Piers James has that soulful touch.
The producer-songwriter-singer (and a whole lot more) has an eclectic style, one that picks up on hip-hop and R&B influences.
Hazy, laid back rhythms set against his purring vocal, each track arrives with an aura of honesty.
Two part project 'A Dying Breed' launches with a new EP shortly, and the Ipswich-born, London-based excels on his new track.
'Can't Be My Girl' has that relaxed Anderson .Paak feel but with some UK grit added, too, a song about empowerment that marks Piers out as a feminist ally.
Dismissing social expectations, 'Can't Be My Girl' is a love song to independence, an urge for others to embrace themselves as they truly are.
Tune in now via VERO:
After heavy rotations in the CLASH office we didn't hesitate to name 'Can't Be My Girl' our Track Of The Day and catch back up with Piers on the creative process.
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What prompted you to write ‘Can’t Be My Girl’? How did the song itself fall into place?
I wrote Can’t Be My Girl a couple years ago, I always try to look at unique ways to portray the songs messages through my videos. With this oversexualised internet culture we are in right now, I thought why not make a song that actually empowers women instead of saying I need a ‘bad bitch’ in every song.
The lyric playfully dissects the distorting image of social media – what have your experiences on social media been? Do you have positive or negative feelings towards it?
I think social media can be a great tool especially with promoting your talents and connecting with a potential endless fan base however people can get so caught up in the importance of it and put it on a pedestal that can easily become toxic. I think about young females who have grown up with the internet and digesting this sexualised imagery we all see and think ‘I have to compete with that’ - we need to remember that it’s all extremely hyper real and our personality is the asset that should really shine through.
The video is really creative, and deals with women claiming self-worth and empowerment – what made this such a potent theme for you? Female voices must be integral in your life, is that the case?
I’ve grown up around important women role models all my life, my mum is a strong, independent mother who has inspired me a lot. The team that I have around me is also predominately made up of women too so I wanted to be able to show that appreciation and give back to the people who have and are continuing to shape me as a person and my career.
How did you go about piecing the video together? Did you have a list of people you wanted to work with? Or did some figures in the video come to you?
The aim of the video was to show case as many different types of women as possible so my producer and I spent about 3 weeks reaching out to girls on the internet and pitching the idea to them directly. The beauty of the internet means that we could go out to a wide demographic globally and create new connections between women who have never met before. We’ve all been stuck in isolation and we had to get creative with this video, the reason I’m not featuring in the piece is really to highlight that this song is positively for them!
It’s an extremely effective video, congratulations. What was your reaction on watching it back in full for the first time?
I edited this video alongside my manager as we had such a clear vision of how we wanted it to look which meant that I was heavily involved in the entire process. It’s hard to always appreciate the final product when you have no space away from it but when I watched it back I was just so happy and proud, I feel that the energy of everyone really shines through and am also so grateful that people were so positive and willing to take part just because they genuinely connected with the music - that’s the perfect response for an artist!
The video was pieced together during lockdown. Some artists say this time has been productive for them, others less so. How have you found it? Have you been creative during quarantine?
Lockdown has honestly been the most productive time, I think it was a shock for everyone when we first got locked up but there’s a silver lining to everything. It’s given me the time and the space to re-focus and connect with my ideas on a deeper level. Normally you’re dealing with distractions daily but when you wake up every day with an empty to-do list its a dream, the only thing I had to do was create!
How does ‘Can’t Be My Girl’ figure on the new EP? Will ‘A Dying Breed Pt. 1’ EP explore these themes further? Or can fans expect something completely different?
The EP covers a range of music but the one thing all the tracks have in common is the element of conscious, thought provoking lyrics. I have a lot to say and music is my way of communicating with the world so I don’t want to limit myself by sticking to one style, each message needs to be represented in a way that’s true to the meaning. Keep your eyes peeled, there’s a lot more juice for your ears to come yet
Finally, what do you have planned for the year?
Escaping lock down ideally… but in all seriousness just deliver more & more music, my team and I have worked so hard to piece this EP together and we’re not going to stop any time soon, it’s just the beginning.
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