Freda James speaks on finding strength, her inspirations, and her new single "Just Like Wind"

Freda James speaks on finding strength, her inspirations, and her new single "Just Like Wind"

Photo by  James Bianchi

Photo by James Bianchi

Freda! This track is incredible. At first we got some retro David Bowie vibes, but quickly realized this sound is solely one that you’ve created. How does your writing process start and end? The beat is totally unforgettable. Gonna keep coming back to this one! 

You are so kind! 

I have a long list of voice notes in my phone with lyric and melody ideas that I can draw from if I need to. Sometimes I’ll bring a melody idea to a producer and let them know the instrumentals I’m hearing for it. I also know a little guitar and keyboard so that I can lay down ideas into my computer to bring out when wanting to make them into something solid. It's all about pinning down that initial idea that pops into my brain.

Noticing the reference to a worldly element, what does “Just Like Wind” mean to you? 

I love the vision of wind coming and going as it pleases, through all the seasons. But that constant force can pull you from one time to another unconsciously - in this, I saw an immediate parallel to love and relationships. Taking a moment to slow down, instead of getting swept up with the speed and infatuation of a new love, is vitally important. We need to treat relationships consciously so these interactions aren't influenced so much by the crazy world around us. 

How long have you known you’ve wanted to be a musician as a career? Given your debut EP is just around the corner, we can’t help but wonder how long it took to write this, and how one goes about structuring their first full embodiment of songs? Does your upbringing have much to do with the album?

I’ve always been on stage, performing in musicals and in choirs. I've always loved the rush of energy exchanged between you and the audience. I wanted to make people laugh or cry because that is the most freeing thing for all of us. 

Finishing an EP is not easy on your own and I’m thankful for that...When something takes 3 years to fully complete, you learn a lot, and you let go of a lot. Because I’m self-releasing this, I have the power to make it be whatever it wants to be. I didn’t want to have 5 songs that sounded the same. I worked with different producers and musicians throughout the years to have it get to where it is now. I knew it needed to be cinematic and moody, and that hasn't changed during this process - I've just gotten better at letting those elements shine through. The message of my music is, and always has been, about self-love - I feel like I needed a lot of this creation time to make sure that message was communicated properly.

I feel like our upbringing is always inspiring our stories, how we hold ourselves, and how we communicate to others. The good and the bad. I’m an ocean of empathy, and it has gotten me into a lot of situations where I struggle with my own self-worth; but eventually you learn that you can’t sink your ship to save another, and that bit has been the final step in making this EP sound as genuine as it does. My parents are humble, hard-working people, and have always been a motivating force for me to keep going.  

Photo by  James Bianchi

Photo by James Bianchi

Who are you inspired by musically?

Sade, Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel, Lauryn Hill, Joni Mitchell, Florence Welch, Angel Olsen, Little Dragon and many more. I've recently been very into ambient music, especially Gaussian Curve and Jonny Nash, and it's helped me reach deeper complexities with my sound.

*** I made a Spotify playlist called The Moon Observatory, it has over 200 songs I love. Give it a listen to hear my influences!

What song is your favorite track and why?

My favorite track?! Hmm...it's gotta be “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees. That is a song I can listen to over and over again. Lauryn’s vocal performance is angelic, but with an earthly depth that is so revealing of her past experiences. The tone of her voice is my favorite sound. 

Photo by  James Bianchi

Photo by James Bianchi

Lastly, what does it mean to you to be a female in the music industry? 

Right now more than ever it means finding the strength to not hold back - females are so conditioned in our society to feel competitive and judged, and we're constantly told that success is an incredibly scarce resource. I feel it's extremely important to continue to be extra loud with my message - to promote the idea of self-worth and self-love to other women around the world. Being real about who you are, and not hiding behind a curated curtain of social media, is the only way we'll be able to love ourselves genuinely - so how can I make music for others about this if I'm not first confronting those realities in myself? This has been the biggest part of my musical journey so far, and I want to help empower other women to go and do the same.

ABOUT FREDA JAMES:

Since her first single "Pushing You Away", Freda has been a steady, soulful voice for females around the world; from its premiere on Neon Gold Records to getting a sync on FreeForm's THE BOLD TYPE, "Pushing You Away" has resonated internationally (170k streams across 40 countries) and has paved the way for Freda's electric next body of work, an EP titled A Woman Alone, due out this summer!

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