They say that travel broadens the mind. For James Mackenzie, the raw and vulnerable singer/songwriter from the Scottish Highlands now calling Nurnberg his home, it’s also broadened his musical horizons.
Moving from Inverness to the continent in 2017, James has already dragged his music – achingly honest, relatable accounts of his and his loved ones’ triumphs and struggles that bypass the ears of the listener to hit them straight in the heart – across the length and breadth of Germany. Already he has played more than 100 gigs in all corners of the country, drawing appreciative crowds wherever he finds himself.
And that lust to explore has taken him – and his music – to places nobody could expect. In November of last year, James found himself in Sydney writing, recording and developing a close professional and personal relationship with Glenn Sarangapany of Australian alt-rock stars Birds of Tokyo.
Already that partnership is paying dividends for James, as first collaborative effort Shoulders proved. Produced by Nathan Sheehy (who recently worked with Dave Bottrill on Birds’ recent material), the song marks a leap forward creatively.
Atmospheric, anthemic and soaring, Shoulders is a powerful ode to the strength and courage of those battling against mental illness. James candidly draws upon his own experience with supporting his brother, who struggled with his health from an early age.
And upcoming release Closer sees another side to the singer/songwriter. Where Shoulders soars and fills every millimetre of the room, Closer shows James’ quieter, more intimate and introspective side as the Scottish folk-inspired acoustic guitar anchors this touching love song.
More tracks are in the works, as James and Glenn continue to collaborate and create from opposite sides of the world via Skype – with plans for a full album in the future.
James’ travels – from the Scottish Highlands to the European continent to the beaches of Australia – have broadened every horizon for him and for everybody who has seen him perform. And he’s only just getting started.