Get To Know: Piers James
After being handpicked by Ed Sheeran himself to support him on his last tour, we had to Get To Know rising artist Piers James this week...
Rapper and singer Piers James has a classic soul sound combined with modern hip-hop production, elements of R&B and jazz. He has a great ability to mould multiple styles to create a glorious genre-bending sound with infectious hooks. Originally from Ipswich, the now London-living artist has versatility in his music, from the scrumptious-sounding R&B hued jam ‘Garden Of Eden’ to the distinct UK rap track ‘DONE PROPERLY’. Citing his influences as Kanye West, André 3000, Pharrell and J Dilla to name a few, James has a clear US musical presence in his sound with an unmistakeable UK take on this.
With support from GQ, Radio 1 & 1Xtra, GRM and Ed Sheeran, who handpicked Piers himself to open for him at his homecoming show in Ipswich last year to over 45,000 people, Piers James is one of the most exciting rising UK artists this year. For fans of Kojey Radical, The Internet, Loyle Carner and Che Lingo, you need to check out Piers James now.
1) For those who don’t know about you and your music, tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from…
My name’s Piers James, I’m a producer, rapper, singer-songwriter raised in Ipswich but now living in London. Inspired by legends but becoming one of my own.
2) Describe your sound in three words…
Soul, Hip Hop, Classic.
3) Who inspired you to start a career in music?
I think being around such a musically-orientated family intuitively helped me along the path as I’ve always been around music from a young age but It wasn’t until my cousin started introducing me to Pirate Radio tapes and Sidewinder Sets on CD did I begin to start writing/creating my own beats and honing my craft to what you see now.
4) Who are your biggest musical influences?
I take influence from many different artists and music, it could be from indie, pop, grime all the way through to classical but the ones that most inspired my sound would be the likes of The Neptunes, André 3000, Kanye West.
5) Tell us about the writing and recording process for your new single/album…
I always start by building the instrumental first and getting it to a place where I consider it to be a ‘timeless loop’. Once I’ve created that, the lyrics manifest themselves. I always try to ask the question “What does the song need?” or “what is it trying to tell me?” whether that be a sung hook, raps, harmonies or whatever. The aim always for me is to try and create something I can forever be proud of.
6) What can we expect from your live shows?
Energy, vibes and an overall great experience, I want people to have fun at my shows and go away thinking ‘I need to come to the next one and bring my all my friends so we can all enjoy it together.’
7) What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Probably has to be the gig in my hometown supporting Ed Sheeran with 45,000 in the crowd but also people messaging me saying that they cried to my song ‘Garden Of Eden’ - that kind of thing honestly means so much to me - when you’re able to touch on people’s emotions and make them feel something through art thats the meaning of being a true artist.
8) Have you met anyone and been totally starstruck?
Nah not really, even when I was seven I met Alesha Dixon and for some reason I told her she had a nice hair and she replied saying I had the gift of the gab haha but the way I look at it is, at the end of the day musicians and celebrities are just people regardless of your status, everyone has a story to tell.
9) What’s on your playlists that people wouldn’t expect?
I’ve got loads of curveballs on my playlists. One time you might see me jamming to some 'Redbone' and then I might mix it up and listen to Miley Cyrus ‘Party in the USA’ - it's probably better for people to expect the unexpected.
10) When can we see you live?
Hopefully in October when they ease up on this lockdown/coronavirus stuff but who knows at this point. All I can say is keep and eye out on my socials.