California boy Derek James is a singer-songwriter who is pioneering his own sound dubbed “Coastal Country.” Coastal Country combines the storytelling and heart of country music with modern instrumentation and lyrics to create a unique sound inspired by life on the coast. With sing-along melodies, playfully descriptive lyrics, and smooth vocals, Derek’s music plays well anywhere but hits hardest at the beach. His compositions fuse his passion for country artists like Kenny Chesney and Jake Owen with visionary California acts like The Beach Boys and Eagles. His sound first developed upon moving to San Luis Obispo, a small town in California’s central coast, to study engineering at Cal Poly. Derek quickly fell in love with music and began writing songs and playing in local college bars. After fronting his locally successful band Grand Ave throughout college, Derek sought to strike out on his own as a solo artist and go all in on the Coastal Country sound after graduation.
These days, Derek lives in Nashville, TN and continues to write and release original music that celebrates the sun soaked, west coast lifestyle. The end result is music that is authentic, unique, and undeniably fun. He’s been working on building his catalog by writing and recording with rising Nashville songwriters and producers.
The results of his hard work have been impressive. He was the second place winner in the 2020 New Times Music Awards for Best Country Song, named a writer to watch by Nashville Songwriters Association, a 2018 NashNext competition local winner, and has opened for country stars like Granger Smith, Casey Donahew, and Whitey Morgan. Now, with a handful of self produced singles in his back pocket, he is looking forward to sharing them with the world over the course of the summer and fall.