Artist Life: David James

We recently had a nice chat with Canadian country artist David James. I have mentioned to you that I wanted to give you an insider look at what it’s like from an artist’s perspective. Not only my perspective…I haven’t even gone there with you yet, but soon enough. But from other artists, producers, Dj’s and bands that I know, I have worked with or have met through artist friends. Let’s get behind the glamour and glitz. It’s time to reveal that, yes artists, bands, producers, djs and those in the entertainment industry work their asses off. There is no sleep all day party all night (well sometimes 🙂 ), particularly for those who have become successful from an artistic and business standpoint (yes, it’s a business too!).

David James understands that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s more than just being super talented or the best singer or guitar player. It’s a labour of love, love that involves work – you must work to build your dreams. Well, it looks like things are paying off for James who was a 2015 Manitoba Country Music Award Winner for his music video –What We Weren’t Looking For (won Music video of the year). He is a 2016 Canadian Country Music Association® (CMMA®) Award nominee: Rising star & recording package of the year – Songs About A Girl. It’s safe to say that things are just getting started with James who’s making his own path to a promising career in country music.

I thought it would be great for you to get to know him a little more. Find out what inspires him and maybe in turn, he can inspire you to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be.


TTIWIK: What advice would you give a new artist that’s starting out?

Honestly, just to try and be successful in this industry and turn it into a career… it requires a serious, full-hearted commitment. Too often I’ve seen incredibly talented people fail, because they either didn’t commit themselves entirely to their dream, or they didn’t approach it tactfully and strategically. You can’t just throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and hope something sticks, you need to decide that you’re going to succeed and then come up with concrete steps and goals to get there.


TTIWIK: You’re described as a Pop/Rock Country artist, what do you think about blurring the lines of a genre that has very traditional roots? Do you feel that this is a new progression of country music? Or a new space for country music to explore, particularly for an artist who appreciates other genres of music?

TTIWIK: What do you think about the evolution of country music?

I think the beautiful thing about country music, since its inception, is that it’s relatable to people on a very real and personal level. It’s story-telling and relational qualities easily translate to the listener to really make them feel when they listen to the songs. I think it’s healthy to change and evolve over time – every single genre does. I love that I get to appreciate so many different styles of country music for so many different reasons. From a strong, chilling steel guitar to beefy guitar solos and stadium drums, as long as artists are staying true to the heart of country music – it’s ability to evoke emotions, memories, and feelings better than any other genre – then I think it’s in a good place.


TTIWIK: What are you music influences? What are you listening to right now?

My music influences have always kind of been all over the place which sort of explains my sound. Right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of southern rock and Americana; The Eagles, Tom Petty, Joey Landreth… stuff like that.


TTIWIK: Your motto is ‘nothing worth having comes easy…opportunity looks like hard work’, Why?

If something is easy, everyone would do it; but if it’s easy, then it’s probably not worth doing. Great opportunities present themselves pretty rarely to people. You have to spend your whole life working hard and preparing for your ‘big break.’ There’s no such thing as an overnight success story. You have to work yourself to the bone so that when your time comes, you’re able to rise to the occasion. My dad has a great saying, “You don’t start training for the Mr. Universe pageant the week before.”


TTIWIK: What’s one thing you want people to know about you?

I just love to have a good time. When it comes to my music stuff, I can seem pretty serious. But I love to joke around or pull a prank. Of course, I can’t tell you what they are… you need to be surprised when I pull one.


TTIWIK: Since we are called The Things I Wish I Knew, what’s something or a few things you wish you knew let’s say five years ago that you know now?

I had a very ignorant view of the music industry 5 years ago. Between singing in churches to bars and everywhere in between, to recording demos, I couldn’t figure out why i wasn’t “making it.” Why I hadn’t caught a break. Then I learned you sort of have to make your own breaks. It wasn’t happening because I was waiting on the sidelines for it to be handed to me. But it doesn’t work like that. You have to work awfully hard. People don’t realize how incredibly dedicated all of their favourite artists are to their craft. It’s all they’ve ever lived and breathed.


TTIWIK: If you were an instrument, which one would you be and why?

Probably the drums, ’cause I can get pretty loud!


TTIWIK: Which artist(s) would you like to work with?

There’s so many amazing artists in Canada, it’s awesome. I’ve had a couple of people tell me I should get on a song with Jess Moskaluke because our voices would blend well. I have no idea whether that’s true or not, but I consider it the highest of compliments. Not only is she an incredible singer, but an amazing person as well! 

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Hanifa Sekandi

Founder & Editor-in-Chief Follow Me on Instagram @thethingsiwishiknew

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