Korean-American singer-songwriter James Lee, the previous bass guitarist for the band Royal Pirates, has returned together with his second solo EP ‘Castles’, an emotional 7-track launch that basically offers new that means to the phrase ‘summertime unhappiness’. James Lee started his profession on the younger age of 16 as a musician within the metalcore act Azusa. He finally left California behind and moved to South Korea with the Korean-American band Royal Pirates. Following a two-year coaching interval, the trio made their Korean debut with 2013 single ‘Shout Out’ and later, their hit album ‘Drawing The Line’ in 2014. The Royal Pirates weren’t new to the music scene, having begun placing music out below the identify Fading From Daybreak with the three authentic members, guitarist-vocalist Kim Moon-chul, drummer EXSY, and bassist Richard Kim, Moon-chul’s older brother.

The band started to seek out their footing in California, however sadly, Kim’s demise from a automobile accident in 2008 put a damper on these plans. After they modified their identify, discovered themselves a brand new bassist in Lee, and made their mark in South Korea, it appeared like their time had lastly come. However in 2015, a freak accident almost severed Lee’s left hand, leaving him unable to play the bass guitar. He briefly switched to enjoying synth for the band, earlier than electing to step away completely on account of his worsening well being.

James Lee (Courtesy of James Lee)

There are only a few issues fairly as devastating for a musician as shedding the flexibility to play music. However Lee wasn’t able to let go simply but. Following 5 surgical procedures, he moved again to Los Angeles and started placing collectively his first EP, ‘The Mild’. The crowdfunded album hit 300% of its goal and carried out effectively in South and Southeast Asia. Lee additionally collaborated with a number of idols together with Sooyoung Choi of Ladies Era, and, outdoors of his personal music, he would additionally go on to provide chart-topping hits for Jason Zhang and Angelababy in addition to a chart-topping album for JG. His modeling profession quickly picked again up once more, with Lee even showing as a star visitor on ‘America’s Subsequent Prime Mannequin’: Cycle 21.

Now, Lee has returned with ‘Castles’, his second EP that dropped on July 31, and it sees the artiste grappling with heartbreak, painful goodbyes, and desperately holding onto family members as they slip by fingers like sand. ‘Castles’ is a launch woven with unhappy songs good for these late-night summer time drives, however additionally it is a splendidly crafted EP that delves into emotional depths that mirror the traumatic and triumphant journey Lee has had up to now. Additionally it is, moreover, a musically sound report. With the uncooked emotion of Yellowcard and Lauv and sounds paying homage to Zedd and The Chainsmokers, ‘Castles’ is an inventive mix of acoustic-pop/rock and EDM, with slightly one thing for everybody.


On the creation of ‘Castles’, Lee shares, “Castles is a milestone in my profession that expresses the expansion I’ve had as a author and a producer. After I wrote The Mild EP, I relied on the assistance of some unbelievable producers, however for Castles I trusted myself. Though it was primarily based on the considered sandcastles washing away, I nonetheless discover myself reflecting on the method and journey of making fairly than sulking over what’s misplaced. I’ve change into a sensible optimist.” And that, basically, is what makes this EP such a heartwarming pay attention: it is a journey by ache and therapeutic, one which serves as a reminder that whereas good issues can come to an finish, there may be at all times a light-weight on the finish of the tunnel.

Lee additional shares his hope that listeners not solely acknowledge the sweetness within the intricacy of the album but in addition the urgency in cherishing each second. He states, “I hope people who hearken to Castles will hear every little thing, from the main points in each single association option to the way in which the phrases are expressed in every track. I made a decision to lean into the music I grew up loving a lot. Although the tone of the album is emotional and unhappy, the higher takeaway for folks is to understand the moments we have now as a result of nothing lasts ceaselessly.”

He definitely achieved that on this launch, which has a deep sense of melancholy that displays what it may well really feel prefer to must let go of hopes and goals you have held on to, and make approach for a brand new journey as a substitute. ‘Castles’ noticed Lee step extra into the roles of songwriter and producer, and it actually exhibits: this EP is not only musically attractive, this can be very private, and exhibits simply how a lot Lee has grown from ‘The Mild’. And whereas it is actually troublesome to select a track as a standout, ‘Liar’ might be the one monitor that warrants a number of listens. It places Lee’s songwriting and vocals entrance and heart, backed by a beautiful acoustic guitar, and actually offers you the chance to expertise the artiste’s musical presents in full glory.


To make the discharge of his second EP much more particular, Lee offered varied affords on his Patreon for followers to have their names included within the credit of his upcoming music video for ‘Liar’ in addition to on the bodily copy of the ‘Castles’ EP – a small gesture to point out his followers that they’re simply as a lot a part of this journey as he’s. Along with his much-anticipated second EP, Lee additionally launched the monitor ‘Alright’ with former f(x) singer Amber Liu in addition to the lyric video for ‘Over Us’. And as his loyal fanbase continues to develop, Lee continues alongside the trail of restoration as he creates genuine, trustworthy, and relatable music alongside the way in which.

Castles‘ is out now on all digital streaming platforms.

Disclaimer : The views expressed on this article belong to the author and should not essentially shared by MEAWW.

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