It’s time to talk about James Reid as a singer.
The start of his rise to fame as one of the most loved and sought-after actors of his generation was after he was crowned the “Big Winner” in the reality game show Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Clash in 2010.
But what propelled his career further was the memorable love team dubbed “JaDine” that proved “reel to real” romance was possible with his former onscreen to real-life partner Nadine Lustre.
The couple starred in multiple box-office hits such as “Diary ng Panget” and “Never Not Love You” and award-winning television shows like “On the Wings of Love.”
But again, people need to start talking about James’ solo career in music when he’s been dropping bops since 2011 with “You Make My Body Move” from his self-titled debut album.
In 2017, he focused on his solo musical career and released his first studio album Palm Dreams, in which he wrote all the tracks alongside Paulo Tiongson with hits “Cool Down” and “Turning Up.” The album debuted under his own record label Careless co-founded with Bret Jackson, and peaked at No. 45 on Billboard’s Independent Albums.
His sophomore album lovescene: released in 2022 further showcased James’ musical capabilities, finding his sound by experimenting with funk, soul, jazz, and disco, and making music of his own with bangers “cali lovin,” “u & i,” “fallin” and “always been you.”
With chill yet groovy songs under his belt, James has much more to offer, and it’s not just the infectious “Hanap-Hanap” or “No Erase” that most people know of.
This time, it’s with South Korean rapper and iKON’s former member Kim Han-Bin, popularly known as B.I., with whom he’s collaborated in his new single “Jacuzzi.”
New party anthem
As simple as it is, James describes the track to SoundStrip as “a romance being sparked in a very sexy setting, which is in a jacuzzi.”
In this playful crossover of house and pop, with dynamic synths and bubbly electronic elements, the blending of James’ melodious vocals with B.I.’s signature rap verse is a fusion of their distinct talents and style.
James’ music style surely has evolved over the years and now leaned towards R&B—finding common ground with B.I., whose genre also includes K-pop and hip-hop.
“Luckily, it really worked with B.I.’s vocals. Me, I come from a R&B background and he does also, so that’s where our voices blend together and really made sense in the track,” he explained.
What stood out for James was B.I.’s “unique sound and style,” as well as his voice and lyrical prowess.
“We both sound completely different, and it was a good contrast in the song itself,” he said.
“I wanted to try something different with this kind of party song, and I love the way it came in the track,” he stated.
James also made it clear that there was no particular inspiration behind the song and that the characters Katy and Jenny mentioned in the song are just “made-up characters.”
Bound to be a new party anthem and poolside track, James said, “It’s very simple, but honestly, this track is really a lot of fun.”
James recalled that he met B.I. backstage at iKON’s concert in Seoul and was asked by B.I. if he would want to perform as a guest artist in his concert in the Philippines. James did, and he returned the favor by asking B.I. if he would like to collaborate on a song.
“I sent him the track and he loved it. He sent me back a version with his vocals on it and it honestly fits the song perfectly, taking it to the next level,” he said.
In this collaborative, feel-good party song, James also worked with Grammy-nominated DJ Flict, who previously worked with Wiz Khalifa, Fifth Harmony, and Meghan Trainor among others.
James shared that it was one of the first songs they did when he came to Los Angeles, California to work with producers.
“It’s just a product of us being spontaneous in the studio,” he shared.
James has been working with international artists such as Benjamin Kheng, WOOSUNG, and The Rose among others because he said that’s the “next step” for Filipino artists to extend their reach regionally.
“I really want to experiment and push my limits and work with artists overseas who are kind of in a similar lane to me, or have the same kind of vision, same kind of dream,” he mused.
Looking into collaborations within Southeast Asia, James said it’s a powerful region with one of the highest streaming regions in the world.
“If we can somehow turn that into local support, I think that could be great news not just for Filipino artists but artists across the region,” he said.
Going back to his roots, James said there are definitely a lot of local collaborations coming up very soon, but can’t go into detail yet.
No way but up
Despite his highs and lows this year, James said, “There’s been a lot of learnings that happened this year, but it’s all in preparation for the big collaborations and partnerships that we’ve been able to lock in this year for next year.”
As co-founder of independent record label Careless, James said he prioritizes the artists from their roster to pursue creative freedom in music, but the goal is to seal collaborations and go international to reach more audiences.
“Everyone has been working on their own separate projects and I think it’s some of their best work yet and we’re excited to release it,” he teased.
Undeniably, James Reid is not just an artista with good looks and style. He is also more than capable of nurturing other emerging artists even as he himself is now taking his own talents to the next level.