Jarryd James re-emerges from seclusion to return to the spotlight with album No.2

RELUCTANT STAR: Jarryd James says he's become more reclusive since the breakout success of Do You Remember. Picture: Mitch Lowe
RELUCTANT STAR: Jarryd James says he's become more reclusive since the breakout success of Do You Remember. Picture: Mitch Lowe

JARRYD James is not the kind of singer-songwriter who switched onto music chasing fame and celebrity.

It's safe to assume the 36-year-old would gladly ditch all the photographs, videos and other promotional activities, essential to working as a recording artist, and merely sing and produce music if that was possible.

"I'm extremely camera shy and I don't like people looking at me," James says this week during a break in a writing session. "I get really self-conscious, but weirdly I'm OK being on stage in front of other people."

The past five to six years have left an obvious mark on the natural introvert. In 2015 James scored a monster hit with his debut single Do You Remember, which peaked at No.2 on the Australian charts and won an ARIA Award for Pop Work of the Year.

James' debut record Thirty One also reached No.2 on the ARIA album charts, as the former Brisbane social worker's soulful blend of electro-pop and R'n'B found an instant audience.

"I really have needed to take stock of my situation," James says. "A lot of that stuff happened so fast, so I wasn't able to process it at the time.

Jarryd James - Miracles

"My life really did change quite drastically, quite quickly. The last four years or so have been really good for me to appreciate what I have and the time I have to make music.

"I've definitely become more reclusive. I tend to withdraw into myself when I'm trying to create, so I don't get out much and see a lot of people, but the people I do see are people I love."

Two years ago James completed his second album, P.M. After being postponed due to COVID-19, the record will finally be released on Friday. Writing and producing P.M took James around the world to popular music industry destinations like Los Angeles and New York, and less obvious ones like the jungles of Nicaragua.

James was joined by Kiwi duo Broods and producer Joel Little, and Australian M-Phazes in the Central American nation for a song workshop, enduring sapping humidity in their jungle bungalow during the day and working deep into the night.

"It was one of those experiences where you felt like you were in a movie," he says. "We were deep in the jungle. It was hot and humid and there were weird sounds coming from the trees. Lots of monkeys."

The first single from P.M, Slow Motion, was released in 2019 and was followed by Let It Go, Problems and Miracles, which was written in Nicaragua before being completed in Auckland.

Do You Remember remains James' biggest hit, and was the fourth most played song of the 2010s on streaming service Shazam.

James admits he felt pressure to ensure P.M lives up to the expectations created by Do You Remember and Thirty One's success.

"Especially in Australia it's hard to keep people's attention for long periods of time in the music industry," he says. "I was aware of that.

"At the same time I just wanted to make music I was proud of and loved myself. I've achieved that part."

Jarryd James' P.M is released on Friday.

This story Camera-shy Jarryd James comes back into focus on second album first appeared on Newcastle Herald.