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Meet JAMESDAVIS: The Motown Trio That Defies Genres

The genre-less family band discusses faith, the importance of music, and their hopes for the future in this candid Q&A.

Melissa Forde

JAMESDAVIS is a band composed of three siblings: fraternal twins, Rey and Jess, and their brother, AusTon Reynolds.

Signed to Motown records, they capture a sound that could be described as the future of R&B. But that might just be for lack of a better term, seeing as their music does a great job at sidestepping any singular genre. For the group, it's more about conveying a particular feeling, regardless of what anyone may want to call it. And that is clearly evidenced in their constantly evolving and untethered sound, even between one song and the next on their album.

JAMESDAVIS recently agreed to sit down for a Q&A to discuss what it's like making music as a family, how their sound has evolved over the years, how music and faith has helped them to overcome hardships, and what the future holds for the band.

It is somewhat rare these days to come across a family band. Was music always a central component of your family dynamic growing up? How did the band come to be?

JESS: Our mother was a professional background vocalist, and though our father was a professional baseball player, he played the organ and the drums. So, music was always around us. The reason the three of us decided to work together as a creative team was the hope of finally becoming financially free, while simply using our gifts. Our mother convinced us that it was possible by teaching us faith our whole lives. Our brother turned the only bedroom in our small apartment into a studio, so my mom put all the beds in the living room, and the rest is history.

REY: There wasn't a time where music wasn't a part of our lives. Though the three of us started creating and singing at different times (Jess being the first with her first deal at 15), I believe JAMESDAVIS was destined to be. I believe our purpose in life is to live and do what you love, and I thank God that we have a Mother who taught us that your dreams are meant to be your reality. We fell on some really difficult times, and I'm actually grateful for those times because we banned together and found our way out through music.

What is the meaning behind the name, JAMESDAVIS?

JESS : "James" is our father's middle name and "Davis" is our mother's maiden name. There's no space between the names because there's no space between us.

Your latest release, MASTERPEACE, has (and please correct me if I'm way off) what I would characterize as a bit of an "edgier" sound than some of your previous efforts. Was there a specific aesthetic you were striving toward with that project? Where do you see your music going from here?

REY: I've heard that from various listeners, and everyone has their own take on the sound, whether they hear it to be edgier or more R&B...For us as writers and producers, we don't create with an aesthetic in mind. It's about a feeling, telling a story, and being honest. We create in service of the song and the music. It's also the reason why we, as a band, have never subscribed to one singular genre. Each project we've done has represented where and who we are, as individuals and as a band, in that time and space.

AusTon: I think we're just getting better with communicating our situations, stories, and things about ourselves. I think we always strive for excellence with our music, regardless of what the aesthetic feels like. Our music can go wherever we would like it to go, but I would like to do more music with live instrumentation.

You just returned from touring in Europe. Might we be seeing you perform anywhere else this summer?

REY: We've been traveling nonstop for the last three months, doing promo and the tour, and we just finished doing a couple of local shows in Leimert Park [Los Angeles]. This week we're headed to New Orleans to perform at the Motown event during Essence fest. We have festival dates coming up, including "ONE MUSICFEST" in Atlanta in September. I'm really looking forward to getting back into the studio and getting started on our next project.



Ryélle Grapples with Heartbreak in "Last Call" Music Video

The R&B singer struggles with love and lack of closure in her latest music video.

After the successful release of her 2018 single "Swim," R&B singer-songwriter Ryélle is back to share a cautionary tale of love and heartbreak in her latest music video for her song "Last Call."

The single, which is heavily inspired by Drake's "Marvin's Room," tells the story of a drunken lover trying to reach their significant other to no avail. "This song was actually written over three years ago, but the storyline is pretty timeless," said the singer. "Every girl can relate to this and the frustration of dealing with a guy who is just not good for them."

The video begins with a subtle fade in on Ryélle and her lover eating together at a long wooden table. Viewers then come to realize that this is an emotionally charged memory for the singer, as she begins to sing about her former love and how the tear stains in her clothes won't come out. Despite her best efforts to ease her pain with alcohol and quick dalliances, she still finds herself giving her ex a "last call." Ryélle's signature smooth and sultry vocals take an especially emotive turn to deliver lyrics like, "They say not to mix love and liquor, but I've had both."

"The video was easy to come up with since the song tells its own story," said Ryélle. "We shot for 16 hours straight, overnight at that! But not by choice. We got kicked out of our first location and spent hours looking for a new one. In the end, it worked out and I'm very pleased with how we told the story. I hope this song can serve as a strength to anyone in a similar situation."

The visuals display Ryélle's vulnerability as she grapples with the need for closure and her yearning to be closer to the object of her affection. The video concludes with an open-ended shot of the singer lying in bed with her ex before fading to black.

Check out Ryélle's latest music video "Last Call" below!