Maurice James began his musical journey in a church in Chicago, learning piano and developing his sound at a young age. Once he graduated from university, he made the life-changing decision to relocate his life to Los Angeles. Maurice wrote three songs during the transition period into his new life and compiled them together into an EP that he could release to the world to tell his story.
“Rear View” is a track off of Maurice James’ recent EP 'Rare View' and displays Maurice’s smooth and honest atmosphere. He has a nice tone, soft and composed vocals that run overtop of soulful piano acoustics. The lyrics are somber and emotional, describing needing closure before moving on from something that caused you pain. He sings “it’s only your ghost now I get to know”, highlighting that you can’t go back and change the past. The simple acoustics to draw attention to the vocals, and the lyrics that put Maurice’s heart on his sleeve. Maurice James skillfully uses vocal layering, harmonies, and background melodies effectively complementing the main vocals. These techniques are reminiscent of Maurice’s childhood spent in a church and are blended wonderfully to create his own unique sound. He has a passion for music that shows throughout his performance, so make sure to give this one a listen!
Check out “Rear View” by Maurice James, here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Maurice James! It was a pleasure listening to “Rear View” for the first time, and your lyrics are very heart spoken, how long did the writing and production of this track take?
Thank you so much for taking a listen! Writing “Rear View” was a much shorter process compared to the production. I had written it in about 3 days compared to the weeks that it took to finalize the composition. It was co-produced with Jude Rose, an amazing artist, and producer also based in Los Angeles and we spent a good amount of time adding different elements that we felt would elevate the song while also giving the lyrics the room to breathe.
The title “Rear View” leaves the impression of driving away from something in the past. Does this song have parallels to your drastic move to Los Angeles?
Yes! In fact, it is the backbone of the song. I had just graduated from Northwestern, packed up my car, and drove 2,000 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. It was an extremely emotional transition but was a move that I felt was a step in the right direction for my journey. I wrote “Rear View” about a week after I moved into my first apartment in LA, and the lyrics began to pour out. I wrote it from the perspective of all that I had left behind, the people, places, and things that I was familiar with for so long.
How has your childhood shaped your music-making to this day? Do you take influence from songs you heard as you were growing up?
Being the son of a Baptist Pastor on the West Side of Chicago, I spent most of my childhood in Church, listening to Gospel Music. The thing with Gospel Music is that there is always a great deal of emotion involved and so whenever I create, I find myself looking inward and pulling out all of what I feel; it’s almost as if I can’t help it. Whether it’s immense pain, hopefulness, or doubt, I always feel obligated to shamelessly create what I feel. I definitely feel that I pulled that from the Gospel and Soul Music that raised me.
You had to make a pretty tough decision to move away from your family and friends in pursuit of music. How has this hardship made you stronger, and how do you feel this has affected you creatively?
It was very tough but necessary for my personal, spiritual, and creative growth. Growing up in Chicago and then going to college in Evanston (only about 30 minutes outside of the city) I had never really been away from home. I always had my support system to lean and rely on. I never felt that I had grown the way that was necessary for me to move in the direction I wanted to go. I have grown a lot through this move and have experienced many new things that undeniably influence my writing and music.
What can we expect to see from you throughout 2020?
I will be releasing some live versions of my music and am already working on the next project which I plan to release towards the beginning of next year. So, follow me on Instagram @mauricejamesmusic to stay up to date.