Name Jacqui James

Age 24

Hometown Chepachet, RI

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background with music, education, or social justice work.

I am trans woman from a small town. I graduated from URI with a degree in classical vocal performance. In high school I played banjo in a folk punk band and in college I started a queer punk band called The Hemlocks. I also teach vocal, guitar, and piano lessons. For social justice I try and take the approach of having one on one conversations with people about topics that they may not have thought about otherwise. I also use my position in The Hemlocks to write lyrical content that could possibly start a discussion as well as using the time between songs to address more specific forms of oppression as well as trying to create a more welcoming environment for marginalized people.

For musicians: Are you currently playing music? If so, tell us about it!

I currently play in a queer punk band called The Hemlocks. The lyrics are based around my personal experiences with coming out as trans and how I identify, my own struggles with trauma and mental health. We currently have one album out called “Valid” and we are planning on making more music.

What are some awesome bands featuring female-identified, trans, or gender non-conforming musicians that you are listening to right now? 

Some bands that I have been getting into lately are Slothrust, The Regrettes, and Aye Nako. Slothrust is originally from Boston and they play rock music that is heavily influenced by jazz and blues. The Regrettes are from LA and they play pop influenced upbeat music with feminist lyrical content. Aye Nako is from Brooklyn and they play LGBTQ+, anti-capitalist, punk music.

What is your role at Girls Rock! Rhode Island?

I am the gear coordinator, a vocal instructor, and drop-in volunteer.

What is your favorite camp or after school moment?

My favorite part of camp is the showcase. It is beautiful to watch the work that the campers put in all week pay off. I weep every time.

Why do you think someone should volunteer for Girls Rock! Rhode Island?

I think someone should volunteer for Girls Rock! Rhode Island because it is great to be a part of an incredibly welcoming, supporting, and loving atmosphere and way to help people find their voice in a world that may actively silence them.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with Girls Rock! Rhode Island at camp or throughout the year, visit our Volunteer page.