INTERVIEW WITH RO JAMES
Ronnie James Tucker, better known by his stage name Ro James, is a German born singer-songwriter. He is known for his single “Permission”, which peaked number 1 on the Adult R&B Songs chart for nine weeks. He is signed to ByStorm Entertainment/RCA Records and released Eldorado, his first album under a major label.
Who are you, what’s your background and what inspired you to be the artist you are today?
I am RO. From the Future and the Past. Panamanian. Born in Germany. I’ve traveled all over the world due to my father being in the military. I don’t know, I think it’s a number of things that made me the artist I am today, having great parents who instilled greatness and individuality .
Can you describe your sound, what makes it so unique?
My sound is a result of all of my influences and places I’ve ever been. From Hawaii to Oklahoma, Indiana to NY. Country, rock, hip hop, Caribbean. Even gospel as my father is a pastor. I have an infatuation with the sound of the guitar. What makes me unique is my experiences; my struggles, my personal joys and heartbreaks. My style.
If you could change anything about the industry what would it be?
[Laughs] Is this a trick question? Give artists their worth. Stop stealing from artists. Stop promoting trash for the sake of attention. Stop making stupid people famous. I don’t know. I just know it’s all a game. And only the strong survive.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far?
Hmm, I’ll say I’m still overcoming being labeled as an Urban AC artist off top when I’m everything. Pop, rock, R&B, I’m the new wave. I just have the appreciation for real music. Instrumentation, lyrics melodies, harmonies, etc. I got to tour with the greats Maxwell and Mary J which was an amazing experience that taught me so much about being legend! Living in my greatness watching them every night motivated me! But in the eyes of the public it aged me before my time. It’s really about marketing and how much the label believes in you. But I’m overcoming everyday and my goal is to break out the boxes people put me in. With this album, I can do anything.
What’s your mission and goal in life?
Goals in life and my mission run hand in hand. To inspire, to touch to heal, to motivate, to encourage. To be happy, to be successful, be healthy and provide for my family. Make beautiful music. Working on a capsule collection for every quarter, even a kids collection. Wanna help my lil person be the greatest she can be. Start a label and creative agency for artists like myself who are different and eclectic, but who can sing or rap. Developing my own strain of bud. Ultimately I’m on the journey of being an Icon. An unforgettable one.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician and what do you hate the most?
Doing what I love everyday, in spite of the ups and downs. I hate the snakes and people who feel the need to try and take advantage of you. Producers with egos. The fact that my music isn’t pushed or heard because I don’t have a shit load of followers. Due to lack of marketing, but all that’s about to change. Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Have you worked with big names in the music industry? And what impact did they have on your career?
I have worked with big names in the music industry. I think the impact is knowing that I’ve worked hard to be able to be in the same room as those I look and looked up to. Salaam Remi, my bro, a bet in the game just wanted him and I in the studio so I can be my greatest self and I appreciate that. Encouragement from Stevie Wonder, Babyface, etc. Just encouraging me to keep going. I need that sometimes.
Is there anything you would like to share with the next generation of musicians?
Know your worth. Don’t sell yourself short. Stay true to you. Write your music, learn about publishing and your rights as an artist. Own your music! Fight to own your music. Don’t chase a trend, be the trend!
We know you are working on a new album release. What does the album’s title reveal, if anything, about the album’s impact and themes?
I do I do. The albums title MANTIC is one part of the word RO MANTIC. Mantic means seeking knowledge of the future thru supernatural means. Faith, God, Energy, the Universe, Space aliens … [Laughs]
What inspired you for this new album?
I had gone thru a lot of changes since Eldorado. Went thru a serious depression that I tried to hide and work thru. I had to confront my issues and traumas. Be honest with myself. A break up. Loss of friendships. Feeling lonely in a room full of people. But also optimistic about love. But mostly had to love myself truly before I loved someone else. The RO-MANTIC.
Do you have a tour coming up?
Hell yeah. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the road. Needed to take a minute and reset. Change up my stage show. Give my falsetto a break. Definitely doing a promo tour for the next album.