HELL OF A NIGHT x JAMES
You might know him as artist ‘Aaron J.’
You might know him as producer ‘James On the Board.’
But really, he’s both. He’s now known as JAMES. And he’s back with another silky, short, & sweet single.
I had the pleasure of seeing him perform live in early June at Upstream Music Fest, on the eTc stage. That evening, JAMES showcased his talents as both a rapper and a singer, flexing his ability to switch from one persona to the other seamlessly. It’s a notable talent that many seem to struggle with, ultimately settling into one role exclusively.
His live performance included a guest appearance from Lazā (fka Misundvrstood), and backing from his live band. The addition of a live band rather than studio tracks really took his performance up a few notches. It was dynamic and memorable.
I recently spoke to him about his name change and what it may mean for his artistry from here on out.
A: “What inspired you to make the name change?”
J: “The change just comes from my growth. I’ve been Aaron J. since I was a freshman in high school. I’m 22 now and I just feel like I’ve outgrown that artist and have become something/someone better and more mature. The name also is in my producer tag and all my social media so it makes sense.”
A: “So is ‘James On the Board’ your full producer name?”
J: “James On the Board is just my producer tag and social media handle which confuses a lot of people. My artist and producer name is just JAMES. But when you hear ‘James On The Board,’ you know that I definitely had a hand in the production.”
A: “How do you manage being both a producer and an artist?”
J: “The balance is actually kind of hard to find. It has gotten to a point where I have to take a step back from producing and really start to focus on my work because the production started to take over and become almost overwhelming. The artistry is first for me. Balancing has become a little easier over time but doing so has definitely taken time to get used to.”
So there you have it from JAMES himself:
New Name, Same Game.
His newest single, Hell of a Night, starts off with peculiar production provided by Wax The Producer, another talented Tacoma artist/producer. In comes JAMES’ signature tag, ‘James On the Board,’ and if you’ve been reading, you already know what that means. His vocals arrive at about 15 seconds in, and his lyrics are telling of what to expect next. When the beat drops about 15 seconds further, it all comes together. (And that’s how you let the beat build - - - - -.)
With a soft yet sexy soundscape that’s just upbeat enough, lavish lines, and apparent allure, the fusion creates a beautiful RnB banger about a night in that exceeds prior expectations.
My only prblm with this track is that it’s not long enough. At less than two minutes long, it leaves you wanting more… And on second thought, that isn’t exactly a bad thing. I see what you did there, J.
Hell of a Night is now out on your favorite streaming platform. Play it there, or play it here. But make sure you play it. And if it leaves you wanting more, don’t worry. There’s a lot more where this came from.