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Jeffrey James

29th September 2022

Interview: Amy Bell

Pairing rich vocals, R&B stylings and reflective lyricism, Jeffrey creates svelte, brooding tracks that provide deep introspection on the human experience. Since making his debut in 2016, he's amassed millions of streams across his repertoire, received praise from tastemakers like Billboard and 1883 Magazine, and had his music featured in numerous TV shows and films. In Spring 2022, Jeffrey co-wrote “Breakout” with Grammy Award-winning DJ Dave Audé which climbed to number 5 on the UK dance charts. Over the course of his singles, collaborations and EPs, Jeffrey has continued to explore his sound, emerging as an exciting force in the contemporary pop space.

Thanks so much for talking to ReVamp! You're based in Nashville, Tennessee - how has the city had an impact on your creative side? 

Thanks for having me! Nashville is a small-ish city packed with insanely talented musicians, singers, and songwriters. To get noticed you really have to keep working on your craft and get as good as you can, or else you’ll get left behind. It’s the exact opposite of the “big fish in a little pond” scenario. It’s been the perfect place for me to grow as a songwriter and an artist. 

When you were growing up, who inspired you to start creating music?

My family is extremely musical. We were that cheesy family singing three-part harmony to our favorite songs in the car on road trips, so music was always with me. I found myself offering to join a band in high school that needed a lead singer. They had some instrumental songs that needed words. I remember the first time they played one of their songs, I immediately had ideas and wrote half of the lyrics and melody before they were done playing. It was crazy! We broke up after about 3 months. But by then I had the bug and I kept writing songs on my own. 

You have a new single ‘Beautiful Ones’, which is the first release from your upcoming 2023 EP. Why did you decide to release this song first? 

For this project, overall, I wanted to create music that would put me in a good mood the way other artists' songs usually do for me. I always love the music I write. But in the past, I’ve leaned into the more sad and emotional stuff. “Beautiful Ones” is the perfect level of catchy, feel-good vibes that I wanted to share with the world. 

What is the message behind ‘Beautiful Ones’, and what inspired the song? 

The day I wrote Beautiful Ones, it was a damn near perfect, sunny day out and I was feeling happy and confident about life and love and all that. That feeling can be fleeting, so I wanted to try and bottle it up in a song so I could take it with me. 

What is your usual writing/recording process like? Walk us through a day-in-the-life when you are creating a song.  

I usually start writing later in the morning. No matter if I’m inspired or not, I sit down with whoever I’m writing with (I almost always co-write) and we talk about our lives and what we wanna say that day. It’s like therapy via songwriting. And the song comes out of that convo. The actual writing process changes song by song, but usually, it starts with a hooky melody, for me. Or a phrase that feels like a great jumping-off point. 

When you are ready to release either a single or an EP, how do you prepare for that? Is there a special ‘ingredient’ to prepare for a release?

I’m not sure there is a specific ingredient. It’s usually about finding the right visuals (pics, video, etc) that represent that project best. So hopefully people have an idea of what they are getting before they even hear the song(s).

You have an EP coming out in 2023, what can we expect from the new EP?

This is the most upbeat project I’ve ever made! There are a lot of 90s UK alt-rock and pop influences in the music. It’s fun, and big and is a blast to perform live. You’re gonna love it!! 

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