Jackie Lee’s ‘Long Year’ Video Chronicles Cancer Journey and It’s an Emotional Ride
Jackie Lee was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2017, but chose to keep his battle private. He beat cancer — twice, actually — and is ready to tell his story in the form of a song, "Long Year."
The "Long Year" video features snippets of moments from a portion of his cancer journey, which required weeks of chemo treatments for the "Getting Over You" hitmaker.
"In October of 2017, I started chemo, and in November, my hair started falling out," Lee tells Taste of Country in an interview conducted a week before "Long Year" was released. "I knew I wanted to record this journey that I was on in some way, but I honestly felt miserable. My mom went through chemo four times in three years, so I had a real strong taste of what chemo was like ... but you don’t know what it's like until it’s running through your own veins. I couldn’t get out of bed on many days. It was like climbing Mt. Everest to do anything at all."
In the "Long Year" video, Lee mixes these incredibly difficult moments with simple shots of him sitting at a piano, singing. There are more uplifting shots of him, too, as he reached the finish line of his cancer journey. The song was written in 2016, when Lee was in the middle of mourning the death of his mother LaDonna Midkiff, whose own cancer killed her in 2016.
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"I started writing the song, and then in June 2017, I was at a writing session with Sean McConnell and we were getting really deep and I was vomiting all of this emotion on him about this long year," Lee says. "And this is the song that was born out of those moments."
Now, with chemo treatments behind him, Lee says he is taking time to reflect on his journey and what he has learned from it. "I couldn’t be more thankful to have had my family around me through all of this," he says. "I couldn’t have gotten through all of this alone and without the friends that God has put in my life."
And while the country singer is looking forward to getting back on the road — he plays Country LakeShake in Chicago in June — he admits that he's not entirely sure of what the future holds.
"I feel like I have walked through a minefield and have made it to the other side, but what do I do now?" he says. "Just playing shows and singing songs might be nowhere near important enough anymore. I'm still very young. Even if I live to be 100 years old, it's not a lot of time. I'm as confused as hell, but I hope that when the video comes out, I start to see a clearer picture of what I want to do with my career."
Though the "Long Year" video chronicles a very personal journey, Lee hopes the song hits home for everyone who listens. "It’s not just about a cancer journey. Everyone has problems that seem insurmountable, but you can find a way through it," he insists. "You can always find a way through it.”
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