Jacquie Lee will never forget her friend Christina Grimmie.
In Lee’s emotional new music video for “Somebody’s Angel,” the singer-songwriter pays tribute to all of the most heart-breaking moments of 2016 — including the loss of her close friend and fellow Voice alum Christina Grimmie, who was fatally shot while signing autographs after her concert in June.
“Obviously Christina inspired the song, but it woke me up to all of the tragedies that go on every day,” Lee tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I feel like those words really helped me get through Christina’s passing, so I wanted to make it open to everyone and tribute every person that we’ve lost this year.”
The music video for “Somebody’s Angel” features Lee’s very own hand drawings, which she says are meant to make it “feel more personal,” alongside emotional news clips that recount the tragedy and loss experienced this year. Headlines announcing the deaths of icons like David Bowie and Prince can be seen, as well as images of the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting and terror attacks in Nice, France.
“I felt like this year we really needed it,” says Lee. “We needed to all feel like we were taking this on together, especially near the holidays.”
The 19-year-old’s inspiration behind the song title first stemmed from an unlikely place: Starbucks.
“A homeless lady walked up to me and started talking to me about death and a lot of heavy stuff,” Lee explains.
“Usually, I would just be in my own world, but I heard her out and she was talking about how her mother had just passed away. Then she asked if I had ever gone through something like that. I started opening up to her about Christina because it was so short after. She started giving me advice and said, ‘Don’t worry, she’s somebody’s angel now.’ The words resonated in a certain way to where I was like, ‘I have to go home and I have to write a song about this.'”
Lee adds: “Out of everything that everyone else had said to me about the situation and what happened, it just didn’t hit me as hard as what she said.”
Lee and Grimmie had a lot in common — both were New Jersey teens that made their marks on seasons five and six of The Voice. The two became close friends while on tour for the show.
At the end of the video, Lee and Grimmie can be seen singing together in a special moment.
“That was the first night of tour in San Antonio,” describes Lee. “We went out to a karaoke bar with one of our friends and we ordered chicken fingers and fries, which is what we ate the entire tour.”
Lee says one of the things she misses most about Grimmie is “stupid stuff” like “being able to order from the kids’ menu with somebody.”
“I felt like she had a personal connection to everybody in her life through different goofy ways, and ours was just being idiots all tour for a whole summer,” she says.
The song’s bluesy tones and electric guitar influence are meant to pay homage to Lee’s favorite cover of Grimmie’s that she did while on tour, Elvis Presley”s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.”
Though she didn’t have a difficult time writing the lyrics, Lee says recording the song “was very, very hard.” However, it was all worth it in the end.
“I hope everybody can come together from this song, and [that] they gain a sense of peace,” says Lee. “I hope this song can help them like it helped me.”