About A 45-Minute Drive: An Interview with Jaimey Hamilton

by - August 17, 2023

Photo courtesy of Dani Cyr

Picking up a guitar seemed like the best option for then- 9-year-old Jaimey Hamilton, especially since some of her other passions were put on hold.

At the ages of 5, 9 and 12, Hamilton was diagnosed with leukemia. She could not go to school full time, had to give up playing sports and was not always able to see her friends. What she found herself fixated on was wanting to learn how to play an instrument, and after seeing someone like Taylor Swift dominate the music industry with her guitar, she knew she wanted to harness that same energy.

She received a successful bone marrow transplant when she was 12 years old and fully immersed herself in songwriting soon after. Music was her comfort and her ability to heal.

“I think whenever I’m writing I always like to try to be relatable in a sense,” she said. “I don’t want to be inauthentic and try to stretch the truth just to get people to relate, but I also feel like I write things I need to hear at that time. I try to write something that I really believe; something that I really want people to relate to and find that feeling.”

Thanks to Children’s Wish BC, she was able to record in a studio for the first time in 2017. The single, “Survive”, was just the beginning of her love for storytelling.

Her latest batch of singles, including “Stompin’ Ground”, move away from her pop-leaning songs and fully immerse themselves in the country scene. Despite her love for pop music, she found herself craving those country roots. Working alongside producer Chris Eriksen gave her the chance to embody those sounds and bring her music to the next level.

“Stompin’ Ground” is a song Hamilton has held onto for years, waiting for the right moment to release it. Co-written with Juno-nominated Scotty Hills, the song tells a story of her family’s favorite tradition - their summer cabin near Cowichan Lake.

“I just wanted to write a song about my happy place,” she said. “All the other songs I’ve released have been about either a story or a feeling but I’ve never written a song about a place.”

Not only did she try something new when writing “Stompin’ Ground”, but she also tried something new while recording it. Over the course of two days, she recorded the song with live musicians all in the same room. She definitely felt the pressure, but truly relished in the feeling of one big jam session.

The song came full circle when she got to film the music video at her family’s cabin. Thanks to local videographer Sean Lyons, her vision of showing how important this second home is to her came to life. Showcased are her family and friends, basking in all the cabin has to offer.

“One of the things I want people to take away is that while this is my stomping ground I’m describing, I hope it takes them back to their stomping ground,” she said. “Maybe other people can relate to that nostalgic feeling of when they were young and having a happy place.”

This year, Jaimey Hamilton celebrates 11 years cancer-free. She is doing what she loves, surrounded by those that love her, and all is well.

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