Published on July 18th, 2022 | by MuzikScribe0
Darius James: Freedom
Let’s hop right into this latest single / video, “BY MY SIDE,” FEAT. JOHN GIVEZ — Tell me about this particular track; how did it actually come to fruition?
“BY MY SIDE” was created in Atlanta at my producer’s crib. He laid the drums down and I did the bassline, he finished the beat, and I just started writing. I was reminiscing about my relationship as I retold the story throughout the verses. I actually didn’t know John personally at the time, but I had been a fan since his earliest tapes. My producer had worked with him a lot in the past, so I asked if he could do me a favor and get a verse from John. He sent it back, we shot the video, and now have a mutual respect.
Of course “BY MY SIDE” comes courtesy of your new EP, Life As We Know It — Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT is simply about perspectives. We have all formed perspectives or opinions of life based on good experience, traumas, or even upbringing. I feel like this project is a milestone for me because it was the first time I really became vulnerable. Not just in music, but in life in general. I was never really emotionally honest with myself until I was forced to reflect on the current situations that I was facing. To me, this project represents authenticity, freedom, and growth.
How then does Life As We Know It either differ and / or compare to previous efforts?
It’s by far the most polished and complete body of work that I have out. Don’t get me wrong, I love my other projects but I had no team around me to push me and guide me. I would record a demo, mix it myself, and put it out before even having others critique it or help me improve it. It was just kind of one of those “you don’t know what you don’t know” situations. I also know that my other projects were heavily influenced by what I thought others wanted to hear, rather than what I wanted to create. But I didn’t know that at the time, I have only realized it in retrospect.
What particular string of events actually led to your initial linking up with Timbaland?
Long story short…I had a date that went unexpectedly well and I had to write about it as soon as I got home. I had been on Timbaland’s page and noticed that he showed love to upcoming artists. So I found a beat that he had on his Instagram and wrote to it. I stayed up until like 5am recording the song even though I had to be at work the next day. I edited the video on the way to work and posted it right before I got there. He ended up reposting the video and following me, and actually responded when I reached out to tell him how appreciative I was. We ended up having a good conversation; I have nothing but good things to say about him.
And, as far as your career in music is concerned, how much input / involvement with it does Timbo have?
He definitely helped me out by posting me a few times across his social media. We haven’t talked much, but I’m grateful to know that one of my favorite producers /artists also thinks I’m dope.
As a songwriter, when you sit down to pen your lyrics where do you draw your inspiration from?
I always draw inspiration from the beat. It’s like the beat tells me what to say. I hear words through instruments and sounds. The beat for me is what evokes the feeling and I just start humming melodies. Whenever I find one that sticks, I know immediately and I mumble until I say the right word or phrase. I haven’t been using pen and paper lately, just punching in wherever I feel the vibe.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Darius James?
Music has always been a part of my life. I fell in love with playing different instruments before I fell in love with making songs. I got my first real drum set when I was two, and played drums growing up in church. Around 10 or 11, my dad got a MOTIF and I would make beats on that. I eventually began to write to them and even recorded some songs. I didn’t do much music throughout high school, but during my senior year I realized that this is what I wanted to do.
Now you’re a native of Pendleton, SC, correct? So growing up in ‘The Palmetto State,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Honestly, there was no one that I knew of from my area that had achieved something that I wanted to. My strongest influences are a mix of gospel and secular artists, but the artists I listen to the most are Lucky Daye, H.E.R. and Anderson .Paak.
In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
I would classify my sound as R&B, for sure, but specifically progressive R&B. The funny thing about that is that most people say I have a nostalgic sound, even though I don’t necessarily sound like a specific time period.
To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
Everything that happened with Timbaland was probably my favorite career moment, but I’m honestly not great at congratulating myself when I win. There have been so many moments in my career that have made me who I am today.
What’s an average day like for you?
I’m currently an Assistant Store Manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods, so an average day for me is: wake up to be at the gym at 7, come home to shower, eat breakfast and get ready for work, be at work by noon and then get back home from work around 11, work on music until 1 or 2 and then do the same thing all over again. A LOT of work to get where I want to be.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
I love interacting with people who rock with my music. It still catches me off guard every time someone tells me they love what I’m doing. I enjoy connecting with fans in person the most, but I also like responding to positive messages on my social media. You can find me on Instagram @iamdariusj and Twitter @iammdariusj. I always try to respond and let everybody know how much I appreciate their support.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
Creating the music is my favorite part. There’s nothing like being in a room by yourself or with other creatives. Time goes by so fast and I just feel complete. It’s like realizing all over again what I was put on this earth to do. My least favorite part is content creation, although I do understand how important it is because of social media’s dominance.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
As cliché as it sounds, the most important thing really is to be yourself. I remember thinking that people around my city wouldn’t like my music because I write love songs and don’t rap about other things, but people who I never would have thought would listen hit me up telling me how much they love it. All that to say, make the music that you feel and that you would listen to, not anyone else.
Lastly, what’s next for you, Darius?
Shows. I want to travel and perform the new songs from the project. I got to perform a few of them a few weeks ago and the set was amazing. The crowd loved them and I loved performing them. I am available for booking right now and would love to go to any city. You can book me at [email protected]. I’m also always growing in my sound and continuously making music.
Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?
I just dropped a fire music video for “DON’T STRESS” that you can find on my YouTube page, Darius James Music.
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Again, it’s your boy Darius James and I want you to get used to hearing that name because I plan on being around for a minute. We going to learn together and we going to grow together. We can start by you checking out my latest project Life As We Know It. Then hitting me on my socials to let me know what y’all think. Love and appreciate y’all. HYPE family, thanks for having me.