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September 10, 2007 | Author: Greg Phillips

eran_james_official_july07_hand_out_400x300A few years ago I saw singer Eran James perform on a minor stage at the back of the Myer Music Bowl during the Melbourne International Blues Festival. It was reasonably early in the day and most people who witnessed Eran’s performance may well have done so accidentally, as the stage was located near the food and drink facilities. Those who did take the time to check Eran out, could not help but be impressed by the soulful tones coming from this young kid from the western suburbs.

Giant entertainment corporation Universal Music also saw potential in Eran, signed him up and set about plotting his path to international stardom. Songs were gathered from writers as experienced as Daryl Hall, Jessie Harris (Norah Jones), Andy Marvel (Celine Dion), Wayne Hector (Westlife) and assorted others. The famous Sony Studios in New York were booked for a month in October last year. Session musicians such as Adam Levy, Norah Jones’ guitarist and half of the Saturday Night Live TV show band were hired. Award winning producer Tom Nichols was brought in as executive producer for the project, with Norah Jones’ producer and engineer Jay Newland joining Tom as co-pilot. If that wasn’t enough, the record company also saw fit to film proceedings while making a documentary on Eran’s whole New York sojourn. All for the kid with the voice from Altona Meadows. “It’s all quite crazy to be honest,” said James nonchalantly as he reflected on his recent surreal experience.

It seems however that much of what happens to Eran James has a surreal quality to it. For example he found himself backstage at a concert on James Brown’s last ever tour of Australia. Brown heard that golden soulful, youthful  voice and declared ‘Man, you sound blacker than me!’

But as the saying goes, you can take the boy out of the western suburbs but not the western suburbs out of the boy, and it’s Eran’s  everyday suburban upbringing that has grounded him and allowed him to cope with the extraordinary amount of attention the Universal Music signing has brought to him. I queried whether he felt any pressure leading up to the album’s release. “Not at all,” said Eran “I take it all in my stride. I’m young and most importantly, I enjoy what I do.”

Most impressive about Eran’s character though is the fact that merely two months prior to recording the album, he lost his mother Wendy to cancer. Wendy was Eran’s best friend, supporter and the one who used to take him to singing lessons and gigs before his age had reached double figures. “The passing of my mother was a big change in my life,” said James. ” She passed away August 1st, 2006. From August to October last year I just jumped in the deep end and recorded the album. I think in some of the songs my voice shows the emotion of what I was going through at the time.”

The album is called ‘Ten Songs About Love’ and possesses the feel and flavour of Eran’s heroes such as soul legends Al Green, Donny Hathaway and Bill Withers. The first single from the album is ‘Touched By Love’ , a brassy uplifting tune he gets to stretch his tonsils on. Whether or not the album repays the time and effort Universal has  invested in it remains to be seen. What I do know is that Eran will be giving his all, and enjoying every moment of the ride in the process. You can’t help but wish the guy well on his journey.

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