The only son of parents who tried having a child for 8 years James Python was born with an already overwhelming expectation. Born in Rio, James first fell in love with music by watching a John Lennon tribute bought by his father when he was in his early teens. By the age of 13, he got his first acoustic guitar and started learning it. Rock was always his main musical influence, but after listening for years to artists such as Ben Harper, Dave Mathews, Jason Mraz, Eddie Vedder and later to Gregory Alan Isakov, Ben Howard, Paolo Nutini, John Butler, among others James started to write songs influenced by those artists and became more of a folk singer/songwriter. Following years of inner struggle and many songs in his notebook James finally released his two singles ‘Waking up’ and ‘Better Place’ and this might be the beginning of something bigger. Indie Boulevard talked to James about his music, goals and future plans.
IB: Hi James, thank you for taking the time to speak with us and tell us more about your music. Tell us how you got into music? At what moment did it click in your head when you realized that you wanted to connect your life with music?
JAMES: Thank you, it’s a great pleasure for me to talk to you about my music! My father always had a great passion for music, especially jazz and I remember that he showed me a John Lennon tribute when I was around 12 featuring artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Terence Trent D’arby, Cindy lauper, among others and I was just blown away by Lenny Kravitz performance on “Cold Turkey”. I guess that was the moment that I decided that I wanted to learn how to play an instrument. The second part of the question is harder to answer but I guess when I realized how music is able to change anybody’s life, how music has the power to heal the deepest of wounds… that was when I realized that I wanted it to be a part of my life and of who I aim to be as a person.
IB: I know you struggled with yourself for many years before you decided to share your songs with the world. What did you doubt about?
JAMES: That is a great question! I always feel like what I’m doing is not enough and I guess I have a bit of an impostor syndrome so I just wanted to release any song when I felt they had reached their best version while some other songs I just let go. Besides that I noticed that I had a tendency of procrastinating to avoid facing whatever result I would have. Then one day I just said to myself “screw that, you gotta show what you have, keep working to improve yourself and just enjoy this learning process.” So now I think it doesn’t matter the situation you’re facing, how old you are, where you come from, you just have to work towards your goals, put yourself out there and learn as much as you can to evolve as a professional and as an individual.
IB: You have released two singles. The first single “Waking Up” is uptempo, pop-rock, and the second “Better Place” is more acoustic, with a very melancholic mood. How did these songs come about?
JAMES: “Better Place” was written in 2008 after a relationship I had ended so I wrote it to tell myself to go to a better place mentally and spiritually. When it comes to “Waking up” I actually had the riff for the song for a long time then on may 18, 2017, the day Chris Cornell, one of my favorite artists, died, I wrote the lyrics. I was already feeling really bad that day due to some other issues I had back then and when I read about his passing it just made my day much worse so to cope with it I wrote the lyrics for “Waking up” and it was kind of a way to tell myself to keep hope alive especially when everything seems to be a terrible mess.
IB: Both songs are dominated by the acoustic guitar and it’s worth mentioning that it sounds great and I am a big fan of this kind of songs. How many years did it take you to reach this level of guitar playing?
JAMES: First I gotta tell you that I feel like I need to improve a lot my guitar playing skills. Nowadays you see so many amazing artists doing incredible things on the acoustic guitar that just blows me so I gotta fight to keep up lol. But to answer your question I started playing when I was 13 but had some pauses along the way.
IB: Do you remember the day your father gave you your first guitar? Your feelings when you saw the guitar for the first time. Tell us more about that day.
JAMES: Yes, that was when I was 13. We went to the store together and picked up a good old Giannini acoustic guitar. Funny thing: one of my father’s last name is Giannini.
IB: The music video for the song “Waking Up” is just incredible. I watched it about three times. Very high quality work, installation, lighting, everything looks great. Who is the director and how long did it take to shoot?
JAMES: First of all thank you so much for your words and feedback, I’m really glad you liked it. I had the idea for the video and what I wanted it to present but I didn’t have a person who would have the skills to do it and I was struggling with some images I was gathering that just wouldn’t be enough for the video to look good then I met a guy named Michelangelo Bernardoni (Mickey Bernardoni) when I started playing some gigs in Brava beach located in the city of Itajaí and we became friends. Mickey is a well known video maker in the surf world, he is a great surfer himself and He is amazing when it comes to video making and editing. He is so good that it only took 2 days of shooting and 1 day of editing for everything to be ready. He just transformed my ideas for the video into some kind of visual poetry, He is amazing and he is a great guy. You should check his other videos on youtube, his work is flawless.
IB: Your songs are full of, I would say, philosophical lyrics. They deal with topics like self-knowledge, overcoming difficulties and fighting your fears. What inspires you to write such lyrics?
JAMES: I guess life and other people’s challenges inspire me when it comes to lyrics. Self-knowledge itself it’s a great challenge and an even greater challenge, maybe, is once you start to deeply know yourself, start accepting truly who you are. I guess our main goal in this life should be to evolve mentally and spiritually but in order to achieve this evolution We need to go through a lot and learn a lot so I believe that is what my lyrics are basically about.
IB: You come from Brazil and it’s very unusual that you chose the genre of pop-rock and folk for your music. Because I have never been to Brazil, but I have the impression that samba and salsa music are predominant there. What is popular in Brazil now, what kind of music do people listen to?
JAMES: Well pop-rock is actually not unusual in Brazil but folk is indeed. Samba still predominant but Salsa is not a very popular style in Brazil, I guess Salsa in popular in Cuba and Colombia. What is really popular in Brazil currently is a very specific kind of funk which might be known as “funk carioca”. Also We have a lot of “Sertanejo” which could be described as a kind of country music but more like a really pop country. Moreover We still have specific kinds of music that are popular in Brazil such as “forró”, “piseiro”, Brazilian popular music and some others. Brazil is a very big country so the popular styles of music vary a lot in different regions.
IB: What are your plans for the next year 2023? Will there be new singles, music videos, maybe a whole album?
JAMES: I have 3 songs ready to go and a lot more to record so my plans are to keep releasing music and learning how to put it in front of as many people as I can. I wanna build an audience that likes the type os music that I’m making. I will probably release around 6 songs and 6 videos next year and may a whole album in 2024. Also I’ll be producing more merchandise and hopefully start playing more gigs.
IB: And the last question. What are your goals as a musician?
JAMES: My main goal as a musician is to share and to possibly make people’s lives better with my music. Music has the power to be the company for someone who is lonely, to help cure someone who is ill, to give hope for the ones who are feeling hopeless, to soothe the pain of the ones who are suffering…. so if my music ever brings peace, joy or helps in some way any person then to me it was and it is all worth it.
Single ‘Waking Up’ by James Python available on all digital platforms.
Click on this link and read our «Waking Up» review.
Connect with James Python via Instagram, Facebook