Jennifer Lee, known by the stage name TOKiMONSTA, has been through more in her young life, than most ever will. Lee, a classically trained pianist began experimenting with beats in college, before launching a career as a DJ. In 2010, after becoming the first female artist to sign with Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label she released her debut album, “Midnight Menu.”
Lee continued her career from there, but was interrupted in 2015 after being diagnosed with Moyamoya disease, a disease in which certain arteries in the brain are constricted. Blood flow is blocked by the constriction, and also by blood clots. Lee underwent brain surgery shortly after the diagnosis that saved her life. As a result of the surgery though, Lee suffered a significant loss of her motor skills and was unable to walk, or understand language. With hard work, Lee slowly worked to regain the skills that allowed her to function, she had also lost her ability to write and understand music.
After a period away from music entirely, Lee regained her abilities and the first product was the song “I Wish I Could.” In April of 2016, just three months after her second brain surgery Jennifer Lee was standing on a stage at famed music festival Coachella, having gone through all of this without telling anyone outside of her immediate family.
Last month, in a piece with Pitchfork, Lee told her story in her own words which you can read here. On October 6th, the fifth TOKiMONSTA studio album was released. Having gone through so much in two years since her diagnosis, the album was a huge personal triumph.
In an excerpt from her Pitchfork article Lee stated; “You know what? This album isn’t going to be made to satisfy the needs of an industry or the needs of a trend. I’m just going to make songs that make me happy, and I really hope they make other people happy, too.”
TOKiMONSTA - I Wish I Could feat. Selah Sue
TOKiMONSTA is currently out on the road in support of her latest album, “Lune Rouge” and will play The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA Tuesday night. (October 10th)
Tickets for the show start at $20 and are available via AXS.com
Photo for the article is credited to : John Michael Fulton