Raleigh, North Carolina-born James Atkinson, a.k.a Forsyth Music, packed it up and decided to move further north (Brooklyn, NY) in pursuit of his career in music in 2015. At the beginning of November Atkinson debuted his first-ever, full length project titled Somewhere in Between.
Prior to the debut he released five singles (featured on the album) to help familiarize listeners to the sound and perspective he was coming from. The album consists of heavy hitting tracks (“Somewhere in Between”), deep, personal cuts (“P.S.A. II”, “The Wake Up”, “Don’t Lie To Me”, & “Medicated”), and even dance inspired (“Beauty in the Struggle”).
For Atkinson, it all started at 15 years of age and soon evolved into rubbing shoulders with A&Rs from Def Jam/Capitol Records, Tupac’s music group Outlawz, and collaborations with high profile DJ’s like DJ JackEL. During a personal conversation, he also mentioned that he was able to get his album in front of Quincy Jones (who holds a record 79 Grammy Award nominations and 27 Grammys), but didn’t elaborate much further.
Somewhere in Between combines Atkinson’s experiences over the past few years, recounting the times where he had personally felt he reached his lowest, not to mention the triumphs that have led him to the current state he’s at today. We wanted to know and share Forsyth’s music a bit more and set aside some time discuss his recent release, the meaning of his name, and what all goes into his creative process.
Where did the name Forsyth/Jessie James come from?
My artist name is my middle name: Forsyth. I chose that name because as a white rapper, I knew I would get a lot of eye-rolls and prejudgment before people even had a chance to listen to my music. I wanted something real and not corny; like the music I make.
The name/alias, Jessie James, comes from my time boxing in the South Bronx of New York. My trainer and all my friends nicknamed me Jessie James, the Outlaw. I assume it has something to do with my first name being James and being the only white kid in the gym. Back then I certainly did not have any difficulty finding a sparring partner. That nickname has followed me around since!
What’s the meaning behind the title of the album? What is the theme of the album?
I went into this album with one common theme and thesis: “Somewhere in between where I was and where I’ll be”. I wanted to make an album that touched on where I was in my life. I wanted to recount being broke and friendless, alone and jobless, being betrayed by close family, meeting the girl of my dreams, struggles with anxiety/depression, and many more personal facets of my journey.
The album was very personal and I wanted it that way. The title, Somewhere in Between, was the most eloquent way of tying all these things together. To add, I also approached the album not as just a hip-hop album. I like to think there is a song on there for everyone, regardless of what you listen too. I sing, rap and harmonize throughout the entire album.
Is there any hidden meaning in your music?
I try not to hide anything when it comes to my music. It is the only place where I have always been honest and truly expressed myself and feelings. I know previously I have accidentally hurt peoples feelings or told stories that myself and others felt uncomfortable with on a personal/conversational level, but in my music, its raw thought and emotion. Its been my therapy since I was 14 years old. I want to be one of those artists that connects with people on a real life level. I strive to make powerful music.
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