What is your names?
What is your genre of music?
Give us a little bio about you.
Brother James is the spiritual singer-songwriter moniker of LA-based producer & songwriter Justin James Sinclair, who’s equally influenced by classic songwriters like McCartney and Randy Newman as he is by authors like Plato and Leo Tolstoy. Deeply inspired by monasticism, Brother James’ songs explore mysticism, deep self-searching, and the daily, necessary struggle we all face to remain present, fully alive, and grateful. His stories document and guide us along the messy human process of pursuing truth and attempting to love people well.
What made you go into music?
My whole family has always been deeply involved in music and the music industry – so it was sort of in my blood, impossible to escape.
Are you a signed?
You released your new single ‘I Had To Dig’, tell us more about the single.
The song is deeply inspired by several mentors and a few monks, particularly one named Cyprian – whose words strongly inspired many of the lines and whose personality is depicted in the song. The song is an invitation into the spiritual and mystic wisdom of the Christian tradition, especially as lived out in the lives of monks.
What is the meaning behind ‘I Had To Dig’.
“I Had to Dig” is the last lyric that’s introduced at the end of the final verse. It expresses the movement of continuing to seek and pursue and grow and move toward truth. Each of us is given a seed in the form of wisdom and truth given to us by our teachers and mentors, and for each person their life journey is to water it and help it grow.
Describe the track in two words.
What was the writing process like?
This song woke me up at 1am one night and wrote itself – I couldn’t stop it.
What was the recording process like?
With the engineer and film crew, we set up at my studio and filmed a gorgeous video of the live recording process; it was just me and a guitar, Dylan style. It took a few tries to get the right take, but we got a good recording and video in the end!
Who did you work with on the Single?
Caleb Parker – engineer and mixer
Nolan Anderson – film director
Austin Puckett – cam op
Will we see an EP or Album this year?
An EP, maybe a few..
Do you have any shows coming up?
Yes – a few private house concerts, and showcase at Hotel Cafe in LA (Writers Block) on February 22nd. There will be more in the coming months, but not all are announced yet.
What else can we expect in Early 2020?
A few more singles and lots of house concerts – if interested in hosting one, reach out!
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists?
I’m working a lot with a new artist named Ted Moock and performing with him at State Social House on February 27th, and writing with dozens of other artists – but nothing yet that will feature Brother James. I’m also writing songs on commission; for weddings, anniversaries, prayer services, etc. – and may release some of those in the coming months.
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
Yep! Just email me at justinjsinclairmusic@Gmail.Com or find me on Instagram @Justinjames.
Do you play any instruments?
Drums were my first, bass is my best, and guitar and piano work best for writing. I can fake the basics of just about anything else.
Who are your influences?
Paul McCartney, Randy Newman, Leo Tolstoy, Plato, Punch Brothers, Dostoevsky, The Brilliance, Flannery O’Connor, and others.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Life experiences, deep relationships, great pieces of art, and philosophical musings. Whatever finds its way into my life usually finds a place in a song, and deep relationships in my life generally lead to at least a song or two.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Writing songs full time, on commission for weddings and events etc., and cowriting with other artists, playing concerts all over the world. Pretty much what I’m doing now but with a bit more freedom and certainty to it.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I read a lot of books and spend as much time as possible in nature. Usually I do those things with friends, and exercise is ideally included. I also visit monasteries fairly frequently – which pretty much represents all of the above things.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Familiarity – Punch Brothers. I listened to that song/piece so many times when I found it. Incredible art. Not sure if I can directly link that to my move into music, but Punch Brothers did play strongly into my move into music
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
“You don’t know what you don’t know yet” – or “the more you know, the more you know that you don’t know”. This has come in many forms at many times – but it’s helped me accept the incoming lessons to be learned and always be ready to be proved wrong and become better. It feels like an important base-level truth to support all future truths to be learned.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Create a lot. The more you make, the better it gets. Don’t try to write great songs; become a great songwriter by writing a lot of songs.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
I Had to Dig is sort of my best expression of what matters most to me – so in a sense, I think the chorus is the best answer to that question:
“And I know that I’ll never find the secrets nobody ever held before, but I’ve found that life is in the seeking, love cannot be stagnant and we’ll always crave more. So I’ll savor the good that I’ve been given, hold loose the things I’d like to keep, and I’ll give all I have in search of freedom and live to set other prisoners free.”
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
In my hometown of Carpinteria – a small beach town just south of Santa Barbara – you need to grab a burrito from Reye’s Market (the best burrito in town) and then take a slow walk down Linden street toward the beach right before sunset, and then sit on the beach eating your burrito until it sets. Perfect.
Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first? My studio; clean up and settle in. Get everything back in place and get ready to get back into a groove.
2/ Who do you see first? My parents- swing by their place to catch up.
3/ What do you eat first? Whatever’s on at my friends’ place; five friends host dinner every weeknight at their place. I’d go join them and eat some kind of delicious home cooked vegan dinner.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
- Start the day with meditation after running a few songs,
- Have a cup of coffee two hours before I’m on,
- Have a glass of wine an hour before,
- Take a short peaceful walk outside right before going on,
- And then make sure to have a table to hold my drinks – water, coffee, and wine.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?