Underground Heat: Ro James
This week we’re going for the R&B vibes of Ro James, the smooth crooner who’s been steadily building a fanbase over the last few years through a trilogy of EP’s. Now that he’s managed to cultivate a strong underground base of fans, we’re hearing word that he’s gearing up for a full length release with RCA Records, and we’re confident in including him in our Underground Heat Series.
James is the son of a pastor who cultivated his love for music through his travels and in the pew. It’s clear from his tracks that his past has vastly influenced him. From living in Hawaii to New York, each track showcases a different side of the young singer; he’s rawer than the likes of Chris Brown, and refreshing relatable compared to the intently dark styles of The Weeknd. He simultaneously manages to bring it back to the basics while still working to be unique and have a stronghold in the mainstream and underground market. It’s a tightrope walk for sure, but somehow he’s killing it.
In the past he’s worked with a diverse range of artists, including Blended Babies and Brenmar, proving that he’s as innovative in his production choices as he is in his lyricism. James can sing, but he doesn’t let this talent alone do all of the talking, and this is what makes him incredibly special. In terms of vocal collaborations, he’s worked with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Asher Roth, among others, proving yet again he’s able to hold his own in varying musical groups.
We’re getting to hear bits and pieces of his abum slowly roll out, with “New Religion” and “Permission” both hitting the internet. The tracks indicate that there may be a certain style being showcased in the upcoming album, and if it is, we’re absolutely excited for what’s to come.
Words: Kristi Shinfuku