Since music is such a big part of the holiday season, we decided to interview a musician for our last post before Christmas. And we knew the perfect woman to talk to! Diane met Jaime Jamgochian back in early November. Jaime was leading worship at the PURE conference, where Diane was a featured speaker. A few weeks ago, Jaime took time out of her busy touring schedule to talk to us about her musical background and, you guessed it, Christmas music!
4word: Tell us a bit about your background. What made you want to be a singer?
Jaime: I grew up in a family that was very much into getting you involved in extracurricular activities. In second grade, we discovered I had a learning disability. I tried sports and ballet and hated it all, but when my best friend got a piano, I realized I was drawn to music. I could hear a song and figure out how to play the melody. My parents bought us a piano and signed me up for lessons, and I realized I really excelled at music.
When you struggle with a learning disability, if you find something you’re good at, it helps your self-esteem, which helps everything else. I believe the Lord used music in my life to build my confidence in my academic ability. I did everything music-related in school, from jazz band to marching band.
I was already writing my own songs when I went to Berkley College of Music, where I studied jazz piano. After college, I played on cruise lines, in lounges, etc. I came to know the Lord at the end of my junior year, and that’s when I got into worship music. I wanted to sing about my new faith.
4word: So did you grow up in a Christian home?
Jaime: My dad “was” Catholic, and Mom “was” Protestant. We went to church with Mom, but I never heard the Gospel preached at our church. It was always a “be a good person and love God and people” message. It was all about religion.
I didn’t hear the Gospel until I was in college. A classmate who had just become a Christian befriended me. She could tell I was searching for truth and hope, so she just started sharing with me what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus. She gave me my first Bible and my first Christian music CDs. I started going to a college service with her, and then I decided I wanted to know Jesus myself. That’s when I started writing worship music.
4word: Is there a particular message you try to convey to your audience in your music?
Jaime: The two main themes for me are hope and trust. I do a lot of women’s events, and there are so many who have gone through hard things with their marriage, health or children. But my main mission is to write a song that engages someone’s heart to worship God. I want to write music that makes people want to worship God in spirit and truth, because when we focus on Him and turn our eyes off ourselves, He does incredible work in our hearts.
4word: Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
Jaime: I love “O Come All Ye Faithful.” It’s so worshipful to me, especially the line “o come, let us adore Him.” I love putting that in worship sets in the month of December, because you can sneak that chorus onto the end of another worship song.
4word: Have you recorded any Christmas songs yet?
Jaime: I have two out on iTunes: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” Both my albums are out on iTunes too: Reason to Live and Above the Noise.
4word: Since you became a Christian in college, have you noticed a difference in the way you celebrate Christmas now, versus before you were a believer?
Jaime: Definitely. My entire family now knows the Lord, so the meaning of our Christmas celebration is of course the birth of Jesus. It used to be all about family, food, gifts and decorations. We still do all our favorite family traditions, but we pray before opening gifts or we read a chapter from the gospels about the birth of Christ.
There’s a depth to Christmas now and a true joy instead of just excitement about gifts and food. Even being able to share that with our extended family members who aren’t believers has been really neat. I love Christmas, because it’s a season when we can share the love of Christ with people.
What about you? How does your family celebrate Christmas? Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
If you’d like to continue the conversation with Jaime, you can follow her on Twitter, @jaimejamgochian, or find her on Facebook, facebook.com/jaimejamgochian. For more information about Jaime’s music, visit jaimejam.com.