By Kim Laureen
The best part of what we do is stumbling upon genuine people making real music. Vancouver native Justin James is a refreshing soul taking his one shot at life and making it count. Justin spends half the year touring and the other half finding inspiration in the surf, and creating beautiful music from the majestic view of the Dominican Republic. He has found his missing piece in that paradise he calls home.
1. Home is where your story begins please tell us about where you come from.
Canada! My home and native land. I was born in beautiful Vancouver on the Pacific Ocean and it was an incredible place to grow up. If you have never been to Vancouver it’s a must. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. And no we don’t live in igloos.
2. How would you best describe your musical style?
My style is based on my island lifestyle. I moved to the tropics at 16 and fell in love with the carefree way of life. I write most of my music sitting on a beach so if I can drift someone away from the hustle and bustle of city life and transport them to an island for a few minutes…then I’ll be a happy camper.
3. We know you love windsurfing… tell us how it feels to you.
Fresh Independence! I fly over water. Any stress just disappears when I hit the ocean. I am very blessed to live in one of the worlds best water-sports destinations. Cabarete D.R. We have world class surfing, kiteboarding and windsurfing and I do them all. I have my gear set up ready to go. Yesterday I actually canceled a meeting when the wind picked up to a solid 25 knots. Priorities! Here is a video of me wind surfing in my back yard!
4. Where do your songs come from? Ideas/Experiences/Emotions Tell us how your creations take form.
The music comes from just playing and playing and letting a groovy chord progression pop up. Then most of the time the first few lyrics just flow and that’s enough to give direction. Inspiration doesn’t last for hours, it’s a flash and then it comes down to sanding the corners and polishing it . Then you need to play it live and sometimes I’m still tweaking it right up to the moment I’m about to record it!
5. Can you share with us about your encounter with the tiger shark: the event that you say changed your life… what happened on that day and where did that journey take you?
Well to answer this question we would need a novel…but let’s say “everything happens for a reason”. I was a professional windsurfer and music was a hobby and today I’m a professional musician and windsurfing is my hobby. I can’t express how that day changed me. I don’t even think it dawned on me till years later. One thing I know for sure is that life can be cut short. The best way to realize that you better do what you love is to realize how short life is! 250 stitches…lost 1/2 my blood…1 year to walk again. How can I not chase my dream?
Ana Gabriel Photography
6. How has your music evolved over the last decade?
I think if you work on your craft it just gets better. That is the hope anyway. I used to think I needed some crazy cool chords to impress but really all you need is a great chord progression, a great melody, great lyrics and a great delivery. That’s a lot of greats…but it beats crazy cool any day ;)
Get it here: J U S T I N J A M E S I S L A N D S
7. Which is your favourite song on your latest album ‘Islands’, and please tell us the meaning behind it.
My new album is “Islands”, which was released on August 13, 2013. One of my favourite songs is “Boy Overboard.” It’s about being overboard in love with all the terms of the song based around sailing and the ocean. “If you and I are ships out on the ocean, I will look for you on my Horizons.” It is not your typical radio song but it is one of my favourites.
8. What do you like to do on a lazy Sunday?
Is it football season? If not…hit the beach…go surf, bbq, play some music w/ some friends. Nothing crazy.
9. While on the road aside from communication, what is the one thing you can not live without?