Brooklyn-based alt R&B artist, James Tillman shares new single, “Night Fire,” from his upcoming, sophomore album, Modern Desires, which arrives on October 9, 2020. Gearing up for the release next Friday, James Tillman will be going live on Instagram at midnight EST on release day (Thursday the 8th going into Friday the 9th) and will be playing the album in-full for his fans to celebrate.
The newly released track is the fourth single from the new project, following singles “Things To Say,” that will make listeners levitate with it’s psychedelic and pensive futurist 1970s inspired Brazilian and Latin-infused funkiness, “Lose Control,” with its ’90s hip-hop vibe, and soul-piercing touch song “5AM.” Tillman’s brand of tender, warm and sultry energy stays consistent on the latest offering, and “Night Fire.”Speaking on the track, Tillman says, “It’s about the desire for romance. There are familiar tropes about love with a backbeat that aims to hypnotize/take time out of the context. The sound is dark and moody, but also playful.”
On the record as a whole, Tillman says, “Modern Desires. We are anxious about the future. Anxious about the past. Sometimes we just lose control. Discipline and surrender are in order, but must be tempered. We lay awake thinking of love, late into twilight. We sleep walk on days when rest eludes us. There are highs and there are lows. We want what we want. What does it look like to see someone remember? What do I Desire? What do I need? simple questions connect us all. Feel present, be love.
Modern Desires is conceptually about torch songs that encapsulate moods and realities of adult life. There is a tone of sensuality and romance, but also of longing, change, and introspection. The music cycles through feelings that I believe connect us all. Musically speaking, the work is inspired by sounds that have come before but focused on progression of those ideas. Funk and soul influences similar to Silk Noise Reflex can be heard throughout. I sought inspirations from the offerings of British artists like Sade and Phil Collins. Their songs skillfully portray moods and render the mundane with iconic precision.
I got to record this album over at Red Bull Studios with my friend Evan Sutton. I also had the honor of working with Richie Marrero, a band leader and percussionist who worked on amazing records with artists like Angela Bofil and Hector Lavoe in the 70s and 80s. It was great to collaborate with friends on the songwriting—something of a first for me. I worked on 5am with composer and producer Oliver Lewin, and collaborated with a young engineer and producer named Gabriel Pearson on Night Fire. Lose Control was a collaboration with producer Matt Rivera out of Chicago. Jeremy Lubsey over at Vlado did the master, and Beau Sorenson was back again to mix the record, making it feel like a true family affair.
The new LP follows a self-released 4-track mixtape/EP titled VM2. The mixtape serves as a precursor to the album and was an offering to his fans in light of everyone being stuck inside during the pandemic. His track “Moonshine” was featured in TheFADER‘s 10 songs you need in your life this week back in June. Tillman has been featured on Milk.XYZ‘s “Ones to Watch”, KCRW’s “Artist You Should Know” has received praise from media outlets such as Okayplayer, Audiotree, Earmilk, COLORS, Gothamist, and more. More recently, Singapore-based music and media company, Darker than Wax featured James’ single “Arizona” in their summer series compilation titled “Various Channels.” He has also supported tours and musical acts for tUnE-yArDs, Charlotte Day Wilson, Anna Wise, Jordan Rakei, and Kate Tempest.
His single “Casual Encounters” has garnered over 4.3M+ streams on Spotify and was featured in an episode on Netflix’s Original Series Dear White People. Tillman was recently interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered to discuss the Dear White People sync placement and how it impacted his musical career. NPR says, “But song placement is still not a magic bullet: Despite getting his song on a hit TV show, for now, James Tillman remains unsigned.” Still, Tillman has a dedicated fanbase of over 240K+ monthly Spotify listeners, and has over 12M streamson Spotify and has way surpassed 2M listeners on Apple Music. For James Tillman, it’s only the beginning. Stay tuned for the full-length album.
Born and raised in Washington DC, singer-songwriter/producer James Tillman surfaced in early 2013. After spending some time in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tillman self-released his notable Shangri La EP in 2014. Garnering comparisons to Marvin Gaye and Nick Drake, Tillman’s Shangri La received praise from music and media sources around the world. Tillman continued to grow his fan base touring as an opener for Tune-Yards and performing throughout North America. Tillman then released his debut album Silk Noise Reflex in 2016. The album saw a sold-out special-edition physical release and headline shows in Tokyo, Japan. Tillman’s song “Casual Encounters” expanded his reach and fan base after appearing in the Netflix series Dear White People. Tillman is based in Brooklyn, NY.