Jamie Lee-Dimes: Wish I Was Someone Else
Just a week ago, on July 16th, the rising Australian New Zealand artist released “Wish I Was Someone Else”. The song starts with Jamie-Lee counting in as she strums freely on acoustic guitar, while she sings cuttingly unfiltered lyrics “I’m tired of being me, I wish I was someone else, it all started breathing in the air.” After 16 months of isolation in this pandemic, and more lockdowns taking place throughout the world, this song is an overdue open conversation on mental health, the journey of self acceptance, anxiety and the overwhelming feelings of self isolation we are all too familiar with.
The music video captures footage over three years during a time period of living between New York City, the California Desert, and Mexico, to more recent moments of the the highs of going to America to tour and play SXSW showcase to have everything canceled and going home seven months later being escorted by the military to hotel quarantine, where she had no windows or fresh air for 14 days.
Jamie-lee Dimes will be releasing her debut forthcoming album in October 2021 following a big year in 2020, releasing the first three singles to her debut album, Release Me, Virginia and Goodbye, and we can’t wait to hear it!
We’ve had a chat with Jamie in order to delve into her new song and her debut album. She also created a playlist for our dear Casting Call series, where we connect Veneno with artists from abroad!
How did you start working with music? What advice would you give to young artists that are just starting out and what you wish you would have known sooner?
I have been pursuing the entertainment industry since I was ten but doing classes since I was much younger. I had an agent and would go to auditions. My first paid job was around ten. I’ve always been in the industry training, studying, acting, music, dance, modeling, but the last few years I started touring and going really hard. I went down the dance path and felt like I wanted to use my voice so I was writing a lot, but it took me a long time to find my confidence to show people.
The advice I would give to young artists would be don’t take shit from anyone. Don’t let people tell you you have to do something in order for an opportunity, opportunities aren’t a currency, if someone helps you and then hangs something over you like you owe them, that is manipulation and toxic abusive behaviour. Most of the time people don’t want to help you unless they get something out of it, you do find some rare instances but I have found I’ve had to spend a decade in this industry before anyone even opened a door and didn’t want something in return. So create your own opportunities and think out of the box on what they tell you to do or how to do it. Stick to your values. If someone is crossing your boundaries sexually, emotionally, verbally, financially, psychically, call it out, leave the situation, try and document it. If people around you comply with that behaviour and or you feel like you can not speak out, or leave a situation because you feel it will affect your career, try and reach out to anyone who can help. Things are changing. Don’t worry about what might happen, that behaviour is a complete violation, these people need to not be in positions of power and you can have opportunities in your career without the bullshit.
Biggest advice for young artists: BE MINDFUL WHO YOU DATE or have relationships with! Something I wish i learnt earlier, Don’t be an emotional punching bag for other people in the industry. Also this industry is filled with sexism and objectification. I wish I didn’t follow the expectations placed on me. I’ve gone down some dark paths to meet them. Also sometimes it’s best not to tell people your plans and dreams. I have found it’s better to just take action and show them, in my experience people project fears and their own unhappiness onto you when you go after what you want. There is also this thing I’ve experienced where people give you the wrong advice and will discourage you so try and go with your own gut and check in with yourself. I think it’s so important for everyone in life to work on their own emotional issues and be secure within themselves, when you are not that’s when things go wrong and people take advantage. If anyone wants to put you down, or criticise you, or make you doubt yourself, or degrade you, if anyone is acting possessive of your career or life, controlling, jealous, or tries to even control the medication you take to keep you docile to their behaviour and abuse, threatens or blackmails you with the law or your career, that is not healthy, or a sign of love, it is abuse, and you deserve people to be around you lifting you up, giving you guidance and making you feel like the unique human you are. Also, don’t ever let someone blame drugs and alcohol or their own personal life as an excuse for crossing boundaries.
I also learnt a really hard lesson, which seems to be a recurring theme when you rise, and get up multiple times off the floor and overcome so much to get a dream or goal, people around you will fall away or try and ruin the moment and not be happy for you or guilt trip you or ghost you, it’s interesting some people would prefer you to be miserable than happy – block all that out and just focus on the message you want to say, your values and why you are doing this, and the positive changes you hope to bring and it will help you making decisions. One last thing, if someone is telling you all these names and saying they were singed and did all this stuff in the industry, but they aren’t on google or they live in the suburbs working a 9-5 not in the industry, they are full of shit and most likely a predator – run for the hills and report them to the police. That’s just a small amount of advice but feel free to hit me up on instagram or tik tok for more.
