Local OUT Singer-songwriter Aiden James is releasing his first new music in over a year: a moody yet dance-forward single called “Elixir,” which dropped worldwide on Friday, May 14. The Video dropped July 7. Written during the physical isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic, “Elixir” is how James dealt with and ultimately overcame, the feeling of helplessness – a tonic for the soul, music for the ears.
For James, writing has always been a somewhat solitary experience, but one that still happened out in the open. He often wrote in public places – while on tour, in coffee shops after soundcheck, or when traveling on red-eye by the glow of a laptop – his previous work was infused with that energy. The words were very much his and his alone, but they were still influenced by the world moving around him.
When the pandemic hit, he was grounded at home – alone – in Philadelphia. It forced him to face the unknown, the fear and isolation of COVID compounded by the near-daily news of music venues shuttering and industry shut down indefinitely. AJ took pen to paper in his mostly empty apartment. It was rough. Technology only helped so much. But eventually, the empathetic connection returned … somewhat ironically, during a marathon of the popular AMC series “The Walking Dead.”
All the sudden, the pages and pages of thoughts and ideas and half-finished lyrics without a common thread found their purpose. They came together into a song about a serum that protects our memories and keeps them from vanishing. An elixir that keeps the people who matter most from just slipping away.
Lyrics finalized, the next part of the process was something he was already used to, having for years produced music remotely. He spent a few months sending files back-n-forth with collaborating artists Elliot Jacobson (drums) and Daniel Bryne (electric guitar), trading different sections and arrangements as the song took shape across different time zones. The human connection was restored. Hope returned.
The “Elixir” that emerged draws heavily on 80s pop classics like Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” with some more modern influences reminiscent of The Weekend. It’s “hauntingly synth forward yet driving and uplifting” said James.
More singles will follow in the coming months. The releases represent his latest work since a Live EP (“Isolation” in 2020) and a streaming performance for the Recording Academy’s emergency financial assistance program, MusiCares, which was a benefit the legendary The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. His 2012 crowd-funded album “Trouble with This” reached the iTunes Top 20 and followed with a live performance on SiriusXM from their studios in Rockefeller Plaza.
“Elixir” drops at 12:01am on Friday, May 14 and will be available for purchase and streaming via iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and Tidal. The song is currently available for preorder. For more on AJ, visit www.aidenjamesmusic.com.