“It is amazing to hear so much independent r&b, rap, and hip hop artists being themselves and really writing. In my opinion over 50% of it destroys most of this mainstream stuff.”
Check out the interview with James Kessee exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
James Kessee: My musical journey started back in 2006 when I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. My buddy C. Miller, Davinci, caught me freestyling to one of his beats he was working on and that began the journey. We went on to record several songs in our free time. When I went to Iraq there was no time to focus on that so we put in on the back burner. Fast forwarding.
It was March of 2011, I was out of the Army and was lost. My wife reminded me of how much I loved to write. She linked me up with a relative and I was recording my first song within weeks with Craig Cook. I did my first show that summer in June and sold 20 tickets. No branding, no confidence, no image but a determined mind and strong desire to pick up where my late father left off.
I have since won several other awards, started my own label The Kessee Group, and have made a name for myself in this game with the help everyone that supports me.
What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
The biggest piece of advice I can give the young kids out there trying to do this is be you at all times. Do not be afraid to sound different then everyone else, to act and talk different then everyone else. At the end of the day the world needs unique music from unique individuals that are not afraid to be themselves.
What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
Some of the hardest challenges and tasks in my position I face are the financial burdens of doing this independent movement with the help of a small team as well as trying to get my foot in the door of those that can change the game for my Brand.
We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
From what I have seen, read, and actually seen the results on, the best way to promote and advertise my music is to make sure it is everywhere everyone is. I engage my fans and supports as often as possible. I have to always remain active as well. Get out there and perform on a consistent basis without over saturating my availability. Stay aggressive and humble at all times.
Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
I live in Atlanta, but I am a Texas boy through and through. Houston is my birth place and hometown. I also have love for Dallas as I spent a large chunk of my life there as well. There is so much talent among the artist in Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta.
I have so much respect for the ones that are not afraid to stand out. The ones that don’t follow the fad. I say fad because what is going on right now and dominating the air waves is definitely a fad. It’s dominance will fade away soon enough. The fans are awesome. I have nothing but love for everyone rocking with me.
Where do you see yourself a year from today?
To be honest I just see myself doing better in all aspects of my music, brand, and image then I am today. I focus on the right now and the things I can control. The rest will come with hard work, effort, the right team, and consistency.
Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
My biggest inspirations are my late father, James C. Kessee; my late brother, Thor X. Williams; my other brother A.J.; whom I remember seeing at a talent show when I was younger singing Boys II Men; and life in itself. I don’t look up to anyone in today’s world to be honest. I have people that I admire though such as Peyton Manning for his incredible leadership as well as Kobe Bryant for the same.
How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
The music you hear in the mainstream in regards to hip hop and r&b is unsettling for the most part. You have rap guys getting into the r&b category that don’t belong. Then you have hip hop music that sounds the same when you string multiple tracks together.
As for underground music though, in regards to those two genres, there is so much talent out here. It is amazing to hear so much independent r&b, rap, and hip hop artists being themselves and really writing. In my opinion over 50% of it destroys most of this mainstream stuff.