Hometown: Bayou Chicot, La.
Influences: Vince Gill, Randy Travis, Jackson Browne
After gaining a prominent social media following from his YouTube performances and an appearance on Ellen in 2010, Louisiana native James Dupré went from local to regional to national performer. James gained additional exposure from his time on Season 9 of The Voice in 2015, where he was coached by Adam Levine and made it through to the knockout round. The father of four sons and former EMT is set to release his second album, Stoned to Death, on Friday, June 17. The 10-song offering runs the gamut of emotions, from dark and moody to lighthearted and fun, all highlighting the writing chops and voice of the talented baritone.
Born on the Bayou
“I grew up in Bayou Chicot, Louisiana, but I didn’t really start getting into music until college at the University of Louisiana Monroe, where I was studying meteorology. I saw an ad for a backup singer in a band. One thing led to another and I started singing and teaching myself guitar and writing. I always knew I could sing. Well, everyone thinks they can sing, but that’s when it hit me that music was really in me.”
“I quit college after two years to pursue music and my father told me I needed to get a job. He’s a paramedic, so that’s what I did. I studied to be a paramedic and for six years that was my job. The one thing I really learned from that job, you usually see people on the worst day of their life. You’ve got to keep that in mind, and it really gives you a new perspective on life. Now with music, hopefully I get to perform and see people on one of the best days of their life.”
“Being on The Voice taught me a lot about being a performer and about interacting with your audience. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. About a year ago at this time, I was in L.A. What a difference a year makes. Now I’m getting ready for my album release.”
“I’m really proud of the new album, Stoned to Death, and co-writing seven of the 10 songs. The album has a dark side, but there’s also a lot of hope. I’m excited for fans to hear it, not only songs like the title track and ‘Someday Today,’ which has a lot of references to my Louisiana heritage, but a song like ‘Sad Song,’ which was the first song I wrote when I moved to Nashville five years ago.”
“I had a blast at CMA Fest this year. I had been around past events before, but this was my first time to really be a part of it with my album coming out, performing and the meet and greets. It was fun to be able to experience it as an artist. It’s definitely a busy week but there are so many chances to interact with fans. That’s another thing, I didn’t even know if there would be fans at my shows and meet and greets, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.”
Check out the video below of James singing “Hurt Good” from his new album, Stoned to Death, available on Friday, June 17.
photo by Laura E. Partain