Jonna Emily Lee Nilsson
3 October 1981
|Formerly of||Rolling Circus|
Jonna Emily Lee (born 3 October 1981) is a Swedish singer, songwriter, record producer and visual director. Lee is the creator and artist of audiovisual online project iamamiwhoami who since 2009 have released their audiovisual series online, gathering a huge online following. Since her first solo album, she has collaborated with music producer and artist Claes Björklund who is also a member of iamamiwhoami. In 2017, Lee started using the moniker ionnalee for her new solo project. In February 2018 she released her debut solo album, Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten. With the album she also created her own world tour co funded by her fans via Kickstarter. The tour sold out their venues all over the world during 2018. ionnalee remixed Moby's "The Ceremony of Innocence" which was released in December 2018, and in February, her sophomore solo album Remember the Future was announced with the release date 31 May 2019.
Born in Linköping, Lee grew up in the small village of Fågelsta with her mother and siblings. No one in her family had any musical background but Lee had an interest in music as a young child, and ran away from home to London in her teens due to trying conditions at home. In 2002, Lee moved to Stockholm, where she became a part of the underground indie scene. She started recording her own records that were released through her website until she was signed by the Swedish indie label, Razzia Records, in the spring 2007. She released two solo albums and one EP through Razzia Records between 2007 and 2009, but left the label in 2010 and started the independent label "To whom it may concern." to release the audiovisual projects of iamamiwhoami.
Lee was briefly part of the Eurodance duo Rolling Circus between 1998 and 1999, who released the album On The Run, produced by Swedish musician Hans Edler. After signing with the Swedish label Razzia Records, she then released her first solo album 10 Pieces, 10 Bruises on 10 October 2007. The first single was "Dried Out Eyes," followed by "And Your Love," a duet with Ed Harcourt, who also produced three tracks on the album. Lee produced the rest of the record with her collaborator, Claes Björklund who is a member of Travis in London. Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey plays drums on the record. Some songs were recorded in Goffey's house in England. In September 2008, she released a five-track EP titled This War. Her second studio album This Is Jonna Lee, produced by Claes Björklund and Lee herself, was released in February 2009.
In October 2009, she released a version of the industrial electro band Nitzer Ebb's song "Violent Playground". The band celebrated it by uploading Lee's version on their website along with an interview with her. Between December 2009 and December 2016, Lee has released music and films under the pseudonym iamamiwhoami together with producer Claes Björklund and their visual collaborators.
In March 2010, there was considerable speculation that Lee was the artist featured in the viral marketing videos on YouTube uploaded by the mysterious iamamiwhoami, although her management claimed to be unaware of her involvement. According to rraurl.com and MTV Brasil, the music video for iamamiwhoami's track, "o" was directed by Viktor Kumlin, who's also the director of Lee's music video, "Something So Quiet". This later proved to be wrong.
Lee eventually came to be unofficially identified as iamamiwhoami, when she released the music video titled "t" on her channel. She also appears identifiable in the forthcoming music videos released and has performed live at the 2011 Way Out West Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden. The project has garnered award nominations and has won a Grammis Award in 2010 for being 'Innovator of the Year'. iamamiwhoami's debut album kin was released in June 2012 under the label To whom it may concern. via Co-Operative Music, and Lee was credited as the artist, co-producer, songwriter and visual producer of iamamiwhoami, officially confirming that she is iamamiwhoami (which was already known by then). Lee eventually did an interview with The Guardian in August 2012, and confirmed that she was in the "process of developing iamamiwhoami", also commenting that she was still the "same person", but "found other sides of [herself]".
On 24 February 2017, To whom it may concern., alongside Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market, announced the release of a new single by Lee, "Samaritan", and that it was to be released under the new artistic alias of ionnalee. Following the announcement, an Instagram account for the project was launched. One week later, it was announced that To whom it may concern. would be releasing the single on 10 March. The iamamiwhoami YouTube channel uploaded a teaser for the accompanying music video for "Samaritan". The official music video was released on 10 March on the same channel.
