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Meet Justin James Sinclair – “Brother James”

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin James Sinclair – sometimes known under his artist name Brother James.

Share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been writing songs for about ten years, and currently make my living in the music industry – songwriting, producing, composing, arranging, teaching, as well as some artist management and consulting.

The music I work on spans from folk to R&B, dream pop to jazz – serving projects that I love with whatever could benefit it most. I’ve scored short films, written songs for pop artists, produced indie records, etc.

But then there are my own songs.

These songs document my spiritual journey, my stories of falling in love, heartbreak, pain and beauty, and my pursuit of a meaningful, fully alive kind of life.

These started finding a particular form a few years ago when I visited a monastery for the first time, and you could say I fell in love with monasticism.

Since then I’ve visited almost every month for a day of refection and rest, taken a couple of weekend trips… and now stayed at a monastery for two weeks this summer, adopting many of the values and practices of monks all along the way.

What I’ve learned in that process – and in the messy human process of pursuing truth and trying to live deeply and love people – has always come out of me in the form of songs. I’ve been sharing these songs with friends and patrons for a long time, and have been slowly recording them with some of my favorite musicians and collaborators – including some of my childhood heroes – and many of these songs are now ready for the world to hear.

So I’ll be launching my new singer-songwriter project, Brother James, very soon – details can be found at justinjamessinclair.com/brotherjames

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
To me the biggest struggle is staying present, alive, and grateful. The most difficult thing in the world is living each moment fully alive and embracing who I am where I’m at. It’s so tempting to live in the past or the future, to crave the life of someone else, and to try to escape from my own current experience and story. The temptation is to run from the life that I know is mine to live.

So above all it’s most important to me to intentionally practice presence and gratitude – to form habits like unplugging from technology frequently, taking slow walks and sitting in nature, making time for meaningful conversations with people I love, and slowing down to hear the story of a stranger whose life looks way different than mine.

When I practice this sort of full, rich life, everything else kind of works itself out. I end up living much more productively and make the career momentum I didn’t know I wanted or needed. If I surrender my ego and give my life fully present for the good of others, I get the things I want by accident.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As a freelance musician, I serve people in many ways – writing songs, composing for film, producing records, etc. – and within all of that I think the thing I bring most to the table in terms of craft is knowledge of music theory. The understanding of what options there are musically is helpful in forming any project into its highest musical potential.

But beside the craft itself, my highest concern is in helping bring life and peace and freedom to every person I interact with. I want to make others feel welcome and comfortable and accepted, to play a part in liberating others to be and become themselves, and to open them to goodness, to truth, and to beauty.

This looks different in every setting, but on any project my hope is to bring life and light to whoever I happen to be working with that day. And the places where I’m able to live this most fully are Brother James house concerts – so really my artist project consummates the best I have to offer people.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Love.

Again, this looks different in each situation – but if I can successfully get beyond my own ego, be present to the person I’m with and see them well, and then choose to love in whatever way will best serve them and their project, everything else works itself out.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Stan Sinclair, Katherine Sherlock, Nolan Anderson

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