James McCartney -- yes, the son of Paul and Linda -- is bringing his tour in support of his new release, "Me," to the D.C. area.
Unlike other children born to members of the Beatles, McCartney waited until his 30s to launch his musical career.
Just before the tour kicked off, McCartney told The Washington Examiner about how he has come to terms with his legacy, how he creates his own music and just what he hopes D.C. fans take away from the show.
Q: Talk a bit about songwriting. Was it just something that came naturally to you? It sounds odd to ask that, but it's interesting you are a musician and your siblings followed other careers.
|James McCartney with Justin Trawick|
|» Where: Jammin' Java, 227 Maple Ave. East, Vienna|
|» When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday|
|» Info: Sold out, though tickets may still be available through resellers; 703-255-1566; jamminjava.com|
A: Music's been important to me my whole life, although like a lot of kids I also wanted to be a fireman briefly! But seriously, I've been surrounded by art and music my entire life, and it's a part of who I am. It's honestly as simple as that.
Q: What is it that you take away from performing in front of an audience that makes the touring worthwhile to you?
A: I love performing live, and it's great fun. It can be nervous-making sometimes, but most of the time it's because I want this gig to be the best one yet. Ultimately though, when you look out at the audience and you can feel them connecting with the music you've written, it's all worth it. A beautiful experience.
Q: What's your method of songwriting? Are you the kind of person who writes in batches or are you the person who basically writes ones song one week, then perhaps waits until the muse hits another week to write another song?
A: It varies quite a bit. But I usually start with music first and then lyrics. The approach differs though sometimes, because you can find something for a song in a way you wouldn't have thought. I actually often find myself singing nonsense words to a melody, or bouncing between different instruments, for example. Sometimes you can get a foothold in an unexpected way on something, and suddenly it starts to take shape. I tend to block the lyrics out or write them in my notebook, too, sort of like poetry. In the end of course it's about having as much emotion as possible. I always shoot for being cathartic, heartfelt and true."
Q: It's no secret that a lot of second- and third-generation musicians have a difficult time dealing with their heritage as they pursue their own music. How do you juggle and reconcile your legacy with your own individual career?
A: I try to neither run away from it, nor run toward it. On different levels, it both helps and hinders at the same time. It's one of the reasons I've waited to get started, until I felt both myself, and my music, were ready. In the end, the only choice is indeed to come to peace with the whole thing, and I both have and continue to do so. I want to enjoy letting it all unfold, and then just be who I am."
Q: When people come to see your concerts, what do you hope they're thinking just before you come out on stage?
A: "I hope they're excited and curious, and expecting a great show ... and I hope afterwards, they feel like they really got one."