James Kevin O'Connor
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Seeing and hearing a Jazz Fusion Basement band in Madison NJ, "Tangent" Two Guitars, Bass, drums, keys, and percussion. They had awesome chops, unique sound, great guitar solos. Ended up taking lessons from both guitarists.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Got a call from a Penny Stock trader to drop everything and get on a plane from NJ, fly to LA, and record 4 of my songs in Hollywood. Was in a nice hotel, fancy rental car, etc, then ended up in Laurel Canyon with the Producers of the project surrounded by mountains of cocaine, at 24 I think I was the only musician in history who actually said no! We would take a break from marathon studio sessions to go to dinner, and they would order all this food and not eat! I would eat everything in sight! Then do push-ups before my vocals, but no drugs, I was committed.....
What has been the high point of your music path?
Playing at prisons and telling stories to the ones incarcerated, watching the hard cold ones with their arms folded who would talk while I was singing, slowly but surely come around and end up clapping and enjoying the performance and the stories, I guess they really like the one about sleeping in my car and the Shell Station Ladies room!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I never try to finish a new song straight out, I write pieces, have tons of notebooks everywhere, come up with guitar riffs, melodies, song titles, concepts, etc, read often, then pull it all together when the spirit moves me to do so, the more experience I gain, the longer I seem to take on songs, it is worth the year or so to rehearse it, rewrite it, record it, rewrite it again, and keep performing it with my audience gauge out in the crowd, the audience tells you everything, even with your eyes closed, you will know if it's completed.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Compensation, and Education, Streaming is such a hard pill to swallow, we need to see it as it really is, as an advertising opp for our music, then find other ways that are congruent with music to add revenue streams to our brand. When "live" comes back, we need to be ready, let us not waste this downtime being unproductive!
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
David Gilmour, Creative, Tasteful, and Graceful, he has had a tremendous impact on my guitar playing and approach to musical storytelling in general. He seems to be a kind and gentle soul although I have never met the man. Most of his music seems to come from a place of kindness, I share that commonality with David.......
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
It has been a while since a live show, but it needs to be fun, full of energy, funny and entertaining, instead of drudgery, it becomes something to look forward to......I love to play with excellent musicians and yes share the spotlight, people with talent always inspire me
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
"Beat the Pinata" it was written about my own tortured past of abuse, fear, and the cruelty of school. It is evidenced by my angry guitar solo in the song but ends with forgiveness. A very Cathartic experience as was the song and the entire "Geography of The Soul" Album, but also very healing and cleansing, in the end, the album was all about Love and Forgiveness more so than anything else.......
What's coming up in the future?
The very best is yet to come, always working on new music, and have several projects that I am very excited about, I do believe the "New" music business with be guided by the Lord's strong hand to be fairer and provide equitable distribution of resources and profits to those that have truly earned them.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
About James Kevin O'Connor
His sense of himself is harmoniously in sync with his world around him. He is as complex as his lyrics and as strong in his resolve to live out his dharmic, creative plan, to its very (sweet) end.
Singer, songwriter, podcaster/Radio & TV personality, and music producer James Kevin O’Connor is also the Founder/Chairman/CEO of the James O’Connor Agency based in Nashville TN, which has a specialty for writing and producing branded songs for non-profits, corporations, authors, and keynote speakers. He has written, produced, and performed on many of his solo albums through the years, including, "175 Cherry Lane”, and his two latest, "Geography of the Soul" and “Gratitude", which were recorded on Music Row in Nashville, TN with "A list" musicians, and producer, Kim Copeland. James has hosted over 300 podcasts with artists, authors, speakers, and thought leaders from around the world, through his show dHarmic Evolution.
James has also developed a prison ministry that was born in October 2020 and has gone to several prisons to perform his original inspired music and storytelling sharing the word of the Lord to instill hope in those who are incarcerated. He also became a Certified Christian Chaplain in May of 2020.