Last year AZ announced our first ever creative fund. The first five fund recipients were announced in June and amongst them was budding techno-rap musician, James Indigo. Today, James releases the brand new video to his single, Van Gogh- an experimental dance track with drum and bass-inspired beats, bolstered by beautifully bizarre visuals that give us a window into the psyche of the Brummy-Jamaican artist.
The song is a certified bop and its opening bars: “don’t really care if a bitch don’t like me, I do a two-two dance in my nikes” speak to James’ rebellious spirit and endurance in an industry that’s all too ready to sleep on queer Black talent. In the below Q & A, James talks about his new video, muses, – aspirations and how the AZ fund has helped him further his career.
Hi James, it’s lovely to meet you. Please can you tell me a bit about your journey into the music industry?
James Indigo: I’ve known since I was young that I’ve always wanted to be in the entertainment business. [At] around 16 I started learning to play the piano and writing songs. A few years ago, I told myself that I really need to pursue my dream and give it everything I got, so I started writing more and more then I released the video for my debut single Cxntour and I haven’t looked back since.
How would you best describe your sound?
JI: I would say it’s a mixture of all things I love; techno, reggae, pop, house and trap. If you put all those things in a bowl and mix it, you would get me [laughs].
Who are some of your biggest influences?
JI: Right now I would say I’m inspired by my creative friends, people that fight for change and upcoming talent. They truly inspire me. People like Josh Pilmore, Kassandra Powell, Karnage Kills, Munroe Bergdorf, Apollo Love just to name a few…I love unapologetic, hard-working people.
What would you say is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a queer Black musician?
JI: Being Black and queer and doing rap in the UK is a huge challenge in itself because it’s not heard of. I can count maybe two or three other black queer rappers from the UK and thats it; so we have to work twice as hard. We also have to battle with homophobic abuse on top of everything else. It’s difficult but I do love a challenge!
What Inspired you to apply for AZ’s creative fund?
JI: AZ was the first black queer magazine I ever stumbled across. I instantly loved it and everything it represents. When I saw the fund application I knew straight away this was for me.
How did you find the application process?
JI: I found it straightforward and professional. The whole team are amazing and they made me feel at ease.
How has the money helped you progress in your career?
JI: It helped with [funding] my music video. Being an independent artist, I have to pay for everything myself; studio, visuals, props and clothing etcetera, so the fund helped a lot.
What’s the concept for your new video?
JI: I was really inspired by Van Gogh for this track. He never believed in his talent. He would say that no one cared and no one would buy his art. He battled with his mental health and felt isolated. Little did he know that he would become one of the most famous painters in the world. He had that shine in him the whole time, he just never saw it himself. We have all felt isolated, had self-doubt and overthought everything we do. But you need that voice that says you’re good enough to shout louder than the negative voice. You need to know you are a WORK OF ART.
What can we expect from James Indigo in the future?
JI: WORLD DOMINATION
James’ debut EP, Married to the Game, is streaming on all major platforms and you can check out the Van Gough video here.