Our ethos has always been based on kindness and building a sense of community around strong women, who put forward their values. Some of our recent projects have been curated with kind compassionate women, who are dedicated to the success in their own personal growth - something we strongly stand by. But why we also love these women is for how much they know their boundaries. Brooke Barrett has had a busy six months behind the scenes, and we can't wait to show you what we have been working on ahead of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Brooke Barrett is excited to feature Muse moments artist Jamie-Lee Dimes for our part 2 interview series, a two-year follow-up on her journey in life and her career in music and entertainment.
Jamie-Lee Dimes is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and artist with a global perspective - one that comes from her spending time living in Australia, New Zealand, New York City, Los Angeles, The California Desert, and Mexico, earning her a coveted slot as an official artist for SXSW 2020, Canadian Music Week 2021 and most recently, music video of the week across Australia and New Zealand in Tonedeaf, Rolling Stone Australia, The Brag, The Industry Observer and Don't Bore Us for her latest single called Wish I Was Someone Else. Jamie-Lee grew up on the beaches and bays between Stanmore Bay, New Zealand, and the Gold Coast of Australia, before moving to New York City to train on broadway at the age of 22 and relocating to California in 2017.
We spoke to Jamie-Lee about some of the experiences she has gone through to get to these moments, an unfiltered discussion ahead of her debut album release.
One of our very first Muse Moment Series (August 9th, 2019 - Almost 2 years to the date) we interviewed you after your first world-tour and what an incredible success that was for you! Tell us a bit about how you've been making waves these last couple years?
Well, I’m happy to say I’m in a soundcheck rehearsal right now for a new festival taking place in Brisbane. It's my first industry show since March 2020 so I’m pumped!! I'm Honouring the lifetime work of journalist Ritchie Yorke, a legend who worked with all my seventies icons.
In 2019, I toured so much as an emerging artist. I hit America two times in one year and went to New Zealand too. I played so many shows and really got to find my sound and voice on stage and also get thrown into it. Then I got invited to play at the SXSW music festival and everything just went up a notch. I had only a couple of weeks between touring for 2.5 months and getting organised for SXSW. Then I was in my first press campaigns in two countries, had everything ready to go, I flew a month early from Australia for my visa and rehearsals and was in Texas when everything got canceled, so I went to LA to hibernate for five months in quarantine. It was a pretty devastating moment to work so hard and get to the biggest milestone and have it all canceled after you traveled to the other side of the world. So I just hit the desert and finished my debut album and got obsessed with film editing and post-production and shooting, wrote a bunch of new songs, started running every day, finally got to come home and I really focused on my mental health for six months. Then I did Canadian music week in May and since that showcase, a lot of opportunities have come my way and I’ve been doing a lot of co-writes and gearing up for a massive 2022 including going to Dubai to represent Australia and touring. I’ve also been working in film, just did my first international mini-series, and am doing an early call time tomorrow. The last three weeks have been huge.
Isolation is a world we hear all too often lately, it's crippling in many ways and beautifully empowering in others - but yours started well before the pandemic while recording in the desert. What was isolation like when you weren't the one controlling it?
I was overseas at the peak of lockdowns in one of the hotspots of the world. We got confined to our homes, and could only leave to go to get essentials for five months. At the very beginning, I was actually in Texas, and everyone in the world was saying “stay home” but I was on tour and didn't have a home, I had moved out of mine two months earlier and was on the other side of the world and I couldn't get back to Australia, so I went on craigslist and found an apartment in Los Angeles. It was actually really good for me to have some grounding after all the traveling. I had to quarantine in a hotel when I got back to Australia which is where I filmed some of my music videos. I had no fresh air for two weeks and it was torture.
Tell us some advice based on the experiences you have learnt in music:
The importance of setting boundaries, being extremely careful who you let into your life. Working on your self-esteem is so important because without it you can make the wrong decisions that have bad consequences. I found by practicing a lot of self-care, you raise your feeling of self-worth which ultimately helps you raise your standards on what you tolerate and accept in your life thus creating better boundaries and making better life decisions. I had very low self-worth for so long, and it can be hard transitioning, but it’s important for everyone to work on their emotional internal worlds.
What would you tell your younger self?
Don't rush into relationships. Question what you think is healthy and normal. Don't take shit from people, including family. Be careful who you date and spend time with who you surround yourself with. That timing is everything and most disappointing situations turn into rewards and opportunities - to have more faith in your abilities, don't be so shy and hold back or lower your strengths or abilities to make others feel more comfortable. Also that the world can be harsh and just focus on making art and the message and my values and in time it will all work out!!
You have been making sound waves through the music industry, what music do you have coming out?
I just released a song called Wish I Was Someone Else which got a music video of the week on Rolling Stone, The Brag, Tonedeaf, Don't Bore Us, and Industry Observer last week - pretty huge. I am releasing my debut album in October 2021, it’s called Hell and Heaven Come in Threes and it's been a fucking ride to make this album. Recorded it three times, three producers, between three cities, written between three countries. I was afraid to put it out, it had a lot to do with one of my best friends passing away while recording it. If I let the album go it was almost like I'm letting go of her, and that was really hard for me. I was in bed for about a month with a fever following Canadian music week. It just brought up a lot of emotions, and fears and then when I got better something just shifted, a lot of my fears left, and now I’m working full time in my career in so many aspects of the industry. It’s like I worked my whole life for these moments coming my way. I’ve been co-writing with some incredible artists too and writing so much new music. I think coming back to the suburbs I grew up in has reminded me why I picked up a guitar so the new songs I’ve been writing have felt really good. Having some support around has been good for me!
