Gregg James is a singer/songwriter, currently weeks away from releasing his debut single titled “Half Of Me”. Recently James took the time to give us some insight into his back story and mindset.
- How long have you been making music?
Gregg James: I’ve been singing since forever, but publicly I wanna say I started this when i was 16 or 17.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
Gregg James: Definitely Usher and The Backstreet Boys.
- Which current artists are you listening to, or admire most?
Gregg James: Oh man there are so many…let’s see. Bazzi, The Weeknd definitely, Jake Miller. Those are heavy hitters right now.
- You are releasing your debut single, “Half of Me”. Could you tell us something how this song came about?
Gregg James: I’ve actually been writing this song for quite a while now. I scrapped it once or twice and then finally found the right team of people to get the job done and vision I saw for this project.
- What do you feel are the key elements people will enjoy about this track, and your music in general?
Gregg James: I am a very soulful person. I love listening to passionate records because well,I’m a passionate person. I’m all about the raw talent, mixed with the right sound and good vibes. Whether you’re at a club, in your room, in your car, at a party or just listening casually I made this for everyone to enjoy and vibe to. I personally think they will enjoy the vocals, and that guitar…when you hear it…oh man, it’s beautiful. I have put a lot of hard work into this, so I hope they love it.
- What do you think separates you from the massive crowd of artists emerging from the online platforms right now?
Gregg James: I feel that a lot of people try and imitate someone else’s sound and that’s why it doesn’t work out. Me personally, I blend my inspirations in my music but I also bring me, Gregg James into the mix and a lot of it. I want to be me, not the next somebody else. I’m doing this for me because I simply love music.
- Could you describe your creative process? What do you usually start with – lyrics or music – and how do you go about shaping these ideas into a song?
Gregg James: I have always loved to write, but for the most part I will come up with melodies in my head and then translate that to a sound. I love to sit with producers and the engineers and put our heads together. I’m a very hands on type of person. The lyrics are absolutely vital but so is the music. I also take personal experiences or experiences I’ve seen others go through and put that into writing.
- How strict are you with genres? Are you comfortable working with most genres and styles and do you have a preferred style?
Gregg James: I’m not very strict at all. I will seriously listen to anything. Talent comes in all different styles and I will listen to anything once. I like to work with hip hop artists, I wouldn’t mind incorporating certain styles but I do like Bazzi and The Weeknd’s style. It’s very unique and passionate.
- What are some of the main challenges you’re facing now, in recording producing or marketing your music?
Gregg James: Well I’m actually pretty ahead of the game right now I would say. I’m actually already back in the studio working on the next project. I’ve been doing marketing here and there, building a following before the release. I feel like I’m right where I should be. I’m blessed honestly.
- Are you happy about the way the music business works today with all the digital platforms, or is there something you would change?
Gregg James: I’m actually quite satisfied with the way it works. I think it’s fantastic that people can listen to my music and everyone else’s on so many digital platforms. It’s great, and I think each platform is unique in their own way too.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?
Gregg James: Yes. I truly believe that social media is everything. The biggest music stars are very huge on social media and I think it’s important to build a following. Interacting with supporters and potential new listeners is very important, especially in the beginning stages. I feel like you should take a few minutes to understand your fan demographics and reach out to them and say Thank you. I am no stranger on social media, if you say “hi” to me and tell me you support me, I appreciate that. We might even chat every now and then, the fans are everything.
- What is your relationship with visual media? Do you think videos are important for your music, and will you be producing one for your single?
Gregg James: Yes. Videos are totally important, and do I have plans for a visual? Oh yes, there are plans.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Gregg James: The most exciting thing for me is building relations. Whether it’s personal or business you meet a lot of exciting and talented individuals along the way. I love to listen to up and coming talent, I feel like if you don’t you’re just not giving them a chance. That leads to what discourages me most, and that would be how people think a signed act is more important and more talented than an unsigned act. People have their reasons for not signing deals and we have to respect that. I don’t feel it’s fair for us not to give artists like myself and others a chance. We are doing everything we can, we just don’t have that big name behind our brand. That’s the only difference.
- Do you only create and work in a studio environment, or do you also find time to perform live? And which of these two do you ultimately enjoy more?
Gregg James: No I create art anywhere. I love working in the studio but we all go to the studio to make amazing music that we look forward to play at live shows. I would have to say the most rewarding part of everything is being on that stage and showing everyone what you created behind the scenes, and everyone who was behind the scenes learns to appreciate their music even more.
- If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style? Where do you do most of your recording and production work? And do you outsource any or all of these processes?
Gregg James: I would tell them to just listen to me with an open ear. No other artist images in mind. I have a soulful voice, with soulful but yet pop type music. I work with a few guys in a studio near me. That’s where the majority of the art is created. I love to sit in on the mixes and help with anything that I can.
- How do you handle criticism and haters? Is it something you pay attention to?
Gregg James: Okay honestly I use to get so defensive back in the day. I know that I have always had the potential to be a singer but I have heard some harsh criticism before. Now I understand that it’s just the way the world works. I like when people are knowledgeable about critiquing and don’t just say something is “Trash” or “You suck” that right there doesn’t offer any advice to anyone, so that to me I would ignore and move on from. I don’t let little things like that shake me up because every day I wake up working on getting better than I was the day before. It’s all about progress.
- As a young and upcoming artist, what are your thoughts on talent shows like American Idol, The Voice, or The X Factor, etc.? Is this something you would consider doing if given the chance?
Gregg James: I actually tried out for The Voice in 2015 or 2016 I forget, but I met a lot of really awesome singers there. I was there probably 8 hours, or so. All day event and I went to the last city auditions and out of my group of 20 people, they chose 1 singer. I was okay with it, but man was there so much talent overlooked in there. I did a lot of networking though, and it only pushed me to get better.
18. Where can people find you on social media if they wish to follow your career?
Gregg James: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud, Youtube. Just type in “iamgreggjames” I have a snapchat too and post regularly on there the name is gjdo3.
- If you had the chance to sign to a major record label would you and why? If not, why would you choose to stay independent?
Gregg James: This is a tough one here. Honestly I have always seen myself as an artist with a commercial sound and I want to be a big name in the music industry. If the deal was right and I felt everything was fair and just, I would definitely sign a deal. I’m not label searching, I’m just looking to put my music out there and gain interest whether it be from artists, producers, or record labels I’m all about putting out the art that I love. If people love it, great, and if not back to the lab to create and engage more people.
- Do you have a specific musical milestone set for the near future, and what else can fans expect from you in 2019?
Gregg James: I would love to start doing shows whether it’s local gigs, club gigs, or even some festivals and what not. I’m also hoping to have an EP ready for the end of this year or into next. I’m not on a time frame but I do have a lot of projects in the works. Whether it be features, or my own music, you will be hearing much more from me this year.