HUSH HUSH BIZ SINGLE REVIEW
Hold Me Close
The new track for American music artist James Kelly reveals a musician whose experience and background are clearly on show. Hold Me Close is not your average contemporary rock pop song; with its nod to classics of the past, it has all the hallmarks of an enduring slice of 2023 rock: a relatable lyric, a stand-out vocal performance and a sound and style that it’s identifiable without being derivative. The new release comes after the amazing success of James’ debut album, Loose Talk (2020), which explored his battle with mental health and was recorded by James and Marc Urselli (U2, Lou Reed) and mixed by the legendary Michael Brauer (John Mayer, Coldplay, Rolling Stones). Based in New York City, James learnt the music production ropes under the guidance of John King, one half of the Dust Brothers production duo (Beastie Boys, Beck, Rolling Stones, Santana). Over a decade in the industry, James has scored and mixed music for clients including Samsung, Canon, and Nestlé and produced and mixed several albums for independent artists. As James says about the new single, ‘Hold Me Close is, at its heart, a love song. But it’s not all rainbows—the narrator is a bit broken, a bit damaged, and thoroughly in need of redemptive love.’ Hold Me Close has a swirling, atmospheric guitar-laced introduction but quickly transforms into a driving rock groove, with James’ indelible vocal approach immediately striking. A big rock sonic backdrop follows, providing the perfect forum for James’ lyric and musical expression. As James says about his songwriting, ‘Without question.
My music is incredibly personal, autobiographical even. For example, my first album, Loose Talk, is all about my battle with bipolar disorder. On this record, Sidewalk Hymns, I’m diving deep into my religious upbringing, my parents’ divorce, and my current relationship. Without my own stories, I wouldn’t know where to begin telling stories to others.’ Hold Me Close is sure to attract huge streaming numbers, with its multifaceted contemporary rock aesthetic setting James Kelly’s music apart from the pack.