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Q+A With St.James

A sultry, dark and immersive adventure lies in wait on Aquarius, aka the brand new single from luminous alt-pop artist st.james. Officially billowing out into the world today, Aquarius marks a stylistic shift for st.james from her earlier work; but it’s ultimately a stunning and welcome deviation, bustling with futuristic hues as well as a smattering of st.james’ more vintage trademark flair. We caught up with st.james for a quick Q+A

Hi, thanks for taking the time to chat with Hear 2 Zen, what have you been up to today?

Thank you for chatting with me! I’ve actually had tonsillitis, so I’ve been on the couch having a Game of Thrones rewatch marathon!

Tell us about yourself, how long have you been performing/creating music for? 

I’ve been writing for a few years. But I have been performing forever! I went from school choirs and musicals to night club singer and wedding band singer. I love it so much, performing is in my blood. I can’t wait to play some shows and get to sing all my own material.

Who are your greatest inspirations?  Why?

I grew up listening to Bowie, he is a huge inspiration and just such a hero of mine. He broke the mould in so many ways in the music and fashion industry. The people in pop culture history who really decided what was cool just by being themselves, being brave and experimenting are so admirable.

How do you create music?  Are you lyrics/story driven, or does the music/melody come first?  Explain your process.

I’ve done it both ways. And it’s slightly different every time. But the most common way for me is to write down a TONNE of lyrics. They’re kind of gibberish in the inception stage. Then I’ll play around with some melodies I like, make a basic track and loop it. Next I listen to it about a million times until some melodies start coming to me and while I do that I stare at the page of lyrics and see what fits. Lines get moved around, paraphrased and edited until I have something that resembles a song and then I’ll record a demo and send it to my producer. If he likes it we’ll develop a track, often together. I understand the importance of catchy hooks; I strive to write pop music. But I also really want to have clever and meaningful lyrics and not just words to fill out a track. So I spend a bit of time making sure I use the right words and that I’m telling an interesting story.

What has been your greatest challenge so far in performing/creating music?

It’s always a bit challenging for me to communicate my ideas to my producers. They’ve passed on songs I have written that they don’t feel are strong enough, but if I could articulate better what I want with it and have them trust me enough to push through and work on it, I know I’m sitting on some gems that could be amazing pieces of music. 

Tell us about your new release Aquarius, how did it come about?

I started thinking about our generation and this era we’re in. How we are going through the age of Aquarius, something most of us have heard of but don’t know what it is. We’re dealing with so much that’s going on in the world but also internally. I wanted it to be this dark but fun track about how, collectively, we’re all handling our shit like absolute bosses. I wrote the line “high on the vibes and the pain” when I saw a sign out the front of a cafe near me advertising ‘Margs and Vibes’ and I just began to think about the cycle we’re in of feeling a certain way, owning it, drowning our feelings and then the drowning subsequently leads to having more negative feelings. But we have grown to love it, in a kind of toxic but romantic way. It’s how we cope now.

What advice do you have to artists who are just starting out?

Just write and write and write. It shouldn’t feel like work, so make it fun. Find a tribe of people who can help get your music out and collab as much as possible. It will help hone your skills and networking is priceless.

Tell us your favourite Zen practice.

Beach walks have always been my go to when I need to find some peace. The beach in winter time is my favourite. When I have it all to myself 🙂

Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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