On 2 June 2017, the second single "Not Human" with its accompanying music video followed. A third single, "Simmer Down", was released on 6 October 2017. A fourth single, "Gone", was released on 24 November 2017, followed by an announcement of ionnalee's third studio album, Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten. The album was released on 16 February 2018 on her label To whom it may concern. On the same day, she revealed an album visual feature film directed by Lee herself alongside director of cinematography and head producer John Strandh to accompany the album.
On 2 February 2018, ionnalee launched a campaign on Kickstarter to fund a world tour for Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten. The pledges included things from universal tickets to the city of choice of the pledger, ionnalee merchandise, props from iamamiwhoami and ionnalee visual projects, to a unique, life-sized, handmade bust, crafted by ionnalee herself. The campaign reached 100% funding within five days, gathering the amount of 375,000 SEK. Later on, more stretch goals were added, in order to bring the tour to more cities. On 15 March 2018, the campaign came to its close, with a total of 750,187 SEK raised. The tour started on 9 May 2018, at Heaven, in London, and in the course of 2018, will spread across Europe, North and South America.
On 3 February 2019, ionnalee announced the release of a new single "Open Sea" set to be released on 8 February 2019. On 4 February 2019, it was announced that ionnalee's upcoming second solo album Remember the Future is set to be released on 31 May 2019.
On 10 February 2020, ionnalee announced a tour, entitled Kronologi, of North America to celebrate the tenth anniversary since the start of the iamamiwhoami project. Unfortunately, the plans for the tour were placed on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 10 April 2020, ionnalee started releasing unheard tracks from the past ten years under the banner of Kronologi.
On 2 September 2020, ionnalee performed her third live-streamed concert, titled Konsert, in place of her canceled Kronologi tour. The concert was streamed for free on YouTube. She performed alongside her longtime collaborator Class Björklund. The concert featured guest appearances from TR/ST, Imogen Heap, Zola Jesus and Tungorna.
Jonna Lee's early projects have been described as folk-pop. Her and Claes Björklund's project, iamamiwhoami, was considered an electronic music act, drawing a mix of styles, including electropop, synth-pop, art pop and avant-garde. Her music, under the moniker ionnalee, has been termed as electropop, indie pop and art pop.
Lee stated that she is influenced by Kraftwerk, Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, Christopher Nolan, Air and Vangelis. She also added that she enjoys listening to Blood Orange, Arca, Denis Villeneuve, Chromatics, Four Tet, Björk, Todd Terje, Disasterpeace and Mozart.
Awards, accolades and recognition
This Is Jonna Lee was chosen as the "Next Big Thing" on iTunes USA's front page in May 2009.
Lee performed at SXSW in Austin, Texas in March 2010. After SXSW, she was in the Top 5 for the SXSW 2010 Next Big Sound list, which tracks how fast music artists are adding fans across various social networking platforms.
In 2010, Lee received a Manifest Award nomination for Best Singer-Songwriter.
|As Jonna Lee|
|10 Pieces, 10 Bruises|
|This Is Jonna Lee||
|Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten||
|Remember the Future||
|As Jonna Lee|
|This War EP||
|Isolation Live in Ödeshög||
|As Jonna Lee|
|"Dried Out Eyes"||2007||10 Pieces, 10 Bruises|
|"And Your Love" (featuring Ed Harcourt)||2008|
|"I Wrote This Song"|
|"My High"||2009||This Is Jonna Lee|
|"Something So Quiet"|
|"Samaritan"||2017||Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten|
|"Dunes of Sand" (with Jamie Irrepressible)||2018|
|"Open Sea"||2019||Remember The Future|
|"Remember the Future"|
|"Matters" (with Zola Jesus)|
|"summer never ended the damage was all mine"
"sommaren är min och jag kommer tillbaka"
|"What It Takes" (as Jonna Nilsson)||2004||Babylonsjukan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|"Violent Playground"||2009||There's a Razzia Going On, Volume 2|
|"Genesarets sjö" (with Tungorna, as ionnalee)||2019||Baby|
|"The Ceremony of Innocence" (ionnalee remix)||2018||Moby|
Albums with iamamiwhoami
- Bounty (2010–2011; compiled in 2013)
- In Concert (2010)
- Kin (2012)
- Blue (2014)
- Concert in Blue (2015)
- Be Here Soon (2022)
- ionnalee. "hello to my actual debut album released at 18 years of age". Retrieved 14 February 2022 – via Instagram.
