Jaedyn James and the Hunger

Sultry Power Funk From Minneapolis
by Mike Huberty
July 2018

Jaedyn James

Jaedyn James

Sultry and powerful R&B from Minneapolis, JAEDYN JAMES & THE HUNGER is funk and soul fronted by fierce female vocals backed up a ten-piece band. They will be headlining AtwoodFest 2018 at 8:15pm on Saturday July 28th by the Alchemy Bar and if you love the classic Motown or James Brown-style, then this will be the set you’ve been waiting for. We spoke to lead singer, Jaedyn James herself, to preview the show and get the lowdown before the getdown.

MI: Who are some of your favorite artists and what inspired you to pick up the microphone?
Whitney Houston. Etta James. Patsy Cline. James Brown. Willie Nelson.  I grew up in a house where my mother sang to us all the time. Singing has always been a part of my family’s language. I’ve known for forever that music is the most sacred thing to me. Singing is my way of connecting to music, to myself, and of course, to others too. 

MI: What does the name “The Hunger” mean?
So many things. My insatiable appetite for adventure, knowledge, work, bettering the music, enlightenment , love, and community.  I wanted the band and the name to embody all that. “Desire” or “feeling” just don’t have the punch or flexibility that ” The Hunger ” does. Hunger is a desperate place. It’s a searching place. It’s a never stop until “satisfied or dead” place. I’m only satisfied when working or solving. I like the hunt, the game, the ups and the downs. When you’re hungry you’ll do anything to survive - the trick is, my twist on it is that I try to do it with a certain amount of self awareness and that’s the perspective I tell my stories from, the songs. 

I love food. Food is life. When I started the band I was working at an incredible chef driven restaurant. The chefs and the team were brilliant and tireless. I thought if they can do this, I can too. Music and food? That’s the tops. 

MI: What’s the song people should check out first and what’s it about?
“My Body”. It’s about wanting and needing to be seen as a woman with a body she loves and accepts, a smart mind she isn’t afraid to show, shouldn’t have to hide, and a tender spirit. Oh yeah, and a sense of humor. ” My Body ” is all about throwing the notion out there that a woman can be all things. You know, like any other person.

MI: What’s your live show like?
It’s always changing and evolving. The first goal is bring it and leave it all onstage. The second is to be present and connect with everyone. The third goal is to sweat, sweat, sweat, sweat! The fourth is to take risks, go ahead and fail, and get back up. The fifth goal is to be grateful and stay thankful.

Live is where JAEDYN JAMES & THE HUNGER makes the most sense. That’s where I want you. That’s where I want me. I love the intimacy of shows. It’s not about me, it’s about us… but it’s totally about me, get off your phone! I love dancing and directing the band. Changing the setlist? You bet.  Everything is about the energy. I want to create it, play with it, feel it come back. I love awkward moments. I love the moments where we’re all howling and screaming together - I like when we hold hands and talk about consent. At a JAEDYN JAMES & THE HUNGER live show everything is on the table. Happy? Sad? Feeling crazy? Lil’ pervy? Great, let’s go there together. 

MI: How did you get involved in AtwoodFest?
We met Rökker at a The Goodman Community Center’s Beer & Chocolate party last summer.
I kept finding band members at his vodka table… I mean…. I was there too. 

MI: Any favorite Madison memories?
Heck yeah. We love Madison. There are so many wonderful juicy Madison memories in this bands history. It’s very hard for me to pick favorites when we’ve been treated so well. The people of Madison like to party and dine and enjoy music and each other. The people of Madison are my favorite memory. 

MI: Besides the AtwoodFest show, what else is coming up for you guys?
I’ve been cooking. I fired. I hired. I’m tired? Nahhhh. Never.  

We just got out of the studio and we recorded three songs. I’d like to release them at the end of the summer or fall time. Kind of a - “Hey, I rebuilt my line up and this is what it sounds like. A full record is soon to be on it’s way” type thing. I brought in some of Minneapolis’ best to turn these songs out and put strings one of them. Gorgeous. I needed a cry towel. I’d really like to try out some new music platforms too. It’s hard to keep up with where the kids are listening to their music these days, there are lots of options. But more importantly, to our sound and inspiration,  I want to do vinyl. If I can do a 7-inch with a a pair of these tunes and release a full 12 inch next year, I’d be real happy woman. 

Stop by the Madison Heritage Stage on the corner of Atwood and Winnebago Streets at 8:15pm on Saturday July 29th to watch Jaedyn and her band tear it down for this year’s AtwoodFest!

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