After her stunning showcase gig in London last month, Backseat Mafia caught up with the rising star and soulful pop queen Bianca James as she shared her cosy secrets, a Bond ambition and revealed some French naughtiness…
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a soulful pop singer and songwriter hailing from Canada. My music combines modern pop with 60s influences (Motown, soul, British rock).
Where is “home”?
Toronto – but London will be my home in 2024! I can’t wait. I also spend a lot of time in Miami in the winter.
What’s the single best moment of your career so far?
I just got invited to be a guest at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in NYC tomorrow (Nov 3rd) and am beyond excited. Sia, Stevie Nicks, Common and Olivia Rodrigo will be there among others!
What does success mean to you?
The freedom to live life and create on my own terms, and to know that my music is touching people in a meaningful way.
What is pleasurable about the music industry? What is a pain?
I’ve met so many absolutely incredible people in the music industry. And I adore performing live and recording. The constant need to be doing self-promotion is definitely a pain, but that’s just part of the game these days.
Which song do you wish you had written? Who are your favourite artists?
Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, The Kinks, The Supremes and Harry Styles are among my faves! I wish I had written “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by Carole King.
Has Jools Holland called you yet?!
No he hasn’t – cheeky Jools! Haha. All joking aside – it would be a dream come true to connect with Jools.
It seems like every day is sunny in Bianca-world so what are your tips for getting through the deep dark days of winter?
Hunker down and get a cosy blankie and create something – draw, bake, sing. I love to ski, and I think it’s important to get exercise to beat the winter blues. And of course – fly away if you can for a few days and spend time by the ocean! The ocean always heals me.
Apart from a phone and keys – what wouldn’t you dare leave the house without?
Audio Technica headphones and lipstick.
Best gig or concert you’ve attended?
U2 blew my mind.
What’s your go to feel-good movie and why?
Austin Powers baby! I love the humour, the costumes, his cheeky wit – and it features all things British!
Were you born in the wrong decade?
I love 2023. We can listen to the music and watch movies from the 60s (or anytime) but we have a lot more freedom and emancipation now.
Backseat Mafia has secret powers – we can grant you three wishes – what can we do for you Bianca?
Oooooh!!! 1. Please make Jools Holland call me. 2. Let’s get a single from my next album on BBC2. 3. Put me in a Bond movie!
Who is your ultimate 1960s icon and why?
Jane Birkin. She exuded a confidence and a girlish sweetness that was also very sexy and alluring. She sang, she modelled, she acted – and she had a great love with Serge Gainsbourg. I think she definitely has left her mark on the world artistically. I also have to mention Audrey Hepburn – not only is she an icon of the cinema, but she did so much charitable work and made the world a better place.
What’s next for Bianca James?
This month I’m finishing album #2 in Toronto. December I’m in Miami, and back in London at the end of January to prepare to launch all the new music! I really hope 2024 is going to be a life-changing year.
P.S Tell us a secret?
I can speak fluent French and know some very naughty expressions. Muah!!
Check out the track Bang Bang Baby, below:
Bianca James’ eponymous debut album is out now. Purchase it here
Read our Live Review of Bianca James’ gig at the Strongroom bar in London here
Bianca James socials