What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
(a brief bio) With his heart in his home state of Pennsylvania and his soul dedicated to music and his own self discovery, Aaron James is an ever-evolving, indie/folk artist based in Memphis, Tennessee.
With over half a million Spotify streams to his name, and a year and a half of national touring under his belt, Aaron James strives to be human; flawed, transparent, and vulnerable. His music is the byproduct of that desperate search into himself, because while it’s a restless journey, he hopes at the end of that tunnel of self-understanding, will also be a sense of belonging.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
This single is the first song in a series of 3 that I’ll be releasing over the course of this year. The series is called “Properly Human” and they all kinda deal with the same theme. The songs were all kind of inspired by what I feel are the parallels between the loss of love and the loss of spiritual belonging. But that’s probably too deep of an explanation. It’s honestly just a sad song.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
I know it’s a generic answer but I’m honestly inspired by everything. My go to’s are current artists like Damien Rice, Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, etc…but I love older folk artists like Joni Mitchell and John Prine.
But at the same time, I’m a part of this creative company based in Memphis called Unapologetic…and the majority of music that comes from there is hip-hop…and being around that all the time also inspires me creatively. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.
But most of all I’m inspired by people. Hearing people’s stories is always inspiring to me.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
It’s hard for me to describe my sound because I feel like in a lot of ways I’m still defining my sound, and who I am as an artist. “My New Best Friend is Loneliness” is definitely very stripped back and quiet…but that’s really because I felt like the simplistic arrangement made sense for the context of the song and what it’s about. I have other songs that are a lot more involved.
I think overall though I always try to capture a peaceful sort of vibe…in one way or another.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
3 desert island albums/movies/books….hmmm
Books: any 3 Steven King books, as long as Firestarter is one of them. If I’m stranded I at least want my imagination and Steven King helps with that
Movies: Here’s the thing, this is difficult because I really just want to say all 3 of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and I’d be fine with it. But I feel like that’s a boring answer…So if I was trying to be more interesting, I’d say definitely “Pans Labyrinth”. That might be may favorite movie…makes me feel something every time. “The Dark Night”. Don’t even judge me. It’s amazing I don’t have to explain why it just is. And I feel like I need to go comedy for the last one, cause once I’m going insane I may want a good laugh…so any of the Austin Powers movies would work. Gosh there are so many other good movies though. Donnie Darko would be another one. Get rid of my books and give me more movies.
Albums: Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” is an obvious number 1 for me. That album is perfection. I could talk about it all day. But I will not. I think Bon Iver’s “22, a Million” would be another. It’s hard deciding between that and “For Emma…”. I’ll forever love the rawness of “For Emma…” but there’s something about the experimental approach to “22, a Million” that somehow maintains the humanness, while also sounding modern. And it’s just so beautiful, lyrically..sonically…everything. Then lastly, probably “In Our Nature” by Jose Gonzalez. All of his music just puts me in a trance, and after those other 2 albums I’d need something a little more acoustic.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Both really have their pros. I love the process of experimenting in the studio, and just doing crazy shit. But I don’t think anything in life gives me more fulfillment than performing live. Getting to tell my stories and just get everything out is what I live for.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I don’t really have any particular funny stories because all of my shows seem to be funny nowadays. I swear it’s not like I prepare jokes or anything before a show…but I just kinda get up there and out of nowhere realize that I really have a lot to say, and in saying everything that comes to my mind it ends up turning into a comedy show without my intention. I honestly think at this point people come to shows just as much for the banter as they do for the music…but I’m cool with it.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I think the most “unique” track I’ve ever released is a song off of my most recent EP called “Nativity Song”. It features a friend of mine from Unapologetic, Cameron Bethany, and the production of it is definitely a direction I want to experiment more with. It’s a little different, but it’s definitely a vibe, and it’s by far one of the songs I’m most proud of to have to my name.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Lots of music in 2019. And even more shows. Lots and lots of touring. I’m a very young artist…I’ve only been doing this for close to 3 years now. I’m just starting to find my footing, and I’m only getting started.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity.
No question for myself, really just want to say thank you for anyone who took the time to read this, and takes the time to listen to my music, or come out to my shows. I know I’m still growing, but the amount of love and support I get from people at this stage of my career is incredibly inspiring, and I’m just so thankful for anyone who finds meaning and purpose in what I do. Love you all and hope our paths cross soon.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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