For anyone who is familiar with Brady James and his work, “TRY YOU” is next level. James dives deep into his own mental struggle on this release with brutally honest lyricism and powerful visuals: “My head is on my shoulder, but I don’t feel ok.” Combining haunting melodies and multi-layer percussion, he adds depth and entrancement to its production and overall aesthetic. The song’s significance lies in the perspective, in which Brady James depicts depression. Through a series of creative, metaphorical images: flower pedals, hotel room, ropes, and being trapped/stuck on the bed/floor, “TRY YOU” depicts the constant struggle in the swirling change of scenes and flashing light with his arms or legs tied on to ropes in the music video. Standing on top of a building deals with the ideation of falling from behind yet falling back to life. “TRY YOU” give us a glance of the reality of what depression truly feels like, as real as it was.
As a person who has come in first hand expression with depression and mental struggles, Brady James devoted himself in creating something meaningful and contributing to the growing awareness around this difficult topic. Reflecting on the current trend and how mental health was dealt with and presented in public, the artist approaches this heavy topic with caution as it should be: “I wrestle a lot with how to actually effectively speak about it and not glorify it. I’m finding it to be a tough balance, but I know speaking about these issues is part of my reason for being alive.”
In the past 2 years, James has been working for and writing with a wide range of musicians. His growth as an artist and a musician is rapid and expansive. Coming back with another brand new release, “TRY YOU” not long ago, James has expressed his shift of attention back to his own brand and persona and continue exploring and developing as an artist. “I feel like embracing my flaws and failures is a big key to moving forward in life and as an artist. So yeah, focusing on my mental health and what it means and really looks like to be this thing called an artist,” he said.
The 23-year-old anti-pop artist is noted for his versatility and authentic storytelling. Unlike most artists who have long vested their own objectivity and perspective, James is gifted for his ability to put himself into different characters and perspectives, which offers him a wide span of emotions and storytellings. Throughout his artistic journey, he presents a unique yet highly relatable style that easily resonates with young audiences. Collecting inspirations from other art forms and daily conversation with friends, the artist described the spark being something hard to tape down or reproduce: “It’s easy for me to bring myself deep into someone else’s shoes. That’s sometimes how I write my music — from the perspective of a character or maybe a friend I have going through something with,” he said
Written by Katrina Yang
Photo provided by Universal Music Group
Press Q&A with Brady James
Q (RISING ARTISTS BLOG): I’m a huge fan of your music and the overall aesthetic. All the songs are really creative and authentic. Where do you usually find inspiration?
BRADY JAMES: Haha thanks so much. That means a lot! So i find inspiration in other artists, movies and shows (like anime lol) but honestly I mostly find it in conversations with my friends.
Q: How do you incorporate inspirations and sparkles into a song? Is it a rather organized, well-thought process or stimulated, spontaneous?
JAMES: A lot of times, if it’s another artists song I’m inspired by, i try and set out to capture that same feeling or energy. When I was younger i would be really quick to copy and then hate what I did, because it wasn’t authentic to me. So I would say its pretty thought out. Though, Inspiration is a tricky thing to try and harness over and over again.
Q: What is your favorite song released so far? Could you tell me more about it?
JAMES: Okay so to be honest.. I cant stand my own music. Haha my favorite songs are the ones that are unreleased and like 10 people have heard. I don’t know I am like that. But my favorite so far would probably have to be the last one I just put out called “TRY YOU”. I have never spent so much time on a track in my life, but I somehow still kinda almost enjoy it? Haha.
Q: What are you currently focusing on? (life wise and music wise)
JAMES: Developing as an artist. I have spent the last 2 years working with a lot of different people and writing and producing for other musicians, and that process has made me grow a lottt. So the next year i wanna develop more aspects of my brand and persona, I am definitely learning to love and accept myself more, and aiming for a high sense of self respect. I feel like embracing with my flaws and failures is a big key to moving forward in life and as an artist. So yeah focusing on my mental health, and what it means and really look like to be this thing called an artist.
Q: Any topic that you feel strongly about expressing in music?
JAMES: I have struggled with depression and anxiety since middle school, so it is for sure something i want to express, since it’s played a big role in my story. I don’t like how our culture has kinda elevated the “depressed” if that makes sense. I don’t want to talk about depression and anxiety like its a trophy or token of cultural validation, so I wrestle a lot with how to actually effectively speak about it and not glorify it. I’m finding it to be a tough balance, but I know speaking about these issues is part of my reason for being alive.
Q: What do you love most about making music or being an artist?
JAMES: making music! Haha which is crazy I have to say that, because I know a lot of artists who don’t enjoy the actual creation process. At least not as much as the antics with being an “artist”. I can see myself transitioning into full time writing for other artists in the distant future. I feel like I can see peoples lives more objectively than mine, and its easy for me to bring myself deep into somebody else’s shoes. Thats sometimes how I write my music; from the perspective of an character or maybe a friend I have going through something.
Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced?
JAMES: Learning how much sacrifice is too much sacrifice. It’s really easy for me to put my head down and work and shut out everyone around me, but that could be dangerous to my mental health. So I guess I’m trying to learn time management haha. Another challenge I’m facing at the moment is just pressure in general. Mostly an ungodly amount of pressure i’ve placed on myself. As I grow older in my twenties I feel this immense amount of pressure to “make it” so to speak, and also that nothing I have achieved is good enough. But I know deep down those are both lies. So I’m learning to just exist, create, and be.
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