Being an independent musician and all, a common question that gets tossed around near me is: “What kind of music do you make?”

This post will seek to answer that question handily and will also GIVE THINGS AWAY, to lucky and awesome people, as well as ruminate on the nature of art, and other things of a sacred and profane nature.  Ready?  Then let’s dive down together…

Title

I have always thought that the greatest thing that a human being could do, was to go as deep as they could, get as close to the truth as possible, bring things back from that place, and then share them with others.

I think that ‘truth’ is a quality, and I think that this quality is the most beautiful thing in the world.  Some people call it ‘presence’, others: ‘beauty’, others: ‘value’.  But, whatever you want to call it, I believe that it is the one constant thing that runs thru: every great idea, every great work of art, every noble endeavour, and every just cause in the entirety of our collective history.  I think that this quality has an important and vital function in our lives.  And I think that: when people are open to, and connect with this quality; beautiful things happen; for them personally, and for the world at large.

Great music, or great art for that matter, takes you out of time.  It dissolves everything that you think of as your life, it takes you away from pain, and communicates the joy of the moment.  I believe that it does this by virtue of this universal quality.

When people listen to my music, whether it be in a live setting, or on the album, this is always the goal for me.  That quality, and the communication of that quality is what I am aiming for.  Always, always, always, in all things.

And this is, truly, what my music is about.  This is what it seeks to do, and, when it hits this is what it does, for me and for the listener.  AND this is also the reason that I find it so hard to answer when people ask me: ‘What kind of music do you make?’  Because I have found that, when you say to someone: you want to make music that is as true as possible, that takes people out of time, and that communicates the incandescent ecstasy of the present moment, they become confused and their faces look like they are trying to think of seven things at once.

But this is always what my music has been about.  That is why it took me so very long to write and record the first album.  I didn’t start with any preconceptions.  I had a blank canvas.  I wasn’t even starting from a place where I had a ready-made culture.  I didn’t grow up in the deep south, listening to blues records and thinking ‘I want to make a blues record’.  My aesthetic was a blank slate.  My first task was: to create my own culture.  I wanted to express that universal thing in that way that was particular to me; a way that was uniquely my own, and I had to find a way to do that whilst acquiring the chops that would let me translate it into the real world.  I had to bring together all the elements in my life that would allow me to combine: The Universal and The Particular.

This combination is, I believe, the secret recipe for all great art.

So, by laying this out, am I claiming that my music and my album is Great Art?  No, I am not saying that.  That would be unbelievably arrogant.

I can say that it is made with this idea in mind.  I can say that it is, absolutely, the best album that I was capable of making at that particular time.  I can say that: I love it, that it contains my sweat, tears, and lifeblood, and that I couldn’t have possibly worked any harder on it.  But I can’t grade it.  That would be…weird. ;-)

——-

Last week I set a competition in which I said: the 3000th follower on jamesradcliffe.com would receive a free album.  I realized soon after, that there are two different ways of keeping track of followers; the first is solely the followers on WordPress , the second also includes those who follow the blog by email.  So there turned out to be two 3000th followers…

So it become two free albums. ;-)

They go to:

Liz Echuca, and

WildheartDream

Well done to both – you should have received an email with your free download code.

And as for the rest of the brave  3000:  You are all beautiful.  You know it.  I love you.


My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist.  If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music.  Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.

Also, every month I send out a newsletter packed with Interesting and Exclusive Things.  If you sign up today you’ll also get 3 FREE tracks of my music as a welcome gift.

Get 3 Free Tracks Now.

And lastly, if you’d like to find out what I’m up to on a more day-to-day basis then here is my brain on Twitter:

64 thoughts on “ The Universal / The Particular (Or: The Secret Recipe For Great Art) ”

  1. I’m coming from a strictly art (painting) perspective, but what you are saying is so true. I really connect with the way you see the universal and the particular. I guess it is true of all creativity.

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  2. Hey James, We appreciate the way you communicate the content in the buffer of your soul. You’ve got a great treshold of varying intertwined depths of empathy that can draw any reader. Also thanks for acknowledging our blog.

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    1. First, sorry for the late reply, I am just back from some time away.
      Second, you are more than totally welcome, I am glad that you found some worth in what I do. It is the reason I do this stuff.
      I wish you well, all power to you.
      – J

      Like

  3. Hey! Noticed you liked a few things on my blog. :) is there a way for me to sample your music? Do you have a YouTube account? I am a poor college student. I can’t afford to buy music right now, but I do love to sample music. :) Best of Wishes! Love the vibe of your blog!

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    1. First, sorry for the late reply, I am just back from some time away.
      Second…ummm I don’t think so, unless you buy the album. There are some streams on my site, on the ‘sounds’ page, but they are already cut up. I do not have a YouTube account, my music is currently exclusive to this site. If you do buy the album, I give you full permission to sample my stuff tho, as long as you give me credit and aren’t making dollar dollar bills from it. ;-)
      Hope that helps, good luck with everything!
      – J

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      1. As far as late reply goes, It is absolutely alright. I recognize that people are busy and have lives outside of their blogs. :) No worries there.

        I’m not looking to make any profit. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to make any extra purchases at this time. I lost my job and about to loose my apartment. I’m in a bit of a rough spot. I will see if I can find your stuff on youtube.

        Best of Wishes! Thanks for the reply! :)
        Taisha

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  4. James,
    So happy to see you have stopped by my blog. You are a creative force I can tell by popping over to your writings. I will be back. Many thanks. Alesia

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  5. Thanks so much for popping by my blog & for the like. Your music is beautiful – the trailer style reminded me of the haunting sentience of Radiohead (that’s a compliment – I am a big fan) All the best to you as you create beauty in this world :-)

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  6. I love the honesty of your blog and the creative way to engage your readers, this girl in particular. By the thanks for liking my recent post. I <3 INDY ARTISTS! Have a great day!

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    1. Hey there ;-)
      I love Indy artists too.
      Thanks so much for the kudos – you are AWESOME! You know it! ;-)
      I really like your writing style, it feels so familiar. Keep up the good work.
      Big love,
      – J

      Like

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