July James hopes his new track ’Breathe’ will reconnect him with missing son

July James. Picture: Supplied

July James. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 7, 2021


South African singer and songwriter July James has dropped a new track, Breathe.

While it should be a joyous moment, given his challenging journey, it's a bitter-sweet one as it reminds him of his son being taken away. This song makes him want to reconnect with him even more.

His heartbreaking story goes back to a "random incident", which saw a third of his face reconstructed.

He explained: "In 2014, I returned to the UK in order to collect archived recordings and was due to return to South Africa within four weeks. It was during that visit an incident occurred, leading to the upper left-hand side of my face needing titanium implants.

“Against the advice of medical staff, who said I may suffer after-effects of the incident, I chose to return to South Africa, as it was now my home and I needed to get back to my son as soon as possible.”

His temporal and frontal lobe damage had a rippled effect on his life and family. He lost his home, his memory, his music and his son, who was age 2 at the time.

While he never envisioned losing the most important thing in his life, his health setback rendered him unable to prevent social services from taking his son.

James shared: “This condition can be temporary and resolve itself within a short time. In my case, it wasn’t permanent but it did take six years.

“I was my son's only parent and guardian in South Africa at that moment. Without any other family in South Africa and, as my condition worsened, it was deemed best that he be taken into care by the state.”

Six years on, James has regained his memory and is hoping to reconcile with his son. In the meantime, Breathe is his way of reaching out to his boy.

He said: "My son knew me as an artist and it’s said that music is the most emotively inspiring form of art. It’s powerful in the way it makes a person feel.

“If one turns down the musical soundtrack of a movie, for example, the impact and feel of any scene is much less of an experience to the person watching.

“It’s the understanding of the impact music has upon the way we all can feel that inspired me to write and record as a way of saying ’hi', saying ’howzit', ’I'm thinking of you, I'm sorry this happened to you and I love you ... like I always have’.”

In Breathe, James also reminds listeners of the power of love and hope.

“Love is the strongest form of human empathy. It can see each of us, through the hardest moments, we all face throughout the journey of life.

“With the present times we live through, globally, it’s a message to everyone to not give up, and to allow love its rightful place in the forefront of our lives.”

The Joburg-based singer is working on releasing the 2014 album that fell by the wayside. His upcoming release picks up where he left off.

“When played from start to finish, the album could well be considered a story. Much like a stage musical, reflecting life and love and music in the 2020s.”

Hopefully, James will get a happy ending in real life, with a long-awaited reunion with his son, too.

The album is set to release later in the year.

Breathe is available on all streaming platforms.

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