[INTERVIEW] Andrew St. James

It’s sometimes hard for Generation Y to care about things other than Kimye, the color of a dress, and how many likes their #tbt got. For Andrew St. James however, the political climate and the realities of current events are more his cup of tea. At only 19-years-old, Andrew sings about, well, the shit that matters – gun violence, the overlooked deaths of so many, and heartbreak.

As a San Francisco native (and proud of it!), Andrew channels the weight of these issues into the power of his lyrics. Wanting to be President of the United States as a child (and yes, he’s a House of Cards fan), his passion for perspective has him“writing about things that resonate”, making him feel like he’s doing “justice for the art”.Andrew is one of few in the industry that uses music as a platform to shed light onto issues that most of us choose to ignore.

With the best sideburns in the game, rings that apparently never come off, and an age that doesn’t even qualify him to legally drink yet, Andrew is a young talent who’s mature way beyond his years. In his defense, he did go to Berklee College of Music for a semester for “music and binge drinking”, realized it wasn’t for him, and was apparently dubbed at some point in his career as the “King of Ratchet”.

The talent of this young singer/songwriter however, should not be overlooked. Andrew manages to somehow seamlessly combine modern day lyricism and a vintage voice that transports you to an entirely different time – an irony that seems to be working for him. From a surprisingly fast speaker in conversation (being from California and all), to his pigeon toed stance on stage, there was certainly no lack of charisma and crooning when he played last week at Piano’s in New York City.

Before speaking with us in a cold back hallway, Andrew delivered an emotive and enchanting set. The whole “show being on a Monday” thing didn’t draw as big as a crowd as he deserved, but resulted in nothing short of a message, and a voice, that resonated with the audience. The addictive quality of Andrew’s sound was apparent in the foot-tapping and head-bobbing happening during songs like “Falling Up”,  “Rosebud”, “The Lost, The Vain”, “Maybe It’s Time For Me To Go”, and a new song about a triad in a penitentiary. The magic that happened between him and his guitar left the crowd wanting more – literally, someone shouted, “Play more!”

Photo Credit: Nadine Suleman

Photo Credit: Nadine Suleman

Andrew has released two full-length albums,Doldrums in 2013 and The Shakes this past year, and is definitely thinking about working on a new one in the near future. Describing his own sound to be part folk, part blues, and part psychedelic rock, all parts of Andrew are equally talented, intellectual, and swoon-worthy. However, it’s the strength of his voice, the power of his words, and his incomparable uniqueness that puts Andrew St. James in a league of his own.

Joonbug would also like to give a shout-out to Andrew’s producer, Jim Greer, for the cool hangs that night.