On August 18, the former Royal Pirates
officially kicked off his solo career with an EP release party for 'The Light
'. The event took place at the basement of Belasco Theatre
at 7 PM, located in the downtown district of Los Angeles.
Roughly around 6 PM, fans and press members were ushered into the underground lobby area. Surrounded by the venue's ornate walls and chandeliers, the guests calmly waited as James received fans individually for one-on-one interactions. VIP fans who have helped James with his Kickstarter got a chance to speak with him, receive a signed poster, and participate in a Polaroid photo-taking session. In the midst of it all, James' two latest MVs were projected onto the walls -- one as "The Light" and the other for "Let's Get Away (Acoustic ver.)", featuring Girls' Generation's Sooyoung.
After the signing event, all guests were led into the venue's main hall that comprised of a bar and a dance floor. The stage was welcomed by DJ Talon Reid, who played all the lit pop jams of the ear to hype up the crowd for the main event. For about an hour, the audience members mingled with one another, getting a drink or two from the bar and chatting away under the disco lights.
Around 7 PM, the real show began. The alternative American rock band FYKE (composed of members Enik Lin, Steven Delman, Justin Wright, Mikee Fabella, and Gerard Christian) came onto the stage to open up the show. Though their powerful music got the crowd pumped with its classic rock-and-roll spirit, the band's lyrics and stage presence reached the crowd on a more emotional level. Their second number called "Insecure", especially, brought everyone together in the atmosphere. With a total of seven songs, FYKE passionately elevated the crowd, getting the mood ready for the long-awaited appearance of James.
Finally, James came on stage around 9 PM. As soon as he stood on stage, James thanked all his friends and family, as well as his fans who have helped him with his Kickstarter to bring this album together. He started his act with the first song on the EP, the original version of "Let's Get Away". After giving a shout-out to Sooyoung with the song, the heartfelt performance was followed by "Perfect", originally featuring Amber from f(x).
With every song, the crowd put their hands into the air, and James gave it his all by maintaining individual eye contact and passionately live-singing into the microphone. At the height of its emotional ambiance, James sang "Up", the 4th song of the EP, which he introduced as a song dedicated to his recently saying a 'good-bye' to someone dear to him. The last song of the night was, without a doubt, the title song "The Light". Impassioned voices sang along to the song's lyrics, as James himself continued to rock the stage under the spotlight.
The venue was a rather intimate space, so everyone in the room easily partook in the flood of emotions. By sharing his story, James stressed the strength of human connection, which clearly proved its collective power to reach a bigger goal. For the night, fans came from all over the states and overseas, some even coming from so far away as Switzerland!
The release party was like a culmination of a long journey for James, and in a way, he and his fans had celebrated a commencement for more exciting and positive journeys to come.