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New Single "HERE I AM"

Taking up Space / when you've been taught your whole life / to be small / and quiet

Janice Jo Lee’s art as a musician, poet, and playwright has always been as one with her activism, immersed in issues of gender empowerment, community, climate change, the environment, and antiracism. She offers “Here I Am,” a funky, empowering anthem, as the first advance single from her long anticipated song cycle album titled Ancestor Song, set for 2023 release. 

The songs are folk in tradition, concerned with contemporary issues of the people and land. The melodies are rousingly thematic and supported by expansive jazz harmonies.

“I wanted to write a declaration song to open my live show,” she recalls. “I actually wrote ‘Here I Am’ the night before the album release for my last record Sing Hey. I wanted to start the show by clapping and getting everyone’s attention. Initially it was a repeat-after-me, which is a very folk song form. The intention was to bring everyone together through rhythm.

“The song features vocal unison, spoken word, and shout-singing to invoke the feeling of being at a demonstration, taking up public space, a sense of defiance.

“I played trumpet in grade school and we always had the melody. This song functions as the opening tune on the album, so the trumpet is a herald, make way, make room, it’s about to go down. The outro features water cup percussion which were literally mugs from the studio kitchen. We’re just having fun, grabbing makeshift instruments and hitting the streets.

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Sing Hey

Janice Jo Lee

These are survival songs. Affirmations of sadness, celebrations of love, songs to sing to get free.
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