Jamie-Lee Dimes: The Singer Who Found Her Voice While Speaking Up For Others

Photo Credit: Travis Cosentino

Australian singer-songwriter Jamie-Lee Dimes has recently discovered her true voice as an artist, and celebrates this musical awakening with the release of two new singles! The tunes, titled “Release Me” and “Virginia”, showcase the young musicians newfound freedom, and remind listeners to be true to themselves regardless of the negativity they may face from society. Inspired by our current political atmosphere, Dimes has dedicated herself to making music that will ultimately spark up a conversation, and speaks on a number of personal and social issues.

“Release Me” dives deep into Jamie Lee’s ancestry and is a reaction to the discrimination her family faced for many years. The folk-rock track is accompanied by a transcendent music video, showcasing Australia’s natural beauty in spite of the mass destruction caused by wildfire last year (Click HERE to watch). By bringing this piece to life, Dimes was not only able to free herself from a string of personal struggles, but discovered what drives her as an artist as well. “Virginia” (released just last week on March 4th) serves as a voice for the voiceless, and focuses on the infamous “Unite the Right” rallies that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia back in 2017. Jamie-Lee Dimes will be performing both tracks at SXSW’s official artist showcase later this month, as well as on her North American Tour throughout March and early April.

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Eager to learn more about the accomplished artist and her music, BELLA connected with Jamie-Lee Dimes herself…

Did you always want to pursue a career in the music industry?

From childhood, I always had a very clear vision of pursuing performing arts. Growing up, I always wanted to be a dancer, actress, or musician. I always knew, from a very young age, that I was going to move to America as soon as I could to go to dance school or to do music. I’ve been obsessed with being a musician for half my life and that has become my main driving force, especially in the last few years, but I’ve always played instruments and told stories in some way.

What was it like moving from Australia to New York to LA? How did each move contribute to your creative process?

I have moved from Australia to New York twice, and both moves were horrendous experiences. I think I really learned about the death of ego and identity by going through the process. I think you get bombarded with fear when you are forced out of your comfort zone, and there’s nothing like moving to the other side of the world to get you there! You end up grabbing onto the fear as it ends up becoming familiar because it’s the only thing stable in change. I wrote my first mini-album Liminality inspired by living in in-between phases. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for the culture shock of moving countries, let alone to the most intense city in the world. The first time I moved, I was 22. I moved to New York to go to dance school and was totally in over my head, but I think it shaped me into the artist I am today. I’m so grateful for the experience. I think, growing up in Australia, we have a very relaxed and chilled culture. We’re pretty sheltered from the world in a sense. I had never really seen true hardship like you do in cities like New York and Los Angeles, both of which influenced my new music dramatically. The second time I moved to New York, I was more prepared and focused. I learned from my failures the first time, so it felt as though the city opened its arms to me and gave me a lot of opportunities – like writing in my apartment at 3:00am in Brooklyn.

Moving to LA felt like a breeze. I transitioned from New York, to New Jersey, to LA, just so I could slowly withdraw from the city. Los Angeles is a lot more like Australia, so it felt natural to gravitate to that city. I think California gives me time and space to focus on art and ground myself. You can process the life experiences with no distractions. It’s also close to Mexico. I lived there for six months in 2018 while writing music and travelled back and forth a lot.

How do you feel you have evolved as an artist since your mini-album release back in 2016?

My first body of work was inspired by my year of dancing full time at a school in New York’s Theatre District. I wanted it to be a contrast of classical meets dark and brooding; a soundtrack to my first year in New York. I always intended for it to be a mini album for film or dance pieces. They were written to be listened together, one after the other, in one sitting. It’s not really a typical album where you can pick out “singles.” My new music fits that format more.

I think my new music pulls from the lingering chaos of my twenties and touches on unresolved insecurities, but it also touches on my experiences living in America which has made me more politically active. Since the release of Liminality, I’ve travelled to a lot of places around the world, ended bad relationships, experienced romance, drifted away from people, and met others, which always influences my music. I’m in a really clear space and what I’ve been writing is real, honest, and heartfelt with no reservations.

I spent a lot of time in a place called Wonder Valley just outside of Joshua Tree, in the California desert. I think I really found myself artistically by spending time alone in the middle of the desert and dedicating time and space to my ideas, thoughts, and music. I also spent time reflecting on the cycles that come with living on a planet. I think we totally forget that we’re part of something bigger when we live in cities. As the band Spiritualized once said, “ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space.”

What do you hope your listeners take away from your music?

I would like to start conversations, make them think, and have them question their realities in order to give a voice to those that don’t necessarily have one. That’s my main goal. If I can help people connect with their emotions so that they can process things or help take away their pain a little, so they don’t feel so isolated, then that’s a job worth doing as well.

What can fans expect to see from your North American tour kicking off in March?

I just wrapped a very intense period of touring and traveling. I’ve only had about eleven days off, which included laying on the couch with a fever, so I’m doing a more intimate tour this time around. I’m currently in Joshua Tree rehearsing with half of my band for my SXSW performances, which includes Gene Evaro Jr and Piper Robison. They’re very talented musicians and friends. I’m looking forward to heading to Austin, Texas in a few weeks to rehearse with the other half of my band ahead of our performances at SXSW’s official showcase and The Aussie BBQ showcase. Then I head to New York to start my string of show dates.

What would be a dream project for you?

To have the freedom to write albums and speak about my opinions and views for the greater good is my dream. Record the music, tour the world, sleep and repeat. I also love the idea of being a creative director and combining all my passions and experiences in music, dance, film, fashion, photography, politics, and travel to make art that causes a reaction.

Listen to “Release Me” by clicking HERE.

Listen to “Virginia” by clicking HERE.

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