Aiden James: The Folk Musician Goes Pop
Singer/songwriter Aiden James struck a chord with music listeners with his latest release. "Best Shot," the electro-infused first single off his third studio album Trouble With This recently climbed to number 28 on the iTune's top 100 chart. James took a moment from his tour schedule to speak with The Advocate about his music, family, ambition, and the pride he feels being an out musician.
The Advocate: How would you respond if I say, “folk rock has gone to the gays?”
Aiden James: I would say you’re absolutely right. [Laughs] I don’t know, I wouldn’t consider myself folk anymore. If you were to take one of my songs and depending on what production you put behind it, it could be anything. You know the electronic production I have on my record is pop. Like, David Grey came out with White Ladder, it’s that singer songwriter kind of pop so I think folk rock and me, I don’t listen to it and I certainly don’t consider myself folk rock. But yeah, it’s very gay, everyone’s doing that.
How did you react when “Best Shot” went to the top 30 on iTunes?
It’s very validating. You put a lot of work into a record and it’s some really bum nights and a year of my life. It’s like being on RuPaul’s Drag Race and winning the drag challenge. [Laughs] It’s very surreal to see your dreams materialize and come true and it shows the power of fans and how much power people have when they click “buy” and download it really has a powerful impact on an artist.
What compels you to go about doing all that work?
It’s something I love to do. You know, big shock, a musician who likes to make music. But also, as I’ve toured around the country I’ve realized it’s really important to be out and open about who you are and what you do. Being gay, [I've learned that] a lot of people can hate you for that very reason. And like you were saying early with my album, when it hit number 28 on iTunes I feel that I won that day. It kinda gave hate a really big slap in the face and I think we all won that day. Me being successful, it’s not only about me but there’s something else behind it now with everything that’s going on fighting for LGBT rights and equality.