James Robb for The Meadow
interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)
interviewee: James Robb (@jamesrobbmusic)
With Spotify Editorial placement, 18,000 monthly listeners and over 2 million streams on Spotify alone, UK R&B artist James Robb makes his return with his fresh new single ‘Around’ July 24th. It was his brief stint on UK talent show The X-Factor that shot James into the spotlight. He garnered praise from music powerhouse Simon Cowell and has since been backed by BBC Introducing and many more. With his following growing greater and stronger with every release, he’s definitely one to watch this year.
Raised in a musical family, James was quick to realise the importance of learning his craft. He joined writing sessions at an early age and began to play locally as well as in London.
t h e i n t e r v i e w
1. Please start with a little introduction about yourself!
I’m a singer and songwriter from Hertfordshire in the UK. I’m a bit of an introvert so I mostly write and produce my own stuff.
2. What genre would you say your music belongs to?
Somewhere between pop, r&b and soul, I like to blur the lines.
3. When did you decide you wanted to be a musician? What was your purpose?
It’s just something I’ve always been, whether it was going to be professional or not. I grew up in a super musical family and was lucky to be raised by parents with great musical taste! But I really started taking it seriously after I finished school and had the freedom to work and write more.
4. How has your journey been so far?
Lots of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it. I get so excited every time I create and play music, it doesn’t matter if its my 1st, 3rd or 50th release. It never gets less fun!
5. Tell us more about your appearance on the UK Saturday night show The X-Factor!
A few years back I was on the show! Performed at Wembley Arena in front of 5,000 people which was an incredible experience. I was lucky enough to only receive positive feedback before I eventually went home at the bootcamp stages.
6. I adore your song “Cosy” that came out on Friday! Tell us more about it and what it means to you!
Thank you! It’s basically a nostalgic song reflecting on a relationship. It’s all about that weird feeling of looking back at an ex who you don’t even know anymore and going, wow, we used to be so close and now look at us.
7. Do elaborate on some of your shows and performances. Which has been your favourite as an experience?
Right before lockdown I had some great gigs. I played at The Camden Assembly in London and lots of people turned out for it. It was great to get everyone in the same room and to play my original music. So I’d probably say thats my favourite so far!
8. What is your creative process?
Very sporadic.. I’m a super impulsive person so when it happens it just happens. If I’m producing the song myself I usually start on guitar. But equally in the past I’ve been lucky to work with some great producers who send me beat ideas and I freestyle some melodies over the top.
9. Who is your musical inspiration?
I have a lot of influences musically. All the old soul legends like Sam Cooke & Marvin Gaye. More recently Justin Nozuka is one of my favourite artists, even though his music is a little different to my own.
10. What message do you wish to convey through your music?
That music can be a positive escape. I like to say that my music is definitely headphones on music, relatable lyrics and interesting melodies that put you into your own little world. Thats what musics always been about for me is going into my head and listening to it. Lots of my songs deal with subjects that are intended to take you out of your current environment.
11. Is there anything you would like to say about the current stresses all around world?
I think it’s an important year. I hope it’s a year where we all wake up a bit and begin to address the many issues and injustices that have been overlooked for too long. Especially in this era of social media, the world needs more compassion.
12. So, what should we expect next, in the near future?
I’m dropping an EP this month! It’s called Rediscovery and features the single Cosy. Its got 4 tracks on it. On top of that I’m doing weekly covers with my band on Instagram and youtube which are definitely worth a watch. I often take requests!
13. How do we gain access to your music?
Instagram and Spotify are your best bet. Following me on there means you always get my latest releases. But my music is across all platforms if needed.
14. Any message for Pastel Serenity’s community and for all the musical creatives out there as well?
Never stop learning and expressing yourself. Enjoy every minute of the creation process because lots of people would love to be able to do the things that can you do!