After a bout with success in his native Australia, Jarryd James brought his crisp falsetto and penchant for writing magnetic melodies and soulful lyrics to Los Angeles. That’s where he recorded “Do You Remember,” the lead single off his latest album Thirty One, and an indicator that James has the musical chops to make his mark Stateside. “Do You Remember,” which has over 2.6 million views on YouTube, is a tender romantic plea that sounds like Justin Vernon cross with James Blake, mixing clicky ukelele with stomping percussion. James, who was born in Brisbane, followed up “Do You Remember” with “Give Me Something” another ultra-catchy jam that solidifies him as member of R&B’s new wave, an aritstwho is helping to redefine the genre.. Here, we get to know James a little better.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I’ve got a real 30 year old Caucasian male-oblivious/naive-political suspense novel reader vibe going on. At least that’s what I’m trying.
How did your career get started?
It kind of started about 10 years ago, informally, but really only just kicked up a notch about a year ago when I decided to have one last shot at the whole thing. I acquired really great management which had a lot to do with it.
Where do you hope to be professionally in 5 years?
I want to be as self-sufficient as possible. I want to be able to help other people and be as generous as I can.
What’s your next project?
Probably dinner. I’m on tour in the U.S. at the moment with Meg Myers, then I’m playing some shows in Europe. I’m going to be doing some more writing in Los Angeles again soon.
What are you most proud of so far in terms of your career?
I’m proud of the fact that my music seems to have been enjoyed so far in my own country—that feels really great.
What famous person dead or living do most wish you could have as a roommate?
What is your favorite driving music?
R&B/Hip-Hop stuff. Into “You” by Fabolous ft. Tamia. Stuff like that. But mostly just that song.
If you had to live in a past time, what do you think would be the most fun era and why?
I’ve always loved the thought of being in a sword fight so maybe just whenever those were happening.
What activities do most enjoy doing alone?
Most of them.
How do you wind down before bed?
I like to read, as I mentioned earlier. I usually need to do something to make me tired otherwise I just lie there. I’m a real night-owl. I try not to eat cheese before bed—me and my friend Ian did that last night at our hotel and we both had really confusing dreams. Ian’s involved some cats.
When are you most relaxed?
I’m normally pretty relaxed in general. Maybe when I’m just with my friends having a beer.
What kind of person were you in high school?
I think I really flew under the radar. I was friends with everyone in my class (I think) but I was very quiet and I spent a lot of time in those weird trance-like states where your eyes get stuck on something and it feels so nice that you just keep staring.
Can you tell me a quality about yourself that you are genuinely proud of?
I like to think that I am quite calm, and I try to be thoughtful of other people.
Do you have any phobias?
I don’t know if it is a phobia but I don’t like being in photos. This is really getting a workout lately.
What’s a serious side of you that people are unlikely to know about? Either in terms of interests, hobbies, or personality?
I love symmetry. When I notice when things aren’t lined up and even and all that, I get a bit agitated.
What are some new hobbies you would like to take on?
I’d actually really love to learn to sew. I find it hard to find clothing that fits me perfectly so I would like to be able to do my own alterations and make cool stuff.
How do you hope to grow as a creative person?
I’m not really sure. I don’t really think about what comes next. I do know that I always want to make sure that I’m honest with myself about what I write. I guess I want to get better at conveying my emotions through my music in such a way that people can’t help but feel it.
If there was a phrase that you think best sums up your approach to life what might it be?
It’s cool to be kind.