INTERVIEW SERIES // JAMIE - LEE DIMES, MUSICIAN, ACTIVIST AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNER.
I first met Jamie-Lee Dimes when I was a teenager living in New Zealand, we would spend our summers at the beach, day dreaming up huge future plans for our careers or hanging at the local op shops sourcing vintage treasures to sew and create our own designs. Fast forward 17 years and many cities to us both running our own businesses and pursuing our dreams. We sat down with her in Los Angeles to discuss her musical journey, juggling multiple businesses and inspiration behind her newest single.
Jamie-Lee in our Magnolia dress
What inspired you to get into music and where does your passion for music come from?
I was always surrounded by musical instruments growing up, from the age of three I was hugely interested in the arts and music. I think I gravitated more to music because I am naturally rebellious and opinionated. I liked the idea of expressing your emotions and moods by creating stories, bringing forward your personal moments of creativity from your bedroom out into the world.
Recently you released a new single called Virginia, what is this about and how did you come up with the idea?
The song Virginia is a tribute to Virginia in the aftermath of the Charlottesville riots in Virginia in august 2017. I was living in the states and it was just after the elections, everything was insane. One morning I woke up in New Jersey as you do, and white nationalist's were marching the streets a few hours south of where I was living. It's just so crazy that it is legal and accepted. The song is a statement song and love letter, to stand with those who don't have a platform against racism.
You are a woman who wears many hats. Alongside music you run Brooklyn Dimes and social enterprise Mahlia Festival. What was your inspiration and drive with starting these and how do you manage to juggle so much?
Brooklyn Dimes started when I was at dance school in the Broadway theatre district in New York whilst living in Brooklyn. I had always been into vintage and thrifting and being in such a highly influential city like New York just got me branching out. I have a tendency to pursue very unpredictable sporadic careers so having some stability in other businesses and creative endeavours helps keeps me balanced when I'm feeling defeated or down.
Creating music and running your own business can be quite scary and daunting, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, exciting and fulfilling. What is one of those moments with you and your career?
Up until three weeks ago, it was being an official artist at SXSW music festival, lots of plans have fallen through the last three weeks from coronavirus as most people can relate, however seeing how much i've grown as a person, overcoming so much and seeing my resilience objectively makes me proud.
What or who is your personal style most influenced by right now?
I'm pretty ethereal as a rule, I like to feel comfortable and I've been touring and living out of a suitcase the last year and a half. Im super moody but right now i’m channeling seventies California desert girl.
Any advice for aspiring musicians or business owners who are starting out with combating self doubt and the many struggles in building a business?
Don't always trust your emotions in business, sometimes fear makes you think you shouldn't do something. Be organised, set deadlines, don't take no for an answer, create your own rules, filter out opinions of people around you, just do it - you will regret it if you don't give it your all.
Who are you currently listening to?
I'm actually listening to Ray Charles as I write this interview. Since being in America the last six weeks, I've been drawn to old blues and seventies Americana music like Creedence Clearwater, rolling stones, guess who, bb king.
Are you working on anything exciting you can share with us?
I'm about to walk to the post office to send some super 8 footage I shot last week in Texas for the Virginia music video. I was showcasing my album at SXSW and had a USA tour booked but it's all been canceled with the world shutting down, so i'm just taking some time to ground myself, set up a new home and then get creative again. I've been going pretty hard so it's nice to have some balance. I have a full length album coming out later this year and am going to demo out another album this month, and have some music videos and new songs coming out soon.