HelloBeautiful.com’s “Base Level” column features the hottest new artists we’re buzzing about. Before they make it to the summit of superstardom, we spot them at base level–the beginning of their hopeful journey to the top.
Ro James is a well blended fusion of unlikely elements. With his trusty guitar, signature hat and scratchy baritone, the military brat musician evokes an honesty, sexuality and mischief in his music that entices listeners the same way Prince did. As one fourth of the musical conglomerate Jackets (comprised of Luke James, Bridget Kelly and Wynter Gordon) Ro James’ formal musical introduction was his three-part EP Coke, Jack and Cadillacs, which explicitly outlined his musical trials and tribulations as well as his love for the female physique.
HelloBeautiful caught up with the singer/songwriter to talk about his musical inspirations, his biggest fear and what his original career plans were. Between you and me, we’re glad he changed his mind.
Name: Ro James
Hometown: New York. South side Jamaica, Queens.
Musical Inspirations? Man, my musical inspirations range from Prince to Donnie Hathaway to David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Jodeci, Marvin Gaye. My dad sings and he’s amazing. He’s actually a non-denominational pastor. He definitely instilled in me the emotion and the classic music.
What’s Your Biggest Break Thus Far? I don’t think I’ve had my big break just yet. But its bittersweet. Its 50-50. Because I’ve had the opportunity to share my music, that’s a break because a lot of people don’t have that. But I think the big break that people think of, I haven’t had it yet.
What’s Your Biggest Fear As A New Artist? Actually I’m fearless right now. It’s pretty fearless because I just want to be honest and to be honest is to be fearless because you can’t worry about people judging you or what other people think you’re saying. This is what it is. I think when people see that it’s real and authentic they’ll embrace it. What I am fearful of is a big arena because there’s so many different people and I can’t see everybody’s face. It’s overwhelming. It’s a lot. But I think that’s great because it encourages me to keep going.
When did you know this was what you wanted to do? Growing up in the church, I didn’t sing in the choir. My dad would try to make me sing and I didn’t want to sing. I would shy away from it. I wasn’t sure of my voice. I wanted to be a social worker. Isn’t that crazy.
If you were the lovechild of two musicians–dead or alive–who would they be? Hmm. Prince and Lauryn Hill. I love Prince because he’s an artist. He’s original. He carved his own lane and Lauryn Hill because she’s honest. She’s soulful and she stayed true to her artistry and didn’t let them box her in.
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"