There are plenty of people who say teenagers are lazy or that young people aren’t accomplishing anything these days. The individuals who make such claims need to meet Coby James who totally defies whatever stereotype they mutter. The incredibly charming Coby James graduated high school early so he could focus on his career in music. And he’s not just playing music in his parent’s garage. He toured with the talented Danny Gokey, self-produced two EPs and signed with indie Christian label Centricity.
Coby released a series of pop-infused singles throughout the year, but now he’s taking his EP to a new level. Mixtape Vol. 1: Side A is part one of three, each offering a distinct sound. The first of the mixtapes trio is a four-song set of pop jams. The latter releases will offer a stripped down, unplugged, acoustic version and spotlight his artsy and experimental arrangements. Mixtape EP series highlights Coby’s confident voice, great guitar riffs and unreal talent.
With such intensity toward moving his musical career forward, it’s no surprise that his lyrics are centered around living a life with purpose. Coby James offers a picturesque view of what it looks like to live a life with Christ. It’s about following God no matter what. Coby truthfully sings about how God’s plans and ideas are always better than our own. God knows our desires more than we know them ourselves. Therefore, God truly should be our ultimate desire.
Life isn’t about drama, as teen culture often portrays, it’s about standing on the foundation that Christ established. Coby James is firm in following his identity and pursuing the life that God intends for him. He takes common themes of teenage life, and shares his perspective and personal experience. This makes his music applicable to life beyond teen culture. Even though much of his music is specifically based on Coby’s experience and journey breaking into the music industry, his approach makes each song universally relevant to Christians living in our society. “I want people to see my perspective as a teenager going through life. Hopefully they see where I find my hope and my peace and that God is where I find my strength.”
Coby James was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. Later, he battled Lyme disease followed by a series of other illnesses. Large doses of antibiotics and extended IV treatments became Coby’s reality. “I think it’s helped me in ways I could never imagine. I thank God for the fact that I went through those things. In the moment, I didn’t quite know why, but I now think it’s because it gave me something to say,” James continues, “That’s one reason why I want to be in Christian music, because I definitely feel like I have a lot to say when it comes to trials and tribulations. I feel like I’ve definitely been through the wringer in a way, but God used those things that I went through to give me something to talk about and a layer of depth that I can dig into when I’m writing.”
Life will always throw frustrations our way, so we can use those opportunities to build strength for our benefit, or we can sulk and feel sorry for ourselves. In the midst of chaos and unknown we can strive, or we can thrive. Coby is learning to thrive. Instead of seeing unexpected occurrences as disappointments, he’s choosing to view them as opportunities to grow. As a result, he produces some incredible music. Rather than sitting around, waiting for life’s annoyances to pass, he hunkers down and starts working on new songs and sounds.
Coby wrote his first song when he was 7, but became truly passionate about song-writing at age 15. Now at 19, he’s an anomaly. He loves the entire music creating process, but spends much of his time perfecting his skills. “I started this whole journey writing and producing songs in my bedroom, so for me, that’s where I’m the most comfortable. At the end of the day, I’m still that same young kid in my bedroom hoping that I’ll create something that the whole world will sing one day.”
As easy as it is to picture Coby James locked up in his bedroom penning his next marvel, he’s actually an enthusiastic extrovert. He finds inspiration in other music as well as other people. When he finds something that intrigues him, He goes all in. “I’ve always been a big believer that the only way to grow is to learn from other people. I love collaboration. I think everybody brings different things to the table. I’m inspired by other artists, and hopefully one day, I can inspire somebody else.”
Inspiring other people is truly the reaction to every song. Every concert, album and song provides an opportunity for Coby James to make an impact on another listener. “I’m a storyteller. I want to tell my story; I want to tell other people’s stories, and it’s always going to come from a Christian perspective.” His story – he’s singing about an incredible God who knows us more than we even know ourselves. How profound and proper for someone of Coby’s caliber.