The son of a military man probably knows a thing or two about routines. Proving the idea so, here is Ro James deep in Brooklyn, New York getting his set in order at Brooklyn 1834, a creative clubhouse of sorts where a fully functional rehearsal space—jumbo speakers, drums, keyboards, guitars, the whole shebang—crank in a room just steps away from the kitchen table.
Ro’s cooking, wailing lines from “Indiana Jones,” one of several fan-favorites from his 2013 trilogy EPs Coke, Jack, and Cadillacs. On the eve of his concert with buddy and fellow R&B singer Luke James (no relation) at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom, Ro spends as much time still and quiet as he does singing, listening to his band work themselves into their groove and figuring out where his rugged voice fits in.
After ironing out a few kinks, the crew takes a break. Ro nestles next to a window with sunlight beaming through. This February afternoon is frigid, just hours removed from the city’s latest snow storm. Ro’s gotten warm from singing. Now his mission is to remain so. Though he calls New York home, he clearly could go for a trip to balmy Hawaii or California—both places he’s spent considerable time in the past.
“You see me over here dying with all these layers?” he jokes. “I got, like, three more under this [sweater]. Fuck that.” Once settled, Ro gets to talking about his unpolished style, how a cocktail of love, sex and women inspire his music and what to expect from his debut album with RCA Records.
Watch the video below for that and performance footage from rehearsal:
All pictures shot by Joao Gonzalez at Brooklyn 1834 on Feb. 24, 2015