A Conversation with JVCK JAMES
By Luke Grosch | @luke.grosch
RNB RADAR sat down with London’s latest star-in-the-making, JVCK JAMES to get an insight into the young 23 year old with the talent to put himself at the forefront of the R&B scene. After releasing his new EP; On The Rocks, in April, We couldn’t wait to hear from JVCK ourselves, so we won’t make you wait any longer either. Let’s get into it.
RNB RADAR: Hennessy Tears visuals have dropped, it was a privilege to get an early look. The energy pulsating off of you as you give us all this emotion, it’s amazing. Did you enjoy filming?
JVCK: Yeah, it was my first time working with Filmawi [Director]. I’m used to wearing like three fits in a video, but he envisioned it all in one take, it was a new and dope experience. The particles around me are representing energy like you say, it's being vulnerable and expressing.
RNB RADAR: On The Rocks has a serious mix of vibes… Galaxy Swim puts you in a trance, Drunk Love is that kind of playlist music, Hennessy Tears is emotional, and Love in The Club channels 90’s R&B. Is this EP showing everyone how diverse your sound is?
RNB RADAR: With On The Rocks I wanted to show different sides of a relationship. I feel like you have the beginning, you have the middle... kind of have the end, where you have that realization. In 2022, a lot of the music is toxic and Drunk Love kind of represents that, when everything seems too good to be true and you have that realization. So yeah, I guess it just shows different sides of me and what I've gone through recently.
RNB RADAR: So what’s your favourite track on the EP?
JVCK: I would say Hennessy Tears. Adorn by Miguel was definitely one of the inspirations, that’s like top 5 R&B songs of all time for me personally. It’s a love song and I’m just proud to have my own finally, cause I’ve had a lot of dm’s from people saying it’s going to be their wedding song and someone even proposed [to Hennessy Tears], It’s crazy.
RNB RADAR: It must be such a realization for you… Like this is what my music is doing to people?
JVCK: Definitely makes it worth it, cause when you write music you're being so vulnerable. You don’t know who it's going to touch, you don't know how people are going to react. So when they react in a way that you didn't even expect, it's very touching and yeah it’s rewarding.
RNB RADAR: The usual stereotype that R&B is dead and there is no more baby making music always comes back around…
JVCK: I see a lot of tweets about this, how R&B has no baby making tunes, R&B guys aren’t begging for love and stuff. But I feel if people really do their research, they’ll see that I’ve been that.
RNB RADAR: So here’s the challenge: If you could give someone, who’s finding it hard to get into current R&B, a playlist with yourself and four other artists on it; as a way of saying this is what you’re missing out on, who would be your picks?
JVCK: That’s a hard one, hmm lemme see… Ambré’s super dope. We’ve got a song on her new EP 3000 degrees called ‘I’m Baby’.
RNB RADAR: We were looking forward to asking you about this, tell us more?
JVCK: She’s one of my favourite people. Like, we just hit it off. She reached out to me on dm, was just like I love your music. It happened real organically and I really love Virgos, like Ambré’s super chill. She's like a sweet gangster, that's her. After I did the song in London, she flew me out to do the video and took me out to eat and stuff. Had some New Orleans crawfish and shit, like It was really dope. Ambré’s good peoples man, she’s so talented... like her pen is top tier.
RNB RADAR: So we’ve got spot number one down, what about the second?
JVCK: So I would say Tiana Major9, she’s dope. We live round the corner from each other, she’s from London too.
RNB RADAR: That’s crazy, can we expect anything at some point in the future?
JVCK: We do, we’ve gone back and forth with a couple songs but we wanna get it right.
RNB RADAR: What about artist number three for this put-on playlist?
JVCK: Dylan Sinclair he’s fire… he’s very fire.
RNB RADAR: Is this someone else you’ve had contact with, or someone you’d wanna work with in the future?
JVCK: Yeah I’m cool with all these people. In the R&B community everyone’s kinda cool, we spoke the other day.
