Jeffrey James

A Nashville-based artist graced with uncommonly rich and captivating vocals, Jeffrey James channels his raw talent into a groove-heavy R&B/alt-pop hybrid built on pure emotion.

 

ABOUT JEFFREY JAMES

A Nashville-based artist graced with uncommonly rich and captivating vocals, Jeffrey James channels his raw talent into a groove-heavy R&B/alt-pop hybrid built on pure emotion. With his music already featured on major TV shows like Nashville, James is set to deliver a new batch of songs showcasing a sensibility that’s emotionally charged and indelibly melodic.

Born and bred in Brownsburg, Indiana, James grew up singing in the school choir and—at age ten—learned to play guitar with the help of the Hal Leonard Guitar Method books his own great uncle had authored. In high school, he joined up with a local alt-rock band, then tried his hand at songwriting for the first time and quickly fell in love with the craft. While majoring in music at Nashville’s Belmont University, James delved deeper into songwriting and immersed himself in the city’s singer/songwriter scene. “I played every writers round I could, testing out songs and getting a feel for what was connecting with people,” he says. “And then when I graduated I started playing a lot of colleges, just grabbing my acoustic guitar and driving up to somewhere in North Dakota or wherever else they’d let me perform.”

As he developed his sound, James drew inspiration from artists like Joe Cocker and explored the depths of his warm and powerful voice. “My music is very soul-driven, and while I do realize the irony of an Indiana boy making soul music, my voice has always fit that groove,” he notes. Independently releasing the EP I’m Wide Awake, in 2014, James soon saw his songs placed on shows like Nashville, Criminal Minds, and MTV’s Finding Carter. In summer 2015 he brought his gripping live performance to festivals like Forecastle and Firefly, and in September landed a publishing/licensing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

That same year James expanded his musical palette by collaborating with YouTube sensations Postmodern Jukebox, as well as EDM artists from around the world, lending his vocals and melodic finesse to tracks like “Loving You More” from Dutch producer/DJ Saux (a summer 2015 release that Dancing Astronaut hailed as “tranquil house meets soulful crooning”). James teamed up again with producer Konrad Snyder (Kopecky, Milo Greene, Night Beds) to dream up the slow - burning sound of his 2016 EP, Walls, that brilliantly plays off his unflinchingly honest lyrics. Jeffrey used the success of the Walls EP to open for acts like X-Ambassadors and Rachel Platten as well as signing with the East Nashville based, independent pop label South by Sea.

His newest four-song EP, Unsaid (South by Sea), is a collection of singles that were a collaboration with multiple producers including John Luke Carter (Mokita), Tony Esterly (Sia - Satisfied ft. Miguel and Queen Latifah), and Chicago writing duo, The Worktapes (Matt Joynt of The Format). The first song, “Both Ways”, has been featured on the Spotify official playlist, Alternative R&B. The second single, “Hand Grenade," is paired with a high energy, one-take-music-video that Jeffrey describes as "Looking like a riot has broken out around me. Complete with Molotov cocktails, fire, broken glass, protesters, and my own literal blood and sweat; it fits the energy and mood of the song completely."

No matter who he is working with, James first and foremost aims for emotional candor in his songwriting and performance. “The more uncomfortably honest I can be with myself, the better the song turns out,” he says. “Coming from that place of honesty is the best way to make a real connection with people, and building those kinds of connections is the most important thing to me in making music."