Jarryd James

He is the most unassuming of musicians but his music – it leaves a mark. He’s Jarryd James.

Release Date: July 29, 2016

The 31 year-old Brisbane, Australian singer/songwriter found his voice again when he needed it, put it to sound use when he teamed up with the likes of New Zealand hit-maker Joel Little (Lorde, Broods), Mikky Ekko (Rihanna), Tobias Jesso Jr. (Sia, Adele), and officially introduced himself to the world in 2015 with the R&B groove and electronic gloom of his debut single, “Do You Remember.”

Considering the company that he keeps, it’s no surprise that James’ musical star is on the rise: support tours with New Zealand’s Broods in 2014, Meg Myers and fellow Aussies Angus & Julia Stone in 2015 have exposed a great many ears to having their heartstrings soulfully pulled. It’s been quite the two-year ride for James: his debut album, Thirty One, was released overseas and an EP version, High, in the U.S. Now he’s just come off another solid tour with Broods (who are featured on the single “1000x”). Time to reflect, time to look forward…with Jarryd James.

High Voltage: The first time that we met, there were a couple of important ‘firsts’ going on: Not only was it your first show in Los Angeles [at the Troubadour] but also your first show in the US and it was sold out. That was exactly 13 months ago and you introduced yourself with, “I have no idea why any of you know who I am.” Besides that quesadilla you had for dinner, what’s the strongest memory from that evening?
Jarryd James: I remember a lot of things from that evening very vividly, but I think the strongest memory was that it was the first show where I had my now very good pal Benny Barter playing drums with me – he’s honestly one of the best humans and one of my favourite drummers in the world, I just remember feeling so damn lucky.

HV: Well, I hope Benny gets to see this. At the time, it was the strength of your singles, “Do You Remember” and “Give Me Something” that made you and that show so buzzworthy – and I hate the word – but that was the case. Your self-titled EP followed and now we have a full album, High, which is a full album of bittersweet alternative pop/R&B. Were there any songs that were especially challenging to complete or “get right”?
Jarryd: Not really – I mean, there’s always a bit of going back and forth to make sure things are just right… Actually, maybe there was more time spent on “How Do We Make It”…it was pretty important to me that that one had the right vibe in particular.

HV: The album is a very collaborative effort with “Claim My Love” and “How Do We Make It” being my favorite songs on the record – I’m a huge How To Dress Well fan. Did writing with other artists come naturally or was it something that you had to work at?
Jarryd: Writing with other artists can definitely go any number of ways…I have been pretty fortunate so far to have really good, relaxed experiences. All the people who have had any input in creating these songs have been really respectful towards me and what I’m trying to do.

Jarryd James

Jarryd James @ The Troubadour


HV: Surely the past year of touring with Broods and Angus & Julia Stone has been pretty educational, personally and professionally: What are some lessons that you’ve learned about the “art” of touring?
Jarryd: Obviously I’ve learnt a lot from other people who do this whole thing too, but I think the main thing is that everyone handles it in their own way. I’ve seen people really burn themselves out in the past, trying to “keep up” with everyone else – you just gotta do things at your own pace and make good decisions. Mostly about how much you drink.

HV: I think that I just may be the last one to have connected the dots that your two big tours have been with brother/sister bands. Yes, that was more of an observation than a question.
Jarryd: Well spotted ;).

HV: Does homesickness ever kick in?
Jarryd: It does, but it’s kind of a bittersweet feeling when you’re out there doing something that you love. I count myself so incredibly lucky to be able to do this so it works its way into this really nice/sad/nostalgic feeling when I think about home.

HV: What to you do you with yourself when you come off the road?
Jarryd: Well, I just got home a few days ago and I have been eating at all my favourite restaurants, playing PlayStation, making music… Just living the dream, really.

HV: Favorite restaurants and PlayStation: you’ve earned that. That moment when we realize – and admit to ourselves – that something is more of a necessity than an option is pretty powerful and you had that where music is concerned. Was that realization a huge relief, frightening or somewhere in between?
Jarryd: It was utter relief. I didn’t even have any intentions to make it a full-time thing or anything like that, just to know that I was doing what I was born to do felt amazing.

HV: Just curious: Has it been at all odd for you having to adjust to being interviewed?
Jarryd: A little. I’m very much the opposite of a self-promoter – I don’t really like talking about myself..but in this context it’s fine, I’ve just started making up a huge back-log of stories to tell if things ever get boring.

HV: We should probably check back in with you in another year’s time; your stories should amazing by then. Now we’ve just under four months left in 2016: Is there anything in particular that you’d like to accomplish before the year is out?
Jarryd: I want to spend more time with dogs.

Header Photo Credit: Kenny Laubbacher