iamamiwhoami is the electronic music and multimedia project of Swedish singer-songwriter Jonna Lee. The project was conceived with Lee's long-time producer, Claes Björklund. Starting in December 2009, music videos have been released in four series from the project's YouTube channel, with complementary digital downloads becoming available through online retailers. Critically well-received, the project's music and visuals contain elements of electronic music sub-genres such as ambient, synthpop, dream pop and trip hop. The videos in particular have spread virally and have garnered much attention, and the project is notable not only for its artistic multimedia output, but also the creators' leveraging of YouTube and viral videos to disseminate their music and music videos. As of 2012, iamamiwhoami has its own label To whom it may concern., which operates in conjunction with Cooperative Music.
In a September 2012 interview with Notion, and Gay Times, Lee defined iamamiwhoami as herself in a "collaboration with amazing people" that she loves, also stating "iamamiwhoami is not something [she] can shake off... it's not a character [she] plays, it's [her]." Running from an initial set of prelude videos and a series of full length songs under the collective title "bounty," to the release of its first studio album and film kin (2012), the project has maintained a continuous story arc focusing on Lee in its lead role.
iamamiwhoami at its core is Jonna Lee, and the project was created with her music producer Claes Björklund. Lee, giving an interview to Playgroundmag.net stated that iamamiwhoami was born from "experiencing convention in its purest form," referencing her earlier work on the solo albums 10 Pieces, 10 Bruises (2007) and This is Jonna Lee (2009), both of which achieved little attention, both critical and commercial. Indeed, iamamiwhoami's musical and visual style is a departure from the guitar-led alternative pop that Lee had previously created, although she acknowledges that "The change is probably more apparent from an external point of view." Lee and Björklund began developing a repertoire of songs following the release of This is Jonna Lee, which they wanted to "grow freely and [tare] the formerly by its roots and start over." The pair envisioned the ability to "physically visualize" the songs they had written, and thus began collaborating with visual directors and photographers, later revealed to be fellow Swedes Robin Kempe-Bergman, Agustin Moreaux and John Strandh. According to Lee, "The idea of iamamiwhoami came to life before it began to take its form. There was a need of change and there were songs to start with," noting the unique "fulfil[ment]" she feels when communicating her music in a visual way under the iamamiwhoami name. Although the project originally had no budget plan, with Lee acknowledging their "limited means," the reasons for continuing later became clear.
iamamiwhoami's videos and music are continuous and is said to operate in "real time," with each collaborator being aware of the concept of each series of songs and videos, which are completed just before being made available for viewing. The first upload, "Prelude 699130082.451322-126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.14.1.12" surfaced on YouTube in December 2009 and was the beginning of the unclear storyline. Each video is part of a continued but elusive plot devised by iamamiwhoami, with debut studio album kin leading directly from the original upload series. Indeed, Dazed Digital magazine quoted Lee as saying "every time a production starts, it’s being released very soon after to keep the conversation with the audience in the present. It’s a chronological storyline of an evolution, from the very beginning up to now. I think the Internet is the place where you can do that." Lee states that essentially, "the core of iamamiwhoami is our music, where the lyrics are the script for the story happening and being shared in real time. Then from that, it is expanded with imagery that reflects our development and current state as part of our chronological storyline." Lee has expressed desire to break "the wall" between viewers and listeners, and for this reason has performed live concerts and aims for visuals that are reflective of nature.
iamamiwhoami is widely known for its secretive nature. Indeed, Lee's participation was not fully confirmed until August 2011, where she began giving her first interviews regarding the project. She has stated the project was inspired by the fact that she stated that she "didn't really know what she wanted iamamiwhoami to be, hence the moniker." Indeed, Lee finds that her "identity was not hidden but neither articulated by me because what is relevant is the work we have done and the audience reflection of my identity." Although Lee acknowledges that secrecy is essential, she feels there is "a lot of communication from me [to the audience] all the time even though it's not literal." In an audio interview with German radio station detektor.fm, Lee states that although "people realised pretty quickly that [she] was involved," she "chose not to comment on it, because [she] just wanted people to focus on what [they] were doing." She also states that "Now, it feels good to speak about what [they] do", but to speak about who she is "as an individual, doesn't feel relevant".