Record & Tape Exchange is a recurring series where some of our favourite artists walk us through their personal music libraries to share the songs that have soundtracked their lives. 


An artist in every sense of the word, Atlanta-born singer-songwriter James Bambu takes a uniquely considered approach to his craft, determined to break down barriers for the future of R&B. Stream his latest single “Fed Up” here.


What song reminds you most of your childhood?
One song I love that definitely reminds me of my childhood is “Nice and Slow” by Usher because growing up in Atlanta in the early 2000s, R&B was at its highest peak, and Usher was of course on top of that. I was one of those kids that knew every single word to “Nice and Slow,” so my mom would have me sing it to everybody she knew.

What was the first physical record you remember buying?
Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams by Solange. When that record dropped in ’08, maybe I was too young to understand what she was talking about, but baby, that was my record! It's still one of my favourites to this day.


What song is the best representation of your hometown?
There's no other song that best represents Atlanta than “Welcome to Atlanta” by Jermaine Dupri. “Welcome to Atlanta, where the players play.” That was one song that they played on the radio damn near every day, and probably still do. That is definitely the theme song for the city of Atlanta. 

What songs remind you of traveling to a specific place?
“About Him” by Alex Isley. I met someone that I used to date in the Dominican Republic a while ago and immediately when I hear the song it takes me back to that relationship, back to the island, back to that trip I took when I first met that person, and I love that it's great memories attached to the song. That just shows the power that music can have when it connects to people like that.

What song do you wish you had written?
“Everybody Loves the Sunshine” by Roy Ayers. First of all, that song is so beautifully crafted, it's so colourful. Roy is such an unbelievable musician to this day, so who wouldn't want to be involved in a process with those talents? That's a song I still listen to on the daily, and I don't think that will ever change. 

What’s the best song to play at a house party?
"Bruises" by Kelela. No debate. 

You’re abducted by aliens, and when you wake up on the spaceship, they pass you the aux. What is the song you’re playing to convince them not to destroy Earth?
I think if it really came down to it and the aliens wanted to do it, they'd just do it. But I promise you they would rethink if I played them “Heaven Can Wait” by Michael Jackson, I promise. 


Further Reading:
The Montreal trio give us a world tour of their defining music memories, from Haiti to London.
East meets West in Blxst's selections, as he shares formative memories of A Tribe Called Quest and 50 Cent, and picks a fellow L.A. native to get the party started. ⁠