Soul Singer James Bambu Discusses "Love Nest," A Magical Tribute to Black Love

BY ASIA RIDDICK

Speaking directly to the soul, James Bambu is the artist completely revolutionizing music. Having released visuals to spellbinding single "Love Nest," Bambu explores Black love and intimacy in all its glory, a display that pure, delicate Black love still exists. Accompanied by co-star Lei'neal Howard, the two with a chemistry that's unmatched magically captured by Director Rony Portillo will have you falling in love over and over again.  

Encapsulating the vibrancy and intensity housed in Black love, Bambu gives us a closer look into the making of "Love Nest" in an interview that is as soulful as the video.

Photo by  Nico Kartel

Photo by Nico Kartel

A modern-day Maxwell or Marvin Gaye of sorts, you're a soulful twist. Describe your approach when making music.

When making music, I try my best to be as open and honest as possible about my own experiences. It can be very difficult sometimes to write freely if my mind has recently been swamped with a lot of tasks, so I do what I can to first relieve any stress from the day, I clear my mind, and I begin to reflect. It's through these times of reflection that I'm able to write most freely. 

You recently released the video to your song "Love Nest." It's a beautiful combination of vibrancy and soul. Take us through the making of it. What was the inspiration behind the concept? 

"Love Nest" was the first music video that I released in three years and I wanted to make sure that if I was gonna release a video for this project, that it was gonna be something big, and something that gave life to the song in the best way possible. I met Rony Portillo aka Xavi, Director of "Love Nest" and co-founder of 90 Degree Collective at a birthday gathering, and later we linked up to discuss putting together a visual project. For this song, in particular, I wanted a video that was bright, witty, playful, and showed Black love in the most positive, contemporary way possible. I found the loft location with the plants, then Rony came up with the full drawn out concept, presented it to me, and we got to work.  

Photo by  Sil

Photo by Sil

Your representation of the Black woman in the video is positive, loving and less suggestive compared to other videos we see today. 

Lei'neal Howard is my co-star in "Love Nest." Initially, I had no clue who I wanted to co-star in the video, but when all other options failed, Lei'neal was there to fill in the gap when I offered the role. She's always been a really good friend of mine, so when she offered to help me out I knew she'd be perfect. I wanted to make sure that if she was gonna be in this video, that it was as cohesive as possible, as intimate as possible, but also highlighting the feeling everyone has felt being alone and comfortable with their lover. In my personal opinion, this video gave both of us a chance to step out our comfort zone in front of the camera, and it worked out very beautifully.

You even have a tattoo of the ankh inside an outline of Africa. 

I was born in 1992 and grew up in Atlanta, so Afrocentricity was always something my parents naturally presented in front of me, in very subtle and different ways. My mother is a classic, beautiful southern woman who always made sure I knew my southern roots and taught me what it meant to be communal,  and my father was someone with a global perspective and creative mind. Through my upbringing, I was always interested in knowing more about my group of people, and being from Atlanta, you’re always abreast of Black culture and Blackness in general. In the tattoo, the ankh lies in Africa where it originates— my family roots lie in Africa, and this is information that could've potentially been stripped away from my people in the far future had we continued to let America erase our history. Fortunately, the world is changing, and I'm glad to see it happening. 

To love and be loved, this idea of connectivity and oneness with someone seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout the song and is captured beautifully in the video. What story were you looking to convey?

"Love Nest" is simply a song to represent that core feeling of love. The magic chemistry you feel when you know your personality has clicked with another person's, or the feeling you get when somebody walks up behind you and kisses you on the back of your neck. These are the things that I wanted to remind people exist. So much music today is about the complete opposite. When I used to ask myself as a kid "why is every song about love?" I can't ask this question anymore, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I put into question how genuine music is today. 

What emotion do you hope "Love Nest" invokes in people when they watch it?

I hope "Love Nest" lets people know there's always gonna be someone there to back you. Not everyone is ready for that person or has found that person, but the day is gonna come that you find yourself deeply and truthfully in love. And for the people that have lost hope for that to happen, there's always hope. 

"Love Nest" in three words.

Colorful, relationships of all types exist, there's no barrier to love. Relatable, young, Black love is different than it was in the 1970's. I wanted to show Black love in a very personable, intimate way. Vibrant, if "Love Nest" doesn’t make your heart flutter, you don't have a heart.   

Check out the spellbinding visuals to "Love Nest" below.