NEXT: Ro James Talks Bringing The Feeling Back To R&B, Cowboy Hats, The Jackets, More

If you have to put my hand on the Bible, I’ll tell you that Ronnie “F**kin” James aka Ro James is NEXT and is going to be a problem in the R&B game. The sounds I hear from this cat are organic, nostalgic and just plain dope! The Panamanian Queens native was born in Germany and lived in Oklahoma, Hawaii, California, and Indiana: a smorgasbord of places, styles and culture. The crooner who rocks black skinny jeans, cowboy hats and a shiny gold tooth has more swag then a Chicago pimp with a limp. He has something that the game is missing. People are constantly looking for the newest thing. Well, here it is in the form of a Jack Daniels drinking and Cadillac driving R&B singer that is cooler than a polar bears toe nail. He represents what’s fresh and funky about life in the city. I had the pleasure of catching up with him in the city to chop it up about what’s up NEXT.

Bringing That Thing … I’m bringing originality back. I’m bringing that feeling. The most important thing for me is the feeling. I think if you feel the music, it will last forever. I want to be here forever. I’m bringing a different perspective. R&B and Soul doesn’t have to be brown. Soul is feeling! It could be red and it can be cool. I’m going to introduce a new brand of R&B to the world. My music is Soul, Hip Hop, and Country in one.

Growing Up …When I was sixteen I moved to Indiana because I had got kicked out school in New York City. It was different and I had to adapt to a new place. Indiana is corn fields and suburbs. My dad was in the army so I lived everywhere. I have influence of the world, but the mentality of a New Yorker.

Make You Feel It … I want be able to say that I said yes when everyone else told me no. You can do anything you want to do. When everyone tells you it won’t work you have to prove it to them. I want to show people that you can do whatever you want to do if you believe it enough. When you believe something enough, they will start to believe it. I want my shit to be different. I want people to know I was here. I want to be responsible for bringing feeling back to music. I want to make you dance… laugh… whatever.

Kids Inc. …. I wanted to work with kids. I went to school to be a social worker. Now I volunteer with kids teaching them how to express their feelings through writing poetry.

The Box … People put me into that tiny R&B/Soul box, but I listen to Hip Hop, old school shit like Donny Hathaway, Jodeci, David Bowie and Sting. They automatically say I’m Soul, but I'm so much more than what people initially think. I’m just being myself. January I decided I was going to do whatever the FV%K I wanted to do. It got to be real!

Black Cat With The Cowboy Hat … I wore the cowboy hat because I didn’t want to comb my hair. I just didn’t give a FV%K. People tell me all the time that I’m the only black dude that can get that off. It’s because I’m not trying to do anything, I'm trying to be myself.

Black Out Fashion … I hang with a lot of designers… most of my people do fashion. They helped me realize people always pay attention to what you have on. I didn’t want people to focus on what I’m wearing so I wear black everyday. It’s simple and mysterious. You can get in anywhere with black. It ties into my music because everything is in black and white. If you look at a picture in black and white you pay attention to the feeling. I wanted to tie it all in and be consistent to what people saw and felt.

The Hot Spots … I go to the Gold Bar. I like low key spots like Le Bain at the Standard Hotel. It’s free, the atmosphere is dope and it has a crazy A$$ rooftop. Nightlife now is really uninspiring. I am just chilling in the house until I get the green light to do my own thing. I’m going to be throwing my own parties.

THE MOVEMENT … The JACKETS are a crew of dope singers that move like rappers. Myself, Bridget Kelly, Leah Labelle, Olamide Faison, Luke James and Wynter Gordon make up The Jackets.

Closer … I want people to hear my music and say … “That’s new soul.”