Singer-songwriter Emily James’ uplifting songs spread joy and positivity


Emily James’ interest in music began at a young age.

“I’ve loved music my entire life,” James said. “There are home videos of me singing to my family in the kitchen when I was 3 years old.”

The youngest of five siblings, James was born and raised in New York until the age of 16. As a child, she learned how to play the piano and guitar, and took voice lessons. By the time she was 10, she was already writing her owns songs.
James realized how strongly she felt emotion through music after listening to Adele’s “Someone Like You” when she was 11.

“It was my first realization that music isn’t just entertainment, it has the ability to connect with people on a deeper level,” James said.

From that moment on, music became James’ focus. She began looking for opportunities to perform at live shows, even if it meant driving to Nashville from New York.

When she was 16, James moved to Nashville where she could fully immerse herself in music. While there, she connected with Grammy Award-winning producers Ian Fitchuk and Jacquire King, who produced her self-written 2016 EP, “Emily James.”

In 2017, James relocated to Los Angeles, and soon after, released her debut album, “Til the Morning,” which was produced by Ryan Hadlock. Hadlock has worked with musical acts including The Lumineers and Vance Joy.

James wrote and produced her 2019 EP, “Dreaming,” and most recently, she released the EP, “Wanted You to Know, Pt. 1,” which features six songs, three of which she wrote while the rest were collaborations.

James said she felt extremely fortunate to work with Evan Klar, who co-wrote with her, and Justin Lucas, who co-produced the EP’s lead single, “back in the summer.” She also collaborated with Brian Brundage, who cowrote the single, “that’d be alright.”

James wanted the EP to be a way for her listeners to look back and appreciate the past, look forward to a bright future, and most importantly, meditate on the present. Her goal for all of her music is to create uplifting energy and have a positive impact on those around her.

“Wanted You to Know, Pt. 2” is already in the works. James said she trusts her gut when she writes songs.

“I go with what fits when it comes to writing and making music. When I get stuck in my music, I pull back, try something else and don’t force it.”

James’ music influences include Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin. She also doesn’t believe in writer’s block. She’s in a state of complete inspiration where the music just flows right out of her. When the words are there or when there is something that needs to be expressed, it will come.

“I don’t think it’s me writing the songs, I’m just a vessel from the song to come out of,” James said.

James is learning more about the producing side of the music industry and is grateful to have the help of the professionals she has worked with so far. The process of making music is ultimately trial and error until she gets the perfect sound, flow of lyrics or feeling.

“When I’m making music, I just have to remind myself to be me, that everyone is on their own path and there is a place for everyone,” James said.

James is working toward her English and music industry degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles. She looks forward to traveling more and visiting each state at least once, in addition to performing live again.

Visit and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube at @emilyjamesmusic

— Haley Beyer