer said he hopes will be out later this year.