Singer/songwriter Freda James revealed her latest single “Just Like Wind” on June 14th.
Written by Freda James and co-produced by Chrome Sparks and Dave Weingarten, the new single is about taking love and relationships slowly.
“The passing of time can be hard on us, and the conscious decision to slow down can help us focus on the relationships that matter,” explains James.
Combining r&b, disco and soul, “Just Like Wind” highlights James’ remarkable songwriting and vocals.
The California-based artist will be releasing her debut EP A Woman Alone later this summer.
"My music, at its core, is a life lesson for my past self; a musical guide to growing into womanhood on your own terms," Freda writes. "It’s this notion that drives my mission - to usher in a newfound level of power and self-awareness for women around the world,” says James.
“Just Like Wind” is now available.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
Hello! I’m Freda James. I grew up in Florida but then spent my 20’s in NY and now California.
What's your story?
I dropped out of college when I was 21 and moved to NYC, knowing I needed to focus on my creative talents and not whatever it was that I was studying. I was working lots of odd jobs while playing music with friends - I even had a band for one summer. I began to cultivate my sound in New York, as my mind started to expand from the diversity of everything. I was inspired to write my own songs out of the melodies that were flowing through me, so I learned piano and guitar chords to write my feelings into sound. I released my first single “Pushing You Away” and then moved to Los Angeles to finish the rest of my EP.
Could you describe us your childhood a little bit?
I spent a lot of time outside playing in the forests near my house. I had a big imagination and was able to channel that creative energy when performing on stage, singing in choir and theatre camp. I felt a strong presence on stage - it was my own spiritual experience. My dad was in a local band playing drums on the weekends as a side gig, so music was always around me.
How would describe yourself today?
I’m much more comfortable in my body now. I had to undo a lot of negative thoughts I wrapped myself in; I feel a lot of us are doing that now. I feel empowered being honest about my imperfections, being real. I want to be brave so others can start to be brave as well and we can say fuck off to any opposing energy.
When did your love for art and music begin?
Elementary school summers playing different characters at Cultural Park Theatre Camp!
Do you remember a specific moment in your life where music made a huge impact?
When I first heard Lauryn Hill’s cover of “Killing Me Softly”, I was super young, but felt profoundly moved hearing her vocal performance. She brought us in close to feel her soul. I knew something in that moment that would make more sense later on about truth, and how I never wanted to be something I wasn’t.
When did you start writing songs?
When I moved to NYC I would freestyle melodies and words as my friend played guitar. At first, I was just using that method as a means of catharsis, unaware those melodic mumblings were seeds that grew into full songs.
"Just Like Wind" is your new single. What's the story behind this song?
The song is about taking love and relationships slowly, working against the speed and inertia of time passing. The chorus melody came to me one day in springtime, and so I built the whole song around that. As the seasons change, swept away with the wind, I want to "go slow, cause I know that you're healing". The passing of time can be hard on us, and the conscious decision to slow down can help us focus on the relationships that matter.
I wanted it to feel dramatic with upbeat funky disco synths and moody bass. I brought the idea to Jeremy of Chrome Sparks, and he did his magic on it and played out what was in my head instrumental-wise.
Chrome Sparks and Dave Weingarten produced the track. How was it like to work together?
Jeremy (Chrome Sparks) is incredibly gifted, so when I brought him the melodic outline of “Just Like Wind” and told him I envisioned an upbeat disco pop tune, he spent a few hours whipping around his studio in Brooklyn playing different instruments, laying down the production. A few days later I moved to LA and got our mutual pal Dave Weingarten to add his production touch and track new vocals. They are both such gems and it was a pleasure creating with them.
What do you like the most about this song?
I love the chorus melody and funky synth sounds throughout - it makes you want to move and dance and flow, as if caught in the wind.
What can you tell us about the artwork for the song? Who took the photo?
I was camping up the California Coast, having a psychedelic trip with my boyfriend James Bianchi. He’s a photographer and so I’m usually his subject. We spent the day next to a gorgeous river that was full of wildlife! I was splashing around in the water.
What can you tell us about your upcoming EP A Woman Alone?
The EP is a compilation of my stories. I wanted to create a sonic diary of my time spent running around Brooklyn and NYC, growing into my womanly self. It's full of lessons, pain and revival.
Who helped you create this EP?
So many amazing talented musician friends! I worked on each song with different producers/musicians.
What are the different topics you are talking about on this EP?
Embracing the curves of my body. Letting go of the negative energies that I was allowing to crush my self-worth. Unrequited love and self-sabotage. Finding our inner strength and coming to terms with our true selves.
What message do you want to offer through this project?
The journey to self-love and acceptance is found through all the painful moments and bad relationships of our pasts. The confidence to be vulnerable and to see others with eyes of love comes with time, and that is okay! You just need to find a creative outlet to release that energy into in the meantime. Of course I am not perfect... I’m still working through things all the damn time, but I’m learning, and leaning more into just letting things be.
How's it like to be a woman in the music industry?
I’m seeing more and more women embrace their sexuality, defining it themselves, rather than becoming victims of some random internet critique. I’m thankful for Lizzo, she is reversing this weird image we’ve all been expected to maintain as females. We aren’t in the 50’s anymore, we won’t be fooled into buying your products to make us more desirable, you’ll accept me the way that I am!
What message do you want to deliver to women around the world?
I love you, I support you, I feel you. Let’s all be louder inspirations for one another!
Whether you were born into this world with a vagina or not, whoever feels they are female - I’m with you.
Self-love is the answer, self-love is the message.
What advices would you give to anyone who'd like to pursue music as a career?
Don’t enter with the idea that your passion is suppose to make you money right away. I know it's hard - life is so expensive. I don’t come from money so it hasn’t been smooth sailing all the time, but I love music more than anything. Make sure you love what you are doing before trying to make a career out of it, because that love will be tested over and over again.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
If everyone meditated, savored moments, walked around in nature, loved themselves… We don't need to be constantly trapped in our capitalist machine, we need to excuse ourselves from it in order to find the greater points of humanity.
Connect with Freda: