‘Samaritan': Jonna Lee, iamamiwhoami Mystery Singer, Announces Solo Project
Even if you haven't kept up with the project since its debut over six years ago, you might vaguely recall iamamiwhoami, an audio-visual experience that popped up on YouTube at the tail-end of 2009 in the form of short clips with strangely numbered titles filled with bizarre nature-filled imagery — even a Blair Witch-esque viral marketing campaign at one point. (At the time, some speculated it was Christina Aguilera promoting her then-upcoming album, Bionic. Sadly, it was not.)
In fact, iamamiwhoami is the brainchild of Swedish singer-songwriter Jonna Lee and producer Claes Björklund. The project has since gradually unfolded into three studio albums (Kin, Bounty and BLUE), a rich visual narrative that's awarded the group a devout pack of followers intent on untangling all the symbolism embedded in their lushly shot videos, and even live streaming concert experiences.
There's plenty to dig through for the uninitiated: the immersive world created around iamamiwhoami is one of the Internet's most innovative and unique musical projects.
Now, Jonna Lee is using the iamamiwhoami platform to launch a brand new project — as herself.
"introducing: ionnalee" a new teaser video posted today (Mar. 3) proclaims, featuring the singer being forcibly led to what appears to be a witch burning ceremony — plus some choreography for good measure. Fans are already speculating in the comments section: is this the prequel to iamamiwhoami? Is the character from the project originally a witch burned at the stake? What of the future of iamamiwhoami?
Beyond the narrative, we know this much: "Samaritan" is the lead single from Jonna Lee's solo "ionnalee" project due out on March 10, and was made in collaboration with Japanese fashion label, COMME des GARÇONS.
"ionnalee represents both a new beginning and the continuation of a story still unfolding," an accompanying press release reveals.
"After 7 years with iamamiwhoami, I've been researching what I am stripped away of it in the raw, she says. So it's more of a solo project because I've been facing my mirror image for the first time in a while. ionnalee is me, with a history stretching further back than iamamiwhoami, continuing my progress past it," Jonna Lee says of her upcoming solo project.
And as for a hint of what's to come musically? "Buffeted by imposing, almost marching-band beats but sweetened by Lee's upfront vocals, SAMARITAN tackles culture's fascination with idolising and worshipping female artists."
"There's an underlying strive for female artists to live up to a real unhealthy ideal and I think it's my responsibility to do what I can to change that," she says of the song.
Jonna's newly solo social media channels have just now launched as well, including Instagram and Twitter — and if we've learned anything from the roll-out of iamamiwhoami, you'd better keep your eyes peeled: you never know where another clue might pop up next.
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