Scotty James is living proof that creativity and determination will pay off in the music world. The Waterloo, Ontario-based pop singer literally went to the source to get recognition for his talent.
“It all started from me going door to door singing on people’s front porches out of desperation seeking funds and opportunity. I knocked on a music manager’s door and he loved me and funded my first album,” James says. Since that lucky meeting, things have been like a “roller coaster,” James says. He released his debut EP, Crazy, in June 2011, and his single “Wanna Be Loved” climbed onto the billboard charts and recently won him a Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Mainstream AC Song.
While he’s on a promising path now, things weren’t always smooth for James. He has had a love for music since he was six years old, but James says “I really started playing music because I was bullied a lot at school and it was my way of letting all my emotions out of me when I came home… I have always had this dream to become a major recording artist and even though I didn’t tell people that, as a kid it was still always in my heart.”
After graduating from high school, James decided to pursue his music career full-time, which is how he started his door to door crusade. Without the guidance of a record company, James says, his early experiments were “learning experiences.”
“I remember the first time I recorded a single. It was terrible. I had never been in a studio before and I had my friends track the instruments.” However, with the help of his manager, Johnny Ioannou, and by spending more time in the studio and working on his music, James says he is improving and learning more about his musical abilities.
“Over the years it has taken a lot of time and learning to develop my sound,” James says. The result is bubble-gum sweet. Crazy is a catchy and colourful album, and all five songs, from “Wanna Be Loved” to “Miss You Good,” maintain the bright, hopeful, and love-struck sound of the boy next door. James, who cites influences such as Matt Nathansan and Teddy Geiger, has a smooth and slightly sultry voice that promises to inspire all kinds of females, from soccer moms to preteens, to turn up the radio. However, with his next album, which is due to be released in the next few months, James says he is taking it in a bit of a different direction.
“We are now working on a brand new EP/mixtape that has a more R&B feel to it, influenced by Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Drake, and John Mayer,” James says. Though he and his team haven’t had success in signing with a record label yet, James says he has other plans on the horizon. With the new release, James and his support team have planned a mysterious promotional campaign. “We are about to make music history…not kidding,” James says. While he is keeping the details of the plan vague, James says the goal is to get “one million fans in 99 days using zero dollars.” He hopes that by the end of the challenge he will be able to go on a world tour and release a full record, and he is determined to “show indie musicians around the world that it’s possible to accomplish such a goal unsigned.”
In addition to the big dreams, James says he still enjoys the smaller thrills he has experienced along his journey, such as getting his first single on the radio. “It was a huge rush and very inspiring to be able to show people that it’s possible!” James says. While he recognizes that rejection also comes with taking chances, James encourages musicians to “do things that are challenging and always chase unrealistic goals! You will surprise yourself with what you are actually capable of doing.”
You can listen to Crazy and check up on James’ one million fan challenge by visiting <www.scottyjamesmusic.com>.