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April 22nd, 2017

James on Songwriting

Variation in music is my lifeblood.  Drawing inspiration from varying influences is a habit I've developed over the years as a songwriter.  I've learned never to turn something down right away because you may end up loving it as a consequence, feeling ashamed later for not appreciating the style upon first observance.

There was a time in my life when I thought the electric guitar was everything; the cornerstone of rock music, the most adaptable instrument in any scenario.

It took me years to realize that this was not the case.

Not because the guitar isn't an essential piece to many forms of popular music, but rather because there were so many differing instruments that I hadn't yet taken the time to discover.

The first guitar I ever had was picked out of a garbage can from down the street. The trumpet was my first instrument I had formal training in, but the guitar was the first instrument I fell in love with. The problem here was that I knew that I needed more than just this one great instrument in order to write great music.

Since then, I have pushed myself to learn how to sing and how to play the drums, bass guitar, piano, trombone, and flute, as a means of creative expression through recording music.

To some, there is a level of naivety that comes with treading in such territory.  Those whom spend their lives learning and toiling over the time it takes to master their instruments will most likely see my efforts as some vain attempt to be a "one-man-band". Why not train yourself to be a fantastic player of one instrument instead of a mediocre hack at many?

I see beyond this reasoning, as it's more about being comfortable and hearing exactly what you want on whatever platform necessary. It's about feeling the rhythms within yourself too. Through my struggles to learn more and try new things, I have created incredibly rhythmic and detailed music, catered to my need to bring more and more to the table.

My mind operates in the world of music, and rarely elsewhere.  I am haunted constantly with a soundtrack playing in my head that changes day to day.  I tap on just about any hard surface with my fingers.  I can often hear a pitch or tone being played from things like a copy machine, or a car horn (and sometimes I play a fun game where I have to construct a song around it).

If loving music is a crime, then I'm on the most-wanted list.  Musical inspiration for me comes from beyond the average favorite band or singer; I believe that we're all musical beings with the capability to create and draw from the past to expand the realm of possibility in songwriting.  I consider my computer's music collection to be quite eclectic.  From traditional music of Zimbabwe, to 90's hip-hop, to all sorts of progressive rock and fusion... The list goes on.

All of these influences and these experiences I've gained have been the catalyst in the creation of my own music.

James Thoubboron

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