Sometimes life comes as one surprise after another. Just ask Jaime Jamgochian. This accomplished worship leader/artist/songwriter, whose credentials include a degree from the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in the heart of Boston’s entertainment and cultural community, was undoubtedly on her way to a career in pop music when her life was forever changed.
Now a flourishing young worship artist making her national debut, Jaime is poised to make a different kind of impact. Reason to Live, her new release on the Seattle-based Centricity Records, encapsulates this passionately creative artist who is clearly on the rise and beautifully grounded on a path she could not have predicted.
Jaime grew up in Reading, Mass., where she lived with her parents and younger sister, Julie. She found her true passion when she discovered music through a young friend who was taking piano lessons. When her parents bought her a piano of her own, Jaime quickly learned to play her favorite songs by ear, took lessons and continued through high school with numerous performances and competitions.
“Music was something that I loved and playing the piano seemed to come easy for me” Jaime recalls. “I remember spending hours playing the piano.”
Jaime earned a scholarship to Berklee and entered the prestigious school her first year as a small fish, but quickly made a name for herself. Jaime’s influences were in the pop music field, and she’d been writing some of her own pop songs since high school. Her musical experience at Berklee provided an environment for her to grow as an artist and performer, granting her opportunities to sing background for musical icons like Carly Simon and others who came through the campus for various programs.
But the pressures that come with the whole college experience slowly began to take their toll, and Jaime started to lose the hope she had placed in the wrong places. “It was variety of things – school, life, my boyfriend leaving for a while, all kinds of things going on - I just began to lose some of my joy and my upbeat personality. Eventually, I felt totally desperate.”
A new friend she met on campus began to talk to her about God and as their friendship grew, she introduced Jaime to Christ.
“When I started to read the Bible closely, that’s when I realized that I could really come to know Jesus personally,” Jaime says. “It was a new way of thinking for me, and it became a time of real healing in my life. I think I had lost hope in a lot of areas, but when I became a Christian, things began to click and they made more sense. My whole world turned around completely.”
After graduation, Jaime took an internship at The City Church in Seattle, Washington. “I felt like God was calling me to set aside a year or so to intern there and grow under their leadership.”
But one year turned into seven as she began leading worship for the church youth group, and attendance for the Wednesday night youth events grew from 50 kids up to nearly 1,000. She became involved in outreach and missions programs there, and led worship for conferences every year for thousands of youth.
Jaime’s influence on her own family during this time was huge. Her sister, Julie, had started coming to see Jamie perform in various gospel choirs in Boston and became a Christian not long afterwards. Jaime’s mother flew to Seattle to see Jaime be baptized at The City Church, and during the baptism service went forward to ask Christ into her heart. “When I walked out to be baptized, I saw my mother down at the alter praying for Jesus to come into her heart,” Jaime shares. “It was such a beautiful moment.”
When Jaime’s mother returned home, she began to share with Jaime’s Dad about what had happened to her. A short time later, Jaime’s father also became a Christian. “It’s been like a revival in our household,” Jaime shares.
Perhaps it was providence that placed Jaime in Seattle during those pivotal years. While she honed her skills as a worship leader and saw her family impacted by her faith, the doors also opened for her to find a record label home with Centricity Records, becoming the label’s flagship artist. Working closely with longtime industry veteran and Centricity A&R director John Mays (Point of Grace, Nicole Nordeman), Jaime is now launching her national debut with Reason to Live.
Jaime’s commitment to God and His faithfulness have clearly been the central tenets of her music and ministry. Her life is filtered through her faith, so she yearned to make an album that would reflect just that. With songs that are committed to worship, Reason to Live delivers the right combination of personal honesty with modern, melodic melodies that congregations will easily embrace as part of their worship repertoire.
“Reason to Live,” the title song and first radio single, is an energetic worship song Jaime wrote with songwriter/producer David Zaffiro, who produced four of the album’s tracks. “This title reminded me of some of those Berklee days when I was really looking for hope,” Jaime explains. “I think the nature of this song comes from the Psalms, especially Psalms 139, which says, ‘If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I resign in the depths of the sea, you are there.’ It talks about how God is always there through everything, and he gives us a reason to live. It’s a call to live to worship Him in every area of our lives.”
Jaime also co-wrote five songs with veteran songwriter Gary Sadler, including the melodic, up-tempo “Love Rains Down,” which celebrates God’s forgiveness. “We all make mistakes that we need to ask forgiveness for,” says Jaime. “When I opened my Bible to that scripture that says, ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us,’ it just jumped out at me.” Another album highlight is the vertically-directed “Hear My Worship,” which Jaime co-wrote with songwriter Sam Mizell. “It was probably the hardest song for me to write, but it’s probably my favorite,” she says. “It’s about wanting to come to God and worship honestly, showing him our true intentions and being completely transparent before him. It’s a cry to God – that beyond my bended knees, beyond my lifted hands, beyond the words I sing, God would hear my worship. In my life, my heart and in everything I do, the cry of my heart is that he would hear worship in me.”
It’s remarkable to look at what has transpired and to consider what still may come in the life of this thriving new artist. That’s the stimulus of Reason to Live. It’s a glimpse into the life of one who has experienced first-hand what it means to grow in faith and trust.
“Everything that has happened in my life is not anything I could have planned or mapped out,” Jaime admits. “God has really ordered every step, and when I look back on things, it’s amazing to see how He has really directed each step along the way. More than anything else, I hope I can encourage other people by expressing that through my music.”
Feb. 26th, 2008 – 'Above the Noise' release