We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamee Kyson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jamee, how do you think about risk?
One of the most impactful thought questions I have asked myself is, “If you suddenly realized that this all was a dream, what choices would you make? How would you craft your life differently?” At some level, I believe that this is not merely a thought exercise, but this life IS our own special dream to craft and create. The trick is that creating a very big life means taking very big risks and having a lot of faith that the Universe will co-create with you and truly have your back. I asked myself this thought question in 2015, and came to the very clear conclusion that my purpose in life was to create music that would positively impact the world on a global scale. At the time, I was neck deep in a prosperous science career, having recently obtained my Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA and working as a postdoctoral research fellow in a prestigious lab. I made a move that most thought was ridiculous and way too risky: I left a stable and thriving career in research to pursue my dream of becoming a successful singer-songwriter. Although I deeply value my time in the sciences, this decision led me to the life of my dreams. I wake up every day filled with passion for my work, grateful for all of the opportunities to record, place, and perform music, and wildly committed to this creative practice for the rest of my life. I will teach my daughters to make the boldest move that they can imagine to live the fullest life that they can envision.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At the center of my art is a drive to inspire and infuse hope into the hearts of the listeners by combining my music with other media such as books, music videos, television, and film, as well as using music as a stand alone tool to insight inspiration and change. With a background in neuroscience, I have a fresh perspective on creating music from the vantage point of how my music affects the brain chemistry of the listener. For example, when an unexpected chord change occurs or some predictable pattern is suddenly stopped, dopamine is released in the brain of the listener. Having this knowledge allows me to create a more pleasurable experience for my audience. As mentioned at the outset, using different types of media to deliver my music has been a passion of mine. After having my daughter in 2018, I got inspired to create a song for her that highlights diversity and our connection with Nature. As a result, “Kaileia’s Garden” was born. Both a children’s book and a song, “Kaileia’s Garden,” was met with outstanding reviews on Amazon and accolades from those who sing the book to their little ones. Another form of media that I am passionate about is creating music videos. Alongside director and screenwriter, Andrea Shreeman, I created the musical film, “Candle,” featuring my original music. “Candle,” was selected by the Lady Filmmakers Festival and Holly Shorts and screened at the legendary TCL Chinese (formally Grauman’s Chinese) Theatre in Hollywood, California. In another collaboration, actor/filmmakers Camila Greenberg and Janna VanHeertum Fackrell created the short film, “She Was,” which featured my original music, “Follow Me” and “Oh My.” “She Was,” won best Experimental Short at the 2019 L.A. Live Film Festival. Most recently. I created a music video called, ” Letter to the World,” which was a patchwork quilt of video clips of friends and family writing the inspiring lyrics of the song (co-written with Rona Goodman) in chalk on streets and sidewalks around the world. Lastly, I am currently a part of several collaborations focused on creating music for TV, Film, and Ads to continue the journey of combining music with visual media to make the greatest impact. The journey of a singer-songwriter is often paired with the narrative of struggle and challenge. What I have found is that commitment to the craft and not the outcome, unwavering persistence, and total belief in one’s purpose will allay much of the psychological turmoil of pursuing a career in a field with so much uncertainty. For me, the biggest challenge has been resisting taking up other income-generating pursuits that would pay dividends in the short term, but would distract me from my bigger purpose in the long run. Oddly enough, becoming a mother, and thus having less time in the day, has allowed me to do the one or two things that are most important to me. It has given me clarity that I want to be focused on creating music with the time that I have. What I’d like the world to know about my story, is that it’s never too late to live the life of your dreams, and there are never any circumstances that can keep you away from doing what you are truly meant to be doing in this life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my bestie were visiting LA, I would first take her on some of the epic hikes that LA has to offer, such as Runyon Canyon Park, Fryman Park, and Franklin Park. We would then hit up some of the best vegan spots in LA, such as Plant Food + Wine, Crossroads Kitchen and SunCafe. I would also take her to 3rd street Promenade, El Matador State Park, and The Getty Center Museum. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I first and foremost want to Shoutout my incredible husband, James Kyson. As a thriving creative himself who makes his living as an actor, I was deeply inspired by his journey. He planted a seed in me that it was possible to live an abundant life as a creative. In addition to that, he had always believed in my art and my ability, encouraging and supporting my journey into the arts. I would also like to give a bow of thanks to some of my cherished creative collaborators: Rona Goodman, Mark Wilder, Paul Hoyle, Kara Connolly, Danielle Carter, Samuel Andrew Garcia, Nina Storey, Nancy Berg, Andrea Shreeman, Camila Greenberg, Dylan Linehan, Sean Hill, David Chua Boon Ghee, Jon Benton MacKinder, Jamey Heath, Rabie Hayek, Noel Waters, Larisa Gosla, Aaron Wexler, and Jessica Rich. Lastly, I want to thank Cathy Heller for her wonderful online course in sync licensing, “6 Figure Songwriting,” which gave me direction, clarity, and focus.
Jinous Khadivian, Michael Strider