Brian James (b. 27-02-1973) is a singer/songwriter. Born in Saskatoon, Canada to Canadian parents, he grew up in Oranjestad, Aruba. He learned to play piano, guitar and sing from a young age. He fronted teen-rock band Exit Only that charted a few hits on the Aruban airwaves in 1991 from their EP “Take It From The Top”.
After moving to Leiden, the Netherlands in the 1990’s, Brian played in numerous bands, most notably the Boys of Summer. During that period, Brian continued to write and arrange music, laying groundwork for future projects.
In 2014, he released his debut album “Right Here”, featuring the single “Fifteen” which garnered local airplay. “Right Here’s” theme is the passing of time, with a nostalgic look to the past and and unsure, yet optimistic look towards the future. The album was produced by David Cok of Amini records and features contributions by Camilla van der Kooij (violin), Wouter Kiers (saxophone) and Andreas Robbie Carree (drums).
In 2016, Brian’s sophomore album, “Let It Ride”, was released. With Cok at the helm again, a number of local and international stars contributed, including Aaron Goldstein (pedal steel guitar), Wouter Kiers and Eltjo Cleton (guitar/keys). The album was dedicated to the late Ron Doove, who played drums on the album. The album’s theme deals with the beginning, end and aftermath of a “love at first sight” relationship. As with “Right Here”, local renowned artist Barbara van Druten provided the album’s artwork.
“Let It Ride” spawned 3 top 5 hits on the Aruban charts, with “Even Though” and “Jospehine” reaching the top spot. “Even Though” reached number 2 in Leiden for the year 2016.
Brian currently plays throughout the Leiden music scene and internationally. He is working on a new album, scheduled for release in late 2023.
Photo by Rob Oudshoorn