Andrew St. James reacts to bay area city’s murder rate on track from critically praised new album.
“A Prayer For East Oakland” is latest from 18-year-old singer-songwriter’s “Doldrums” debut.
“He possesses remarkable lyricism and self-awareness.” – Interview
“We’re seriously looking for proof that St. James is only 18…” – Nylon
“Overflowing with clever lines and lyrical intricacies.” – American Songwriter
“This kid is headed for big things.” – USA Today
Andrew St James as photographed by Peter Ellenby
PLAY, POST & SHARE
“A Prayer For East Oakland” is the latest single and video by Andrew St James
“The lyrics to ‘A Prayer For East Oakland’ are formed around Psalms in the New Testament,” explains 18-year-old singer-songwriter Andrew St. James. “The song was originally a poem I wrote after a childhood friend of mine was murdered during the summer of 2011 outside of his home in East Oakland. Watching the homicide rate in the city rise almost exponentially during that time made me frustrated with how little people around me knew or cared about the violence in a community so close to our home.”
The song, an epic and beautiful tune that takes a serious look at the rate of gun-related deaths in the bay area, specifically Oakland, is the latest track and video from the debut Andrew St. James album Doldrums. St. James, and the mature quality of his timeless songwriting have already been noticed by MTV Hive, Interview, SF Weekly, USA Today,American Songwriter, and Performer Magazine among others. The album, produced by St. James himself along with veteran Bay Area producer Jim Greer (a platinum record recipient for his work with Foster The People), is out now.
St. James continues, “There were 110 reported homicides in Oakland during 2011, rising to 131 in 2012. Almost every night of those two years, the first ten minutes of the nightly news would be attributed to reports of gun violence in Oakland. Reports of toddlers being shot and killed in random acts of violence were forgotten along with the weather report. The memory of those 241 people, the majority of them African-American, has been lost on the outside world, disregarded by people of privilege, and forgotten by people with power.”
St. James goes on to conclude that “The casualties of poverty are widely misunderstood in a land where the struggles of economic opportunity are foolishly attributed to racial culture, and subsequently swept under the rug. In communities like East Oakland, it is easy to see that the African American community has been abused, and is today still abused, by systematic oppression in the highest, most obvious degree.”
Andrew St James Links