Singer-Songwriter, JAMIE-LEE DIMES Discusses Her Empowering New Single ‘Virginia’ and Her Forthcoming Debut Album!
Get to know the rising Australian singer-songwriter Jamie-Lee Dimes! She recently released the music video for her latest single “Virginia.” The marching, alt-folk love letter was inspired by the infamous 2017 rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia which sought to reclaim the state from its recent history and spark the conversations needed to usher the world towards equality and acceptance.
Check out the nostalgic, melancholy-drenched video which was filmed in the days after SXSW’s cancellation and serves as a moment frozen in time of an America in the middle of pandemic shutdowns, breaking news alerts, and uncertainty here-
“I felt weary and uninspired in the time following the cancellation of SXSW,” says Jamie-Lee. “But I did what I know best and hit the road with my friend, filmmaker Vanessa Pla and a super8 camera. We set up camp in seventies roadside motels and explored a side of America that isn’t often seen, channeling our uncertainty into art during a time that will go down in history.”
Working on her debut studio album and making music spurred by a need to ignite conversations, ideas, and change, Jamie-Lee’s “Virginia” follows on the heels of the recently unveiled “Release Me.” An eclectic artist with a global perspective fueled by wanderlust and writing sessions all over the world, Jamie-Lee infuses her unique blend of nostalgic 60s rock and dreamy, melancholic folk with activism to draw inspiration from revolutionary artists such as Patti Smith, Cat Power, Kim Gordon, PJ Harvey, Grace Slick, and more. Creating moody ethereal soundscapes, such as those featured on her atmospheric and cinematic 2016 EP Liminality, Jamie-Lee recently wrapped an international tour in support of her previously released singles “Waste of Time,” a reminder to walk forward on the path of uncertainty, and “Hide in My Head.” Both singles, alongside Liminality, reflect her experiences living and studying dance in New York City, eventually merging Australian studies in music, classical ballet, drama, and contemporary choreography into her songwriting and music.
Connect With Jamie-Lee Dimes Here: WEBSITE
Learn more about Jamie-Lee Dimes in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. So, given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you? How have you adjusted to these times?
During the first half of quarantine, I was busy finishing my album in the California desert with my friend Gene Evaro Jr. When that was complete, I felt a bit lost in lockdown, especially after using so much mental energy on the project. Now, to pass time, I take zoom ballet and Spanish lessons in Mexico City half the week and I’m studying a degree in sociology at a university in Australia while I weather this storm. I also facetime my mum and some friends in Australia multiple times a day.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now?
Los Angeles is going back into lock down ☹. The most challenging part about quarantine is being an extrovert and being forced to be an introvert.
How have you been able to use social media during these unprecedented times? Are you finding that you use it even more to stay connected to fans and other musicians?
I’m trying to use social media less, but I’m picking up the phone and calling people more. I’m usually always having to use social media and I’m always on my phone taking with people across five time zones and multiple cities. I found that, after finishing my album, the cancellation of SXSW, the cancellation of my tour, and driving across America, I felt anxious and uneasy, so I just turned my phone off for a week and regrouped out in the desert.
Have you had to cancel a lot of shows this spring, summer and fall? I see that you do have a couple shows this summer in cities that allow it so what has that been like? Are you starting to schedule any bigger shows for 2021 yet?
I flew over from Australia to play SXSW festival and had some shows around the country lined up. I was also supposed to be touring now, but it was all cancelled. I was in Texas when SXSW was canceled, and travelled to a long way to be there, so it was pretty hard to get out of bed for a few days. My flight to Australia got canceled too, but just focusing on my new album and setting up a base Los Angeles/ I’m focusing on writing and co-writes and, as soon as there is a green light, I’ll be touring – hopefully supporting some of my favorite artists!
Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for you?
I just saw my friends play in Austin before lockdown, Annabelle Chairleg, they are great. I draw a lot of inspiration from powerful frontwomen or artists who can get lost in their own world.
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Virginia.” What was the inspiration for it? What was it like making the music video for it? How creatively involved with the making of it were you?
I was very creatively involved. I edited half of the video. I love all mediums of art, and really fell in love with the process of film while shooting and editing this music video. The video was inspired by Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas. We ended up going to a town called Italy, Texas. It was such an uneasy week and so we really just jumped in the car and winged it. We stayed in a roadside motels and dives to capture the seventies aesthetic and had to jump a fence to get into a football stadium in a pandemic. Defintely go check it out!
How does “Virginia” compare to your previously released music?
It’s the second single to my debut album. It’s psychedelic blues, slide guitars, shoegaze with this country southern undertone. It’s a glimpse into the new music and direction I’ve been writing.
Do you plan on releasing an EP or full-length album soon? Have you been inspired lately to write new songs?
Yes! I have a debut album I have finished recording that I am very excited to release. I have been inspired from spending time in the south, it’s definitely reflected in the new music I’m writing.
How do you think future music is going to be influenced by this incredible and absolutely necessary Black Lives Matter movement that the US and even the world is going through now? Is it inspiring you and your music today at all?
Hopefully we find substance in music again so that we can speak truth and have popular mainstream music infused with meaning. The first two singles I released, “Release Me” and “Virginia,” are very political and in alignment with the current state of affairs over racism and discrimination. It’s the only kind of art I want to make – something that makes people reflect and think. It is so important that artists talk about these subjects and open up the conversations, especially now.
If you could get into the studio with any artist today and collaborate on a new song, who would it be and why? What bands consistently inspire you?
If I could get in a room and write on a piano or guitar with Stevie Nicks, Cat Power, PJ Harvey, or Trent Reznor, I would be stoked. I also love Black Sabbath, old school blues, folk, melancholy and I love Dolly Parton.
What would your dream music video look like right now?
I’m envisioning a music video for a song I have on my new record called “Thank You,” where I have a ballroom of dancers dressed in theatrical Victorian clothes, waltzing and singing this love song. I’d love the video to be shot looking down on the dancers. I see it so clearly; luckily, I went to dance school! Hopefully it all comes together. I was set to go to Richmond, Virginia and shoot the “Virginia” music video with cheerleaders and a marching band, but the pandemic changed that plan – so you never know!
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
I finished my debut full-length album, which was written over three years between New York, the California desert, and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. I’m so proud of it. Be sure to stay tuned for updates and, when I can play shows and tour, I will be hitting the road – come say hi!