Victoria singer-songwriter Jaimey Hamilton knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity.
Before Hamilton reached her teens, she had been diagnosed with Leukemia three times and she survived a bone marrow transplant.
“I was 12 when I had my last diagnosis and that is when I had my bone marrow transplant. It was a lot to go through,” the country singer said in an interview with CHEK News.
It was during that period of darkness that Hamilton turned to music, singing and songwriting.
“Whenever I was well enough I would play guitar and try to write songs,” she said. “It was the only thing I could really turn towards and it became my healing outlet.”
Fast-forward a decade since her transplant and Hamilton is flourishing and pursuing her love for music. She has become a regular performer in the Victoria area, having performed just about everywhere from the Malahat Skywalk to Darcy’s Pub and The Duke Saloon.
“Music has definitely stuck with me. I have a great passion for it and it is something I love to do,” said Hamilton, who opened for George Canyon and Aaron Pritchett at the Ocean Pointe Resort in October.
On Dec. 19, Hamilton will be performing at Starlight Lights of Wonder at Centennial Square in downtown Victoria at 6:30 p.m.
“I am really excited, I have never performed at Lights of Wonder so I’m looking forward to seeing what it is going to look like. I’m sure it is going to be very festive,” said Hamilton.
“I have a mix of covers and my own originals. I do a mix of country covers, classic rock and some popular song and of course I will be throwing in some Christmas tunes as well.”
Hamilton’s first venture into music began when she took up the guitar at the age nine. Singing came next followed by songwriting.
“I love to write about my life, I love to write about things that inspire me, and that could be their struggles or highlights in their lives,” she said, later adding. “I have a goal to try to inspire to people when they listen. I think lyrics can be very powerful and I want mine to be able to speak to people.”
Hamilton has released two singles of her own, Anxious Heart in June of this year and Save a Barstool for Me in 2021 — the latter being a tribute to her grandfather, Leo, who passed away from cancer.
“That hit close to home,” she said about her grandfather’s passing. “I wanted to make a tribute to him because he touched a lot of people in his life and when our families were together I would hear a lot of people say ‘Save a barstool for me Leo’ and hearing that I took it and I wanted to write a song about it.”
Last year, Hamilton graduated from Camosun College at the Victoria Conservatory of Music with a certificate in music performance.
“It was a great experience. I got to learn a lot about music theory and I got to meet a lot of really cool people too. I got to collobrate too … and that was my favourite part because that meant performing and collaborating with my colleauges,” she said.
Hamilton, who was featured in an epsiode of the BC Country Music Association Showcase Series earlier this year, is now working towards completing her first record — which she calls the “ultimate goal” — and is looking forward to the future. When asked what advice she would give to anyone who has just be diagnosed with cancer, she said it is important to remain positive.
“I think the biggest thing is take it day by day. I know that sounds cliche, but you can’t get down. You have to stay positive because it really does make a difference,” she said. “You never know what is going to happen.”
Jaimey Hamilton performs at Starlight Lights of Wonder at Centennial Square in downtown Victoria on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 6:30 p.m.