By BeBe Sweetbriar
Calling Los Angeles his home now, recording artist/songwriter Derek
Jameson has always been a “California Kid” being a native of the Bay
Area. Not unlike many Californians who seem to be big dreamers with
a zealousness for living freely, Derek’s life philosophies of inspiration
and determination are often reflected in the lyrics of his songs
whether they be ballads or club-worthy dance songs. Since the
independent release of his debut album TImelines Vol 1: Space and
Vol 2: Time, Derek’s music collections have always been released as a
mix of dance and piano vocal songs. His newest album Our Future
Tribe follows in that same pattern, and is his first album to be
released under his new distribution deal with Universal Music Group,
the largest music corporation in the world and home to record labels
such as Capitol, Def Jam, Island, Interscope, Def Jam, Virgin and so
many more. A tireless performer over the years, his deal with
Universal will get Derek’s music into the ears of so many more
people. I spent some time speaking with Derek Jameson about the
music on Our Future Tribe, that his new music deal means for and to
him, writing for other projects and what is to happen next.
BeBe: Your new album Our Future Tribe is your first release with
your new distribution deal with Universal Music Group. And like with
other songs you have independently released before, the songs on
this album carry your signature messages of inspiration and pushing
oneself to reach higher heights. But these aren’t just not just words,
you live this.
Derek Jameson: Yes, that’s what Our Future Tribe is all about. It’s
about connecting with people and building from there. Everyone has
their team around them that has helped them reach their different
points in life. I’m so lucky to have such a big team that surrounds me
and is so supportive. They are my personal tribe.
BeBe: What does reaching this point in your career with your new
distribution and marketing deal mean to and for you?
Derek Jameson: I get to reach a wider audience with this deal. This
is definitely a step in the right direction. Over the years I have had
people not live up to their promises and deals, but I have pushed
those off and kept pushing through. It is amazing to kknow people on
the business side are paying attention to what I’m doing. It means to
me that the work that I’ve put in has been noticed. It feels good!
BeBe: When signing with a major record company has being a gay
artist ever been a topic of conversation?
Derek Jameson: Not really. Something like that doesn’t really come
up. It’s more about the music. Once you start putting out solid
projects, it all speaks for itself. So, (being gay) hasn’t been an issue
BeBe: The lead single from your album is California Kid which you
performed at your release party on September 28 at Hollywood’s Bar
Lubitsch. It is a wonderful ballad with piano, but I am so in love with the
Nautical Mix of the track on the album. You have been real fortunate
to have been able to turn many of your ballads into some pretty hot
Derek Jameson: Thank you. The Nautical Mix of California Kid was
actually done by me. I wanted it to have a chill-out House element to
BeBe: You have another song on Our Future Tribe that was originally
intended for the NoH8 campaign. What happened there?
Derek Jameson: The NoH8 Campaign asked if I would be interested
in writing a song that would essentially be their theme song. I said, of
course. So, I went to work on what is no Waves. I was real proud of
the lyrics because it is about people who are leading the pack and
pave the way, and go beyond fear in order to make change. I wrote it
with the purpose of showing people that they are not alone even
when it seems like they are. There are others going through the same
thing they are and they can draw from them. As it got closer to
finishing the project and releasing it to NoH8, I decided to keep the
song for myself for personal reasons. I had put so much into it. I put
it on this album so it ould be accessible to people. It still holds the
purpose of why I wrote it.
BeBe: As with NoH8, other organizations, film and TV producers
have also approached you to have one or more of your songs in their
projects. Does that affect your songwriting?
Derek Jameson: Most of the songs I have been approached about
have been previously written. They were heard and then someone
wanted them for their projects. I have found a way, I guess, to write
about something that is important for me to say and put in a song in
a way that is popular. It’s cool that I’ve found that balance here
people will want to use my songs for projects, and keep the integrity
of my in-depth songwriting.
BeBe: So what’s on the horizon for you following this release of Our
Derek Jameson: There are two projects in the works right now
where one of them will take me to Asia. If that happens, it would
open up my market so much.
Derek Jameson’s Our Future Tribe can be found on iTunes and all other major online outlets.
Audio snippets of this interview and a Listening Party for Our Future Tribe on It’s Everything with BeBe Sweetbriar here
An abridged written version of this interview appears in the Oct 2, 2015 issue of Gloss Magazine www.glossmagazine.net.