Ian James cultivates connection through relatable pop tunes

Ian James first emerged on the Charleston music scene with pop-rock group City on Down in 2016. James decided to move to Charleston to pursue music after graduating with a degree in finance from Bentley University in Massachusetts.

“I got a job out of college that I worked for a few months and I just knew it wasn’t my path,” he said. His journey as an artist has since undergone several transformations.

When the band called it quits in 2018, James began writing his own songs in the Christian pop genre, recording his first single, “I Look Up,” with Brian Jarvis of Charleston’s Midnight City Band in the summer of 2019. 

Proud of the release but hesitant about his live act, James moved back home to Rochester, New York, during the Covid-19 shutdown to fine-tune his skills. “I was just so new to the whole solo performing world,” James said. “I really kind of hit a reset … And I got a lot better, stronger vocally. I worked on my craft, got a lot more secure with the sound of music that I liked and was good at.”

He returned to Charleston in 2021, releasing his first music video for track “By My Side” in August before switching directions stylistically. “I have my faith, and that’s everything, but I also just have always been someone who has had friends and relationships in all different walks of life. It just felt like I was entering a different season,” he said.

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