Local Seamstress Has a Memorable Experience Joining 50 Cent Tour

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography Provided

Jamie Dampier, 39, has had a needle and thread in her hand ever since she was 5 years old. Now a master seamstress and owner/founder of Hous of Dampier, a premier sewing shop and clothing alteration service, Dampier can add a new line to her vita: a member of 50 Cent’s touring entourage. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came as a surprise, but also seemed to be kismet.

50 Cent Tour

For years, Dampier has worked as part of the local wardrobe team at Ruoff Music Center to help when artists such as Rod Stewart and Janet Jackson come to town. In this capacity, she preps garments for shows, washing, drying and pressing costumes, as well as inspecting each of them to be sure there are no rips, holes or tears. Because Dampier is such a seasoned seamstress, she’s been asked by some artists to do more. For instance, when Shania Twain performed at Ruoff last summer, she asked Dampier to make her a rhinestone dress right there, on the spot.

“I could not have been more excited,” Dampier says.

The 50 Cent concert was a huge show that included 10 dancers and five wardrobe changes. In total, Dampier and her team were responsible for prepping more than 100 pieces for each show.

“Before the July 27 show, I had to immediately fix things because some of the costumes were falling apart,” Dampier says.

The management for 50 Cent noticed how professional she was, dubbing her ‘The Magic Maker’ for her keen eye, quick work and incredible talent. They were so impressed by Dampier’s abilities they asked if she would join them for the remainder of the tour. She chuckled and said, “I wish,” to which they replied, “We’re serious.”

She had 30 minutes to decide if she was going to upend her life for the next five months. The U.S. tour ran until September 22, followed immediately by an international tour, which concluded on December 14.

Dampier had brides and other clients who were counting on her, not to mention her two children, aged 12 and 4.

50 Cent TourWhile it was not an easy decision, she knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity, although she admits to being an emotional mess when she had to kiss her sleeping boys goodbye at four in the morning before leaving on the tour in late July.

“I criss-crossed all of North America with this tour,” Dampier says. “Places I’d otherwise never see in my life.”

Each member of the four-person wardrobe crew was given a primary task, although they also had to know everyone else’s jobs so that they could step in, if needed, should someone become sick or incapacitated. Dampier was in charge of anything that had to do with the dancers, such as getting their dressing rooms ready and ensuring they had towels, water, mirrors and air conditioning. She also reconstructed any garments when they got destroyed, which occurred regularly.

“The dancers worked their tails off every night,” Dampier says. “After every show we had things to fix on their costumes – busted zippers, missing buttons, holes and tears.”

She was also responsible for setting up wardrobe changes for the next show. This is where her work with the Center Grove Show Choir for the past 19 years came in handy.

“I’ve learned how to do a lot of MacGyver-ing, using unique materials and coming up with crazy reveals, and ways to layer costumes so performers can do quick changes,” Dampier says. “That definitely set me up for the fast wardrobe changes on tour.”

Dampier also wasn’t fazed by late nights or long hours.

“I’ve always managed to balance work and time with my children,” she says. “I make sure I get dinner for my kids, put them to bed and come back to work. That dedication and determination, not to mention working crazy hours and running on little sleep, all paid off. But I tell you what – going on tour is not for a person who likes a nine-to-five job.”

Despite a grueling tour schedule, Dampier notes that management took care of everyone’s mental health.

“If we needed a break, they made sure we got it,” says Dampier, who was treated like part of the family as soon as she joined the tour.

“I tend to get along with most anyone,” Dampier says. “My sister says that spending all those years working with interns honed my teaching skills and developed my patience.”

Interestingly, just four months before Dampier was asked to join the tour, 50 Cent was in Greenwood doing a bottle signing for his alcohol brand at a liquor store across from the mall. Dampier went to the event, but the lines were crazy long and it was freezing outside so she didn’t get in. What she did do, however, without realizing it at the time, was manifest her future by saying, “Man, 50 Cent would be a great tour to be on.”

“It’s crazy that I said that, and then later that year I was standing five feet away from him on his tour,” Dampier says. “He couldn’t have been any nicer.  What a pleasure to work alongside those professionals who are also among the kindest and coolest people on earth.  That includes Busta Rhymes, too.”

She admits that while this opportunity was presented to her at the perfect time in her career, it would be hard for her to repeat it because she doesn’t want to leave her children again. Instead, her goal going forward is to establish connections and get recognition for her design skills, not just her sewing skills.

“If I’m the designer, I could design clothes for artists but not have to go on tour,” she says.

Her ultimate plan has been to turn her business into a boutique and showroom so she can feature her own designs in addition to other people’s designs and artwork. Bringing this dream to fruition is now a reality.

She aspires to eventually grow a trade school.

“I feel that’s something we really need, because this line of work is a dying art,” says Dampier, who is years younger than the majority of those in the alteration business.

Dampier is now back in Greenwood and ready for business, so stop by to see her.

“It’s good to be home,” she says.

She’s not going to be hopping on a tour bus any time soon.

“Unless,” she says with a chuckle, “Beyoncé, Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga is asking.”

For more information on Hous of Dampier, call 317-500-4560 or visit housofdampierin.com.50 Cent Tour

Comments 1

  1. Roger says:

    I would like to get two copies of 50 cents article

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