Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Artist Abolitionist: JaimeLee, Recording Artist




This 4th of July holiday we interviewed a modern day abolitionist who understands that the fight for freedom is still not over. Meet JaimeLee, a Brooklyn based recording artist who spreads awareness and inspires others through music.

NN: Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey - how did you get to NYC and when did you discover your passion for music?

JL: I come from a long line of firefighters in greater Boston: no nonsense people. I largely owe my first experience with music to the nurse that delivered me. She looked at my tiny, spidery fingers and told my father, “She’s got piano fingers!”  With those words she loaded me with seven years of classical piano lessons from a grumpy old nun. Then I discovered Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, which spawned years of dance classes and sequin studded show choir solos. I think my family would have preferred a Bruins game to my dance recitals, but they were supportive even as they wondered where I had come from.

It took me a while to get to NYC. I had actually planned to move here many years ago, but then my mother fell ill and I stayed in Boston for years after. Just a year and a half ago, my hero-of-a-husband got a job in the NY office of a South African community development non-profit. So we put down roots in Brooklyn, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be here.


NN: We would describe your music as playful, a bit romantic, forward facing and pop inspired – do you agree? How would you describe your music and your musical inspiration?

JL: Wow, thank you! That’s so encouraging because that’s mainly what I was aiming for. I dearly love Pop music. It has often been a lifeline to me. It has the power to reach into my chest and pull my heart out of the depths and then give me the feeling of soaring over everything. I don’t think I’m alone in that. That’s why it is one of my life ambitions to pay it forward by making music that can pick people up and dust off the dirt. I would argue that while the hurting and broken in this world have material needs to just survive, they also need things like music, drama, and art to give them something to live for. Music offers a new perspective and a glimpse at hope. I’m very much indebted to the artists I’ve listened to throughout my life. There are too many to list them all, but a partial list would include: Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Freddie Mercury, Garth Brooks, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton and the Boston Pops.


NN: How did you hear about human trafficking for the first time and where did you first encounter Nomi Network?

JL: I first learned about human trafficking at my church in Boston, when I heard about the efforts of Love146 (another anti-trafficking organization). I was bowled over by the issue when I understood for the first time what was actually happening all over the world and also in my backyard. I was angry and heartbroken, and in addition, I needed something to do. So I got involved and eventually ended up leading the Boston Task Force for Love146, in which we started an annual fundraising and awareness campaign.

Lately I’ve taken a particular interest in supporting survivors, which is why I was so drawn to Nomi Network. I first heard about them in abolitionist circles because the work they are doing is so pivotal both to the prevention of trafficking and to the restoration of victims. Nomi Network is working to improve the odds for the most poor and vulnerable among us.



NN: We love that you are helping spread awareness about this issue among your fan base. It’s amazing how artists lead the way in creating culture and change! Why did you decide to join the Let’s End Trafficking Together campaign – and should others consider joining as well (…besides the super cute tanks)?

JL: People should absolutely join because anyone can actually make a huge difference just by posting to your Instagram and Facebook feeds. Awareness is a huge part of the fight against human trafficking—as crucial as fundraising or advocacy. Sadly, our media is too focused on other things and leave little room for many real problems (human trafficking and exploitation being the most glaring in my opinion). Unlike the issues of AIDS or cancer, the majority of our country knows either little or nothing about the issue of human trafficking and YOU can tell them! You can start a fire, in a great way!

Post a pic of yourself wearing the “Let’s End Trafficking Together” tank and tell your friends and family why it’s important to you. I’m doing it because I try to take every opportunity I can to spread the word to advance the movement.

NN: How should someone find out more about your music and follow you?

JL: You can ‘like’ my Facebook page and also add it to your ‘interests’ on Facebook to get regular updates about shows, new music, articles about abolition, and sweet views of Manhattan and Brooklyn through my phone (I promise, I don’t take tons of pictures of food). I’m also on Twitter and iTunes. You can find all these links on my website: www.jaimelee.me.       

If you feel like dropping me a line, go right ahead! I’d love to hear what you think about the music, and I love, love talking to people about abolition and becoming an abolitionist. We definitely need more of those!





NN: If you are an Artist Abolitionist or a friend who wanted to support this movement please buy a campaign tee or tank today! Email info@nominetwork.org with your name and the number of tees or tanks you’d like.

Then share a photo of yourself in your tank top with Nomi’s Instagram account (http://instagram.com/nominetworknyc#) by using hashtag #togetherwithnomi so we can see the faces supporting the cause!

- Nick Lauda, Alissa Moore, & JaimeLee

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