Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ro James will highlight the Capital Land Music Festival on Saturday
“I’ve never been to Madison or Sun Prairie and I don’t really know Wisconsin, but I love traveling to different parts of the world and meeting different people. Honestly, I love diving into whatever people love about your city, whether it’s where to eat or like a museum or shopping district I should go visit,” says the Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Ro James. “So I’m excited to tap into all that Madison has to offer and to be able to share with people my journey, my music and my sound to continue to expand my audience…plant new seeds.”
James will be one of the featured performers at the fourth annual Capital Land Music Festival on Saturday, September 10 at Sheehan Park in Sun Prairie. The outdoor concert will begin at 5 p.m. at Sheehan Park East Shelter and continue until approximately 8:30 p.m.
The Capital Land Music Fest traditionally features national and international award-winning artists who provide residents of the greater Madison area with access to musicians who don’t typically come to perform in Dane County. R&B and soul singer/songwriter Kevin Ross and singer ROE will also headline the festival.
Clyde Gaines is the founder of Capital Land Music Fest, and his entertainment company Peboga Productions will once again host the festival. General admission is $35 and VIP is $70. A meeting with the artists is included in the VIP package.
James, born Ronnie James Tucker in Stuttgart, Germany, has traveled the world not only as a musician, but also as a self-proclaimed “military brat.”
“My father was in the army, so I had the chance to live everywhere and I traveled a lot. I was born in Germany. My family is Panamanian. So I have a lot of culture and a lot of influences and a lot of inspiration that comes from travelling,” James told Madison365 in a Zoom interview from New York where he lives.
James says that musically he was inspired by his aunt Rosie Gaines, a former Prince vocalist.
“She sang ‘Diamonds and Pearls’ and ‘Nothing Compared 2 U’ and was a former band member of [Prince’s group,] The next generation of energy,” says James. Gaines made his first appearance on the highly acclaimed album Prince Graffiti bridge. “For me, it was a big inspiration to be able to see her living her dreams and being awesome. She played all the instruments.
Prince had a big musical influence on James, he says, but also on Motown musical icons like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.
“My father is also a pastor. So he was very strict with the music and he wanted us to listen to the greats. So growing up, that’s all I was allowed to listen to as a young dude,” James recalls. “In the beginning, my parents pushed me to make my music and my message meaningful. So I kind of postponed that.
“Now my influences range from old school to new school like Jodeci and D’Angelos to David Bowie and Johnny Cash. There’s just a variety of different types of artists that I really appreciate,” he adds. he.
James says that when he broke into the company they wanted him to categorize his music into a certain genre, but his influences were so vast from all his travels and life experiences that it wasn’t easy.
“It’s like why do I have to go into an R&B club? I enjoy rock and roll and I enjoy country music. I enjoy spanish and reggae music. It’s like how do I integrate all these different things into my art? And I think that’s been a big part of my journey… just understanding and incorporating all these sounds that really inspire me… without putting them in a box,” he says. “And I feel like the music industry and the way things are organized, people need you to be the way they see you in their minds in order for them to accept you for who you are, you See what I mean?”
James rose to fame with his debut album, Eldorado, in 2016. Her single “Permission” from that album reached No. 37 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. James earned his first nomination for Best R&B Performance at the 59th Grammy Awards in February 2017.
James says he’s thrilled to finally be able to play a few shows in support of his second album mantic from 2020, and also recently released a video for “Too Much.” (below)
“This album came out at the height of the pandemic,” says James. “But after that, I really got back into it and I really feel like a lot of artists [during the pandemic] just entered this place to rediscover, reinvent and fall in love with the reason they fell in love with music in the first place. For two years, I just create music. I’ve done about three projects since 2020 and I’m sitting on it and waiting for the time to release it.
“But I’ve been posting Mantic visuals for a few weeks here. Every two weeks we’ve been posting a video we held that leads into the new project and I’m posting just one next month. And we’ll keep dropping after that.
James has a new project he recorded specifically for the UK/European market.
“I think people had the opportunity to be exposed to my music with Eldorado,” he says. “I felt like this time around, I really wanted to make music that could also live in Europe. So that I could travel and, you know, meet different people from everywhere.
James says he can’t wait to be in Dane County this weekend and meet new music fans.
“A lot of people don’t like the process of having to talk to so many people [on tour], but I feel like I got that kind of training in my upbringing by traveling and immersing myself in new circles of friends, new cultures of life all the time,” he says. love conversations with people who expose me to different things that I’ve never been exposed to before… so I love my meet and greets,” says James. “I really hear stories about how my music influenced people or if they were touched or if it was the first time I heard myself performing live and how they felt. I love it , you know, so I’m looking forward to that. I like that in every city I perform in.
“It’s just that COVID made it really interesting and put a pause on it all, but it didn’t take away the love and the urge to connect with other people,” he adds. he.
The 4th Annual Capital Land Music Festival on Saturday, September 10 at Sheehan Park, 925 Linnerud Drive in Sun Prairie. For more information or to purchase tickets for the event, click here.