Updated: Feb 24, 2022
James Ignacio is a producer/songwriter based in New York. His talent in production shines through with his debut single “lost in my head” released just this week on September 4th. The instrumental Lo-Fi track features several catchy hooks that stick with you, and the layered instruments work to create a calm scene with its laid back vibe.
James has been producing music for about two years now, and at the young age of 17, he has quite a few accomplishments under his belt. Back in 2019, he was accepted into the NYU Clive Davis Future Music Moguls program, and his interest in pursuing production professionally has been fueled ever since. For the last few years, James has been committed to honing his craft, writing music and practicing his skills every day, and his dedication to his art is paying off massively.
Having worked in several different realms of the entertainment industry, James has a quite comprehensive background in music, and his talent ranges far beyond the world of music production. At the age of 11, James was in the 2015 revival of The King and I at Broadway's Lincoln Center Theatre.
The Lo-Fi style that James most often produces is a perfect hybrid of current pop trends and inspiration from his roots. “lost in my head” pulls from aspects of smooth Jazz, while also touching on R&B style grooves. No one will have trouble finding a place for “lost in my head” on their playlists, because there is something for everyone within James’ music.
James has a lot coming up in his career. Along with “lost in my head,” he is going to be releasing his next single “the world will be ours” September 24th. Make sure to pre-save the song by clicking here. James tells us that his listeners can expect a lot more music being pushed out from him in the next few months.
We were able to talk to James in an interview about his production styles, aspirations, and creative inspirations. Scroll down to read the full conversation and listen to “lost in my head.”
I'm sure this is a really exciting time for you, so explain to me how it feels to finally release your debut single “lost in my head”?
“Relieved, I guess, is one word you could say. Over the past two years, I have been learning how to produce. I started back around 2019 before the pandemic, and this past year and a half has been about gaining the confidence and skill to finally put out something. So to finally have something out there that people can listen to and enjoy is amazing. All the feedback I've gotten has been absolutely great and I love everybody for it.”
Can you take me through the creative process of writing this song from start to finish?
“Typically when I start, I like to begin with melody, but this time I wanted to create some soft drums first, so then I built over what I had there. I was sifting through different samples and loops that I had from the past, and it all just came together. I added little transition effects and the extra guitar riffs as I went along, and it pieced together over time. This one was one of those projects that just came to me. It felt so natural, and in a span of maybe a day I had a base mix and a full arrangement of it.”
"This one was one of those projects that just came to me. It felt so natural, and in a span of maybe a day I had a base mix and a full arrangement of it.”
What was the most challenging part during the making of this song? What part came the easiest?
“The easiest part was the drums. The Lo-Fi drums I think are very simple and very easy to listen to. The hardest, I think, was not adding too much. As I was going through the process, I had a lot of ideas, but when things get too busy, it gets hard to listen to and it loses people’s attention. So I guess it was trying to not over produce, but make there be enough at the same time.”
What is your favorite part of the songwriting process?
“The counter melody. Having your base down, then getting to create your other melodies off of that. You get that little stank face when you finally hear it all coming together. That moment when you realize, ‘Oh crap, that's the chorus’ or you're like ‘Oh, that's the bridge.’ When those guitar riffs laid down, I was just in heaven. And then when everything is finally mixed and mastered and you finally hear it on your phone or in your car and then you realize that you just made a banger.”
I understand that you have been a performer since a very young age, can you explain what your musical background looks like?
“I was introduced to musical theater when I was about five or six years old. My sister was the one who brought me into it first, and I just loved it. Music was the only thing that came easy to me as a kid. You wouldn't expect that the six foot one Asian kid would be that into musical theater. I should be playing basketball or something. I kept doing a bunch of shows and met a bunch of amazing people. I landed my first off-Broadway gig when I was ten years old in an all Asian production of Oliver with the NAAP, and then from there one of our directors was in touch with the creative team at Lincoln Center who was doing The King and I revival on Broadway and she had me audition for that. After three months of the audition process, I landed it, and from 2015 to 2016 I was on a big stage performing for like 2,000 people a night.”
"One of our directors was in touch with the creative team at Lincoln Center who was doing The King and I revival on Broadway and she had me audition for that. After three months of the audition process, I landed it, and from 2015 to 2016 I was on a big stage performing for like 2,000 people a night.”
How did you transition into wanting to produce music?
“As you reach your adolescent years, especially as a male, you deal with the struggle of your voice changing. It can be so inconsistent, and you hit what I call it the dead zone in theater where you're not booking anything because Broadway has this tendency to not cast teens. So, from seventh grade to now, I haven't done any big professional productions. While I wasn't booking, I realized I had to change and adapt in order to find new things to do. So, around the time that I was 12 or 13, I picked up the guitar for the first time. Then I started learning piano, then bass guitar, and other stuff like that. In 2019 when I got into the NYU program, I realized that I love music production. I still love theater, and I would gladly do theater if I was given the chance, but I love what I do currently.”
How would you describe your taste in music?
“Before I listened to Lo-Fi, I listened to a lot of R&B and Hip-Hop, and also some Jazz. I play Jazz with my school, so I have some of that theory knowledge. I feel like R&B and Lo-Fi are all connected with the whole Hip-Hop genre, so it flowed really easily when I started producing Lo-Fi.”
What artists or types of music have really inspired you?
“I picked up production because I started watching Andrew Huang on YouTube. I also watched Simon Servita on YouTube, who is also a Filipino producer, and I looked up to Illmind as well. A lot of Filipino producers. In terms of Lo-Fi, I listen to a lot of Jinsang, L. Dre, Zmeyev, and people like that. Whenever I create music, I typically like to listen to stuff first in order to get an idea of the sound that I want, and then I replicate it in my own way. Whether it be playing a little piano melody, or chopping up samples, or starting to loop, it all starts with listening.”
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
“It's not even out yet, but the Silk Sonic album, whenever it comes out. I'm sure that's gonna be absolutely amazing. I love Anderson Paak and Bruno, of course.”
What are your goals for the near future?
“I want to adopt the release style that the rapper Russ had when he was first starting. He would release a song basically every week or every other week. So with all the stuff that I've piled up over the summer, I'm gonna be mass releasing over the next few months. I have at least three other projects lined up, and I think the next one is probably the greatest thing I've ever made. That is coming September 24th I believe. I have a couple things for October too, and I'm going to keep making other projects while stuff is being released so I have a constant outflow.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“Hopefully, I would have graduated from one of the schools that I have on my target list. I hope to have a job producing at some sort of studio and then doing my own stuff like I'm doing right now on the side. I just hope to have stability, and I want to be meeting new people and making the most out of what I got. I hope that I can create, and people love it so that I can profit off of it. I love music, because it doesn't feel like a job. I feel like I'll never have to work a day in my life.”
"I love music, because it doesn't feel like a job. I feel like I'll never have to work a day in my life.”
Make sure to follow James on Instagram to keep up with his newest projects and announcements!