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  • Smooth Jazz Network

James Henry: Behind the Beats

Each week we'll take you 'Behind the Beats' to learn more about the artists that play on our airwaves. This week: James Henry.

James Henry has just released his spicy new single “Show Me Your Love”, which has already been featured as the Smooth Jazz network’s “Pick of the Week / Feedback Track”. The tune is getting a lot of interest and we thought we’d grab a few moments with the talented percussionist / producer.

James, Thanks for taking some time with us! Your new single “Show Me Your Love” is featured on your new album “Show Me Some Love”. Tell us how the single and album came about.

The single & album came about when I was motivated by what’s going on in the world. I wanted to produce something very positive to uplift spirits, body, mind and soul - back to the basics. Love wins, music is power and a positive message. Why not spread the message of love? The power of the single is asking everyone in the world show me some love not hate, no matter who you are. We are one. Show me some love album will be released shortly after the single. Show me your love!!

Your live performances are incredibly entertaining! Tell us about your concept of utilizing dancers and creating that party atmosphere.

My vision is global - very important for music and dancers to create the impact the power of creativity at our concerts. It helps the people to relax and enjoy a moment of magic with movement on the stage that captivates you and makes you part of the entertainment. Audience participation is all about the love.

You have performed with some legendary musicians and artists. Can you give us a few highlights?

I have been very fortunate to record and perform with Narada Michael Walden, Sing, Earl Klugh, Santana, Lisa Fisher, George Howard, Rodney Franklin, Robben Ford, Pablo Cruz and Harry Belafonte. And not to mention at age 19 with jazz great Art Blakey! From jazz rock ‘n’ roll to smooth jazz.

Your music crosses several different genres with a distinctive element of jazz. Tell us about your musical influences and how they have impacted you as an artist.

My music crosses over globally. I was motivated by great jazz players at an early age. From jazz to smooth jazz I was influenced an impact by artists like Miles Davis, George Duke, Pete Escovedo, Rio, Summers, Pat Matheny, Regina carter, Marvin Gaye, Ralph McDonald, Patti LaBelle, which took me on a journey, and realized that I wanted to put all of that in my music. Deeply rooted soulful, melodic, rhythms, from Africa to R&B, funk!! Oh, I’m proud to say, with my music expect the unexpected that takes you on a journey!!

You started playing drums at an early age, as well as performing. Tell us about your experience as a young musician.

At an early age (7) I started playing drums for my church in touring around the bay area, San Francisco. Performing in churches, and working with the choir had a big impact on my life at an early age on how to listen and to work with other musicians in the community. The experience paid off as I moved forward into my career, gospel, soulful, music.

What is your ultimate goal as a musician?

My ultimate goal is to impact the world with beautiful music for your body, mind and soul to tell a story to let the world know how important music is to our society. The way we live, the way we grow in the way one song can make a difference in your life, I chose smooth jazz to tell my story. Easy, listening, music that makes a difference in your life.

Any advice for those young folks looking to pursue a career in music and entertainment?

As an entertainer and educator, I am always spreading the word to our young folks on how important it is to study music, and the changes that they can make for someone’s life starting at age 3 years old to 105.

Learn more about James Henry, here.

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