By Sarah Beth Costello
These days, there are few artists and bands that can successfully produce albums of such quality and depth to merit outstanding reviews. Brendan James, an up-and-coming pop artist from Derry, N.H., is an exception. The singer/songwriter, pianist and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate possesses a style and skill that trumps the majority of current top-grossing artists.
James released his self-titled second album on Sept. 7 and despite nominal popularity, he reached No. 1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart. James remains in the top-15 albums on iTunes, among popular bands and artists including Justin Bieber, Kings of Leon and Sara Bareilles. James reached No. 92 in the Top 100 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart and debuted his single, “The Fall,” on Sept. 25 during CBS Saturday’s Second Cup Café.
What separates James from the mass of pop singers and songwriters clamoring for attention in today’s very competitive music industry, is the genuine nature of his songs, his clear and identifiable tenor and the passion evoked in his music. James writes from experiences, life, good and bad times, and is seemingly unafraid of appearing vulnerable before an audience.
James has been described as a contemporary Billy Joel or James Taylor, an artist who appeals to the common individual because his music is so real and attainable. James is successful in digging past the superficial messages of many modern artists, and writing about the complexities of relationships (not sex), love (not lust) and patience (not instant gratification).
The 12 songs on the new album are equally deep. They range from happy and romantic (“Stupid for Your Love”), sad and serious (“Your Beating Heart”) to hopeful and sweet (“Anything for You,” and “The Fall”).
It is rare when an artist can produce a balanced, diverse and unique album, but James’ dedication to the production of his lyrics and music has resulted in a tight package. While most artists are hit with continual demand for new albums, James is more concerned with writing and singing songs that will be remembered beyond the next six months. James worked on his new album for more than a year, and says his manager and label pushed him to write more music before they agreed he was ready to begin recording.
The young pianist has generated a stream of followers through social networking and has gained media attention with each tour. James released his first album, “The Day is Brave,” in 2008 and has exceeded expectations with the release of his second album, which he says is self-titled because it is a reflection of his own life.