About Janice

Artswells Festival British Columbia 2018

Janice Jo Lee, aka Sing Hey, is a Korean-Canadian folk-soul singer-songwriter, poet and playwright from Kitchener, on Haldimand Tract treaty territory. Lee is an award-winning performer known for being disarmingly hilarious and off-the-cuff. On stage she creates vocal looping landscapes alongside her guitar, trumpet and Korean jangu drum. Lee is a hard femme queer radical and is interested in using art to build flourishing communities based in justice and joy. Her latest compositions are Ancestor Songs, wailing and heartwrenching melodies full of power and ferocity.

The Toronto debut of her one-woman musical satire Will You Be My Friend, produced by Green Light Arts premiered at Theatre Passe Muraille in October 2018 to critical praise from The Toronto Star, Mooney on Theatre and an NNNN rating from Now Magazine. In recent years she has toured Canada performing at ArtsWells (Wells, BC), Vancouver Poetry Slam, Hillside (Guelph), In the Soil (St Catharines), Hot Damn It’s A Queer Slam (Toronto), Kultrun (Kitchener), Home County (London), and Pervers/cité (Montréal).

In Waterloo Region, Lee was voted Best Performance Artist from 2016 to 2018. Lee was the City of Kitchener’s Artist in Residence in 2015. She is an artistic associate of The MT (Multicultural Theatre) Space and co-director of its Young Company. She was the founding artistic director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Poetry Slam and created its first Spoken Word Residency program for emerging professionals. Stay tuned for upcoming albums Ancestor Song, and Lonely is the Lullaby.

“Lee has a mischievous twinkle in her eye and a marvellous spontaneity”– Now Toronto“
Lee is a remarkable, irresistible performer”  – My Gay Toronto
“A charismatic ball of energy, quirky jokes and charming music”- Ricepaper

Tour

May 18, 2019Small World Music Series with respectfulchildToronto, ONTickets
July 4, 2019BIPOC Show at ForthWinnipeg, MBTickets at Door
July 13, 2019Hillside FestivalGuelph, ONTickets
Aug 10, 2019AM//PM ShowToronto, ONTickets
Aug 24, 2019Korean Harvest FestivalNorth York, ONFree, Mel Lastman Square

Artist statement

I am a folk artist. An artist of the people! A storyteller. It is my responsibility as a folk artist to affirm our contemporary stories, emotions and ideas through art and carry these stories onward.

Art is my tool to build just and joyful communities that are as free as possible from systemic oppression. My art comforts the struggling and challenges political complacency. As a writer and performing artist, I combine my literature, music and theatre background with my political activism to create art that engages through its truth, comedy, lyricism and power. Genres and artistic disciplines do not limit me when creating songs, poems, scenes and stories. On stage, it is important for me to demonstrate power in embodied performances, unrelenting honesty, rhythm and humility.

I am constantly learning and thinking critically about my position and cultural context within systems of oppression. I aim to decolonize myself and my art practice from oppressive ideas and practices. My art is subject to criticism and conversation. As an artist and role model, I listen to and am accountable to my community.