RNB RADAR: That close knit vibe is cool! What’s your last pick for the playlist?
JVCK: Imma have to put on my brother Joey XL. He’s very underrated, he’s a hidden gem and behind some of my songs as well. Joey’s on the rise and he’s from London, you should check him out.
RNB RADAR: That’s some playlist… Speaking of putting people on, COLORS is known for doing this. How did having your own performance on their channel feel?
JVCK: I was so gassed, because they’ve done so much for me. I put my first single out on COLORS, I just love watching live music, man.
RNB RADAR: We loved the Joyride EP, even more so the Basement remix with Knucks. We wanna give you another challenge. Here are three of your songs, we wanna know who you’d put on the remix for each of them; Wave, Favours, and What You Want.
JVCK: Joey Bada$$, he’s a gem. Lock that in, I wanna feature with him!
RNB RADAR: You’ve gotta make that happen, maybe a Wave throwback coming in the future we hope. What about the other two?
JVCK: Favours is one of my more trappier songs, maybe someone like Lil Baby. Imma say a singer for What You Want, I’ve already said two rappers… Kehlani would be really dope.
RNB RADAR: That’s a perfect choice! Ironically we were thinking Phabo for What you Want, they’re in the same circle.
JVCK: Yeah Phabo’s super talented, he’s got a sick pen.
RNB RADAR: Talking of talented, Venna – Sun, Moon & Herbs featuring yourself. A really soulful track, how did that come to fruition?
JVCK: We went to school together, he wanted me on that beat and funnily I couldn’t think of any lyrics in the first session, I just had the hook melody. I just knew it had to be that melody for the hook. I like when there is no pressure, listen to some music and catch a vibe. So then the lyrics just came to me. The song is about not wanting to be in a bad place, and just seeing hope, seeing a silver lining.
RNB RADAR: Next we don’t want to ask a question as such, we just wanna say: IDK – Puerto Rico…
JVCK: That was super random, he dropped me a dm and was like ‘I mess with your music, we gotta do something’. He sent me it over and then it was on the album, we haven’t met yet though. But as soon as I touch LA, we’re gunna link up.
RNB RADAR: What’s next for JVCK JAMES? Is there anything you can tell us?
JVCK: Right now I’m working on building my legacy and I’m having fun, I’ve got a sick collab coming out at the end of the year. My next project is in the very early stages but it’s more experimental. I’m just going crazy, playing with my range a lot more.
RNB RADAR: Did anything inspire that?
JVCK: I recently listened to Steve Lacy’s new album, which really inspired me. Amber and Sunshine are my favourites. The project let me know I’m on the right path, cause this new music I’m making is really open. Sometimes hearing an album like that is necessary, it gives you fuel. So yeah, big up Steve that’s like one of my dream collaborations, man.
RNB RADAR: It’s been a pleasure and we can’t wait for everyone to see the visuals for Hennessy Tears.
JVCK: Thank you, Hennessy Tears is out on all media platforms and you can watch the video right now on YouTube.
A mature aesthete for someone with so much life yet to be experienced, JVCK JAMES symbolises what R&B and music in general is about, making beautiful art from the soul’s very nexus. When music is forged in the heart of its creator, the almost enchanting energy we all long to experience from the instruments and vocals that an artist lays down on a track can be achieved. After speaking to JVCK, you sense someone who is as much of a fan of music and other artists as yourself. As humble as one can be, it feels safe to say that in this expressive and experimental artist, there is a human being of commendable sincerity in his craft and impact, who can inspire the next generation of London’s musicians to follow their hearts and take the world by storm. JVCK JAMES has only just started warming up, what the future holds for him however; is beyond incandescent, it is culture defining.
Stream the all new visual for Hennessey Tears on YouTube right now, just one of the four great tracks on his recently released EP: On The Rocks.
Listen to what's on JVCK JAMES' RADAR Playlist