Warm-hearted and easy going, Jarryd James epitomises open-minded acceptance. As skilled at listening as he is at speaking, he does his due diligence and doesn’t assume anything from anyone. Yet if you ask this empathetic young Brisbane-based Australian singer-songwriter about himself, conversation slows. His ego is muted and his commitment to music runs deep, so why not let the songs speak for themselves?
I like to do things in an understated way, he admits.
I’d rather not give too much away. People can form their opinion on my work off the back of its merits alone.
A compelling advocate for the new minimalism so strongly associated with Progressive R&B, Ambient Beats and Neo-Soul, for Jarryd, while in composition less is more, form and function is everything. It’s an approach he’s honed through a lifelong love affair with a song which has seemed him explore the works of The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Outkast, Boyz II Men, Blackstreet and more recently Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt.
I always want to be very specific, Jarryd says. You can always have less on a track and put more focus on what you’ve worked up.
Working in reaction to the ornate Maximalist Pop and redlined EDM which dominates the mainstream music conversation, he uses voice and sparse structures to remind us of what really matters.
I like the idea of reconnecting people with simple songs, bringing them back to why they liked the music in the first place, Jarryd enthuses.
Thanks to production assistance from Pip Norman and Joel Little (Lorde/Broods), a recent Australian tour playing support to Broods (with his live band), and playing support in the February Angus & Julia Stone Australian tour, he’s already making it happen.
A key factor in Jarryd’s passion for the song is the powerful connection between sounds and memories. There are periods in my life that are really nostalgic to me, he reflects.
Whenever I listen to music from then, it just takes me back.
Through making sense of his feelings and life experiences, Jarryd rearticulates them in a way where, as strident-yet-vulnerable songs, they can grow into equally powerful associative triggers for listeners across the globe.
First single ‘Do You Remember’, co-written and produced by Joel Little, will be available on iTunes late January 2015 and is currently available to stream via this link or the player above.