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Daily Inspiration: Meet Von James

Today we’d like to introduce you to Von James. 

Hi Von, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hello, I was born the last of 5 children to James & Shirley Mitchell, and started singing when I was very young. My father had a strong love of quartet gospel and he introduced the love of music to me & my siblings. As a child, I lived on E.65th & Superior in Cleveland, Oh of which I would walk down the street and take music lessons from Rainey Institute, formerly on E.55th & Dibble. After the devastating passing of my father when I was 12 years old, I transferred to Richmond Heights middle school where I met a choir teacher who really helped me explore my musical capabilities thru performing arts theatre, Mac 8 honors choir and NAACP ACT-So Vocal competitions. I soon graduated high school and studied Opera for 1 year at Cleveland State University. I soon realized that I wanted to explore performing music on a more professional level and tapped into the local band scenes. Losing my father at a young age, who was such a major musical influence in my life, I knew I wanted to honor him by keeping his legacy alive. Thus, the creation of my stage name was brought to life. Adding my father’s name, James next to my name Von, is the ultimate collaboration that has brought so much joy to me every time I open my mouth to sing. His life and gift of singing is revived every time someone says or writes, Von James. I carry him with me on every stage, every microphone, recording and so much more. After working with reputable local bands as a vocalist for hire, I took a leap of faith, invested my money into purchasing sound equipment, reached out to some amazing colleagues and formed my own band, The Von James Xperience in 2015.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Well, no. I’ve always been a shy, quiet, chubby little church girl with a big voice who found love, acceptance, happiness and hope in music. That’s the beauty of The Performing Arts and why it is so important to keep it in schools. So many youth are struggling with challenges, that the only escape they have is singing, dance, theatre, art or music in school as a refuge or a comforting blanket of joy. I was fortunate back then and even now to find solitude in performing where I could be free to live out loud in full expression of who I was becoming. Growing into adulthood as a singer, it’s been some bumps in the road, as far as being true to myself amid criticism of my voice being too soulful, or my appearance being too voluptuous and not catering to the norm. However, when I was younger, I had a dream that I was singing in front of a large audience. That dream confirmed that I was suppose to sing and it taught me to walk in my purpose of music. Every time I faced an opposition, I learned to remind myself that I was born with a gift to share with others. Staying true to myself, I found my audience and then strengthened my voice while making my mark as a female band leader in a male-driven industry including predominantly male owned venues. Sometimes female entertainers or band leaders are not respected or valued as much as our male counterparts. Through these challenges, I have learned to rise to the occasion by strengthening my talent, along with being bold, confident and courageous. My belief in God has taught me to also believe in myself, because I knew he was guiding me through every circumstance with a victory. Despite every challenge, I am proud of who I’ve become and the path to success that I am embarking on.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a professional vocalist, songwriter, and recording artist. My band is called, Von James Xperience under the musical direction of keyboardist Larry Owens, and together we aim to provide an diverse range of musical genres along with a strong stage presence in every performance. I specialize in delivering a show that encourages, uplifts, and impacts your soul. I’m most proud of nonconforming, trusting my gifts, and creating my own lane. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to open up and share stages with national recording artists such as Dave Hollister, Michael Franks, Najee, Shirley Murdock and more, in some amazing venues including performing as part of an ensemble in 2012 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. I’ve recorded music with Michael Calhoun of the Dazz Band, Frederick Davis, and among other artist’s projects that was heard on the radio. Proudly, I coproduced my first concert in November 2021 of which I was able to show my fans another level of my artistry. Von James Xperience is booked for the Union Miles festival on July 23, 2022 where national recording artist, Michel’le will be headlining. Also, you can hear us at the Youngstown Jazz In The Park festival on August 28, 2022. I also perform locally at various restaurants, lounges and private events. What set me apart from others is that I’m tenacious when it comes to reaching my dreams in music. I’m not afraid to take risks and dare to even push the envelope a little. Currently, working on releasing my debut album this summer 2022, of songs that I have personally written from my heart to yours. I look forward to producing more concerts and providing more experiences that are memorable in honor of my father as well as honoring my own legacy.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
Visit my website: 

Follow me Instagram: von_vj 

Subscribe to my YouTube page: Von James Singer 

Come to my shows, share my events and smile back at me when you’re in the audience. (Smiles). 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Herb Bias
Sharon Hatcher
Christena B Imagery
Stacey Richardson

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