by Lenell King
Lenell: Where are you originally from, and how did you get started in the music industry?
James: I'm originally from New York and I’ve been in Atlanta now for some years. I got started pretty young at about 15 or 16. At that time, I really got into making my own music. Being from NY, there is a lot of inspiration that you can pull from. There are so many genres to get motivation from out there. It was natural for me to gravitate to that kind of field. My whole thing was really honing in on production and musicianship more than the actual song. I stuck with it.
Lenell: So do you actually play an instrument? Oftentimes when you hear about a producer these days, you think of the beat machines, fruity loops, and so forth.
James: Yes, I do play keys and I play other instruments by ear. I've learned throughout the years how to play different things to get the rhythm of how to make records. With any instrument you play you have to have that rhythm. The whole thing with producing is that you actually have to know how to produce. That term producer gets thrown around to loosely. A producer is more than making beats, you are putting together a full product for a commercial release.
Lenell: How did you initially get discovered, and signed to Roc Nation?
James: It's hard to pinpoint how I actually got discovered, it was more so my fans honing in on my craft and really listening to the music that I produced throughout the years. This is where I truly believe that I got discovered. As far as roc nation, my relationship with them is more so an affiliation but I do have a publishing deal with them.
Lenell: You are working with some established artists right now like Sara Stokes of "Making the Band" and Truth Hurts. When you are working with talent like that whom have been in the game for some time, do you oftentimes find yourself faced with an ego, or is it a mutual respect where they trust your judgement as the producer?
James: Pretty much all of my clients, and all of the artists that I have worked with we all have great relationships. We all get along, we are all on the same page. We all have different visions of what we are trying to bring to the public. There will always be different vibes and inspirations when we are creating records. I am just blessed and fortunate enough to work with artists like that. You don’t really see too many artists who have made a strong impact come back strong. I am just happy to see that.
Lenell: How do you prepare for a studio session? Do you normally have an idea in mind before you go to the studio, or do you guys just build from scratch?
James: It really depends on what we are trying to do. Sometimes I may already have a song done, produced, and written. Or we may start something from scratch going into the studio where we have a writing session or listening session where we put things together. It kind of depends on where we are at and what kind of record we are trying to do. That's how some records come about organically.
Lenell: Whom are some of your influences either from the artists' standpoint or the producer?
James: Growing up I was a really big fan of a Tribe Called Quest. I thought that Q tip was the man. He was one of my favorite producers at the time. He still is. He is probably the "Sample King". I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from guys like him, Timbaland, Pharell, etc. Guys that have just innovated the culture so many times. Right now I like artists like Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West.
Lenell: What are some of your current projects that you are working on?
James: Sara Stokes from "Making the Band" and I have a single out called "Sneak Peak".
Lenell: It's hot.
James: Thank you. It is doing well and growing. It is currently on ITunes, so go grab that. Truth Hurts and I have a single being released this month called "Fight for Love." It is more of a pop/edm record that will be released overseas. I am working with Arrested Development, the group as well as a solo project with Eshe, a former arrested development member. I'm also working on a project with Men at Large the group, as well as a solo project with Dave Tolliver of Men at Large. I'm also working with J Holiday. There are a lot of projects that I'm involved with. There are many that I can't even name yet.
Lenell: Tell me about this aspiring model career that you are working on.
James: My mom always told me to make whatever you have work for you. I’m blessed to have the looks to do it. Modeling is more of an expression. I’m a fan of great photos .It’s just another expression for me to be creative. It's something that I like to do and it is something that I'm going to get more into. I really enjoy doing it.
James: Definitely, music is the first love. You never can get rid of that.
Lenell: What advice would you give an up and coming producer?
James: I would tell any and everybody that wants to be in this business period to never sell your integrity to do what you want to do. I say that because there are so many people out here that get so lost in what they think is quality. When you do that you are not setting your own path to do anything innovative 3 to 5 to 10 years from now. That’s what I strive to do innovate and inspire people around the world. That’s just more of having your legacy sustained. When you're done you will know you have something to leave behind and people will remember you for contributing to the culture.
Lenell: You know those are standards that anyone should and could live by. Well said. How can your current fans and new fans can reach you?
James; Thanks again.
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