Shawn James performed at the ASCAP Music Cafe in Park City, Utah on January 22 and 23 as part of the ASCAP Music Cafe’s lineup of incredible ASCAP songwriters and music artists. As a singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Shawn James has a soulful, raw approach to his performance. We sat down with Shawn and his fiddle player Sage Cornelius at the ASCAP Music Cafe to learn more about their creative process working together and how obtaining music placement on a video game paved the way to more opportunities.
Shawn James: “Ah, this is a good question, you know because like I never thought that I would have a little brother. I never wanted a little, annoying brother who likes to really be adamant about holding the mic and putting it in my face, but uhm.. ”
Sage Cornelius: “Uhm.. Like..”
Shawn James: “Let it out man.” (laughs)
Sage Cornelius: “Like he said, I’ve never had an older brother, and uh.. yeah. Every day is an adventure!”
Shawn: “Legitimately I wanted a fiddle player because there is a certain emotion to a fiddle and the sound that it makes that is similar to a voice that it can really make people feel something deep and kind of, like you know, emphasize the emotional part of the music we make.”
Sage Cornelius: “Touring with Shawn is awesome because one thing I really, really appreciate about what he brings to the table and everything is, his music is awesome, his talent is great, but the people he attracts. There is a certain kind of soul. Everyone kind of resonates the same sort of way. So the majority the people we go out and meet at shows, he’ll be like “Yo, I can’t wait for you to meet this sort of friend” Every single town, it’s like “Yo, I want you to meet this person and this person” Everybody is consistanty really, really cool.
Shawn James: “I love throwing musicians in the fire, just to test their metal kind of. And, we were on tour for two weeks and I was like, “Alright, we are going to record a live album Sage” And I remember at first you were a little nervous about it.”
Sage Cornelius: “When I jammed with Shawn for the first time it was like a whole other sense of musician that came out of me. It was a sense of realness, a sense of rawness. I could get a little bit more mad, more sad. And ultimately that is something that I appreciate about working with him.”
Shawn James: “It was incredible. The one thing that I thought about is when we go on tour, we are typically playing for fans or people that already know about us, that want to come see us. And here at ASCAP it’s a beautiful opportunity because it’s a room of people that don’t necessarily know our music and I love the proving grounds type vibe about it. You’ve gotta put up or shut up. And the beautiful thing about a room like The Music Cafe with ASCAP here is people are there to listen and they’re not just partying and being loud. They are actually attentive and they pick up what you put out and it’s a beautiful thing, I really enjoy it. And the sound crew and the production, and all the guys are really fun and they are top notch at what they do as well.”
The most recent, and the most popular and the most success in reaching the most that we’ve got is Playstation 4 released a game, four or five years ago, I am not positive, called “The Last of Us” and it was like the most played and most award winning game they had ever released and the fans wanted a sequel but they never really talked about it and my song “Through The Valley” was sung by the main character of that game, Ellie, in the announcement trailer that there was going to be a sequel to it. And that overnight, kind of really, really got us a lot of attention, opened up a lot of doors and opportunities. Part of that is why we are even here at Sundance. It’s a beautiful thing and that song was released in 2012 on my first record but it wasn’t till the end of 2017 that it started getting attention. And I wasn’t any different then then I am know.