Gold Coast’s Jamie Lee Wilson, otherwise known as JVMIE was born and raised at Mermaid Waters but made a permanent move to the USA last year – a move which is delivering in spades.
A jazz major from Queensland Conservatorium of Music did not see JVMIE pigeon-hole her sound. She’s immersed herself in dance music culture, producing anthemic club tracks and Billboard-charting collaborations. Her latest single Back 2 Love – a collaboration with Grammy Award winning producer Dave Aude is sitting at #2 in the Billboard Dance Club charts and she’s currently in the country to work with Youtube rap stars The Gowrie Boys.
The Gowrie Boys is a project at St Teresa’s – an all-boys Catholic boarding school west of Ingham in north Queensland. Many of the school’s students are from remote Indigenous communities – Cape York, Torres Strait, Northern Territory and southern Queensland. Each year, new boys are selected to join the group – with the kids coming up with their own song lyrics and partnering with established artists to record songs.
Jamie Lee Wilson (JVMIE) said it’s a very rewarding project – both for her, and the students involved.
“It’s been so inspiring;” she said, “it’s inspired not just the guys [in the group] but the kids from the school.”
“I come in with a song and the boys come in the lyrics and they really get an opportunity to express themselves, it gives them a voice, they talk about the culture, what they want for their future, the fact that they miss their families,” JVMIE explained.
“It gives them confidence as well as the end product, the whole process is really amazing.”
The new collaboration – a song called What We Came For is the Gowrie Boys’ eighth track and is still in production phases.
“We just recorded over last weekend in Townsville, we wrote and recorded the vocals,” JVMIE said. “We sit down and brainstorm with the boys and tighten it up, it’s really fast turnaround, in 48 hours we recorded this song. We don’t have a choice ‘cause I have to get on the plane and fly out, it’s quite intensive.
“I brought two tracks and one was more uplifting with hip-hop gospel vibes, and they kind of went “hmm”, so I said well I did write this other track which I just put together the day before, and they went “yes! We want that one!” I said “it’s not too dark?” but they said “No, this is really cool.”
JVMIE’s work with the Gowrie Boys is a far cry from her current home of LA, where she’s just cracked #2 in the Billboard dance charts. When we asked how a Gold Coast girl manages to achieve that ranking in such a short time, JVMIE was to the point.
“Blood sweat and tears.”
“LA is one of those cities where you either sink or swim and that had a positive effect on me and helped me work more on my own stuff rather than relying on other people,” she said.
“I’ve been working in dance music for a while so I had a few producer contacts overseas. I just hustled and hit up as many people as I knew over there and you get in a groove and you get introduced around.”
“LA is really a city of getting out and about and meeting people. So I think that’s the thing that helped me, the realisation that I need to not just sit there and write songs in my bedroom.”
And while dance music may seem unrelated to her studies in jazz, she’s quick to point out that that background helps in every aspect of music that she’s done.
“I had some great teachers I worked with at the Con,” she said, “Irene Bartlett a vocal coach helped me develop my voice and find my sound. The best part of jazz is it’s such a creative and free genre it gives you a foundation for everything.
“ I’m working on a jazz side project at the moment. It’s not the main focus, but you miss it after a while of not performing.”
JVMIE’s new release Follow You is available exclusively on triple j Unearthed until next month when it will be released in other spots. And it has a bangin’ video filmed in Joshua Tree National Park she’s excited to release soon too.
“It’s definitely a departure from the club scene,” JVMIE said. “It’s my down-tempo side project but all that new dow- temp stuff has been really exciting to work on. I love doing the club stuff it’s energetic and really exciting but I have a lot more control over this project and it’s definitely left of centre. An expressive departure.”
JVMIE will next be back in Australia for Christmas and New Years, but until then?
“Back to LA on Friday working on the follow up release and then I have some new side project tracks coming out,” JVMIE told Blank GC. “There’s a good few club tracks and there’s a good few of the side projects coming out. I’m also in Europe next month as well for a couple of sessions and some shows I think.”
“But I try to get back [to the Gold Coast] as much as I can because I miss my family.”
IMAGE (c) Lamp Photography