Artists will often find inspiration for their music from a variety of sources.
For budding Royal Bay secondary student-musician Jaimey Hamilton, inspiration comes from a series of traumatic experiences she endured in her childhood.
Hamilton, 17, was diagnosed with leukemia at ages five, nine and 12, making her a three-time cancer survivor before reaching adulthood.
For most, the kind of perseverance needed to overcome those hurdles would be hard to comprehend. But for Hamilton, it was her passion for music that helped her through many difficult days.
“Music was the one thing that kept me going … it helped me deal with the rough times,” she said.
She got her first guitar at seven and took lessons for a few years, but then realized she was able to fine tune her skills by herself using online resources such as YouTube.
She counts country as her primary genre and plays a mix of her original compositions and cover songs, but she also enjoys playing popular classic tunes, such as “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” by Bob Dylan.
Naturally, her medical history plays into her songwriting, providing inspiration for a lot of her lyrics. “I have a lot of songs that are based on my journey through all of that,” she said, adding that overcoming cancer has helped her appreciate the little things and taught her to be “a better person.”
Hamilton performed for the first time at the age of 12 at an event called Jam for the Kids, a fundraiser for the oncology clinic where she received treatment.
“I was definitely nervous my first time … But once I started singing I was very comfortable. I was in front of friends and family, so that made it easier,” she recalled.
Friends and family were among the many in attendance earlier this summer for Hamilton’s biggest gig to date, Sunfest in Cowichan Valley, where the young artist got a chance to share the lineup card with names such as Carrie Underwood and Dierks Bentley.
Hamilton applied for a spot in the festival months ago and wasn’t necessarily expecting to hear back. “I sent in videos and an audio recording and they got back to me a few months later … I definitely was [surprised] just because there’s so many applications being sent in,” she said.
Now entering Grade 12 – a year that’s typically full of decisions for young adults – Hamilton isn’t entirely sure what the future holds for her and music, but she hopes to turn her passion into a career.
“I hope I can go pretty far with it and make a career out of it. That would be my goal.”
Judging by both her early success and perseverance, it would be foolish to count her out.