Here at Beyond the Stage, we got the chance to catch up with former The Voice contestant, James Dupré and talk about all things music. We covered everything from his start in the business, his favorite artists right now, his latest single and what he has planned for the rest of the year. Read on to find out even more about James Dupré!
Beyond the Stage: How did you get started in music?
James Dupré: I have been interested in music since I was a kid. I was self-taught on piano and played saxophone in my high school band. However, the idea of a career in music seemed pretty far-fetched, so I followed my other passion: the weather.
I was in college studying meteorology when I joined a local band. It was then that I started playing guitar and learning to write songs. Music suddenly became my entire focus, so I quit school and thought about moving to Nashville. Instead, I moved back home and became a paramedic, all the while honing my guitar and writing skills.
I then began posting cover videos of my favorite country songs on YouTube, and that’s really what turned music from a hobby to a career for me. I was invited to perform on Ellen, which got me a record deal and shortly after provided an opportunity to finally move to Nashville.
BTS: How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
JD: An overall acoustic vibe, intimate, emotional. My goal when I write and create is to make people feel something. My lyrics are usually about love, loss of love and life in general. I like using real instruments, something I can recreate onstage with a band, not a laptop.
BTS: Who are some of your musical influences?
JD: To name a few, Vince Gill, Randy Travis, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, George Jones, John Mayer, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church.
BTS: You recently dropped your album Home and Away — what was the writing and recording process like for it?
JD: Overall, the writing spans the entire past decade, with “You’re Probably Drunk Right Now” having been written in 2011 and “Home and Away” written in 2019. Some of these didn’t make my previous album in 2016 for various reasons, but I wanted them to certainly make this one.
Obviously, we didn’t realize how crazy 2020 would be, and how difficult it would be to produce an album while socially distancing and in quarantine. Ultimately, it was a slow and tedious process.
I’m giving all the credit to my producer, Matt McClure, who worked his butt off getting these tracks done one instrument at a time, working with each musician virtually while they played from their own home studios. It was unprecedented, to say the least.
BTS: What about the title track made you want to make it the album name too?
JD: I actually toyed with the idea of a self-titled album, but I eventually decided to go with “Home and Away” because I absolutely loved the story and I felt it encompassed the idea and overall feel of the album. I also considered that it was the next single, and we were coming right up to football season.
Watch the James Dupré video for “Home and Away” below.
BTS: Do you have a favorite track on the album?
JD: It’s hard to say, each day I feel like there’s a different answer to that question. Besides the title track, I’d have to say “Painfully Pretty”. I co-wrote that one shortly after my stint on the Voice with my Team Adam teammate, Dustin Christensen. I was obsessed with it for a while after we wrote it, and I’m so proud of the way it turned out once Matt got his hands on it.
BTS: What are you most excited about when it’s safe to tour again?
JD: I think just being out there and being able to shake hands and hug the fans, and sharing all these new (and old favorite) songs again. Being able to see and hear the crowd singing along is something you can’t experience on a social media live show. Hopefully, we can get that going again soon.
BTS: What artists have you had on repeat recently?
JD: Mainly John Mayer and Eric Church. Both of those guys have the ability to soothe and set a mood that is hard to find.
BTS: What does 2021 have in store for you?
JD: Hopefully, we can get back to touring, even if it’s only outdoor venues, festivals, etc. I know recently several states have announced plans to bring festivals back later in the year, so that’s exciting. Otherwise, I plan to spend more time with family in Louisiana and start working on my next project.
Stream Home and Away by James Dupré Spotify below.