IBG Interview: Jamie-Lee Dimes

Jamie-Lee Dimes

With a voice like velvet and a musical style unmatched, Australian multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Jamie-Lee Dimes is back with her new single, “Virginia.”

From its distorted, dreamy guitar sounds to Dimes’ bewitching voice throughout, the track is eerily sedative, and my mind and body beautifully morph into one as it unfolds.

Combining ethereal instrumentals and all-powerful lyrics, the track is a 60’s inspired, celestial ode to the state of Virginia and its rise above the infamous 2017 “Unite the Right” rallies in Charlottesville.

“You can wave your torches/ You can wave your flags/ The wind will drop sails/ We are coming home.” This compelling theme of reclamation seeps from the track, and Dimes’ poetic confidence is profound as she exclaims her love for Virginia.

Jamie-Lee is so refreshingly authentic, and her ability to create a track that’s both musically intelligent and soul awakening all at once is her superpower. “Virginia” is an anthem for the people, and most importantly, reminds us that in times of hate, the power of love and music will always prevail.  

Dimes’ love for Virginia is invigorating, and just as I have, this track will make you fall in love too. “Virginia” follows on the heels of the recently unveiled “Release Me.” PRESS HERE to watch the video which pays tribute to Australia’s natural beauty in the wake of the recent bush fires, and wrestles with complex feelings of discrimination to provide a voice for those in society who might not have one in a landscape where the stakes are higher than ever.

Inspired by both of Jamie-Lee’s latest singles, Indie Band Guru made it a point to chat about the writing process and all the things that make Jamie unique. You can find the interview below:

The major theme of your single “Release Me” seems to be catharsis. What specifically do you feel like you are internally letting go of through this song?

Low self-worth, my own blocks with self-acceptance. Self-sabotage. Feeling controlled by people who are being abusive. Letting go of the cycle of abuse and stereotypes, family dysfunctions, and conditioning. The stories people have that they use to identify me, the expectations society and people have, and all the issues I’ve faced in response from impacts on my mental and emotional health to body image. I’ve really gone through extremes, but it’s the truth so I will openly talk about it. 

What does your creative process entail when it comes to songwriting? Do you find the lyrics come naturally or do you struggle with writer’s block?

It depends where I’m at and what I’m going through. I usually write when I’m going through something heavy. I channel my emotions into writing music as it takes the edge off. I’ve really fallen in love with the art of writing songs. I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I’ve experienced a lot and I can really express and articulate what it is I want to say.

Usually I’ll start with a chord progression and a melody will just come. I typically record a demo of the idea instantly so i don’t forget anything. If lyrics don’t come instantly, I’ll listen back and piece together the story that was coming out naturally in the improvised melody.

Lately, I’m trying to pick up my guitar and write when I’m not going through turmoil more and more. I’m learning that it’s okay to be at peace and still create.

The visuals for the “Release Me” video are stunning. How has growing up in Australia influenced your artistry?

Thank you! I have been very privileged in this world to have the time and opportunities to connect with nature. Where I grew up, I was always on a beach, in the country, in the hinterland mountains, around waterfalls, just hiking and exploring. It really fuels my imagination, which is my biggest tool as an artist. I love storytelling and being so connected to nature by living in Australia – wandering acres of land with rivers, bushes, beaches and mountains – helped me craft that. 

What message would you like to send your fans in Australia?

I’ve been hustling hard in America, repping the Australian work ethic the last eight years. It might seem as though I’m coming out of nowhere, but I’ve been going through a lot of crazy life experiences and, now that the time is right, I have interesting things to report back on and perspectives to share in my music.

In what ways has your study of dance helped your career as a musician?

Thanks for asking about my background in dance! It has helped me in so many ways I’m so grateful for. I spent a year dancing full time in New York at a school in the Broadway Theatre District at the start of my career in music. I was in over my head from the moment I started walking the halls. It always seems to work out, but I have a tendency to go for the most outrageously ambitious dreams without knowing how I’m going to make it all happen. It was my first introduction to living outside my comfort zone, on the other side of the world all by myself. Nothing prepares you for New York or that experience!

I think being in New York and dancing gave me a very strong work ethic. I get stuff done in a very New York way because there’s where I started. Musically, I think dancing exposed me to very different time tempos and writing styles which I incorporate in my music. I would be in class all day, but the music would shift – we’d have pianists playing classical music and ballet instructors one day, or we’d have the choreographer for Beyoncé or Lady Gaga come in, or we’d have Broadway dancers. I don’t think I really knew how rare an opportunity it was at the time, and only truly started to appreciate the experience a few years ago, but it has Influenced my work ethic, vision, and discipline.

I think I have the best of both worlds, now. I can write music inspired by dance pieces and get to speak about the things that are important to me using all the artistic elements involved: staging, lighting, visuals, costumes, symbolism, storytelling, and using your body – as well as the art itself – to express meaning.

Being based there now, what about California inspires your musical style?

California is the complete opposite lifestyle to New York. It gives me this beautiful space and silence to retreat to, which really helps me to connect with something higher than myself and explore all of my ideas. I go through the motions of intense life experiences and then go out to California desert with no distractions to ground myself and channel it all into my music.

I understand you’re hitting the road in March. Do you prefer performing at large concert halls or smaller, intimate venues? What do you look forward to most when performing live?

I’m new at playing live shows. I’ve only been playing live for about 11 months, but I’d love to try performing in a concert hall! Originally, I just wanted to write music for film and dance and never play a live show because, even though I’m a massive extrovert in everyday life, I am really introverted on stage and it makes me feel vulnerable. I played a lot last year and I’m more confident now, though. I like the world I have when I’m on stage. It’s nice to get lost in it and connect to the music.

It’s still frowned upon to pursue being an artist for a lot of women, who are instead expected to “find a nice man, settle down, have some kids, and get a stable job.” I experience that line of thinking a lot and it makes me more motivated to be like “F==k that! I’m going to pursue my dreams of playing music in as many different cities as I can around the globe and see how much I can achieve!”

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have more music coming and I’m working on my first full-length album. I’m also playing SXSW and some shows in North America, but I’m hoping I’ll get the chance to tour even more. I’m constantly writing new music and have a lot that I’d still like to try recording once things get a bit quieter as well! Maybe I’ll even write music for films and dance, and curate events around the world.

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