- Hogwood, Ben (16 February 2018). "ionnalee - Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten | Albums". musicOMH. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- "To whom it may concern. SHOP". To whom it may concern. SHOP.
- "Jonna Lee ny programledare för P3 Live Session" (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- Montgomery, James (15 March 2010). "'Iamamiwhoami': Is Swedish Singer Jonna Lee Behind Viral Campaign?". MTV. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Mystery over identity of YouTube star iamamiwhoami". The Telegraph. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
-  Archived 15 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- McKnight, Connor (18 March 2010). "Bloggers (Possibly) Crack 'IAMAMIWHOAMI' Mystery". Billboard. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- [permanent dead link]
- t. iamamiwhoami. 30 June 2010. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2012 – via YouTube.
- "iamamiwhoami // kin 3rd September Album Release // kin Video Trailer". Bang on PR. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- Cragg, Michael (11 August 2012). "The ethereal world of Jonna Lee". The Guardian.
- Jonna Lee [@ionnalee] (31 March 2022). "overjoyed to announce our latest project: iamamiwhoami; Be Here Soon (audiovisual album) due june 3" (Tweet). Retrieved 31 March 2022 – via Twitter.
- "To whom it may concern". 24 February 2017 – via Facebook.
- "@ionnalee". Instagram. 24 February 2017. Archived from the original on 19 March 2017.
- "To whom it may concern" – via Facebook.
- introducing; ionnalee. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via YouTube.
- ionnalee; Samaritan. iamamiwhoami. 10 March 2017. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via YouTube.
- "Open Sea" Information:
- "TR/ST & ionnalee - Tickets - Phoenix Concert Theatre - Toronto, Ontario - April 26th, 2019". Ticketfly.com. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
- ionnalee. "happy to be well enough to release this news and to see you north american's again for the 10 year anniversary year of my work through this chronological audiovisual journey spanning from early #iamamiwhoami to now". Instagram. Archived from the original on 25 December 2021. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
- ionnalee. "hello from quarantine. due to the covid-19 pandemic i have to reschedule my US tour in may". Instagram. Archived from the original on 25 December 2021. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
- ionnalee. "kronologi". ionnalee.com. Archived from the original on 16 June 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
- ionnalee. "konsert". ionnalee.com. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
- Springer, Katherine (7 March 2018). "ionnalee: Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten". Spectrum Culture. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
- Phares, Heather. "iamamiwhoami | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- Marchione, Peter (22 December 2014). "Iamamiwhoami – Blue". Release Magazine. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- Venkataramanan, Madhumita (30 August 2012). "YouTube star turns music videos into multimedia guessing game". Wired UK. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- Jones, Matt (10 September 2014). "Nicki Minaj double cover for Dazed's A/W 2014 issue". Dazed. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- Davidson-Vidavski, Doron (11 December 2018). "ionnalee made a phenomenal return to London last night". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
- Anderson, Samuel (26 April 2019). "V Exclusive: ionnalee Comes Through in Come". V. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- Sacher, Andrew (4 February 2019). "ionnalee releasing new album 'Remember the Future,' going on tour". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- Rundin, Ksenia (14 April 2018). "ionnalee - A Searcher Who Explores". Odalisque Magazine. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
- Price, Jessica (3 May 2019). "SGN - Seattle Gay News - Page 22 - Remember the Future: A Q & A with ionnalee". Seattle Gay News. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- "Analytics and Insights for the Music Industry - Next Big Sound". nextbigsound.com.
-  Archived 12 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- @ionnalee (20 December 2018). "tonight i received a cultural achievement award from my hometown Linköping. thanks a million from me and dad Fire @Linkopingkommun @linkoping" (Tweet). Retrieved 4 February 2019 – via Twitter.
- @twimc_label (16 January 2019). "Artist" (Tweet). Retrieved 4 February 2019 – via Twitter.
- Babylonsjukan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (liner notes). Juju Records. 2004. JUJUCD042.
- "There's a Razzia Going On, Vol. 2 by Various Artists". iTunes Store (SE). 28 May 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- "The Ceremony of Innocence (ionnalee remix) - Single by Moby on Apple Music". iTunes Store. 31 December 2018.