He is the most unassuming of musicians but his music – it leaves a mark. He’s Jarryd James.
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.
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.
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: 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.
Jarryd: Well spotted ;).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jarryd: I want to spend more time with dogs.
Header Photo Credit: Kenny Laubbacher