Mindset and creating a positive one takes repetition and strength, how have you managed yours through the ongoing changes not only the Music Industry presents, but being a solo artist and remaining creative through a pandemic?
Like a lot of people, I've had my battles with mental health and self-acceptance. What has changed my life this year has been seeing a Chinese acupuncturist and herbalist every week - two weeks for eight months, it was like my final resort I was an absolute mess in November, had a massive come down to a big year, and couldn't get out of bed, and the results in my face, eyes, and voice, body, mind, spirit, confidence is life-changing. I went through some heavy grief losing a very close friend, and I'm at the other end of two years of processing this like hole in my heart and spirit, and life. I'm trying to just be really healthy and mindful of who I let into my life, and if they have my best interests at heart. I found it’s just so important to have a healthy relationship with yourself - it's the first relationship you should focus on.
Tell us about the incredible projects you've been working on?
I've been doing a lot of co-writing with some incredible Queensland artists. It's been amazing coming home and being in the suburbs and going back to my roots. I've been writing a lot in my mum's garage, I set up a piano and have my guitars and lots of New York city posters, like 15 or so. I'm writing 5 or so songs a week. I'm honing my craft as a songwriter more seriously for the first time. I'm working between a few countries and time zones, but also reconnecting to my hometown. I've also been getting really into film, post-production, and shooting and also working on film sets in front of the camera.
How has the transformation been in your Health routine this last year?
Taking time to work on the relationship with myself, and practicing self-care.
I am currently obsessed with skincare, and using all-natural aromatherapy products from a shop in Burleigh called Good Karma. I've also been seeing an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist for eight months every 1-2 weeks, and have been on a liver cleanse for eight months. It has balanced out my emotions a lot, and my skin is the best it's been. I run around 4 km a day, but lately, I try to break it up, and maybe run 3 times a week, and I do ballet classes in Mexico on zoom. I have so much energy, and when I don't utilise it I get depressed, so I have learned to eat really clean, have no sugar diet, sleeping eight hours, and splitting up my day with multiple creative outlets helps my mental health. Soaking in water when I can, lately, I'm obsessed with vibration therapy on my face and I have some Chinese beauty tools. I used to put a lot of emphasis on labels, it helped me feel in control because my whole life has always been a bit out of control, so I guess that was my way of controlling my environment and life and emotions, but now I try and listen to my body more. I think women battle a lot with upholding expectations in beauty and we sacrifice our mental and emotional health for appearance, and I think it's important to eat a healthy balanced diet, exercise and sweat, get the serotonin and dopamine levels up, find the inner glow and inner contentment and you will be radiant. We need to stop starving ourselves for fashion and beauty and romanticising no sleep, drugs, alcohol, over working culture.
Hurdles and obstacles are inevitable - what are some main ones you have overcome?
Boy, I feel like I could write a book on some challenges I have had to overcome.
I lost one of my best friends on my first international tour, came home to see her married, and pass away within a few days. She was my support network, one of the only people I really opened up to raw and honest in life, and I just didn't know how to navigate all of it. Being on her deathbed changed the core of who I am as a person. I’m always really positive and happy for people around me and it was my first time I was just unable to do that, and I lost about 20 friends, had a lot of people hurt me during that time period, and realised I had been surrounding myself with the wrong people. I almost lost the house I had in California, and a huge business deal, I had to work my ass off to keep it, after renovating it alone, and then going through legal hell, people threatening me and black mailing me to sell it. I think one of the most common themes of obstacles is people who want to control me or have power over me or be possessive of any achievement I have ever had or will have. Or when you hit a milestone, and your closest support network can be the ones to tell you you are never good enough and so I'm trying to work out a way to not let that affect me.
Sexism is one of the biggest obstacles, but this year I'm not taking a shit and neither should you.
Motivating ourselves to achieve our dreams takes a lot of courage, how are you achieving yours?
I always think about what it is I'm trying to achieve or say, and the limitations I've faced or obstacles, and how I don't want those things to get me down and get the better of me or give them the power of me not achieving what it is I'm setting out to do. I feel like I need to fight for what I want so I can break some cycles and look back at my life knowing I gave everything my absolute all. I try to observe cycles of history repeating itself, or deeper reasons to my own emotional reactions and work on releasing anything holding me back so I can get to the finish line. I didn't come from a family in the industry, my parents were very hard working, moved countries to make a better life for me, and they instilled work ethic to make something out of nothing which I'm grateful for.
Style inspiration? I’m inspired by California freedom, the seventies era, lately floral flares, denim jackets, some vintage I got from Tucson, Arizona this time last year, always red lipstick, a health glow, anything I cut up, cowboy boots, the bleached denim pieces I’ve been making… But what I cannot wait to wear after 1.5 years of no shows, is the new Brooke Barrett Dimes Set I have the Wine Silk and Black Silk sets, they come with little shorts and a backless top that ties with bows so it's so comfortable to wear with extended, flared arms - and I never want to take it off. It’s like, ultimate seventies California vibe!
Check out Jamie's latest music video 'Wish I Was Someone Else', below, featured across Spotify, YouTube, Rolling Stone Australia and all other leading platforms. A collection of personal footage shot between three years, and three countries, showcasing her journey of self-acceptance and what it takes to make dreams a reality and go against the current.
We love hearing stories of what makes these strong women who they are today. If you have an interesting story you think will inspire others, send us an email with your Instagram account and the story you’d like to share! You might just become the next Muse for Brooke Barrett, for You.