|NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT:
When I sat down with James at a local
coffee shop I expected to talk music. And
while music was certainly a main component
our conversation quickly turned to life
and its many detours. Specifically seeking
a career in the industry, and the
struggles that come along with that chosen
path. A lot of people look at the
entertainment industry as just that, a
form of entertainment. They see the
lights, the parties, the awards, the
money, all of the hoopla. But they don't
see the other side. Let's take a glimpse
into an upcoming artists journey.
James Hatem moved to Nashville from
Denville, New Jersey. He came here
on a scholarship to study music education
at Belmont. While a great learning
opportunity, it did not automatically
catapult him into his dream job. James
says he's done just about everything to
pay the bills including delivering bread,
being a lifeguard, dishwasher, waiter,
host and working retail. "I didn't find my
calling in any of those. You know what you
don't want to do." Currently he teaches
guitar at an after school program, and
privately to help make ends meet. His most
recent endeavor is on the business side.
James is starting up a studio and writers
retreat an hour south of Nashville.
"Life's about taking opportunities." he
shares, talking about the joy he feels
being able to help other upcoming artists.
How did it all begin for James?
Growing up he was influenced by various
genres from the 60s (Cream, Beatles, Eric
Clapton, Hendrix), the 90s (Red Hot Chili
Peppers) and the early 2000s (Simple Plan,
Good Charlotte). He started writing when
he was 12, but it was the Beatles that had
When asked to describe his music
Hatem calls it blues/rock with a mix
of jazz, pop, and funk. "If Dave Matthews,
John Mayer, and Jason Mraz had a
baby that would be the band." His band,
The Transfers are a high energy live band
(keys/guitar/drums/sax/flute). Their first
headlining show is coming up on November
18th at the End and he is totally
stoked."I really like how there are no
limitations to music, especially here.
Music City is just that." James says about
For him, music is all about a journey. He
wants the fans that come out to a live
show to feel something that leaves them
coming back for more. We also talked about
how we use music as a form of therapy
during happy and sad times. "It's your
safe haven." James agrees.
What is the ultimate goal for James? Easy.
To make a living doing what he loves.
Recently, he has been listening to
motivational speeches and had plenty to
say to motivate myself (and hopefully
others reading this).
We all struggle at times with who we are,
and where we want to be. "There's that
breaking moment when your like I'm not
happy anymore. There needs to be a shift."
and James shares that struggle with all of
us. "I know very soon in my life there is
going to be a change, and I need to just
trust and really try it because if your
not trying your just sitting stagnant.
Don't settle." he encourages.
"It might not be where you want it to be
now or a year from now, but your doing it
and it's progressing and evolving." "The
only way you can truly be happy is when
your doing it for you, then you can share
that joy with others."
We talked about the industry and how great
it is that artists nowadays truly can do
it themselves and have a sustainable
career. "You can sign a record deal, but
are you getting what you want? Are you
achieving what you wanted to achieve? Will
you ever?" James asks. He believes all an
artist needs is a good team with a good
manager, and booking agent at the front.
Then if a label offers you a deal it
happens. But he wants to encourage artists
"Don't bend backwards for something that
is not organic."
The music industry can be a very complex
and tricky thing. "If you cut all the
industry things aside the music has to be
good and mean something. That's the core
of it all. Then the industry gets involved
and I don't think the people in it know
what's going on." James believes.
"It's not easy to be positive. It's very
easy to be negative about the music
industry, what your doing, and your
passions. It's a lot easier to settle for
negative thoughts, rather than push for
positive thoughts." Hatem confesses. "If
your going to try to do something you love
don't make that the Plan B." He is a firm
believer of going out there and giving
your dreams everything you've got. James
is doing just that, and we wish him the