'Bathing In The Glory'
Canadian born Singer/Songwriter Justin James began his career at 7 years old playing cello and a year later he was singing in Canada’s most prestigious traveling choir, the British Columbia Boys Choir. Justin traveled extensively throughout North America and Europe during his formative years.
At 18, Justin James (tired of the cold Canadian winters) found everything he had ever wanted: sunshine, waves, good friends and great times in the Caribbean. He earned just enough money to get by and enjoyed every minute of it. One day, while surfing off the coast, Justin had a run in with a tiger shark. The attack left his foot mangled and detached, a near fatal encounter. Having to endure over a three-hour ride in the back of a truck to the nearest town, Justin lost consciousness and more than half his body’s blood volume. The delicate surgery to reattach his foot took multiple doctors, multiple blood transfusions and over 250 stitches in less than perfect conditions.
During his lengthy recovery and intense physical therapy his grandmother gave him a guitar to pass the time, while bedridden for just under a year. Soon Justin realized he had an uncanny knack for the guitar and song writing that he would never have discovered if it weren’t for his accident. A transformation took place during his recovery: an extremely talented Singer/Songwriter emerged. It was all a blessing in disguise.
Since then Justin has been writing and performing music with his six-piece band The Sons of Beaches who have a reputation for spirited shows. They have opened for Switchfoot, Shawn Colvin, Dirty Vegas, Edwin McKane and Alannah Myles to name a few.
James’ new album Sun Drenched (10 Spot Records) embodies his beliefs and the spirit of his influences: Motown and harmony bands like The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and The Doobie Brothers. The album has already received considerable media attention with the first single, California, being used on MTV’s popular reality show Laguna Beach.
Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "Easy…. I was into The Harmony Bands, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Bros, CCR, ect…& of course Mo-Town. Yeah…I think it's kinda natural to pull ideas from your influences. It’s the mix of of using your influences and then making it original that is the trick."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "Just toe tapping groovy Sunny day tunes. I’m not trying to change the world…just make you smile and sing along."
Your album title 'Sundrenched' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it has more of a personal meaning to you?! "It means that if you never give up and you keep on moving towards your goals… you will get you day in the sunshine."
Having had music featured on MTV's 'Laguna Beach' and ABCs hit drama “What about Brian”,' just how much of a significant rise in popularity does this bring - and how does it initially show itself? "To be honest …it's more bragging writes then anything. In a business which revolves around building a buzz getting placed on Mainstream TV is huge. The exposure can only be matched by Radio.. . It also brings in revenue so that means another day on the beach."
With that said, is there ever a show, or a product you wouldn't allow your music to back? "I’m sure there are lots… I just have never been approached from them."
How easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "All you can do is what comes out of you. Its got to be natural and if it isn’t people will tell. You go into the studio and put your best foot forward and you hope your talents will create something people want to listen to."
Please tell us more (in a quick fashion!) about what was going on in your life when these songs were being written and recorded:
'We Can Do Anything' - "I kept thinking of a young couple in a small farm town just wanted to escape to the big city. You know like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe driving in a convertible down the highway."
'Seven Days' - "Just a song about missing someone. We all miss someone sometime."
'California’ - "I was just care free… I don’t have to many material things but I live in California and it's all good."
Also, is it true that you only began to learn guitar due to your Grandmother bringing one into you whilst you were in hospital recovering from the Tiger Shark attack?! "I wrote my first song on guitar right there in the living room pullout couch at my Mothers houses as I recovered from the attack. I always had melodies floating through my head so the guitar was just a way to help express them to me."
How's the foot doing these days ... any pain ... and if it's all healed and mobile do you still surf at all, perhaps? "I still have no feeling in 70% of my right foot. But it's there!! I get out in the water as much as I can. I live in San Diego so it's perfect."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why?! "It would have to be a Huey Lewis song for sure! I love his tunes … Remember that song “If This Is It” Du- -up ??? Ha… that was a cool song."
Lastly, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "I love all animals especially birds that swim under water!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a SIGNED copy of Justins new CD, just answer this easy question: As stated above, Justin had an unfortunate run in with a tiger shark whilst surfing off the coast of ... where?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new SIGNED CDs. Just send us an e:mail here with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: JUSTIN JAMES SIGNED CDS to:
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