Kris James: A Multifaceted Journey of Music, Fashion, and Innovation

In the vibrant tapestry of today’s artistic landscape, Kris James emerges as a multifaceted creator, seamlessly weaving threads of music, fashion, and innovation into his captivating journey. From the melodies that resonate with soulful depth to the sustainable elegance of his menswear brand, Kris embodies a unique fusion of creativity and purpose.

Raised amidst the rhythmic heartbeat of bars and restaurants owned by his father, Kris’s upbringing was steeped in the melodies that filled the air. Yet, it was the gentle strumming of his uncle’s guitar, coupled with the sailor’s tales and songs that mesmerized Navy audiences, which ignited Kris’s youthful passion for music. From those formative moments, a lifelong commitment to the artistry of sound was born.

With an unyielding belief in his musical destiny, Kris navigated his educational journey with an unwavering focus. While his mother urged him to pursue a backup plan, Kris’s conviction remained steadfast—he was destined to be a musician. Fuelled by his innate talent and a sprinkle of academic success, Kris embarked on a path where creativity and determination converged.

Beyond the realm of music, Kris’s interests span a kaleidoscope of passions. From his dedication to health and fitness to his keen eye for fashion and design, Kris’s pursuits reflect an insatiable curiosity and a commitment to excellence. As the founder of the sustainable menswear brand, Amanzzo, Kris intertwines his artistic sensibilities with a deep-rooted ethos of environmental stewardship, shaping a brand that resonates with conscious consumers worldwide.

In a groundbreaking move that heralds a new era of artistic expression, Kris ventures into uncharted territory with the release of his latest single, “Forever Forever,” in multiple languages. Through a collaboration with an AI music translation startup, Kris embraces innovation to transcend linguistic boundaries, offering a universal message of love and longing that resonates across cultures.

As Kris continues to carve his path in the ever-evolving landscape of creativity, his journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of artistry and innovation. With each melody he crafts and each stitch he weaves, Kris invites us to embark on a journey where music, fashion, and innovation converge—a journey that transcends borders and inspires us to embrace the beauty of creative expression in all its forms.

Can you share with us a bit about your upbringing and how it influenced your journey into music?

As a boy, I was brought up mainly by my mother and my father. My father owned bars and restaurants, so I was always around music. When I was with my mother, her brother, who was a singer-songwriter and sailor, entertained the Navy with his songs. Whenever he babysat me, he would have his guitar and sing me his new songs. From that moment on, as a child, I knew I wanted to do that too and began the journey of making music and performing live.

What role did education play in shaping your musical career, if any?

My mum always told me I needed to get an education in case music didn’t work out, but I told her straight away that I didn’t need a Plan B. I was going to be a musician, and that was that. I wasn’t that great in school; I was kind of the class clown. However, I did get an A star in Music and also Maths, so I’m quite interested in finance as well. It’s kind of like my sideline along with, of course, my beautiful sustainable fashion brand. Music and fashion go together so well, and when Covid hit, I decided rather than sitting at home doing nothing, I would set up this wonderful, thoughtful company.

Outside of music, what are some of your hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your free time?

Outside of music, my hobbies include health and fitness, fashion, watch collecting, and I have a real eye for interior design. I’ve designed all the properties I’ve lived in. My style is Art Deco. I must have been born in the 1920s and then reborn again because there is something about Art Deco that I love so much. I think the 1920s were amazing. People had pride in the way they looked, and the music told the story. I also think people had great traditional values back then, which seem to have slipped slightly in the 2000s, lol.

You mentioned your early affinity for soul music. What drew you to that genre, and how has it influenced your own musical style?

Well, in my opinion, if it ain’t got soul, it ain’t a song! I mean, look at the likes of Stevie Wonder. I was brought up listening to Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, Diana Ross, and even the Carpenters, and absolutely, of course, the Beatles, which I know is not soul, but coming from Liverpool, it’s kind of in our DNA. There’s just something about soul that really gets me rocking in my chair instantly. That’s why music has everybody up dancing on the stage. Music is about forgetting the nonsense that goes on outside our doors and takes us to a place of enjoyment and fun. This is one of the main reasons I got into music: to give people three minutes of escape from the madness of the world we live in.

Kris James Music
Photo by Theo Le Fol

How do you stay inspired and motivated creatively, especially during times of challenge or adversity?

Kris: Times of challenging adversity are practically the best times to write a song. My new album is essentially mostly about my last partner, who I’m sadly no longer with. I mean, you’ve only got to listen to Adele’s records to see that’s true, lol. The weirdest thing is when I’m sad or extremely happy, I’m so motivated to write songs or at least come up with ideas for songs.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your latest single, “Forever Forever”?

“Forever Forever” was unfortunately about my last partner, which is really sad because I hadn’t been in a relationship for 10 years, and then I met him, and I was so mesmerized with the relationship. I really wanted it to last forever. Ironically, we’re no longer together, which is extremely sad, but we had good times. I think in life, you have to take the good out of situations and never leave with a bitter taste in your mouth, always leave sending love and wishing the best for them to move on and enjoy their life to the fullest capabilities without you, unfortunately, which is sad.

What prompted you to release the single in multiple languages, particularly Japanese and German?

