The beauty of music is that it isn’t exclusive to one group of people. From the richest to the struggling, music can reach out to people from all walks of life and become a calling to many. In the case of James Hackett, music was the gateway to his future. A Philadelphia-born singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, James combines indie-pop and rock to create a unique sound that compliments his songwriting abilities.
James Hackett’s love for music started when he was five years old; his father had just introduced him to the guitar. After taking a long train ride in the middle of winter because a family car wasn’t a luxury at the time, James’ father visited a small music store in downtown Philly to buy him his first acoustic guitar.
Once James had his hands on one, he would sit in front of his cassette deck trying to learn complex guitar riffs from the likes of Jimmy Page or the loud anti-solos of Kurt Cobain. Despite some tremendous influences, James reveals that his passion for songwriting can be traced back to a memory with his father. They had been driving around when “Strawberry Fields” came on. The chord change over the line “Nothing is real” had James hooked on the idea that these sorts of musical ideas were possible.
Since that drive, James had names like Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, John Mayer, and Radiohead on repeat. He also shifted his focus to other instruments like piano, bass, and drums. However, it wasn’t until the end of high school that James started using his instrumental skills and writing and recording his own songs. Throughout his early 20s, James learned how to craft catchy pop tunes before playing at local coffee shops and music venues.
When the 2010s rolled in, James Hackett continued honing his craft in songwriting. At the same time, he was learning the fundamentals of recording, mixing, and mastering. James also put together a home studio to have a place not only to write his own materials but also to open the doors for others. The projects that came out of the studio included songs for friends and jingles.
Early into 2021, the musician would take his music career to the next level by putting together five tracks for his debut EP release, Dark Chords. He would spend nearly a year working on the EP before finishing, funding the project entirely independently. James would sometimes trade studio time for painting the local studio where the album was recorded.
Dark Chords features a wide array of talents with performances by Alex Kopp, producer and keyboardist formerly of Third Eye Blind, Grammy-winning drummer Lee Levin, Maxwell Stern, singer and guitarist for indie band Signals Midwest, and Alex Owens, producer and bassist for several Ohio bands. Along with the EP, a video for the track “If I Were Yours” was released on April 1, 2022. The video racked up over 100,000 views in its first week on YouTube. Currently, James Hackett resides in Akron, Ohio, where he plays at local venues. He will also be featured on the local radio station, The Summit FM, after his live show at The Workz on the Riverfront, downtown Cuyahoga Falls.