By Franklin Abbott
Jose James will bring the sounds of his new album, “Love in a Time of Madness,” to Center Stage in Midtown on March 16. The album, a blend of traditional R&B and neo-soul, features production by Tario and Likeminds and a guest appearance by Oleta Adams.
James was in Atlanta last year to promote his Billie Holiday tribute, “Yesterday I Had the Blues,” and the year before to promote his rock infused album, “While You Were Sleeping.” The genre fluid artist is inspired by all kinds of music and in shifting from one type of music to another takes big creative risks.
He says his current album is both about “the crazy times we find ourselves in trying to cope with racism, sexism and xenophobia.” For James part of the solution comes from love. He says that through his music he can “talk about love including love of self.” Influenced by contemporary R&B artists that also defy genre like Beyonce, Drake, The Weeknd and James Blake, most of the songs on “Love in a Time of Madness” were recorded in Los Angeles with new producers who James says, “helped me get out of my own way” to explore something new. James has written and produced most of his previous albums.
James also makes his screen debut in the new film “Fifty Shades Darker” and one of his songs is included on the film’s soundtrack album. James new video for his song “To Be With You” is influenced by the film. James shot two videos in one day with director Tyler Evans. “To Be With You” is shot in black and white and features dancer Maisha Morris, who studied with the Alvin Ailey Dance School. James and Morris engage in movement that is both erotic and shamanistic. They are joined by a snake and a raven and James’ dragon tattoo. The second video, “Always There” was filmed in Santa Monica at Venice Beach and has the feel of an old school soul video.
For tickets and information visit, www.centerstage-atlanta.com.
Franklin Abbott is an Atlanta psychotherapist and writer.