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Meet Jamie Alimorad of Knothole Records in Westwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Alimorad.

Jamie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Music has always been a part of my life. My earliest memories of singing are along to Annie in the car when I was three. Throughout school, I was involved in as many music classes, groups and organizations as possible from chorus, to marching band, to musical theater, to MEISA. While studying music technology at Northeastern University, I started to perform as a solo artist on campus, and eventually throughout the Greater Boston Area. I was discovered by a concert promoter and management group in Worcester and went into the studio to record an EP.

The EP ‘Cornerstone’ contains four tracks, each one representing what I considered to be the foundation or roots of my songwriting and artistry. I started to gain some buzz in the Northeast, but things really changed when three months after the release I was contacted by a booking agent at the Whisky A Go-Go and booked a summer date. A date at the Roxy soon followed, and both shows were absolutely incredible! It was then that my life slowly transitioned to the West Coast.

While recording my first full-length album, I caught the attention of Grammy-nominee Gino Vannelli and his management. I participated in his Master of Voice class in his studio in Troutdale, OR. Magic can happen in the studio, and the two of us clicked. Following the success of my single “Beautiful” off that LP hitting over 2 million views on YouTube, Vannelli and I began working on my next album. It would be the largest, and most difficult, undertaking of my life.

In April 2015, I successfully funded a $20,000 Kickstarter for the EP. We were set to begin recording in June. Just before entering the studio, a pre-production meeting led to a change of plans. For business reasons, the decision was made to make it a full-length. That created a whole slew of new challenges, particularly financially. After recording and releasing the single “Rock Me To Heaven”, over the course of the next eighteen months, I raised the money needed to complete the album.

What came next was the challenge of writing my most personal and intimate album. I wrote over three dozen songs and recorded demo after demo. Throughout I was met with more and more personal challenges, particularly loss that I struggled with understanding. I never thought of quitting, but I was frustrated and hurt. Gino guided me like a sherpa through the challenges and what resulted is the most satisfying and beautiful music I’ve created to date.

It has all led me here; a proud resident of Los Angeles, the founder and owner of a record company, Knothole Records, and my new album ‘This Is Tomorrow Calling’ releases on September 27th.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been far from smooth. The initial intent of the Kickstarter was to have the EP released by November 2015. The change of plans to make it an LP caused an obvious delay, but I never expected it to be nearly four years.

Personally, I was going through a lot. Two weeks before the first recording session, my grandma, who we had been taking care of, passed away after dealing with two severe strokes. For me, it was a strange time because I know she had been suffering, and there were also tolls it was taking on my family. At the same time, I was in a relationship that I thought was genuine and would go the distance, only to see come crashing around me. Childhood friends were overdosing, some took their lives willingly. I didn’t understand. How could everything be changing so dramatically so quickly?

The only way I knew how to deal with it was to write. The songs on ‘This Is Tomorrow Calling’ reflect me reflecting on how the past shapes us, and how we can craft a better tomorrow by living life to the fullest, experiencing to the fullest. It’s a lyric in the song “Brighter Days”, and it quickly became, not only my rally cry for the rest of the sessions but my daily life.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’ve always taken pride in my work, and I stand by whatever I put my name on. I want to align myself with others that not only share my vision as an artist but also as a business. After countless meetings with various execs, A&R, and other reps, I was introduced to Ditto Music. They gave me a path that I couldn’t refuse. I formed my own record company, Knothole Records.

I’m a nerd at heart, and one of my favorite shows was the old Saturday morning cartoon, Sonic The Hedgehog, or known around the internet and the community, SatAM Sonic. In the show, you get Sonic and the other Freedom Fighters, attempting to rid Mobius of Dr. Robotnik, who has not only taken over the planet but enslaved the population by robotizing them. Knothole is a secret location in the patch of luscious forest that remains. Their life still flourishes, and they work together to restore the planet to its former glory.

That’s how I look at my record company. The music industry has become robotized. Top 40/mainstream is bland, predictable, and overproduced. As I look to expand Knothole I want to sign artists that have a vision to bring back true songwriting. Songs that celebrate musicality. Nothing is above the song. No matter how good the performance, the song must be quality and those who perform it, of equal quality. That’s what sets Knothole Records apart.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve been fortunate to cross paths with many of my idols and heroes, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without hard work. The past four years have really shown me what struggle is. I gave up everything, and a very comfortable life in New York, to head to LA and achieve my goals. It has not been easy.

I believe that luck is preparation meets opportunity. The universe sets things in motion. It’s your job to see it through. Throughout my career I’ve been approached by so many companies, so many big whigs promising me the world. Some contracts I’ve signed have been good, some bad. Some deals on paper were absolutely soul sucking, but could it have made me famous? Maybe. You don’t know. Is that good luck or bad luck? It all depends on your perspective.

I am where I am today because of everything I’ve experienced. Good, bad, indifferent, I’m proud of who I am today. I’m proud of my music, and I’m proud of my company.

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Image Credit:

Mikhail Goldenberg, Peter Ney

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