The UK R&B artist gets candid on soulful new single “Somewhere, Out There”, finding music through speech therapy, and what we can expect from his debut album.
Teasing us with the first taster from his long-awaited debut LP is singer-songwriter James Vickery with “Somewhere Out There.” A love letter to all the sweethearts separated by lockdown, this British artist’s latest offering takes us on a journey of love, longing and hope.
Gliding effortlessly over a subtle blend of lofi-beats, Vickery’s buttery smooth vocals grab you at the first note and send you tumbling headfirst into a sultry soundscape filled with captivating lyricism. The raw, textured, and organic sound that characterised the R&B singer’s earlier releases and sets him apart from otherartists on the scene is definitely here to stay.
Speaking on the new single, Vickery divulged: “There’s never been a better time to release this song. It feels like it has such relevance in the world right now, England is suffering a national lockdown. I wrote this song for the people in the world who are unable to see their loved ones in this dreadful time, in the hope that there is some light at the end of the tunnel… ‘Somewhere, Out There’ is a song for anyone who misses their significant other right now.”
It was the enormous success of Vickery’s slick and soulful COLORS session – boasting over 22 million views – that landed him as the one to watch back in 2018. If this new slow jam is anything to go by, it’s clear that the rising artist’s upcoming album will firmly secure his title as the new face of UK R&B.
We caught up with Vickery below, talking what we can expect from his upcoming debut album and how he’s finding inspiration in the shower.
Check out the interview below…
Hi James– how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
Hey! I’ve been ok, I have ups and downs just as I’m sure most people have but the prospect of finishing and releasing a new album has without a doubt gotten me through the several lockdowns.
How did growing up in the melting pot of South London influence you sonically? Who are your musical heroes?
I’ve always loved growing up in this area because of how diverse the music taste was. A lot of it was electronically influenced growing up and it was certainly something I dipped in and out of, but I always found myself relating more to the Jazz/R&B Scene. I loved Tom Misch and Loyle Carner when I was growing up as they’re from the same area as me and made music in a lane I saw myself going into one day.
Congratulations on our new track – “Somewhere, Out There” – what was it inspired by?
I think somewhat it was inspired by lockdown. At the time of writing it I felt very alone, everyone around me was getting married and I was wondering if that would ever happen for me. Then lockdown(s) happened, and I wondered and sympathised for the people who were being kept apart from their significant others in these tough times. This song is for them.
And it’s taken from your debut album – what can you tell us about it? What ties all the tracks together as a body of work?
The album is almost like a diary of my struggles and relationships throughout my life up until now. More specifically, it’s how I’ve felt while writing it, and I’m thinking people are gonna empathise a lot with at least 1 thing on the album. It’s raw, emotional, and extremely honest.
Do you have a favourite lyric or line that you hope will resonate with listeners?
‘My only wish is that it lasts for life, to start a family then to take a wife.’ I think that’s what ultimately most of us are searching for in life, finding someone that we truly can be happy with.
You’ve been open about being born deaf in one year, and how speech therapy led you to finding your voice – do you believe things happen for a reason in this way?
I do believe this, yes. It really was a complete accident, assigned to me by a doctor in order to improve my speech and projection. Singing was a great way to engage your diaphragm and it turns out I was ok at it! I always loved singing, but no one could ever hear me so I wouldn’t have the confidence to do it in public – and I never would have if it wasn’t for the vocal coach all those years ago.
And we have to talk about your amazing 2018 COLORS set – did you see everything blow up in a big way?
Haha it really is mad when you look at the numbers on it. I remember being so nervous on the day and saying to my manager ‘this could change our lives you know’. It really did. It was at a time when COLORS as a platform was still in its’ early enough stage but was really starting to gain traction online, so we had no idea it would blow up in the way that it did.
How does it feel releasing new music when most of the world is in lockdown/everything feels so uncertain – what do you hope your music will bring?
I know that I’ve felt quite numb at times in the last year or so, releasing music as a personal endeavour is extremely therapeutic, but to be honest, as long as I can make people feel something in this album, then that would make me so happy.
What’s the most unusual place you pull inspiration from?
The shower! All the time haha! I need to invent a waterproof notepad or voice recorder that sticks to the wall or something, for some reason the melodies and things I come up with in there are unreal!
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
It’s a debut album so I haven’t done this before, I’m looking forward to releasing the album and focusing on my mental health, anything beyond that is unsure right now, but I’m praying that I’ll be able to play live shows soon – it’s where I feel most at home.