Singer-Songwriter Jamisen Jarvis Radiates onto the Scene Like Liquid Sunshine

Her own kind of music.

  • Category
    Arts, People
  • Written by
    Tanya Monaghan
  • Photographed by
    Shane O’Donnell

I met Jamisen at a local coffee shop in Downtown Manhattan Beach, not too far away from the Spyder Surfboards store owned by her parents, Dennis and Crystal. The Jarvis family is well known and well loved locally—not only as the owners of Spyder Surfboards but also as staunch supporters of many community-uplifting projects and charities.

As such, Jamisen was raised knowing the importance of community. She seems completely comfortable in her surroundings, wrapped in a fluffy vintage coat. Her big, beautiful, blue eyes and warm, genuine demeanor draw you in.

“Where shall I start?” She begins by recounting her early years, emphasizing her pursuit of self-discovery through various sports and activities. Soccer and even a brief stint as a surfer with serious potential all played a role in shaping her journey, along with a homeschool education.

“I always wanted to know what I wanted to do at a young age,” she reflects, “and I had a lot of free time to do that, thankfully. But I’m not a very athletic person. So it was very humbling that every time I would try a sport, I would just be so bad at it.”

Jamisen is a self-proclaimed “emotional person” and found solace in journaling from a young age. Her love for words, quotes and capturing her feelings became an integral part of her identity. The presence of guitars around her house, coupled with her dad’s musical background, paved the way naturally to songwriting.

“That’s how I got into it. It truly was only therapy. I was like, ‘No one is ever gonna hear this. This is way too vulnerable. This is for me.’”

Dennis, a former band member, would often wake her up with a guitar, singing “Good morning.” Despite the heartwarming memories now, she recalls being initially annoyed—emphasizing the sarcastic and open dynamic of her family. This familial support, coupled with her inclination toward words and music, fostered an environment where she could explore her creativity freely.

Growing up in a homeschool environment also had its challenges, and Jamisen candidly shares the impact it had on her. As she delved into songwriting, she found a therapeutic outlet for her struggles and feelings of being alone. These early compositions were a personal sanctuary—never intended to be shared. But they played a crucial role in shaping her artistic identity.

“That’s how I got into it. It truly was only therapy,” she admits. “I was like, ‘No one is ever gonna hear this. This is way too vulnerable. This is for me.’”

However, fate had other plans. Jamisen recounts a pivotal moment when the late beloved local musician Kevin Sousa, whom she called Uncle Kevin, discovered her musical talent. Reluctantly sharing one of her songs with him led to an unexpected performance at Terranea Resort.

The experience proved transformative, pushing her to share her music more widely. This past year Jamisen shared this story and sang a very emotional song at Kevin Sousa’s memorial on Hermosa Pier, which her father helped organize.

Reflecting on her early performances, Jamisen emphasizes the importance of connecting with the audience—creating an emotional bond with her listeners in addition to singing. “If people just wanted to listen to a song, then they can go on Spotify,” she explains. “What I love about doing it live is we’re all people on the same level.”

Jamisen’s mom was instrumental in fostering her daughter’s confidence. When she had episodes of feeling insecure Crystal would say, “Jamisen, if you are confident, that is all that matters. If you like your outfit but someone else doesn’t, why does that matter?”

Jamisen believes this mantra carried over into her music. She explains, “If I wrote something that healed me, it could heal someone else. And that’s why I love music. It connects people … and that is what heals.”

As she navigates her musical journey, Jamisen acknowledges the evolving nature of her sound. While her earlier works embraced a “bedroom pop” aesthetic, she is finding inspiration in the honesty of country music. Her experimentation with genres reflects a newfound chapter, demonstrating a commitment to growth and self-discovery through her vulnerability.

“I’m excited to figure out my next chapter, my next voice. I think she’s hiding in there and she needs to come out. But she’ll come out when she’s meant to come out. I used to be so impatient, but now I think the journey is fun!”

Looking ahead, Jamisen has set ambitious goals for herself, with dreams of creating a cohesive body of work—an EP that she can be proud of. Her focus extends beyond just performing; it’s about crafting a musical narrative that resonates with authenticity and vulnerability.

Our conversation gave me a glimpse into the beautiful, charismatic and original world of this young artist, who is as captivating, pure and authentic as her music. From singing solo in her bedroom to the stages she now graces, Jamisen is on a journey of self-discovery that has had a profound impact on her music.

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