A born and raised New Orleanian, Jemila Dunham began her relationship with music at a very early age. First introduced to the art form through the violin, she later moved to the alto saxophone, which she played in Lusher’s middle school jazz band, directed by guitarist Dan Sumner. Looking to explore as many musical interests as possible, Jemila eventually found her way to the bass guitar and began studying year-round with prominent musicians in New Orleans including Brian Quezergue, Kidd Jordan, Kent Jordan, Jonathan Bloom, Germaine Bazzle, Donald Harrison Jr., Christian Scott, and Jesse McBride.
After studying with many of the best jazz musicians in the city, she continued her education at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where she expanded her views of what was musically possible for her beyond her jazz roots. In addition to performing and recording frequently on and off campus, she began to learn about and engage in more aspects of the industry, including music production and songwriting. Graduating with a BFA in professional music in 2013, Jemila moved to New York to continue her journey playing with rising pop star and fellow Berklee alum, Betty Who. Since finishing at Berklee, Jemila has travelled the world as Betty’s bassist, performing at various festivals, on 9 headlining tours, and as direct support for the Australian legs of both Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue’s world tours. Additionally, she has performed frequently with New York violinist Mazz Swift, up-and-coming R&B/Blues musician Grace Gibson, and the New Orleans-based band, Cool Nasty. Jemila returned home to New Orleans at the end of 2014 and currently spends her time in between tours and local gigs teaching at Einstein Charter High School and playing at Christian Unity Baptist Church.