We had the good fortune of connecting with Kareem James and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kareem, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
It’s not something you necessarily “know.” Lord knows the rollercoaster of ups and downs that come with breaking into the music industry.
I think what ultimately kept me going was the lessons I learned from my failures and growing from them instead of becoming them.
If you can grow and bounce back from your lows you should definitely keep going. If you can’t and aren’t seeing any progress or changes from your mistakes it might be a good time to change your path.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an Emmy nominated songwriter from Toronto Canada currently residing in Los Angeles. In 2012 I quit my job working at Apple and decided to move to LA to pursue my dreams in music.
My first big break was writing with Nicole Scherzinger in 2013. This was the first major celebrity I worked with and definitely gave me leverage that lead to other opportunities.
Since then Kiana Lede, TeaMarrr, Wale, SiR, D Smoke, Duckwrth, Jay Sean, Amber Riley, Insecure HBO and more.
I earned a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2019 for Best Outstanding Song for writing ‘More Love’ for the hit show GIANTS.
This journey was definitely not easy and many times questioned if I can continue on a path of so much uncertainty while all my peers back home were choosing practical routes that came with a life plan.
I just kept putting in the work and trusting my faith and every year saw gradual progress. I had to learn that this isn’t race and to value any progress and learn how to build from it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My friends usually have an itinerary of places they wanna go when they visit lol. It’s usually hot spots they’ve seen on reality TV like Catch, Beauty & Essex or Craigs. I like to show them exclusive events they normally wouldn’t have access to like an album release party or backstage at show for an artist they admire. I also love taking them to tapings for night shows like Kimmel.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Definitely my father. He’s the reason why I picked up a pen and had the audacity think I could make this into a career. My father is Elsworth James, a Calypso artist from St Vincent. Growing up I would watch him perform regularly but my main inspiration came from witnessing him around the house coming up with these lyrics and melodies from thin air and then ultimately performing them around the world. I wouldn’t be inspired to do the same if I didn’t see the possibilities via him.
Other: IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10928335/