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Spotlight Interview With Rick Lee James

The latest from Rick Lee James has a real deal, genuine classic rock vibe and it comes with all the bells and whistles you could ask for with rolling guitars, organs that sound full bodies and a chorus that gets stuck in your head for hours after the song has ended.

"Shine A Light in The Darkness" is absolute magic from start to finish. The song has that something that makes memories pop into your head when you least expect it and that somewhat nostalgic feeling comes in swinging at that chorus.

The track has some killer guitar work, an impactful and catchy tonality and a radio worthy rock blast that really works for everyone.

It also has this summer feel to it as well. Like a warm sunset on a summer day and it just feels good to listen to.

James has a way with words and a way with his voice that kind of takes you to a different place as it's always got this passion behind it that feels awesome.

It feels like the songs are just for you and they have this sort of spirit to them that makes total sense and this drive that makes the songwriting graceful in its own way.

With the release of such a killer single, we wanted to have a chat with Rick Lee James to find out where this came from.

RAG: Okay so let's start with "Shine A Light in The Darkness". This single has a great and genuine classic rock pop feel to it! Where did this track come from? Thank you for this question. I initially wrote it as a response to many of my people fellow evangelical Christians, who made the choice to give into disinformation for the sake of political power. “You’ve been ignoring the truth…” is the first line of the song. That could easily be pointed at only at us in the church, but the truth is that everyone has their own information echo chambers. I can’t criticize anyone without also realizing my own hypocrisy, so a song aimed at my frustrations with others quickly became about me. It’s a call to shine light into the world, illuminating all the dark places, even the ones I don’t want to see in myself. Shine a Light in the Darkness became the hook of the song, which I recorded in my home studio playing and singing all the parts myself, and then I had a real drummer add in some slamming drum tracks in the final mix. I’m really proud of how it all turned out. RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this release. Who are some of your biggest musical influences? I really wanted this to have a feel of a classic John Mellencamp or Tom Petty tune, God rest his soul. Those guys are a couple of my favorites, and honestly, they have a way of speaking the truth and rocking out with 4 or 5 chords. I love that classic 80s midwestern guitar rock sound. RAG: So how did this all begin for you really? When did you fall in love with making music?

That really happened in junior high and when I turned 15 I started playing guitar. That unlocked the world of music for me. I’ve done a lot of playing and writing since then but those were the days when music really captured my imagination. RAG: What's next for you as an artist?

Well, less than a year ago I was welcomed into The Recording Academy (Grammys) and have been enjoying mentoring younger artists. Life is kind of busy right now getting my Masters Degree but I have a few songs I want to record as singles and release sporadically over the next few years. I would also love to get some of them commercially placed, but who knows. I’m just enjoying the chance to play and record when I can. RAG: What inspires you to write a song?

Usually life questions that I’m struggling with. On occasion though, it all starts with a good guitar or piano riff that is speaking to me when I’m playing at home in private and I see where it takes me. Music is a great outlet for me to express things I’m feeling. RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

I’m working on my Masters Degree at Loyola University, working as a Hospital Chaplain, leading worship at my church or on the road, and hanging out with my wife, son, and out two dogs. RAG: Who are you listening to right now?

I’ve been on a Ben Folds Five kick lately. I’ve also rediscovered Kate Bush due after watching the new season of Stranger Things. CeCe Winans latest Gospel release is amazing too. Those are getting a lot of play from me lately. RAG: Are you doing live performances?

I am but not as much as I would like due to my graduate work, but I try to play out at least once a month when possible. RAG: This single seems like a big undertaking. What kind of advice might you have for other up and coming artists out there?

Don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Take the initiative to learn your craft and don’t be afraid to ask for people farther along than you to critique it. Most artists love helping other artists. Co-writing and collaboration are great ways to grow. RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

Thank you for all your support and for listening to my music. I really appreciate it. If you like it, share it with a friend. God bless!!!

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