See Jackie Lee's New 'Long Year' Video - Rolling Stone
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See Jackie Lee’s Redemptive New ‘Long Year’ Video

After the death of his mother and a battle with testicular cancer, country singer shares inspirational message of healing

In the span of two years, 26-year-old Jackie Lee released a series of singles, including the tipped-for-a-breakthrough “She Does,” which inexplicably stalled just inside Billboard‘s Top Fifty in country airplay. Subsequent singles fared no better and Lee soon parted ways with his record label, Broken Bow.

The scenario is an all-too-common one for new artists, but the continuation of Lee’s story is anything but typical. In that same two-year-period, the east Tennessee native lost his mother to ovarian cancer. While dealing with that unexpected loss, Lee also waged his own battle with testicular cancer. He emerges now from two battles with the disease, armed with a new song and video that candidly reveal details of his struggle, the lingering grief, and, ultimately, the strength to persevere in the face of overwhelming personal and professional challenges.

While Lee performs “Long Year” at the piano on a theater stage, the weary, grief-stricken ballad is accompanied by personal footage of Lee’s journey through chemotherapy and eventual hair loss. The song, written in a four-hour session last June with co-writers Barry Dean and Sean McConnell, came one day after the first anniversary of his mother’s death.

“At that moment, I was, like, I couldn’t care less if anyone else in the world hears this song,” Lee told “I need this song.”

Within weeks of writing “probably… one of my favorite songs I was going to write,” Lee received news that the cancer had returned, this time attacking his lymph system. Slowed down by another round of chemotherapy last fall, he finally rang the treatment center’s ceremonial bell signaling the final round of chemo. What followed was a great deal of soul-searching and the realization that he was now in a position to do something with his music other than to chase hit songs. “I forgot that music is healing,” he says. 

On Friday, May 25th, Lee will also release the romantic new tune “Comeback.”

In This Article: Jackie Lee


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