MusicMusic Features

Jameilyara Prepares Breakthrough Debut After Years Performing

New single drops Feb. 17 ahead of Petra’s show

Jameilyara Moore stands in a field holding a pink sheet
Jameilyara Moore (Photo by Sarah Devoti)

Your first true love is the dream you never wanted to let go of. It gave you a reason to get up in the morning and work toward making that dream a part of your reality. It makes you giddy and nervous to walk up to it, shake its hand, and introduce yourself. You adore it so much that it’s almost terrifying to touch it. 

Jameilyara Moore was born and raised in the Charlotte area and grew up going to shows at local venues like Snug Harbor and Evening Muse. As a multi-talented artist who thrives as an illustrator and digital artist, Moore’s first true love is music, as she has been writing and performing songs for the last 15 years, going simply by her first name: Jameilyara.

Now, after many years of paying her dues, the indie singer-songwriter is finally ready to debut beyond the stages, with a new single set to drop on Feb. 17, the day before she’s scheduled to perform at Petra’s, and a debut EP in the works for spring.  

Jameilyara has garnered high praise from friend and local pop sensation Quisol, who recently called her “the long-awaited songbird of the Charlotte area.” 

Hard to say which side has been waiting longer, but now Jameilyara is ready to reintroduce herself.

In the family

As a kid, Jameilyara Moore was obsessed with music, inspired by her late grandmother, who was a published poet. Her father gave Jameilyara one of her grandmother’s books, and she fell in love with it immediately.

“I always thought poetry was super awesome, and I spent my entire elementary career just writing poetry — always silly little goofy things,” she told Queen City Nerve. “I picked up a guitar when I was about 11ish and my dad’s friend taught me how to play. I realized that if I just play guitar and say a poem at the same time, that it’s kind of a song. I just kept writing from then on.”

It’s apparent that music runs in the Moore bloodlines. Jameilyara bonds with her mother over music, jamming out to English rockers Gorillaz whenever they can. Her dad plays piano and has always been really supportive of her efforts pursuing music and writing songs.

“He’s always been right there pushing me to do music,” she said smiling.

The undying support from her friends and family keeps her pursuing what she loves, as she regularly performs around town either alone or with her band. 

“The first show I ever played was actually at The Evening Muse when I was 15,” she recalled. “I skipped a grade, so I was still in 10th grade maybe, and was so excited.” 

Moore booked that show through Afton Music, a now-defunct organization that helped local musicians book local venues and helped artists sell tickets beforehand to make a cut of the proceeds. 

“We were packed. People were standing out the door, and I was like, ‘Oh, cool,’ All my friends from school and church came — it was a really exciting time,” she said.

Now, more than a decade later, Moore is entering an exciting phase of her life, beginning with an updated musical sound. Her new single, titled “REMShank,” drops on streaming platforms on Feb. 17, the day before her Petra’s show.  

The track dives into themes of unrequited feelings and constantly thinking about what could’ve been.

“The song itself is about having these hypotheticals — these dreams where you’re playing through these scenarios, like, ‘Well, what if I do this?’ and ‘Would this have happened if that hadn’t happened?’ and sort of how that takes up a lot of your time and energy. 

“REM is referring to the REM cycles of sleep,” she continued. “Shank is like being shanked in prison, and sort of just being stabbed — you’re getting killed by the dreams that you’re having — the scenarios that you keep playing over and over, instead of just waking up and living.”

Jameilyara Moore looks over her shoulder
Jameilyara Moore (Photo by Sarah Devoti)

The sound of the new single is sonically reminiscent of electro-pop, incorporating ’80s pop with its use of synths to add depth and atmosphere to the song. 

Moore’s voice is a refreshing one — unique with light and airy tones, and different from what’s typically heard around Charlotte. 

You can still hear a little bit of acoustic guitar coming in and out of the track, while the vocals are tastefully mixed. The layering is light, but the production offers an echoing effect on Moore’s voice.

“REMShank” elevates Moore’s more practiced indie-pop acoustic sound. Having built her name on a mix of R&B and alternative inspirations, she’s now found herself in a more electronic space. 

The song puts the listener in a trance, taking them to the realm between deep sleep and just waking up. It exists in those moments of realizing what’s there and what isn’t, and what it is that one really loses sleep over.

A new sound

Moore says she believes her friends and family will be surprised with the sound she’s created in “REMShank,” mainly due to the production; most of her previous songs are made up of her acoustic guitar, her voice, and a drum loop she found online. 

With her new sound, she has striven to dive deeper into the music, she explained.

Her new recording process began when she recently got an iPad to start digitally drawing then saw a TedTalk from artist and producer Steve Lacey about how he’d recorded his new album on GarageBand.

“I was like, ‘What is this GarageBand I have? What does this mean? What can I do with it?’ And then I saw his TedTalk and was like, ‘Oh, shit, I can do a lot with this,’” Moore said.

 “That [iPad is] where I started writing most of this album and ended up getting a MacBook, which I’m not an Apple person at all. This has been a whole culture shock, honestly, but it’s really helped me elevate my sound.” 

She found a new love for her own music within the electronic soundscape, and gets excited to listen to it in her car and throughout the day. 

Moore plans on releasing her new project, titled Magic Number, sometime in March, and is performing five songs off the upcoming EP at her show at Petra’s on Feb. 18, where she’ll perform alongside The Wormholes and Late Nite Laundry.

“I’m very excited. It’s been a long time coming,” Moore said cheekily. “My dad jokes and he calls me selfish because I’ve been sitting on these songs for so long. ‘Just put it out. No one’s going to know what it sounds like if you don’t do it,’” she told Queen City Nerve. 

“And honestly, I’ve had to have a come-to-Jesus moment with myself where it’s like — if no one listens to this, at least I did the thing,” Moore said. “I’ve been wanting to put music out since I was like, 13-14 years old. I think if my 13-year-old self knew at 28 I still haven’t dropped anything, she’d be pissed. I just want to do it, just make her happy.”

For what it’s worth, we’ll be happy to have it as well.

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