We made it to the weekend, I am thrilled! It was a long week but I have got the perfect guest to have on in the background as I relax in the yard with the grill cooking and some Bud Light & Bushmills. The timing here could not be more perfect to introduce Jeffrey James. Jeffrey James released his video for the super-catchy song “Always The Same” this week so we are doing an official release party here on ‘Skoped Out.’ Lets get into it!
Stoli: Where are we talking from today and can you believe summer is coming to an end?
Jeffrey James: I’m based in Nashville, TN I’ve been here for about 5 years now. I’m actually excited for summer to wind down a bit. As much as I love living in Nashville, the humidity and the full month of 100-degree weather can be quite a lot to handle. It’ll be nice to not have that.
Stoli: When you get up in the morning. What song or artist helps you get up and get moving with your day?
Jeffrey James: It changes frequently, be recently it’s been Griffin House. I’m really digging his new album. Most of the time though, if I am driving somewhere in the morning I turn on NPR and try to catch up on the news.
Stoli: You recently opened up for Hanson in August. How was that and what did you take from that experience in regards to your music career?
Jeffrey James: Opening for Hanson was a great experience. We played to almost 3,000 people and hung out with the Hanson brothers before the show. They are extremely nice guys and it was a good lesson on being humble even after all that success. On top of that, I got to watch them put on a high impact 2 and a half hour show of pure energy. I thought my band played great as well but I made sure to take a few mental notes from watching Hanson on stage. I got a great response from the Hanson fans and it definitely showed on my online stats and album sales.
“Always the Same” Premiere:
[youtube wt_vnb6tRpQ nolink]
Stoli: I really love your website www.jeffreyjamesmusic.net and how simple but yet effective it is. How important is it for a band to have their own site along with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc?
Jeffrey James: I think all of those sites are vital to an artist in any genre. Every site you create is another way for people to see you who may not have known who you were before. And now, especially since all the sites can be connected, fans can find you on Facebook, go watch you on YouTube, and then see what you had for breakfast on twitter (if they want). Every week I try to update every website that I am on to keep them current. For an independent artist like me, it is the only way for fans to be updated with my career.
Stoli: When did you decide to use your name as the bands name as opposed to an alias?
Jeffrey James: I actually do use an alias. James is my middle name. Jeffrey James was always a nickname that friends have called me for a while. When I started playing out I was using my real name. A good friend at the time suggested I go by James instead cause it was easier to remember. I tried it out and it stuck.
Stoli: You are under 25 years old but your lyrics sound beyond your age. How has your life helped structure you as a songwriter and what you talk about?
Jeffrey James: Luckily, I can tend to be a bit over analyzing of my life and experiences. I have been able to focus on a certain emotion or situation and examine it from all sides. For me, it’s all about finding new ways of saying things. You can’t just say, “I wanna hold your hand,” because that’s been done before. It was genius in its simplicity when it came out, but now if you say it you’re just copying someone else. I think with every song I am getting better at showing instead of just telling.
Stoli: I absolutely love your song, “Always The Same.” What brought you to write that song and what does it mean?
Jeffrey James: That was actually written fairly early in my career. When I wrote it, I felt like everyone around me was successful and moving forward with their dreams while I was stuck in the same place. I thought that the same people were being recognized over and over again. I was trying to get noticed but felt like I was failing. That’s where this song came from. Of course, it’s sung in an upbeat pop style.
Stoli: You released ‘Just Right’ in April 2010. Do you agree that when you are not with a major label you can take longer to market & promote the album without the machine pumping out new albums every week? Music is timeless!
Jeffrey James: I completely agree. Since I don’t have national marketing behind me, every time I play a new venue people may be hearing my music for the first time. Which makes it brand new to them. Some of these songs are two years old to me but the album has only been out for 5 months and if some one hears it tomorrow, they can grab on to songs for the first time in a fresh light.
Stoli: You have a solid lineup of live shows coming up. How do you get ready to play live and how do you reach the audience?
Jeffrey James: The only way to really get ready to play live is to practice, practice, and practice. I try to reach an audience by putting my all in every song on stage. If I phone in even one song in a performance the audience will know. I try to grab audiences by showing them that I believe every word that I sing, because I do.
Stoli: Is music somethig that you do to get rich & famous or is it a calling that you cannot deny?
Jeffrey James: I do music because it’s the only thing I want to do. I had a time in my life not too long ago when I wasn’t really doing much with music. I was constantly in a bad mood and pretty depressed about my life. I realized that all I had to do was play more and write more. When I started doing that, it was like my whole world changed. I haven’t looked back because this is what makes me happy.
Stoli: Name one experience when a new fan was born after hearing your music and how they raected?
Jeffrey James: One of the most memorable experiences I have had with a fan was in Indiana near my hometown. She came up to me after the show told me how much my song, I Will Be Ok meant to her. As she said it her eyes were tearing up. Apparently she was going through a major struggle in her life and that song had helped her fight through it. I was so touched that someone connected to a song that I wrote to help me through a tough time as well.
Stoli: What is coming up for Jeffrey James that readers can check out?
Jeffrey James: I am constantly posting new videos on line from my travels and will be posting new songs that I have been writing to see which ones my fans respond to the most. I am also shooting a music video in the middle of September for Always the Same so stay tuned for that coming out soon.