<I>Finally </I>here: Jem plays Starr Hill

After a summer spent touring the nation and opening stadium shows for the Dave Matthews Band, ATO Records' newest star, Jem, brings her catchy loops and thumping beats to Starr Hill Thursday, November 11.

And though the spritely songstress hails from Wales, her Charlottesville show is a homecoming of sorts. Soon after ATO Records exec Bruce Flohr signed her to the label in 2003, Charlottesville became Jem's "test market." Her music was soon playing in Water Street boutiques and in restaurants all over town. Flohr says Charlottesvillians' early positive reaction to Jem's music "helped us realize we have something special here."

Mike Friend, founder of indie radio station WNRN, says he also recognized something special. After meeting her last November at a Starr Hill party in her honor, Friend quickly put several of Jem's singles into rotation on his station.

So will Friend turn out to see Jem this week?

"Oh, certainly," he says giddily. "I think I'm introducing her."

Though tickets to the show were still available on Tuesday, November 9, Friend says he believes the show will be sold out.

"People will be missing something really good if it's not," he says.

Looks can be deceiving: Though Jem could pass for a teen, she's actually closer to 30.