You wrote “Wish I Was Someone Else” in isolation. Could you tell us a little bit about this period of time? How did it affect your creative process?
It was a pretty crazy time, I had been living in the California desert renovating a house, I was being threatened and black mailed by someone alot older than me who used to be in the music industry. I ended up being in the desert for summer which gets ridiculously hot temperatures. I was kind of backed against a wall with not alot of options, and couldn’t go home so I ended up going to Mexico by myself for five weeks then to New York for a couple of weeks where I used to live and returned to Mexico for six days. They were kind of like the best six days of my life, and when i returned after 8 weeks away to the desert by myself with all these responsibilities like renovating a house, running two businesses, in the desert with no reception, no entertainment, no distraction, while being threatened and harassed by some family members and people i use to be in relations with and who i had signed legal documents with, it was like living hell. For the first time in my life, I was calling out abusive behaviour, and questioning the way people treated me and started setting boundaries, and saying no and people were reacting with alot of threatening abusive and controlling behaviour. I had one ex boyfriend hack my flights home, pay $600 to have my flights changed and he was hacking my accounts. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I was trying to find legal information on google. My mental health was so bad, I wanted to die. I really felt like I had no way out. I was so isolated, with barely any money to eat, I had to make calls in car parks to use shop wifis because I had no reception at my house. It was really a horrible time. I remember this one week I was painting my door – I put the day in my music video because I was hysterically crying that whole day while painting, but I also wrote all the lyrics to 4 songs on my album that day and I guess those lessons paid off this week.
We are super excited with your forthcoming album this year! What can you tell us about it? What are the main differences with your debut production?
Me too, it’s a long time coming. The album is called Hell and Heaven Come in Threes. I wrote it between New York, California and Mexico. This is a really light production with alot of americana elements, it has a lot of mexican influences and also california desert influences, and i collaborated with a few people on the album.
How excited are you about going on tour again? What are the main aspects of touring that you most miss?
Well i just got an opportunity to possibly be doing something in Dubai, that got me pretty excited. You know I feel torn. I’ve realized how much cortisol and fight or flight emotional responses you need to psych yourself up to touring. I had all my tours and showcases canceled while on tour in 2020, so I almost feel like it’s just never going to happen. What I miss is meeting people and seeing different parts of the world I’ve just seen so much and I’m so stoked and grateful. I love people watching and absorbing new surroundings, I feel like I take in all these stories. I think i’m born to live between multiple places, i actually just love the thrill of it. I currently have roots in four countries and multiple cities, and now I go somewhere and I usually know what’s up in a town. That’s a pretty cool feeling. Also l love seeing the personal growth that comes from touring.
How did you choose the songs for your Casting Call playlist?
Well I thought I should add in some Australian bands so I did that, and then some artists I listened to while in quarantine. Like when I want to smoke a cigarette and drink a beer and shake my ass on a rooftop in los angeles or pound out some energy, they were the songs i put in, to get you out of your head. Lol
What’s the horizon for your career?
Well I just got the Rolling Stone music video of the week, along with the 5 biggest media publications in Australia, that is a pivotal moment, it’s been quite the week. I’m about to go into an extremely intense and busy period after 17 months working behind the scenes. It’s honestly like a 100 hour work week trying to pursue music – to anyone who says get a real job – turn your radios, spotify and youtube and movie music off because we work our asses off for barely anything. I am rescheduling tour dates for Feb – April 2022 and releasing my debut album. I’ve been doing alot of co-writing with artists in Australia, working on some international music things, and maybe going to Dubai, and who knows. I’m playing my first industry show since March 2020 August 5 to honor Richie Yorke, a journalist who used to be the editor of Rolling Stone and worked with John Lennon, Van Morrison, Led Zeppelin, the list is long, so right now i’m rehearsing for that. I would love to come to Brazil when this pandemic is over to play some shows if someone wants to organize that! Also i am doing a campaign with a New Zealand fashion designer brooke barrett she is doing nz fashion week and i might be going over for that if i can get into the country. Releasing a lot of new songs, I just did one co-write that I have on repeat so I got to go into my studio to write and record some more demos this week too.