Trans Musician from Ann Arbor Tries Out for The Voice

By |2016-02-11T09:00:00-05:00February 11th, 2016|Michigan, News|

BY AJ TRAGER

ANN ARBOR – Jaimie Wilson, 20, performed at Motor City Pride last year and is about to try out for season 10 of “The Voice.” He’s a return contender for the show but is excited for the opportunity to show the judges what he can do. The young artist has covered multiple songs from “Dibs” by Kelsea Ballerini to “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith. On Jan. 15 he released his first single as a male singer/songwriter, a fun up-beat pop country song called “Drivin’ Me Crazy.” At the end of last year, Wilson traveled to Nashville to record some new tracks that he will be releasing in his upcoming 2016 debut album.
Wilson’s musical roots are in country and Gospel, however he has developed a taste for every genre of music, expanding on his musical repertoire. Music is more than just a past time for Wilson, best known for documenting his transition on his Instagram page (@tboy61915); music is a manner of life as he tries to pour his soul into his music. See Wilson perform Feb. 13 at the Grenadier Club in downtown Detroit.

How did you get your start in music?

I started music because of my mom (Cheryl). She is a singer/songwriter. I got the music start from her. I started by taking piano lessons – took them for a week when I was 5. I sang and played piano until about the age of 15 when my mom had an old guitar – that she never learned how to play – and gave it to me. I taught myself how to play guitar. It was really cool. I consider it a type of art, it’s an outlet. You can take it with you places and be inspired by different things.

What do you like to write about?

Songs that aren’t very deep and are about everyday stuff. Other times, if you’ve had a bad day or a tough situation, it feels good to write about that too. Awhile ago, I wrote a song for my mom. It is my favorite piece. It’s been a year since I came out. And it still isn’t good with my family. I’m holding out hope that it will be one day. Music has helped me a lot. I had a close knit family, and I thought it would be the end of the world if I wasn’t accepted. But music helped me through that.
I think that when you are alone, the things that come to mind are pretty truthful when it’s just you. I always saw myself with my guitar. I noticed a pattern in my music. I always wrote about leaving – running away. I never knew why I started writing about that. Now (after coming out) my songs are mostly about being happy. I think I’ve realized that. I think I knew it all along.

What did your coming out process look like?

I came out a year ago. I grew up on a farm in Howell with a super religious and conservative family. It (my transition) wasn’t expected. It took everybody off guard. Especially because, not that there are warning signs that people like to call them, but I definitely didn’t fit the stereotype. It was a lot of people denying it at first, saying this isn’t you and telling me how I feel, instead of listening to how I feel. I came out in high school. At first it was weird, but it wasn’t too bad, surprisingly. Nobody was really mean to my face. Mostly at home. I stayed at home for a month and then moved to Ann Arbor with my girlfriend.

Tell me about your experience auditioning for “The Voice.”

Last year I went down to Chicago for auditions. They put you in a room with 10 people and you go up one at a time. I got a “maybe” last year. I almost made it and then didn’t. I want to give it another go. It’s not about making it on the show. It’s cool to me that I can feel like I am being myself, if I audition and I do it; it’s me on the show and not somebody that somebody else wanted me to be.

Are you worried that you’ll be seen as the “token trans” contestant?

I would like to be chosen for my voice and not for being transgender.
The judges are picky and choosy before the blind transitions. If they pick me because of that, it might not be a bad thing. It’s who I am. I’m not ashamed of it. If it helps other people, it won’t be all bad. I have a chunk of followers on Instagram. I like answering their questions and making sure people know what they’re experiencing is normal.

Has your voice changed since you’ve started taking hormones? Can you describe that process?

My doctor prescribed hormones but had asked me if I sang and said I might not be able to (once I started taking hormones). I tried looking it up. There isn’t much. The only people that I know, through Instagram, they chose not to take hormones because they didn’t want to ruin their voice. I took a leap of faith. Either I had my music or I could still write my music. I could still do it. Once I hit the two months mark, I couldn’t sing at all. It wasn’t until until four months (after taking hormones) that I could sing. I kept trying to sing, kept trying until finally one day it kinda came out and was a cracking sound. It progressively got better and is progressively getting better.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.