Well, I absolutely love Japanese food, and I used to live in Germany. But I suppose it came from the amazing John Black, who guided me knowing he has great contacts in both territories. And of course, because I was in a band based out of Berlin, and who doesn’t like sushi, noodles, and Asian cuisine! I’ve always wanted to go to Japan to actually perform and make music. So as soon as this opportunity came to me, I was so happy to undertake it.

How did the collaboration with the AI music translation startup, sipher.io, come about?

This was the idea of the amazing John Black, who I will always throw bouquets at as he is one of the best managers in the world, he’s also one of the co-founders of Sipher. I’d expressed to him when I first met him that I was very keen on digital assets and all things AI, and of course, he has a massive background in all of that. So, he guided me carefully and actually arranged everything. So thanks, John. This is a big shout out to you. I appreciate everything that you do.

Could you elaborate on the process of translating the song into different languages using AI technology?

From my understanding, the AI was built by one of our friends who lives in Australia. Essentially, the AI models are trained using data from my voice, the lyrics are checked and amended to make sure they work with the other languages, then my vocal is added to the translated version of the song. I love it, and I can’t wait to do it for the full record.

What challenges, if any, did you encounter during the translation process, and how were they overcome?

Kris: Initially, there were some issues with the translation being correct, and bringing the true meaning of the song from the English words to the various other languages. Some of the lyrics need to be rewritten in order to work with the melody.

In what ways do you believe releasing the song in multiple languages will impact your connection with your international audience?

I think when the songs come out in the various countries and I get to go out there and perform the song, it is important for me to learn the language. So, of course, I will be learning the song in the languages translated to, to have a deep and meaningful connection with the listener. But as you know yourself, if you put a song on in the background 50 times, you should know all the words. Usually, it only takes me two lessons to get all of the words. Unfortunately, with it not being my mother tongue, I will take at least 50, lol.

How do you ensure that the emotional depth and lyrical integrity of the song are maintained across different language versions?

Well, of course, in Germany and Japan, they speak English, so we have kept some of the important words in English for emotional depth. But apart from that, everything else has been translated so well that it actually makes total sense to the listener. I’ve had my Japanese and German friends listen to it, and they love it.

Kris James Music
Photo by Theo Le Fol

You mentioned that this decision makes you one of the pioneers in this space. Could you elaborate on why you think more artists haven’t explored multi-language releases in this way?

Well, as we all know, AI has taken huge steps forward over the past few years, and so we decided unanimously to be one of the first, if not the first, artist in the UK to do this. I think it takes very clever people to be a part of this journey, of which I am extremely lucky and grateful to have. Being an independent artist, it is very hard to cut through, so I was assuming maybe we have a chance to showcase the record this way, as it’s something so unique and different. Everybody that hears it is shocked but also very enlightened by the experience. So, I think it could catch on very quickly, and by the end of this decade, or even sooner, everybody will be translating their album into many different languages in order to reach the world.

Your music often explores themes of love and longing. How does “Forever Forever” fit into this narrative, and how does it differ from your previous work?

In my experience, I think what else can you write about other than the highs and lows of loving life? Most of my songs are either about breakups, getting together, or escapism. Because, as I said before, in my previous answer, I create music to help all the people almost. I think as human beings, we go through similar experiences, and so I hope that in some way, each human life that touches my music experiences some of the songs, some of the stories that I’m trying to relay, and it helps them in some way. I suppose it’s like the Beatles albums for me; they are self-help albums. Whenever I’m feeling sad or down, I throw on a Beatles record, and I’m super happy by the end of it.

Aside from music, you’re also involved in the fashion industry with your sustainable menswear brand, Amanzzo. How do you balance your creative pursuits in both music and fashion?

When Covid hit, it was pretty easy because I essentially had an e-commerce business which was pretty much running itself with me and my business partner. But of course, as soon as Covid was over, not only did the business start to boom, but the music came back with a bang, and everybody, including myself, was releasing new music. So, it was time for me to pass the gauntlet to somebody else who can now run Amanzzo for me. Essentially, I do have a very small team that looks after the day-to-day runnings of the company, and I’m still very heavily involved in the design, the quality, and the workmanship of our products, which I still say to this day are one of the best on the market.

Can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations that your fans can look forward to?

Absolutely! My album is due to be released in September, which is so exciting for me because this is the first time I’ve been able to release an album with a full scheduled release. Then touring at the end of the year and through to 2025. I will be touring the whole of 2025; we’re working on this over the next few months, so I will be announcing on my socials. So everybody, keep your eyes on my socials.

How do you envision your music evolving in the future, particularly in terms of international collaborations and multi-language releases?

I think as I move into these various territories, I would love to collaborate with some already established artists, maybe even tour with them in their own countries. This is something I truly enjoy. I was on tour with Anastacia and Will Young, and these people were so amazing to talk with. Not only did I learn a lot from them, but I was also able to have a little chat with them and get some advice for my career going forward. As for this record, I suppose I’m going to say that it’s grown-up pop, almost pop for adults but also for younger listeners as well. I think over the decade, my listeners have grown up with me, so I have to start writing adult music. So basically, I would say it’s kind of like grown-up pop music. And then after this record, hoping that it all goes well, fingers crossed, we will do another album. Then I would like to maybe kick back and start writing for film and television, as I would love to have one of my songs in a feature film or a Netflix show.

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