Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with unsigned London singer James Bakian to find out more…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
My name is James Bakian. I’m from London and am 15 years old. I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. I began piano lessons aged 7 and was inspired to start writing songs at the age of 10, when I discovered Maroon 5! About two years ago I started producing my own tracks. Now I love producing as much as songwriting and performing.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
I remember loving Michael Jackson’s music after I watched his “This Is It” movie when I was 6 years old. Later I was influenced by Maroon 5 and Adam Levine and other pop artists such as Justin Bieber, Charlie Puth and Post Malone. Now I listen to a wide range of music including jazz, R&B and lo-fi hiphop as well as pop. Another artist who had a big influence on my music was XXXTentacion who was tragically killed in 2018.
How would you describe your sound?
I have written and produced pop music and lofi-hiphop but recently I think my sound is closer to contemporary R&B.
What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
My latest release is “Can’t Think Straight”. It’s about a guy whose relationship with his girlfriend is dysfunctional. Although he doesn't want to hurt her feelings, he can't think clearly when he sees this girl and continuing the relationship is too painful for him.
I don’t necessarily write music out of direct personal experience, but I think songwriters can be inspired by stories they’ve heard or situations they’ve observed.
What’s your local music scene like?
I live in London where the music scene is very diverse. From small open-mic venues where you can discover new independent acts to the famous O2 arena where you can see the biggest stars in music, there’s something for everyone.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
I’ve always got music I’m working on, both my own original music and covers of songs by famous artists. I plan to keep writing, recording and producing as consistently as I can throughout the year despite having to also focus on studying for my GCSE exams which I will take this summer. After the exams are over I hope to get back to doing more live gigs.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
There are so many artists I admire. One of my favourites right now is Lewis Capaldi.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I was using backing tracks from my phone during a live performance. I’d forgotten to switch my phone to airplane mode and during the middle of one of my songs, my grandmother rang for a chat! I had to stop the song to answer her and say I was in the middle of a gig! Luckily the crowd found it quite funny! Since then I make sure my phone is in airplane mode!
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
I love making music and if people enjoy what I create and connect with my music, that means the world to me!