The new studio album of the satin-voiced artist, José James, entitled “No Beginning No End 2”, -the sequel of the 2013’s “No Beginning No End”- is going to be released on March 6th. On the occasion of this release we contacted him to tell us about the album’s recording sessions. So, he shares with us some of the names he collaborated with, as well as the musical genres that are perfectly combined in this project.
Throughout his music career, José James has managed to reach a high level of jazz and neo-soul music combining the R&B elements both as a band member and as a solo artist. However, as he told us his new project is his best work yet. At the same time, José James will always believe in music and the power to uplift people, so this release is “beyond labels, just great music”.
James is one of those artists who manage to make their dreams come true and his collaboration with Aloe Blacc -among other names- is the proof of that. Since he is considered as a new generation’s artist, he feels really happy to be a part of it. The opportunities provided with the help of the internet -he says- that make the scene more global than ever before.
So, if you want to learn more about José James, you can read the interview that gave to SounDarts.gr below.
José, welcome to SounDarts.gr! What have you been up to these days?
Exploring the world, getting married and starting my own label Rainbow Blonde Records. 2020 is already amazing!
You are about to release your new album, entitled “No Beginning No End 2”. Could you please give us more information about the whole procedure and what does it make it so special to you in comparison to your previous albums?
This album is near and dear to my heart – it’s the sequel to what most people consider my best album. It was recorded in 7 cities across 4 different countries with some of the best singers and musicians on the planet – Laura Mvula, Ledisi, Aloe Blacc, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Hindi Zahra, Lizz Wright and many more. It’s an exploration of funk, R&B, soul, jazz and songwriting and might be my best work yet.
“No Beginning No End”: In what does José James believe at last?
I’ll always believe in music and the power to uplift people. No matter what the genre is, I want to make people happy and feel connected. No Beginning No End means beyond labels, just great music.
For this album, you collaborated with a lot of other artists like Aloe Blacc, Laura Mvula and Kris Bowers, Lizz Wright, Ledisi and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and others. What different did these artists bring to your productions? Is there any of these collaborations that holds a special place in your heart?
All of these artists are spectacular and amazing – I’m a huge fan of them all. Every one of them inspired me to dig deeper and try to be more honest on the album. It’s an honor to collaborate with these guys and I hope my fans love it to. I think every song is great but I have to shout out the Aloe Blacc collab – that has been in the works for the past 7 years!
If you had the chance to collaborate with one of your favorite artists, who would you choose and why?
I’d love to work with Terrace Martin as a producer, I feel like he really finds the best in people and connects R&B, hip-hop and jazz in a beautiful way.
You are active in the music industry from 2007. Which of your releases is your favorite so far?
I love all my work but my favorites are probably Blackmagic, While You Were Sleeping, No Beginning No End 1+2 and The Dreamer.
In March, you are starting a tour that will kick off from North America. Give us a few words about the energy you receive from the audience every time you perform. Can you recall a special moment?
Every audience brings something special but the audiences in NY, London, Mexico City, Osaka and LA are super magical! They really show love in a powerful way. Honestly my fans are the best and they always show love. I really appreciate them. Last time I played the Hollywood Bowl in LA was really special – 15,000 people all grooving together under the stars to me, Ledisi and George Benson.
We can say that you are a new generation’s artist. What differences can you mention in jazz and soul music over the years?
I think now artists have so many new opportunities to express themselves, and more freedom and control over how they want to release their music. The internet magnifies our voices like never before which can be amazing. The scene is more global and diverse than ever before and we’re all learning from each other. I honestly think this is one of the most exciting times for music and I’m happy to be a part of it.
Who are your idols and what are your sources of inspiration?
Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday. I get inspired by visual art: Janette Beckman, Hassan Hajjaj, Takashi Murakami, Richard Serra, Ana Mendieta, Jean-Michel Basquiat.
And did any of your inner dreams come true? If so, can you share the story with us?
All of them have come true. I wanted to be on the biggest jazz labels in the world and I have; I wanted to find love, get married and have a daughter; and I wanted to become a critically-acclaimed global singer. I even got to sing with McCoy Tyner and Anita Baker! I guess I need some new dreams!
How do you organize your professional plans? Do you make long term plans or is this a fear of yours?
I always have a rough plan of about 4 albums in the future. Right now I’m writing a new project called 1978 that will be 4 LPs released in one year. It’s the biggest undertaking I’ve ever attempted!
What’s your motto in life?
When the Spirit calls, answer.
What is your message to your Greek audience?
Thank you for your love and appreciation! And I hope to visit you someday soon!
Interview: Elektra Limnios
Translation: Thodoris Kolliopoulos