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iamamiwhoami

Daydreaming For Real

Nov 01, 2014 iamamiwhoami
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As iamamiwhoami, Jonna Lee crafts electropop that seems to twist and turn based on its own internal logic. Sometimes ethereal, other times a wrathful blast of noise, her three albums of material all seem to spring from a parallel universe, where anything can happen — and often does. At the center of it all is Lee and her soaring soprano, an instrument so flexible that when she first anonymously started posting videos online in 2009, everyone from The Knife to Christina Aguilera was thought to be responsible. Given that, it should come as no surprise that Lee isn’t a big fan of “normal life.”

“I’d rather that things were like in my fantasy than reality,” says Lee from her home in Stockholm, Sweden. “The life that most people live is that they work and do things that they don’t want to but they need to do. Daydreaming gets you through that in a way. I don’t feel like I need it as much now that I have this project.”

Initially, Lee never saw a life for iamamiwhoami past her first few haunting clips, which featured oozing trees, dancing shadows, and faceless monsters. However, her subconscious wouldn’t quite let go, and little by little iamamiwhoami grew from an artistic lark to an ever-expanding multi-media endeavor. Although two albums deep, her career as a folk singer-songwriter under her own name was put on hold indefinitely.

“It turned into something full-time,” notes Lee. She says that iamamiwhoami has come to completely define her as an artist. “With what we’re doing now, if we don’t take risks, we can’t continue either. That’s a thing I’m battling with quite a lot I think. You need to push yourself still all the time in new directions to make it interesting for yourself. To create new things.”

Lee’s newest album BLUE, a collection of songs loosely based around water imagery, was inspired by a series of ideas she gathered in 2010. During that time, her art was taking off, and she found herself able to leave her job and concentrate on iamamiwhoami full time. However, the rush of emotions that came with that transition took some getting used to. She describes the first few years of writing, recording, and filming as a lonely experience.

“I didn’t have time to reflect upon what had happened,” Lee admits. “I was stuck there on an island. It was endless amounts of sea surrounding me. I started thinking of the internet being like endless depths and possibilities. But you don’t know how to use it or capture it.”

Lee admits she’s still in awe of how fast iamamiwhoami grew. From the strength of her videos and live performances, where she’d sing from a bed of toilet paper rolls, or stream concerts from the middle of the forest, she gained a following of “artistic minds” — which she praises for being willing to appreciate her art in a culture that praises bite-sized cultural experiences.

“It’s been an overwhelming few years,” says Lee. “With BLUE I feel like I’ve landed a bit. I feel in sync with the whole project. I’ve been experiencing it as it happens. Before it’s been a very fast ride that I haven’t been able to catch. It’s been really nice. Time catches up with you…Those who started following the project in 2009 who were sixteen at the time, now they’re twenty-one, twenty-two. People have been growing up with it. For me it’s only been a few years. So it’s been interesting.”

(www.facebook.com/iamamiwhoamiofficial)



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