Alyssa Anjelica James

Alyssa Anjelica James was born in New York City and conceived in The Wasatch Mountains of Washington State. Both the mountains and the city pulse though this artists veins as evident in her eclectic sound. On her song "Getcha Groove On" she is a rapper who spits with passion, urgency and ease, and yet on "Laughter In The Distance" a folk, R&B-inflected ballad she sings with a sincere intimacy about brighter days to come. Then she takes another turn and writes "Warm Day" a modern day jazz standard that has an old timey sound both earthy and moody.

Alyssa began performing in musical theater in Manhattan at the age of thirteen playing a runaway teen in Elizabeth Swados' big hit “Runaways”. She began doing stand-up in New York City in 1995 which led her to spots on TV shows for TV Guide Network, Discovery Channel and most recently landing the role of news anchor Kimberly Porter in the new Independent film called 'The Instant Messenger'.

Alyssa has continued to write and perform her own music which has found its place in the independent music community. Most recently, she was honored by Billboard for her songs 'Subway Gospel' and “Feel The Softness” as being in the top 500 best new songwriters in the world.

A self-proclaimed tree hugger,  Alyssa became passionate about living an eco-friendly and holistic lifestyle after being diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at age 19. After twelve years of hospitalizations and medications, she set out to heal herself naturally. 'Creating music and comedy became therapeutic for me,' James says. Alyssa currently lives and performs in Los Angeles.

How do you describe your music to people, Alyssa?
I say Neo Folk Soul however I write jazz so Eclectic Pop - there's 3 ways! Yeah that's always a mouth full of an answer.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I guess it was loneliness - I was home alone a lot as a kid and so I turned to the record collection for company; the records became my family. I starting writing songs as far back as I can remember. I never had formal music training, it was more of an intuitive thing, I heard the music inside and relayed it as best I could. I fumbled around on the piano for the melody, bass lines, etc...

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Finish writing a new song and do a handstand

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Self promotion.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
No doubt a singer and an actress

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I grew up listening to so many different kinds of music, comics, and show tunes. It was a diverse palette that set the tone. Over the years I was not encouraged, it was one night in NYC when I saw a poet performing with a Djimbe player and I though 'OK I can do that' - I had all these songs in my head but didn’t have the confidence to try explain them to other musicians but with the Djimbe player all I needed to say was "gimme a beat!" Later came the Upright bass, piano or guitar, and the occasional DJ spinning a variety of things. I do a lot of house parties so my new community comes and supports and I work with tremendously talented musicians who forward my development as a songwriter/singer.

What other artists out there do you love?
Remy Shand, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Sade, Lauryn Hill

What does your future hold?
Acting in Independent films, at least 6 more albums, becoming a well seasoned performer.