Born in Chicago the singer, songwriter released his first album in 2012 and has since created some extremely powerful music as a solo artist and with his band under the moniker “Shawn James and The Shapeshifters”. While the music with his band is drenched in doom metal with a southern gothic, his solo albums are much more laid-back, but the darkness remains. The first thing that strikes you while listening to Shawn James music is the absolute power in his voice.
Take one listen to Shawn James’ music and you can hear his roots in the Mississippi delta by way of growing up on the fabled South Side of Chicago, his authentic, gutbucket blend of blues, folk, and soul music running the gamut of ecstatic joy and painful anguish.
Pointing to “authentic” performers like Tom Waits (“He has an impeccable ‘no bullshit’ compass”), soul singers like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke or Bill Withers, and the old blues icons who inspired him, James explains, “They weren’t precious about what they did; they didn’t put themselves on a pedestal. I want my music to be respected, but I’ll still sit down at the bar to have a beer with you. My goal is to make music that stands the test of time.”
The singer-songwriter has previously released four full-length albums, including his debut, Shadows, a live record (Live at the Heartbreak House), a covers EP (The Madrid Sessions) and the original songs of his most recent effort, On the Shoulders of Giants. Hew newest offering, The Dark & The Light, was released on indie label Parts + Labor Records and produced and recorded by Jimmy Messer (AWOLNation, Kelly Clarkson, Kygo, The White Buffalo). The new album, marks a creative leap forward for the 32-year-old troubadour. James annually tours more than 150 dates around the world and has released some 70 songs over the past five years, both on his own and as part Shapeshifters.