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Interview: Reuben James on his new mixtape, priceless experiences, and a love for collaboration

With the release of his third new single 'Closer', we spoke to musician and songwriter Reuben James, ahead of his upcoming mixtape...

‘Closer’ is your third latest single, with singer Sophie Faith, rapper Jay Prince, and bassist Carrtoons - what was your writing process for this soulful track?

My boy Carrtoons sent me the incredible beat, I immediately vibed with it and wrote about 6 verses, it really inspired me. Then Jay Prince put his dope verse down and finally Sophie Faith blessed the track with the chorus! It’s the first time I’ve really taken a beat from a producer.

Having frequently worked with other artists, including Keyon Harrold and Tom Misch, what appeals to you about collaboration?

I love to elevate my music with the best writers and producers and musicians in the world! With all my friends being so dope - it’s a no brainer. Collaboration is the best vibe!

What can we anticipate with the new mixtape and how did you find the circumstances of creating new music during a period of isolation?

Lots more banging beats and lush chords, with some deep grooves. I did my last project Slow Down in lockdown as well, so this one is in the same vein but maybe a touch more upbeat.

With writing and performing credits alongside artists such as Disclosure, Col3trane, and Sam Smith, what have these experiences taught you about performing and the music industry generally?

Priceless experience that has shaped me as an artist! From business to the creative process, to learning how to survive...working with all of these incredible artists inspires me every day.

Your influences are the likes of Frank Ocean, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Robert Glasper - what draws you to these artists and their styles?

Black music - soul music, jazz music - all of these late-night soulful emotional groove-based vibes just make me feel so good and I want my music to evoke the same feeling in my fans.

Can we expect any live shows to look forward to for the upcoming mixtape release?

Yes, planning a tour for the end of the year - can’t wait to perform my songs for the people! And I can't wait for my mixtape to drop later in the year, I feel like my music is getting better and better.

Finally, what does the word ‘groove’ mean to you?

The word groove to me is more something that has to be felt rather than described - but if it makes you start bopping your head, dancing, tapping your feet, or smiling, then that is groove!

Stream and download 'Closer' feat. Sophie Faith, Jay Prince, & Carrtoons on all of your favourite platforms here.

Follow Reuben James on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


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