A New Contributor: Jaimie Choi

Jaimie Choi is a guitarist, drummer, mom, blogger living in Atlanta, GA, and well, that all makes her an artist. Here, she describes her journey toward playing the drums, her social shift, a move to Atlanta that sparked the gear-up toward music, and what she’s doing now. She will be a regular here on tomtommag.com and in Tom Tom Magazine, so watch out, she’s a real poet, and this blurb just might bring a tear to your eye.

“Baby Steps”
The lost years: that’s what I call my early years of parenthood. I was too tired, busy, and enamored with my babies to even think about playing music. I went from being a punk rock socialite to living and breathing mommyhood. At first, I welcomed the break. No more keeping up with bands. No more scene profile to maintain. No more practicing. I was an adult now. Married with children. I had more important things to do with my time.

And then the anxiety came. Some days I found myself cleaning things that didn’t need cleaning. Other days I cried while rocking one of my kids to sleep. I loved my new role as a mom, but I missed my friends and my music community. It sounds cliché, but I honestly didn’t recognize myself anymore. It took a few years before I figured out what I was doing wrong. Five years, actually.

I always needed artistic expression to live fully, and here I was denying myself the very thing that made my life whole. And why? It’s not like playing an instrument I already owned was out of the family budget or something. I had to give myself permission to exist outside of motherhood.

I slowly started playing music again. My primary instrument is guitar, so I would write songs here and there and then forget about them. It wasn’t until my family relocated from Virginia Beach to Atlanta that I got serious about playing again. I started a blog about moms who are artists and musicians, and I started to practice what I blogged in a major way.

I finally jumped on the lifelong dream to learn how to play drums, and shortly thereafter met a musician mom in my neighborhood who needed a drummer. I play guitar or drums in a couple of bands now. And no, we’re not playing children’s music!

I’m really excited to share my experience as a mom and musician with you. I hope I can encourage more moms to keep playing through all the ages and stages of parenthood. I’ll be sharing my journey and those of other mama drummers, as well as talking about female drummers in the Atlanta area.

A mom friend of mine recently described her return to painting as “coming out of the fog.” No one runs out of a fog. It’s more of a tiptoe toward a clearing. Like a baby taking her first steps, we may stumble along the way, but we’ll be running in no time.

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for putting this into words!
    Last year’s Atlanta rock camp really woke me up and gave me the cohones to buy a kit and learn to play.
    I have no idea where this will take me but it got me writing lyrics again and for that, I am eternally grateful.
    Hang in there. It is totally worth the effort!

  2. Dear “Tom Tom”,
    I didn’t start seriously writing and recording music until my kids were almost grown. Raising them on my own didn’t leave much time for self expression. Then, for about a decade, I finally spent the time (and money) to record dozens of my original songs. Some were written for weddings, anniversaries, etc. but most for my own enjoyment. I’ve written everything from country, R & B, jazz, pop and gospel. I even wrote rap just to prove I could. I love to write and I’m pretty good at it, but was never driven to attempt publishing. Just being able to transfer the songs I heard in my head onto a disc and play it out loud gave me such joy and satisfaction. Well, that pretty much stopped around 10 years ago. Life got in the way. I’m a grandma now, still single, still working full time and once again find no time (or money) to record any of my new material. Somehow I got lost in that “fog syndrome” Jaimie speaks of in her article and it’s about time for me to clear the air and get back to one of the things in my life that makes me happy.

    Jaimie will be a wonderful asset to your publication. Although I’ve always known that she is a bright, insightful, amusing and talented young woman, she continues to amazes me. I really look forward to her next offering in “Tom Tom”. But I look forward to everything she does.

    Signed, “Proud Mamma”

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