“Here and Now” is the debut single from Elias James. The professional songwriter has spent his career thus far writing for Canadian artists in a variety of genres, and he’s decided it’s the right time to perform.
“Here and Now” tells a story of being lost in love; trapped in a state between the bliss of what used to be and the inevitable relief of coming out the other side. “It’s sort of a ‘sad hope’ thing”, says James. The theme of “Here and Now” is the limbo … he’s still hurt, and feeling the emotions that come with a breakup, but he’s ready to move on and start the healing process.
James comes armed with ten plus years as a songwriter, delicate acoustics, and soft, emotional vocals.
“Here and Now” is a story James was able to connect with. After recording bits with co-writer Rich Cloke on an iPhone, the song sat for a while. When going through tracks he was interested in putting out, “Here and Now” gave him chills to sing back, and he knew it would be his first single as a country artist.
I had a chance to catch up with Elias James and learn about his career as a songwriter, influences, and his first single.
Getting To Know Elias James: An Artist Profile
Elias James originally hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He moved to Calgary, and then Edmonton; spent some time in Vancouver, and landed in Downtown Toronto, where he’s been for a few years now.
Recently married, a Toronto Raptors fan, and a self-proclaimed craft beer snob, Elias James says, “It’s about the songs for me. I’m not going to pretend to be somebody I’m not, or force myself to sound more country than I am.”
James didn’t start playing guitar until he was eighteen years old. His mom had an old guitar restrung for his birthday, and while studying business in university, he played guitar to avoid school. While heading to class, headphones in, at the University of Calgary, James remembers thinking, “Why am I doing this?”
He left university, spent some time back in Saskatoon with his older brother, before heading back to university to study music. He didn’t grow up surrounded by musicians, but he certainly grew up surrounded by music junkies. He grew up listening to the likes of Paul Simon and Roger Miller.
James has now been a songwriter for over a decade, writing for Canadian musicians across genres, including pop and country artists.
Elias James enjoys a wide variety of music, spending time listening to Blues, Rock, and Hip Hop over the years. He’s a fan of Jimi Hendrix, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and Dave Matthews. He’s also a fan of artists who sway on the rock side of country, like Devin Dawson and Russell Dickerson. His style is the result of years of exploring different genres, and developing as a singer-songwriter.
Pre-covid, James split his time between working in the restaurant industry and songwriting. The pandemic gave him, like many songwriters, an opportunity to devote more time to writing. After writing tons of songs for other artists, he’s decided it’s time to take some of his work to the stage for himself. “Here and Now” is the lead single, of what he hopes to be a year with a few releases.
James has a regularly updated playlist on Spotify called, Elias James’ Favourites, where you can see what he’s listening to. He’s a huge supporter of fellow indie-Canadian country artists. Some artists he’s currently listening to include Matt Teed, Greg Rider, Sacha, Mariah Stokes.
He’s also a fan of Hardy and Marren Morris.